Kanshigumi: The Ivory Lotus
"Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without one."
Haruko comes from a merchant family of tatami-makers. She spent her youth among dried rushes and lengths of green cloth, folding and packing the mats under the supervision of her parents and older brothers. At thirteen, she convinced her uncle to sponser her to the courtier school, swearing to never return to the roughened hands of a laborer. However, upon returning home after her training, she found herself relegated to the face of the family business, much to her disgust. She wanted more. After a brief argument with her father, she used connections made while in school to get an appointment as an aid to a Yoritomo merchant, the elderly Kamatari, in Toshi Ranbo.
She quickly rose in the ranks, becoming a favorite of the old man. Kamatari had no blood heir, but he had named one of his apprentices to succeed. However, when Kamatari died suddenly about two years ago, the adopted heir – Shinsaku – allowed Haruko to take over the running of the business, keeping his inheritance mostly in name alone.
Shinsaku recently confessed to murdering a Yasuki merchant. He apologized officially to the Crab clan, claiming that the death was unintentional; the Yasuki had fought to keep the silk shipment that Shinsaku was trying to steal. He was allowed to commit seppuku. His wife and infant son received the business. Haruko stayed for a time, but there was reported bad blood between her and the new mistress of the house.
Given her good head for business (and the familial connection), Yoritomo Satoshi has recently appointed his niece as one of his advisors in order to give her a leg up in the Imperial City. There are rumors of a recent scandal involving her, but Satoshi is keeping the details hushed.
(Picture is the actress Fujiwara Norika.)