Todoroki From My Hero Academia Draws Attention To A Divisive Japanese Custom

My Hero Academia’s heartbreaking portrayal of Endeavor and the Todoroki family sheds attention on the contentious Japanese tradition of arranged marriages (omiai).

The brutal deeds of Enji Todoroki from My Hero Academia, also known as the Flame Hero: Endeavor, bring attention to the divisive Japanese tradition of arranged marriages (omiai). The sad tale of the Todoroki Family was started in motion by Endeavor’s wish to create a child with a strong Quirk that might exceed All Might, which resulted in an arranged marriage with Rei Himura.

In the anime series My Hero Academia, Endeavor is a strong Pro Hero who, before All Might’s retirement, was driven by a desire to exceed him and overtake him as Japan’s top hero. Endeavour chose to give his wish to a kid born via the archaic practice of a Quirk Marriage after recognising he could never fulfil his dream for himself.

The Himura family is well known for having ice-type quirks, so Enji went to them and offered to marry their daughter Rei in the hopes that their offspring would acquire both her mother’s ice abilities and his own quirk Hellflame, and grow to be so strong as to outshine All Might. The Himura family accepted even though quirk marriages were now frowned upon by society since they were having financial troubles.

The Odd Marriage Mirrors Of Endeavor The Customary Practice Of Arranged Marriages In Japan

My Hero Academia
Source: My Hero Academia Fandom

In Japan, omiai (or miai) is a long-standing tradition of arranged marriage that originated in the 16th-century samurai feudal culture intending to forge political and military ties. Oomiai is extremely close to Western customs of planned weddings in that regard. However, omiai was still widely used in Japan in the 20th century, making up 69% of weddings in the 1930s until being all but forgotten after the Second World War. In My Hero Academia, Quirk Marriage is similarly an unpopular tradition that is explicitly rejected by society, but Endeavor uses the Himuras’ predicament to convince them to embrace it.

Rei’s family is shown as being highly traditional in episode #130 of My Hero Academia, but they have lost their social standing in modern hero society, just as traditional, noble families that practised omiai have largely lost their position in contemporary Japan.

The fact that omiai is still used in Japan, albeit for completely different reasons, is intriguing. These days, it more closely resembles the Western custom of matchmaking, in which a single lady and a single man are introduced to each other to discuss the potential of marriage. To help omiai matching, the Japanese government made out 3 billion Yen in 2014 as part of its initiatives to raise the country’s falling birth rate.

Kohei Horikoshi, the creator of My Hero Academia, might have then utilised the tragic tale of the Todoroki family to draw attention to a contentious practice that is still practised in his nation, albeit in small amounts. In essence, Rei’s family is selling her to Endeavor, which causes a series of sad occurrences for the new family they have created. Endeavour typifies a number of the social norms that are frequently questioned in Japanese culture.

Like many Japanese families, Endeavor put tremendous pressure on his children to achieve, especially Shoto. He was also overly preoccupied and preoccupied with his work, which is another accusation levelled at Japanese adults. It is possible to interpret Toya Todoroki’s transition into the antagonist Dabi as a young Japanese guy who crumbles under the weight of his family and becomes a criminal. It’s crucial to approach conventions and habits with an open mind because every civilization has its own. The sad history of Endeavor and the Todoroki family, however, amplifies several contentious elements of Japanese culture, proving that My Hero Academia is far more profound than most other shonen comics.

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