DC Animated Universe

"She was a good teacher."
"The best.
Terry McGinnis and Bruce Wayne[1]

Kairi Tanaga was a star pupil of Yoru, a former sensei to the young Bruce Wayne, and later an accomplished sensei herself.


As a young woman, Kairi trained under Yoru, who considered her like a daughter to him. She was later kidnapped by Kyodai Ken, who held her for ransom, demanding that Yoru give up the location of a scroll containing the technique for a lost and deadly fighting art, which he believed would enable him to defeat Batman.

During the exchange, Kyodai created a diversion by kicking Kairi off a building, but Batman saved her, allowing Kyodai to get away with the map. Kairi had never seen this mysterious man before, and as he swung away, she whispered in wonder, "Spirit of the Bat...".[2]

At some later point by the 2030s, Kairi emigrated to America, and settled in Gotham City. She opened a fish stall at an Asian market, 2805 Harbor Market Square, but behind it she operated a secret dojo for serious students of martial arts. Bruce was aware of her dojo, but otherwise they apparently did not keep any kind of regular contact.

One of her students included Zander, the leader-in-training of Kobra, who had been genetically engineered from scratch. Recognizing his lack of a normal education in morals, Kairi tried to instill in Zander a respect for the warrior code of Bushido, emphasizing honor and non-aggression.

Another student was Terry McGinnis, whom Bruce had sent to her to brush up on his martial arts training. Kairi trained him hard for several weeks, during which Terry began to develop a friendship with Zander.[3]

However, Zander later revealed himself as Kobra's leader, and took part in the cult's plot to replace humans with genetically spliced reptile hybrids, and to cause a catastrophic change in the world's climate by triggering the eruption of a super-volcano.

Saddened that she had failed to instill values in her student, Kairi boarded the Kobra's hovercraft and rescued Terry and Max, before engaging Zander in battle. The ship sustained heavy damage and began to descend. Terry urged Kairi to follow him and Max, but she was cut off by falling debris. She told them to abandon ship and reminded Terry to keep his guard up. She perished in the crash, along with Zander and the other cultists.

Bruce, Max, and Terry observed a moment of silence at the dojo in honor of Kairi's sacrifice.[1]

Powers and abilities[]

Kairi is secretly one of the best martial artists, and one of the best teachers via the same way, in the world. People who know of her reputation seek her out when they want the best instruction. She also exhibited considerable skill at stealth and acrobatics, even in her old age.

After years in America, she spoke perfect English without an accent, but affected a traditional Japanese accent with somewhat broken English when behind her stall, saying that it "helps sell fish".[1]

Background information[]

  • When Kairi reappears as an elderly woman in Batman Beyond, her past connection to Bruce and Yoru is not made clear. However, on the DVD special features, the producers of the show confirm that she is the same character who appeared in "Day of the Samurai".
  • Kairi knows Bruce's secret identity, though it is not clear whether she learned it from Yoru Sensei, who guessed, or at some later date.


Batman: The Animated Series

Batman Beyond

See also[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Berkowitz, Stan (writer) & Riba, Dan (director) (February 10, 2001). "Curse of the Kobra, Part II". Batman Beyond. Season 3. Episode 11 (airdate). Episode 49 (production). Kids WB!.
  2. Perry, Steve (writer) & Timm, Bruce W. (director) (February 23, 1993). "Day of the Samurai". Batman: The Animated Series. Season 1. Episode 55 (airdate). Episode 44 (production). FOX Kids.
  3. Fogel, Rich (writer) & Tucker, James (director) (February 3, 2001). "Curse of the Kobra, Part I". Batman Beyond. Season 3. Episode 10 (airdate). Episode 48 (production). Kids WB!.