Nakano Taka

Nakano Taka

She is a strong female warrior, an Onna-Musha, that fights for her beliefs no matter the consequences. (

Cosplayer: Maria Mercado


She is born into a samurai family, the daughter of an official. Well read and highly educated. She received a full training in multiple martial arts and was a master of the naginata, a bladed polearm. Most women in samurai families will have trained predominantly with this weapon, as opposed to the sword, and the women of samurai families were expected to learn how to fight in order to protect their husband’s estates in their absence. She fought and died in the Boshin War, in which she was the leader of an ad hoc group of onna-musha (female warriors) that participated despite being instructed otherwise. This is something that we are leaning into with the Taka character, a strong female warrior that fights for her beliefs no matter the consequences. The Boshin War marked the end of the age of the samurai, and was held between the Tokugawa Shogunate and the modernized Imperial Army, the latter having backing from foreign nations such as the British. The Tom Cruise movie “The Last Samurai” was set in this era. Taka fought on the side of the Shogunate and died in a suicide charge while taking a bridge. During the charge she personally killed several men before being wounded and asking her sister, whom she fought alongside, to decapitate her to prevent the enemy from taking her head as a trophy and using it to demoralize her side.


Taka will act in accordance with Confucianism, and will be refined and calm in her demeanor, incredibly caring and compassionate, but also very headstrong in her beliefs. It is her indomitable spirit that is the focus of her written character, never giving up, refusing to stay down. Taka is very family oriented, and will be concerned about the fate of her family members, in particular her mother and sister, that fought in her unit. Taka should be humble and would not boast, even playing down the events of her own death as simply being in service to her Lord and country.


‘Samurai’ is a masculine word and so will not apply to Taka. She would not refer to herself as samurai, instead referring to herself as onna-musha. While some of the people that you converse with will not know the term, you can easily explain that it is the word for a female Japanese warrior. It would be beneficial for the actress playing Taka to do some research on Confucius and his teachings, as this will not only impart the knowledge that Taka will have known but will also provide insight into her poise, attitude and behaviours.