For the member of the Exiles named Sunfire see Mariko Yashida, Shiro's cousin.
Shiro Yoshida grew up with a huge resentment against the United States. His mother was exposed to the radiation of the atomic bomb at Hiroshima and she died during his birth. His dad, a member of the Japanese Clan Yashida, became a diplomat to the United Nations and Shiro was pretty much raised by his uncle.
Shiro's uncle Tomo took him to a site in Hiroshima, and got him to touch the ground. There, the radioactive soil somehow triggered his mutation. Shiro trained for months before he was able to control his flame fully. His uncle Tomo was purely anti-America. He instilled his hatred upon Shiro and is responsible for giving him his costume and codename of Sunfire.
Sunfire was created by Roy Thomas and Don Heck in 1970 and first appeared in The (Uncanny) X-Men #64.
Major Story Arcs
Versus the X-Men
It was Tomo's plan to use Shiro as a weapon against the U.S. Tomo had Shiro attack the Capital building in Washington, where Shiro's father was at the time. The X-Men arrived and attempted to stop him, but they failed to detain him. Meanwhile, Saburo (Sunfire's father) had worked out who Sunfire was, and tried to reason with him. Sunfire was torn between his father's wishes and his uncle's teachings, and didn't know what to do. To force Sunfire to choose his way, Tomo shot Saburo. In defiance, Sunfire killed his uncle with a well placed plasma blast.
Shiro put up no resistance when he was arrested, nor when he was deported from the US. Back in Japan, Shiro had been socially outcast for dishonoring his parents, and Shiro was hiding in the slums of Tokyo. There, he was found by a mysterious man calling himself the Dragon-Lord. The Dragon-Lord wanted to restore Japan to the power it had been, and Shiro agreed to help him with this. What Sunfire didn't know is that the Dragon-Lord wanted to restore Japan to power by using a powerful weapon that had started to be built during World War II. Before he used his weapon, the Dragon-Lord ordered Shiro to destroy an American ship containing powerful defoliants. If the US did not leave Japan, they would destroy ship after ship. The ship's cargo was dumped into the sea, which caught the attention of Namor. Namor and Sunfire fought, before Namor convinced Shiro about how it was polluting the ocean. Shiro and Namor teamed up to stop the Dragon-Lord's weapon and to stop him, and once he was defeated Shiro prepared for a rematch with Namor. However, Namor had no interest in a battle of egos and left.
After his fight with Namor, Shiro redeemed himself and became a superhero for his country, whether there was a threat from inside Japan or outside it. At one point, he went to Vietnam to advance Japan's interest in reconstruction work there. Whilst in Vietnam, Shiro came into conflict with Tony Stark, who was in Vietnam at the same time. A Vietnamese major made Sunfire a deal: if he could get rid of Iron Man, he would get the deals for Japan. Sunfire eagerly accepted and got into a fight with Iron Man. However, halfway through the battle he was teleported away by Iron Man's old foe, the Mandarin. It turned out that the Mandarin's mind was in another person's body, and he needed Sunfire's thermal blasts to power the mind transfer machine. A captive in Mandarin's base, Sunfire had to watch Iron Man defeat Mandarin then free him. Upon being freed, Sunfire attempted to find the Mandarin again as revenge for being used so easily. However, at Mandarin's other base, Sunfire was outmatched by Ultimo, and needed Iron Man's help once again. With Iron Man's help, Shiro defeated Ultimo. After the battle, Shiro started thinking his hatred against America wasn't entirely warranted.
Joining the X-Men
Shortly afterward, the X-Men were being held captive by the living island Krakoa. Charles Xavier (Professor X) was gathering a second team of mutants to go rescue the team, and one of the people he contacted was Sunfire. Sunfire agreed to go, but made it clear that he wasn't going because he owed the X-Men, but because he owed himself something. Shiro assisted in the rescue, but during the rescue he didn't get along well with many of the other mutants, especially Nightcrawler. The day after Krakoa was defeated, Sunfire left the X-Men, saying that his place was in Japan.
Despite this, Sunfire returned to America not long afterwards, as Tony Stark was suspected of bribing Japanese officials, which was reason enough for Sunfire to start trashing Stark International. When Iron Man turned up, Sunfire demanded to see his superior, not realizing that Tony Stark and Iron Man were the same person. Iron Man refused for Iron Man to see his superior, and the two called off their earlier truce. Iron Man managed to knock Sunfire out, despite that he was using a much older version of his armour. Whilst Sunfire was unconscious, Iron Man managed to defeat the Mandarin, the mastermind behind him being framed. By the time Sunfire woke up, he realized his foolish mistake and returned to Japan.
Later on, the X-Men ended up being stranded in Japan after another mission. With no money or passports, the only way they could get back to America was with Sunfire's help. However, Sunfire remained true to his earlier statement, accusing the X-Men as being cowards as they had to sneak into his home to see him. However, Sunfire needed the X-Men's help, as the villain Moses Magnum was blackmailing Japan, threatening to unleash his "Magnum Force" if his demands weren't met. Sunfire and the X-Men managed to tunnel beneath the ocean to reach Magnum's base, but Magnum still managed to unleash his "Magnum Force". Fortunately, the X-Man Banshee managed to use his sonic powers to prevent the Magnum Force from being released on Japan, and reflected it back on Moses Magnum. Impressed by the X-Men, Sunfire took back his previous statements and thanked them for their aid, saying it would be an honor to fight belong them again.
Sunfire got his chance to fight alongside the X-Men, when they returned from the Beyonder's Secret Wars, and accidentally brought a dragon with them. Sunfire and the X-Men worked together to stop the dragon and keep the damages to a minimum. During the fight, Shiro had to obey the orders of his cousin, Mariko Yashida, rather than his own ideas, since she was the leader of Clan Yashida. Afterwards, Sunfire attempted to help Japan's society as a businessman rather than as a superhero. During this period, Sunfire was contacted by a man called Yoritomo, whom he had idolized since childhood, and who shared his political beliefs. Together Sunfire and Yoritomo worked to restore Japan's glory, even bargaining with Roxxon Oil to show that they had the right ideas. Unfortunately, Shiro's realism got the better of him, and he was betrayed by Yoritomo. Whilst Shiro only wanted to rearm Japan for the purpose of defense, Yoritomo wanted to start another war to avenge Japan's defeat in World War II. When Sunfire started to work out what Yoritomo wanted, Yoritomo ordered a hit on Sunfire, then made it look as if the head of Roxxon, Harlan Ryker, had ordered it. It wasn't until Deathlok, Ryker's employee, convinced Sunfire that he was being double crossed too was another World War avoided.
When a whole Japanese village died because of a drug in their water named Sleet, the government sent Sunfire to investigate. Sunfire followed clues which led him to Madripoor, where Cable and the New Mutants were tracking down Stryfe's Mutant Liberation Front. It turned out that the Sleet was the work of the Mutant Liberation Front, which they wanted to use on several capital cities after testing it out on the village. The heroes soon found the Mutant Liberation Front's hideout, where they managed to destroy their supplies of Sleet. During the battle, Sunfire felt an attraction to another mutant named Dragoness, who claimed to be of a similar origin to Sunfire. During the battle, Sunfire also revealed that he and had known each other in the past, and that he had been friends with Cable's father.
When he returned to Japan, Sunfire was kidnapped by Doctor Demonicus and his Pacific Overlords. He was then brainwashed and forced to serve them. Sunfire and a young woman named Pele (who also had pyrokinetic abilities) were sent to Hawaii to provide a distraction for the Overlord's other schemes. They crashed in a ceremony where Namor was being honored for his activities in World War II, and the fact that it was on the anniversary of the Pearl Harbour bombings made it look as if Sunfire was back to his anti-American views. Having fought him before, Namor realized that he was under the influence of another, and with the help of the Avengers, managed to get Shiro to shake off the brainwashing. Sunfire then aided the West Coast Avengers against the Pacific Overlords, in order to avenge himself.
Since Sunfire was still a Japanese superhero, and the government were proud of having their own superhero, they provided Sunfire with scientists who gave him a special armor, which increased the efficiency of how his body absorbed and stored energy, armbands which turned his blasts into lasers, and built in convention stabilizers, which gave him greater control over his flight skills. With his new suit, Sunfire was asked to take place in a test on Sakhanin Island, which was located between Russia and Japan. Sunfire did it, but only for his government, as he held a grudge towards Russia just as he had held a grudge towards America. On the island, there was a pit full of some kind of black substance, but Sunfire's powers fought it off. Apparently, the pit was a portal to some other Earth-like place, but was purposely sealed off. It was starting to open again, and it was sucking parts of Earth into the other place. Both Sunfire and a group of X-Men were sucked into the other place. Once there, they found Colossus's long lost brother, Mikhail, thought dead in a space ship explosion. Working together, they were able to return home with the X-Men and seal the void for good. Mikhail pointed out the irony of a Russian, American and Japanese working together.
A few weeks later, the X-Men had trouble with the Japanese police when Jubilee was arrested. No sooner did Sunfire arrive at the police station of Tokyo's Ropongi section, intending to help the X-Men, when dozens of Hand ninjas appeared. Although he offered his help to avoid the X-Men causing any damage in Tokyo, Sunfire accidentally crashed the whole building down when he blasted its interior load-bearing cantilever beam. Apparently there was a war between the Hand, Clan Yashida, and even though Wolverine was there to bail out Jubilee, it looked as if he was there to help his lover. Eventually the gang war was brought to an end when Mariko was poisoned by her enemies. A few days after her funeral, Sunfire had to ask Wolverine to leave the country, because the Japanese government feared he would hunt down the killers. Even though Sunfire acted cold, he secretly mourned the loss of Mariko, but couldn't show it because he had to act like a true samurai.
At one point in his superhero career, Sunfire was asked by the Japanese government to accompany one of their whaling expeditions to the Antarctic, as they had been attacked by Attuma and some Atlanteans the past few times. During the fight between Attuma and Sunfire, Namor turned up, having been informed by the whales of what was happening. Upon seeing Namor, Sunfire immediately assumed that he was responsible for the attacks on the whaling voyages, and attacked. Taking advantage of this, Attuma struck Namor from behind, which Sunfire viewed as dishonorable. Afterwards, Attuma sunk the Japanese ship, and Sunfire realized who the real enemy was. Namor and Sunfire worked together to save the Japanese soldiers who were about to die in the ice-cold water, but they couldn't save all of them in time. Fortunately, Namor communicated with some whales nearby, and got them to save the men. Overwhelmed by this generous act, the soldiers agreed to stop hunting whales. Sunfire returned to Japan with a lot of thinking to do.
Later on, Magneto triggered a world wide electro-magnetic pulse in order to show how superior he was. The pulse had an unexpected effect on Sunfire: it sent his powers out of control whilst he was flying over Japan. Luckily Sunfire didn't harm anyone with his out of control powers, but the Japanese government considered him a menace. Even though it wasn't Sunfire's fault, the government locked him up. with an inhibitor collar to stop his powers. Help came in the form of Shiro's cousin, the Silver Samurai, who was leading Clan Yashida now that Mariko was dead. The Samurai was worried about the Japanese government, who were upgrading Red Ronin (gigantic robots) with technology from Bastion and Operation: Zero Tolerance. The Red Ronin had to be stopped, with Sunfire as a superhero to portray mutants in a positive light. Wolverine and Silver Samurai broke into Sunfire's prison and broke him out. The three then destroyed Red Ronin. During the fight, Sunfire had another power burst, and would have destroyed all of Tokyo if it wasn't for Wolverine.
With his powers still out of control, Wolverine suggested Sunfire go to Department H, to his good friends Heather and James Hudson. What Wolverine didn't know was that Department H had changed a lot from when he was there, and his friends and colleagues were often brainwashed so that they'd forget what was happening to them. The scientist assigned to Sunfire, Dr. Aldus Huxley, of course had no intention of helping Sunfire. Sunfire was just a "lab rat" to Huxley, and was easily coaxed into having several tests performed on him, and as a result, Sunfire soon tested positive for radiation poisoning. Sunfire was placed in quarantine, and only interacted with the other members of Alpha Flight during training sessions. After a while, a black, cancerous lump appeared on Sunfire's right thigh. This black lump grew over the next few weeks, until it covered the entire right half of Sunfire's body. At the same time, no progress was being made with Sunfire's condition for which he originally joined Department H. Since the scientists could seemingly do nothing, Sunfire considered moving back to Japan. Even though he was considered a criminal there, Sunfire wanted to be in his native country when he died of his "radiation poisoning". Sunfire went through with this decision when Department H was attacked by the villainous Zodiac, and the head of Department H, General Clarke, was killed.
Big Hero 6
Sunfire hid out in an abandoned ancient monastery, waiting for his death. While he was there, he was found by a young boy called Hiro Takachino, who had a genius-level intellect. Hiro was one of Sunfire's biggest fans, and he had built a scanner to find his hero's energy signature. Hiro was shocked to see the state Sunfire was in. The meeting between Sunfire and Hiro was interrupted when the Silver Samurai and some other super-powered heroes arrived, who wanted to recruit Hiro and Sunfire for their Japanese superhero team. The Japanese government had decided that Sunfire was not a menace, and they wanted their scientists to succeed where Department H had failed. The team was dubbed Big Hero Six in English. After some examinations from the scientists, Sunfire was left in a weakened state, and had to stay in hospital. Meanwhile, the rest of Big Hero Six faced their first enemy- a being called the Everwraith, who thought that Japan had to destroy its weak people in order to become stronger. Sunfire came to aid Big Hero Six, since they couldn't hurt Everwraith, but he was simply used as a weapon by the villain. Everwraith somehow possessed Sunfire and siphoned his powers for himself. The best Sunfire could do to stop him was delaying the drain. Luckily, Hiro found out that Sunfire had been injected with the Zero Fluid (which also gave Jack of Hearts his powers) whilst he was with Department H. The fluid created a bio-kinetic charge in Shiro's body which conflicted with his flame powers. Sunfire released the charge to break free of the Everwraith's hold, and disperse the energies the villain had already gathered.
After the fight with Everwraith, Sunfire returned to Canada, demanding answers from Doctor Huxley as to why he had been lied to about the experiments. Whilst he had been gone, Alpha Flight had found out about his experiments, and Doctor Huxley had fled. Sunfire got angry over this, but before he could do anything about it, he was called back to Japan to help Big Hero Six with an emergency. Alpha Flight accompanied him, wanting to show that they had nothing to do with the experiments. Once the crisis was over, the two superhero teams parted on good terms.
Sunfire remained with Big Hero Six until they got the Zero Fluid out of his body. He was then reassigned to work with the Japanese equivalent of SHIELD, called Yakiba. Sunfire's first assignment with Yakiba involved tracking down a shape shifter who had infiltrated some Japanese secret facilities and murdered some people too. The clues pointed to Mystique, but when Sunfire trashed her apartment at Brooklyn Heights, he found Rogue there. Sunfire mistook Rogue for Mystique in disguise, and the two fought for a while before Sunfire realized his mistake. Together, Rogue and Sunfire proved that Mystique was innocent and that she had been framed by some other shapeshifters. During the fight with the shapeshifters, the shapeshifters didn't attack Sunfire at all for unknown reasons.
These other shape-shifters were actually Skrulls who were working for Apocalypse. Since Sunfire was one of the legendary Twelve, he wasn't to be harmed. The X-Men found out who all the members of the Twelve were, and tried to arrange a meeting for all of them. Whilst Sunfire attempted to convince his superiors to let him attend the meeting, he was attacked by Apocalypse's Horseman Famine. Each member of the Twelve was attacked one by one, and in the end it was discovered that Apocalypse had started the rumour about the Twelve in the first place, to gather them all together so that he could absorb their energies for himself. Along with Storm and Iceman, Sunfire represented one of the forces of nature. The Twelve eventually managed to break free of the power-siphoning device they were strapped to and defeat Apocalypse, and Sunfire returned to Japan following The Twelve crossover.
Several months later, the Yakiba noticed that the mystical city of K'un L'un had appeared in Tokyo, with a barrier separating it from the other buildings in Tokyo. Sunfire was going to work together with some other superheroes ( Captain America, Wolverine, Luke Cage, Psylocke, and Iron Man) when he found out that the reason K'un L'un was there was because of Iron Man. Sunfire didn't want to work with the heroes upon finding out this, and asked them to leave Tokyo. The fact that Iron Fist had been kidnapped and he didn't want K'un L'un in Tokyo didn't matter to Sunfire. The group of heroes ignored Sunfire and stormed K'un L'un, whilst SHIELD agents kept Sunfire and the Yakiba busy. Eventually Captain America was able to convince Sunfire they were all on the same side, and Sunfire joined them in their assault.
A few weeks later, Sunfire was taking some downtime in one of his family's estates, when he was approached by Sabretooth and Wild Child. They gave him a choice: join Weapon X or die. Sunfire angrily lashed out and set Sabretooth's whole body on fire. Wild Child responded by shooting Sunfire, who fell out of the sky. The two mutants left Sunfire, assuming he was dead, but he had somehow survived the fall and the bullets. After his near-death experience, Shiro and the X-Men worked together and he eventually took a position with the X-Corporation in its branch in India to help and rescue mutants in need.
Famine: Horseman of Apocalypse
Recently, Shiro was wounded and lost his legs in a battle with Lady Deathstrike. He then allowed Rogue to absorb his mutant powers in order to defeat Deathstrike. Broken, wounded, and powerless Shiro was taken by Apocalypse and turned into the Horsemen of Apocalypse Famine. He emerged from Apocalypse's temple in a costume similar to the costume he wore in the Age of Apocalypse to fight the X-Men. His legs had been returned to him, as well as a modified version of his previous flame powers. As famine, he could modulate the intensity of his flame in a way that would cause immense feelings of starvation in anyone around him. When Apocalypse's latest plan against humanity was thwarted, he and Gambit (who recently was turned into the Horseman Death) left together.
Both of them joined the new Marauders.
Shiro is approached by Wolverine to join the Uncanny Avengers, Shiro says that he is disgraced and is no longer a super hero. Wolverine then tells him about who he had to kill his son Shiro, in reply, says that he isn't sure. Wolverine then tells him what the Red Skull did to Charles Xavier, this makes Shiro accept.
Shiro is present when rouge kills the Grim Reaper and even helps to fight him. Sunfire joins Captain America on a trip to the Point, to review footage of the apocalypse twins, when the apocalypse twins attack the Point. Shiro wants to stay and fight but Captain America convinces him otherwise, but when Captain Americas escape pod won't open Shiro sacrifices his pod to save Captain America.
As the escape pod's drift away the Twin's ship blasts the Peak in half. Shiro falls to Earth, he destroys a huge chunk of debris that threatens to destroy a city, he meets up with Thor, who also came to destroy the debris. They go to an old Apocolypse base and find a recording that tells them of who Wolverine and X-force killed the child Apocolypse and then later Dark Angel, the twins father.
Shiro joins wolverine in the dispute in the team, alongside Thor and Rouge. He later finds wolverine, after her has been crucified by Daken, he learns about the Scarlet Witch's betrayal and he and rouge go to stop her from calling the mutants to the twins ship, he ultimatley fails in this task, he is last seen in a pod next to wolverine in a cryo-sleep.
Powers and Abilities
Sunfire can biochemically ionize matter and convert it into the super-heated plasma state of matter, generating temperatures of about 1,000,000º Fahrenheit which he most often releases as force blasts from his hands. Sunfire can recharge and enhance his stored power by absorbing both solar and electromagnetic energy. He can also view his surroundings in the infrared spectrum. Sunfire can create super-heated air currents which enable him to fly while leaving a trail of flame behind him. Sunfire also generates an invisible field of psionic energy which protects him from the heat and radiation generated by his own powers, as well as from outside sources. The field also shields him from air friction and the light generated by his plasma, as well as lending a certain level of protection from kinetic impact.
Sunfire is well versed in the martial arts of karate and kendo, as well as the art of bushido, the history and customs of the samurai class.
Age of Apocalypse Earth-295
In the Age of Apocalypse, when Japan was destroyed by Holocaust, Sunfire was one of the few Japanese Heroes (or humans for that matter) left in the country. He was forced to see how Apocalypse killed his relatives while he was being held by Holocaust. After his family was killed, Apocalypse nearly drowned Sunfire in the blood of his people. Surviving, he was captured and sent to Apocalypse's ship where he was experimented on. Under vigilance of the Dark Beast he had his powers pushed to the limit, witch resulted in his skin being burned and him being almost constantly ablaze. Furthermore he was kept as a prisoner by Death on the Ship and was tortured. He was the rescued by Cyclops (actually one of Apocalypse henchmen) who freed him from his torture. During his escape he killed Death and destroyed the ship while Cyclops escaped. He then joined the mutant resistance group the X-Men. In order to contain his powers, Sunfire had to wear a containment suit. He became one of the most trusted members of the X-men and had various missions with the X-men, fighting Apocalypse's forces. Having heard that Holocaust was going to start another culling in Chicago, Rogue brought a team of X-Men to stop him. Sunfire volunteered to come along, despite that it was something of a suicide mission. The mission however succeeded with every member staying alive. Sunfire and his team where present during the final battle against Apocalypse. Apocalypse was killed and the reality known as "The Age of Apocalypse" seemed to vanish, reverting back to the 'main' 616 Marvel Universe. However, later it turned out that the reality had survived. Most recently, AofA Sunfire is seen when the 616 (or main Marvel Universe) versions of X-force came to the Age of Apocalypse reality.
Later on in the Dark Angel saga Sunfire, and the other X-Men of the AoA universe, come through to our universe (616) he helps battle Archangel and his horsemen but he eventually dies saving the earth.
Note: The current costume of the 616 Sunfire seems to have found inspiration from the Age of Apocalypse version of the character.
In the Ultimate Universe, Sunfire is a member of Ultimate Alpha Flight. His mutant powers have been enhanced by the drug Banshee.
In House of M, Sunfire was the emperor of Japan. Under his rule, the country prospered, but still experience poverty, especially among humans. Shiro is one of the masterminds of a project sanctioned by the Japanese branch of SHIELD to mutate humans in his country. When a branch of SHIELD called the Hellions investigated a terrorist attack, they discovered the project and its link to Emperor Sunfire. He lied to the SHIELD operatives and told them that this operation was used to recycle wastes into food.
In Earth X, Sunfire became the ruler of Asia and leader of the superhuman group called Xen. He died from unrevealed causes and his son, Sunfire became Lord Sunfire, ruler of Asia and leader of Xen.
In the Zombieverse, Sunfire is one of the infected heroes of the zombie plague. He is seen by the Silver Surfer, slaughtering humans in Japan, accompanied by his half-brother, the Silver Samurai.
Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends
He appears in the episode Sunfire, in this episode, he and Firestar fell in love amidst their adventures with Firestar's friends Spider-Man and Iceman. His uncle Jin Ju plotted to use Sunfire and Firestar in his plan to hatch his fire monster. Sunfire and the Spider-Friends stopped the fire monster and Sunfire returned to Japan to have his uncle recover in a hospital.
X-Men The Animated Series
Sunfire was one of the mutants handicapped by a device that stops mutants from using their powers. While they are handicapped, Sentinels and other rulers have been enslaving them. When they were freed, they had their turn to fight back against them. In a later episode, he also became a follower to Magneto.
X-Men Legends 2 : Rise Of Apocalypse
Sunfire appeared as a playable character in this video game. He has special dialogue with Living Monolith and Pyro (before the battle with Abyss).