This post contains mild spoilers for my Persona game, so if you’re playing in the game and you prefer to learn everything at the table, look away!
Uki is also played by one of my players in my campaign, and she’s still developing. I didn’t design her: I’m just reporting on how her player is developing her and giving some insight into my plans for her.
Sardonic, witty, and more than a little sexy, Uki Uehara is a classic Devil character for the Persona series, particularly taking after Nurse Sayako in Persona 4 (which is not a coincidence). Much like typical Persona Devil characters, she has characteristics of “poor character” and exhibits antisocial tendencies. She is untrustworthy, unpredictable, and always concerned about the bottom-line: herself.
At a young 16 (February 14 is her birthday), she is the same age as most of the team, being a sophomore at Apex High in the spring of 2018. She’s mostly home schooled and largely without friends, at least until fate decided to throw her together with the others the first time they ventured into the metaverse. She is one of the founding members of the Persona Heroic team.
Anime trope alert! Uki doesn’t strictly remember everything about her past, and this is still being revealed to her as time goes on (i.e. the player doesn’t some of this).
Born in a sleepy little town in Japan, Uki’s had an unusual life. Her father was never in the picture, and her nurse mother, Sayako, did her best to raise her alone but was never especially warm to her, nor did she have much time for the child. Saya brought a regular parade of (often much younger) men through their lives when Uki was young, none of whom she formed any sort of attachment to. She had only one friend in her country town, a little girl of comparable age named Nanako, but Says largely forbade Uki to spend any time with her outside of school, and eventually she employed a private tutor for Uki so she never had to leave the house. They lived fairly comfortably, at a higher status than Saya’s nursing income should have allowed.
At some point, when Uki was ten or so, Sayako had a change of heart and decided they had to leave Japan, and she spent the next couple years working with Doctors Without Borders (MSF). Uki has lived in many places in the world–Africa, South America, the Middle East. She never managed to make friends or form lasting attachments before she would have to leave again.
Saya came down with some sort of exotic disease on assignment to Africa, and her condition deteriorated over time until about one year ago, when the mother and daughter pair moved to Seattle. Uki didn’t know why they picked Seattle, but apparently the two were able to get dual citizenship without much trouble, though Saya didn’t work. Uki went through a series of private tutors, most of whom she drove away or charmed until Saya dismissed them. Saya proceeded to drink and have one night stands until she finally collapsed and had to be hospitalized.
Uki was left alone at age 15, without access to wherever Saya was getting money. Ultimately, she transferred to Apex High, a public school. She accidentally ended up hanging out with first Zachary Beathan, then Wayne Iori, bonding over their strange experiences with the metaverse called “Darkest Seattle.” Jimmy Calendar, her tour guide on her first day at Apex, would become one of her friends also, once they rescued him from the metaverse, and she had also forged a mutually snarky relationship with Lisa Matthews.
Uki was drowning in hospital bills, forcing her to work at a sex shop on CapHill until she got fired by her douchebag of a boss. She start wandering the streets, looking for a John, and met Vivienne, the mysterious and flirtatious owner of Cain’s Dive, a piano/karaoke bar on Broadway. Uki has a pseudo-romantic relationship with the 30-ish Vivienne, whose devilish nature reflects her own. (You know how Persona sometimes allows you to pursue age inappropriate relationships? Welp.)
Awakening and Persona
Uki was among the first of the heroes to awaken to her persona, as she was drawn into Darkest Seattle as a result of winning a free comic book alongside Zach and Wayne. In the metaverse, she and Zach confronted a group of shadows and she was overcome with despair and flashed to the darkest moment in her life, in which she was hiding from an angry man looking to assault her, but a woman’s voice from across a great distance asked why she did not give up–why she did not surrender–and whether that strength of will remained within her. Uki insisted that it did, and so did she forge a bond with her persona, Dawn, the Triple Goddess.
Dawn is an iconic comic book figure who has fallen somewhat out of the public eye of late. She represents both death and rebirth, and is surrounded by dark intrigues among gods and mortals. A primal sexual being, she is known for her great beauty and allure but also her great will. Uki made a deal with the devil and wields Dawn’s power in battle, which is primarily based around the Curse element and negative status conditions.
In the metaverse, Uki uses a gunwhip, which upon command straightens into a very long-barreled pistol that packs a massive punch.
Shadow and Challenge
In the universe of Shin Megami Tensei the Devil typically represents the urge to do selfish, impulsive, violent things, and being a slave to one’s own impulses and feelings. A fully developed Devil path, however, typically finds a healthy bond or sense of commitment, and that is what Uki struggles to accomplish.
Uki has not had to face her shadow, but no doubt it will reflect her darker impulses and show itself to be utterly without compassion, feeling, or remorse. The Devil Reversed represents freedom from bondage and addiction–completely breaking free of her bond with her mother. It is the part of her that is grateful her mother is ill, and takes perverse pleasure in watching her slide toward death. It is the part of her that rejoices in causing pain to others and betraying trust put in her.
To combat her shadow, Uki must overcome her natural difficulty forming connections with others. She had a fundamental distrust of those around her, making it hard to see anyone as a real person, let alone a friend. Seeing the other persona users metaphorically naked and vulnerable in the metaverse has shown her, possibly for the first time, that she’s not alone against the world.
Uki recently learned that she has a half-sister, Yumi Kujikawa (Star arcana) of the American branch of the 2K Group. It seems their father is Akira Kujikawa, CEO of American operations, having conceived Uki while in Japan on business with his wife’s nurse, Sayako Uehera. Yumi learned of this recently and reached out to Uki to build a relationship with her, and is also working on Akira to get him to renew the child support payments he discontinued when Sayako went into the hospital–and to pay for her bills as well.
Easter Eggs and References
Uki is, of course, the daughter of Sayako Uehera, the nurse and Devil arcana social link from Persona 4. The sleepy Japanese town in which she grew up was Inaba, the setting of that game, and her childhood friend was Nanako Dojima, the Justice social link and cousin/sister of Yu Narukami, the main character of P4.
The name Kujikawa isn’t a coincidence either: Yumi and Uki are both cousins to Rise Kujikawa, the Lovers character in P4. The 2K Group of which Akira is the American CEO is what the Kirijo Group from Persona 3 has evolved into, having merged with Kujikawa Aerospace in the United States. Akira’s younger counterpart, the CEO of Japanese operations, is Mitsuru Kirijo, the Empress character from Persona 3.