- This article is about the character in The Legend of Korra. For the non-canon earthbender in "New Recruits", see Hiroshi.
|"These people ... these benders ... They took away your mother, the love of my life. They've ruined the world. But with Amon, we can fix it and build a perfect world, together. We can help people like us everywhere!"|
|— Hiroshi Sato attempting in vain to persuade Asami to join the Equalists.|
Hiroshi Sato was a nonbending industrialist and the founder of Future Industries, whose family lineage extends back to the first Fire Nation colonists. A brilliant inventor, he designed the revolutionary Satomobile, an idea that caused him to become the captain of industry in his era. During a police search of his secret factory, he revealed himself to be an Equalist, creating high-tech weaponry to fight against benders, and later became one of their most recognizable leaders. He was imprisoned for his crimes after the Anti-bending Revolution was put down.
By 174 AG, Hiroshi grew remorseful over his actions and tried to reconcile with his daughter, Asami. When Kuvira threatened Republic City, Hiroshi was momentarily released from prison by Lin Beifong and helped to equip the prototypes of the hummingbird mecha suits with plasma saws. He ultimately sacrificed his life to give Team Avatar the opportunity to take down the enormous mecha suit and its spirit energy cannon by cutting through its platinum armor and giving them an entry.
Early life and career
Hiroshi Sato was born to a poor family from the Dragon Flats borough. A child with big dreams, he worked at a young age shining shoes to help support his family. When he was eighteen, he convinced a wealthy businessman to invest in the idea of mass production of automobiles for the common man. Before long, he was producing Satomobiles in his first "Future Industries" factory. By the time he was twenty-five, the ingenious industrialist had made his first million yuans. Realizing that not everyone in Republic City could afford their own Satomobiles, but needed transportation nonetheless, he created a taxi cab for the less wealthy to get around in the city.
He eventually met Yasuko, whom he married, and they had a daughter named Asami together in 152 AG. However, six years later, his wife was killed by a member of the Agni Kai Triad after they broke in and robbed the Sato estate. This led to his extreme hatred of all benders and convinced him to join Amon's Equalists.
Sponsoring the Fire Ferrets
In 170 AG, Asami brought Mako to Hiroshi's factory, where he explained his humble beginnings and subsequently announced that he would sponsor the Fire Ferrets in the Pro-bending Tournament, provided they sported the Future Industries logo on their uniforms. Hiroshi later attended a gala hosted by Councilman Tarrlok in honor of Avatar Korra at City Hall. There, he saluted Korra, saying that everyone was expecting "great things" from her.
As the Fire Ferrets' sponsor, he and his daughter attended the Pro-bending Tournament final, which, along with the Equalists' ambush, they spectated from a private balcony. After the Equalists attacked the Pro-bending Arena, Hiroshi was asked to come to police headquarters to be questioned about what he witnessed during the attack. When he was finished, Hiroshi was led out by Tenzin and Chief Lin Beifong and was told to come back if he remembered anything else, to which he accepted, demanding that the Equalists pay for their crimes.
While Korra visited his home, she overheard Hiroshi talking on the phone and began to suspect that he was working with the Equalists. Lin and Tenzin interrogated him in his home and communicated to him their suspicion, to which Hiroshi came up with the excuse that it was all a misunderstanding and he was just talking about business and an opportunity to strike the market with a new line of Satomobiles, but at the obvious doubts of the benders, he offered his factories to be investigated. The Metalbending Police Force searched all of his warehouses, but they were unable to find any evidence. After receiving a tip from a worker, which incriminated Hiroshi as a member of the Equalists, responsible for the manufacturing of their weapons in a factory beneath his mansion, Korra, Tenzin, Lin, and some metalbending officers searched the house and found the factory underneath his workshop. However, this was a trap laid by Hiroshi to ambush the benders; he and several Equalists, using mecha tanks, attacked the group and eventually overpowered them. After his victory, he took Chief Beifong's metalbending officers captive and ordered them to be sent to Amon.
When Hiroshi spotted Mako and Bolin trying to save the now unconscious Lin, Tenzin, and Korra, he confronted them with the Lieutenant. When Mako pointed out in dismay that everything he had done for them had been part of a cover, Hiroshi confirmed it and said that the hardest part was watching his daughter "traipse around with a firebending street rat like [Mako]". However, before he could act any further, he was confronted by his daughter, who questioned his actions. He tried to convince her to join the Equalists, stating that his reason for being part of the revolt was to get revenge on all benders due to the death of his beloved wife, who had died at the hands of a firebender. Hiroshi offered Asami an electrified glove and asked her to join him and the other Equalists. However, after telling her father she loved him, Asami used the glove to stun him and the Lieutenant, allowing the benders and herself to escape to safety.
Alongside Amon and the Equalists, Hiroshi later took part in the battle for Republic City, where he observed the operation's progress through a telescope on board an Equalist airship with Amon. He expressed his disgust at the fact that his daughter was fighting alongside benders, to which the Equalist leader replied that Hiroshi would have his daughter back soon.
Once the Equalists had conquered Republic City, Hiroshi was present at a rally of Equalist supporters, giving a speech of how Amon would create a "perfect" world. When the United Forces fleet finally arrived, the Equalists met them with biplanes designed by Hiroshi and destroyed the first wave.
Sometime later, Bolin, Asami, and General Iroh were captured in an attempt to destroy the Equalist airfield. Hiroshi visited his daughter in her prison cell, expressing his hopes that she would still join the Equalists, to which she flatly refused, stating that her mother would hate him for what he had become. Resenting her statement, Hiroshi exclaimed that he was avenging his wife's death. Before the argument could escalate any further, a chi blocker arrived and informed him that the airplanes were ready for takeoff; he responded with an order to annihilate the incoming United Forces fleet. Hiroshi turned to Iroh and revealed that he intercepted the wire sent to Commander Bumi and he knew exactly where his fleet was hiding. However, as soon as he left, Naga and Pabu freed the prisoners.
As Asami hijacked a mecha tank and began destroying the aircraft, Hiroshi confronted his daughter in another mecha tank. He scolded her for helping the people that took her mother away from them, though when she accused him of not feeling love for his wife anymore, he angrily called her an ungrateful and insolent child. Seeing that his daughter would never join him, he viciously attacked her, knocking her tank onto an Equalist biplane. After destroying the faceplate of Asami's mecha tank, Hiroshi prepared to kill her, stating that she was beyond saving, but as the businessman prepared to finish her off, Bolin interfered, throwing large earth projectiles at his tank and calling him a horrible father. Distracted, Hiroshi unwillingly gave his daughter the chance to retaliate, and he was flung back as Asami ripped an arm off his tank. Now defenseless, Hiroshi's tank was ripped open by Asami, though he used her hesitation to fire a grappling hook at her, which she dodged. With his tank out of commission, he attempted to escape on foot, but was electrocuted and subsequently knocked out by an electrically charged bola that Asami had launched at him. Following the revolution, Hiroshi was arrested and thrown in jail, and control of Future Industries was transferred to his daughter. His involvement with the Equalists had also soured the company's reputations, leaving Asami to find ways to avoid bankruptcy.
Reconciling with Asami
In order to reestablish contact with his daughter, Hiroshi began to write her letters and asked her to come visit him in prison. When she did, he was glad to see her again, though grew saddened upon realizing that she had never opened his letters. As Asami moved to leave after ordering him to stop contacting her, he reached out to his daughter, imploring her to listen to what he had to say. As she sat back down, he acknowledged that he had done horrible things for which he could never forgive himself or hope to be forgiven for, as he had destroyed his family and their good name. However, in his life of regret, he stated Asami to be his one achievement that made him smile, as he was proud of his daughter. He was left in sadness when she subsequently ran out on him.
Some time later, Hiroshi was surprised to be led back to the visitor's area and find Asami there waiting for him. He was told that she had initially come to hurt him with her words like he had hurt her, something for which he immediately apologized. When Asami admitted to feeling sadness rather than anger upon seeing him again, considering he had destroyed their past and tainted their future, Hiroshi hopefully added that he wanted to make amends. Although Asami expressed uncertainty at the prospect of forgiving him, she stated that she was willing to try and asked Hiroshi if he would play a game of Pai Sho with her for old time's sake, to which he affectionately agreed.
Atoning for his sins
When Kuvira threatened to overrun Republic City, Hiroshi was temporarily released from prison by Lin Beifong, who took him to the Future Industries tower, where Asami and Varrick were trying to adjust the prototypes of two hummingbird mecha suits. Although Baatar Jr. declared Kuvira's enormous mecha suit to be unstoppable, Hiroshi opposed the statement. Emphasizing that he loved Republic City and would do anything in his power to save her, he told Team Avatar and their allies to act like a virus if they wanted to take down the suit; they needed to focus their efforts to create a tear in the mecha suit's armor so they could attack it from within. To that end, he suggested to equip the hummingbird mecha suits with plasma saws akin to the ones Future Industries used to cut platinum back in the factory. When Asami noted the saws were too large and heavy to be carried by the relatively small hummingbird suits, Hiroshi was confident that he could add an electrical element to the welding torches already on the suits to convert them into plasma saws. With them, he reasoned that they would be able to land on Kuvira's suit and cut a hole in its armor large enough to grant a person access. Hiroshi showed Asami, Varrick, and Zhu Li how to add the electrical element and the foursome set out to vigorously weld and adjust the suits accordingly. As he and Asami conducted a successful test by cutting a piece of plasma, Asami thanked her father for all that he had done, though he instantly returned the compliment, praising her for the design of the hummingbird suits. As he emphasized how wonderful he thought it was to be working again with her, Asami told Hiroshi she loved him, a sentiment he immediately returned. The two subsequently boarded the same mecha suit, with Hiroshi acting like the pilot in charge of the welding torch.
As Asami piloted their hummingbird suit to the right thigh of Kuvira's enormous mecha suit, Hiroshi deployed the magnets on the feet of their suit and started welding. They were quickly forced to abort their attempt, however, lest they would be crushed. After Korra froze the enormous mecha suit with water from a nearby canal, Asami and Hiroshi tried again on the same spot. As Kuvira started to break the ice locking her in, Hiroshi ignored Asami's warning that they needed to leave, noting that he had almost succeeded in cutting a hole. When Kuvira freed one of her suit's arms, Hiroshi realized the few more seconds he needed to cut through were also the ones they needed to avoid being crushed by the enormous metallic hand. Making a conscious decision to keep on welding, he sadly said his goodbyes to Asami and with a final "I love you", he flipped the switch to her ejection seat. While saving Asami's life, Hiroshi died as he finished his welding work when Kuvira crushed his suit.
As a successful business man, Hiroshi developed an arrogant side to himself, always telling new people the story about how he came from humble beginnings. He took great pride in his inventions, always eager to test them out for whatever goal they may have. When first introduced, Hiroshi appeared to be a kind-hearted, generous man with great respect for anyone who showed true dedication in their goals. As such, he was willing to sponsor Mako's pro-bending team, the Fire Ferrets, so they could enter the tournament. Later however, Hiroshi revealed a much darker side to himself that he had been hiding for years. Having lost his beloved wife to a murderous firebender, Hiroshi took his anger out on the concept of bending itself, viewing it as the cause of all problems in the world, especially hating the idea of his only daughter associating with benders.
As noted by Asami, Hiroshi became so consumed by anger and hatred that he no longer cared about family and loved ones anymore, only unleashing his rage wherever he felt justified. This view was proven right as ultimately, Hiroshi turned on his only remaining family to accomplish his goals of revenge. His hatred of bending fueled his ruthlessness and desire to avenge his wife's death on all benders, not just the one who took her life.
While serving his time in prison, Hiroshi reflected on his past and became remorseful of how his actions destroyed his relationship with his daughter and ruined their family name. Acknowledging that he could never forgive himself or hope to be forgiven, he nonetheless hoped to make amends with the daughter he denounced four years prior, writing to her regularly. Despite Asami's resentment, Hiroshi still expressed immense pride in her for all that she has done, citing her as his greatest creation.
While not a bender, Hiroshi Sato proved himself a dangerous man. With his intellect as his greatest attribute, he considerably helped in the development of the world's technology, having created, almost single-handedly, many remarkable inventions like cars and planes, as well as inventing all the Equalists' weapons, such as the mecha tanks and biplanes. He had no difficulty with piloting a biplane. After aligning himself with Amon, Sato focused the majority of his talent toward making various powerful weapons of war, which usually overwhelm benders in their first encounter. Hiroshi also demonstrated himself to be a capable actor and strategist. For over twelve years, he was able to effectively hide his hatred toward benders by using various subtle tactics such as sponsoring a pro-bending team, allowing his daughter to date a bender, and planting Equalist weapons in a building owned by Cabbage Corp, Future Industries' rival company.
- Main article: Hiroshi Sato's relationships
- Hiroshi is a common Japanese male name, though its meaning depends on the particular Kanji used. Sato ( ) is the most common Japanese surname.
- Hiroshi can be compared to Henry Ford, who was the first person to mass-produce cars for the common man in America. However, similar to how Ford was a supporter of the Nazis, Sato was a supporter of the Equalists. Sato also had a large amount of control over his workers, as shown when he used one to lure the benders to his factory, and Ford also had a large amount of control over his laborers.
- Despite some fan misconception, Hiroshi did not invent the automobile in-universe, but was the person to develop it into a viable technology for everyday use. Furthering the parallels, Ford is also frequently mistaken as the inventor of the automobile, but was instead the first person to create a truly viable version of it.
- Hiroshi was modeled after former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, Japanese industrialist Keita Gotō, and Mitsubishi founder Yatarō Iwasaki. His mustache is based on Iwasaki's.
- He shared a name with a character from the non-canonical Avatar: The Last Airbender related comic, New Recruits.
- Hiroshi was similar to the mechanist in many ways. They both served to provide machinery to a series antagonist, albeit for different reasons, and their children resented them for their aiding the enemy. Furthermore, Hiroshi and the mechanist both lost their wives, though Hiroshi's was killed by a firebender, while the mechanist lost his wife to a flood.
- Hiroshi was said to be a horrible father by Asami; this is similar to how Zuko considered his father to be "the worst father in the history of fathers".
- A letter written by Hiroshi after the Equalists' takeover of Republic City can be found on Nick.com. It applauds the success of the attack and encourages citizens to join the Equalists. It also reveals that Amon and Hiroshi are aware that the United Forces are on their way to the city and have prepared something that will "send them running".
- In the Avatar universe, Hiroshi Sato was credited for the invention of the airplane, which was a biplane model.
- Hiroshi Sato was the second father in the Avatar franchise to have ever attempted to kill his child, the first being Ozai. There are many other similarities in each man's relationship with his respective child, as elaborated in Asami and Zuko's trivia sections.
- He bore a close resemblance to Soviet dictator, Joseph Stalin, both in terms of his physical appearance and role as a revolutionary. Stalin was also responsible for the military-industrial boom that occurred in the Soviet Union during his reign; likewise, Hiroshi Sato was a pioneering industrialist in the private sector, but used his innovations to further his cause.
- Hiroshi Sato's role parallels that of Warren Worthington II from Wolverine and The X-Men. Sato and Worthington are both rich businessmen who are bigoted and intolerant to a group of beings with extraordinary abilities, providing financial support to organizations founded to eradicate the existence of the aforementioned individuals. They both end up in conflict with their respective children, who vocally disagree with their radical views. Their actions ultimately cost them what they truly cared about the most—their ties with their children.
- Hiroshi was skilled in a slow, methodical method of Pai Sho and taught his daughter the same strategy.
- During his time in prison, Hiroshi's hair went completely gray and he has grown a beard, giving him a resemblance to Hayao Miyazaki, whose films have influenced the Avatar franchise and of whom Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko are fans.
- He was also the ninth and last person to die on-screen in The Legend of Korra. The others were, in chronological order, Amon, Tarrlok, Wan, Unalaq, Hou-Ting, P'Li, Ming-Hua, and Ghazan.
|Chief Executive Officer of Future Industries|
| Succeeded by|