Xianming Lin (林憲明, Lin Xianming) is a trained assassin formerly employed by the Kakyuu Association. After the events of the Mayor Harada Scandal arc, he turns to freelancing and freeloads off of Zenji Banba. He is a member of the Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens baseball team.
Lin has long, light-brown hair that reaches his lower back and is noted to have neat, androgynous facial features. He is most commonly shown wearing a brown jacket over a white chiffon blouse with a red ribbon, a red skirt, and long black socks.
He initially wears women's clothing to feel closer to his sister Qiaomei, from whom he has been separated for nine years. Women's attire also makes him feel more comfortable about his current circumstances, compared to growing up poor and unclean in the slums of China. At the end of the third light novel, he has his hair cut into a short bob and attempts to wear men's clothes, at which point he realizes he wears women's clothes and maintains long hair simply because he enjoys it.
Though Lin always keeps it covered, on his right upper arm he has a barcode tattoo with a seven-digit management number, left over from his childhood in a boy-weapon training facility. His body is also criss-crossed with scars from the intense training he endured there.
Lin is impartial to social norms such as gender stereotypes, as he has been quoted saying he never understood what was wrong with men wearing skirts if women could wear pants. He generally enjoys wearing makeup and women's attire. He is quite vain and often acknowledges to himself how beautiful he is. He shows a great interest in fashion and romance stories.
At the beginning of the series, he lives frugally in order repay his debt to Zhang, but later Lin begins shopping and spending money more frequently. While he is not an outrageous spender, he has a tendency to go shopping to relieve stress. Because he grew up poor, he is very conscious of how much money he has and has developed a principle to never waste food, even if he does not like it. After his twentieth birthday, he discovers a fondness for beer.
Due to a betrayal by his childhood friend Feilang and the harsh upbringing he had to go through to become a killer, Lin is self-reliant and has difficulty putting his trust in others, even after meeting Banba and his friends. He becomes enraged whenever he is told his not a professional, as he believes that being called a simple murderer negates the sacrifices he made for his family and the hellish years he had to go through in order to become a hitman. He gradually begins opening up throughout the series and develops a liking for baseball and his teammates. He tends to be curt when talking with others and can be harsh and insensitive with the feelings of others, but this seems to stem from his belief of accepting a hard fact at face value rather than sugar-coating reality.
Lin lived his childhood with his mother and younger sister in the slums of China. His father indulged in drinking and gambling, and at some point, he left his family and his remaining debt behind. Lin often had to go out on the streets to find scraps of food to eat.
Men from the human trafficking business approached Lin's mother every day to ask her to sell her children, but she refused. Tired of seeing his sick mother desperately try and support her children without regard for her own well being, Lin decided to sell himself to the human traffickers.
At age nine, he was brought to a facility to be trained as an assassin, filling the empty spot of a recently deceased trainee. He was immediately introduced to his roommate and partner, Feilang, who became his first friend. They helped each other during lessons and training over the next five years, enduring marathons, torture, combat training, and rigorous academic study. Lin and Feilang grew close over that period of time and vowed to work together after they made it out of the facility, giving them both a goal to strive toward. However, the day of their exam, the two were locked into their room and weapons were thrown in through the bars. All of the pairs of boys were told that no one would leave until one of them killed the other. Lin initially attempted to find a way out, when he was attacked from behind by Feilang. In a panic, Lin grabbed the nearest object near him and attacked Feilang with it in return, cutting his eye and stabbing him in the heart. Feilang seemed to have died, and thus Lin was allowed out of the room, where he collapsed and cried from the shock of becoming a murderer. Shortly after, he began his life as a hitman and worked in Taiwan for two years. At sixteen, he was purchased by the Kakyuu Association executive Zhang and came to Japan.
Mayor Harada Scandal ArcEdit
Lin heads to Hakata to assassinate a worker at Club Miroir, Takashi, under orders from the Kakyuu Association. He dresses up more femininely than usual to deceivingly act like Takashi's lover and is let in easily when Takashi's girlfriend answers the door. After he enters, he slits the throat of the woman with a kitchen knife before killing the man. After he finishes his job there, he heads over to the Tenjin district to do window shopping when he receives a call from his boss Zhang, who has another assignment for him. Once he finishes the call, Lin receives the address of his target - a police detective named Takeda - and heads to his apartment to kill him only to discover the man already dead.
Lin directly confronts Zhang at the Kakyuu Association's office, disputing over the pay for his work and attempting to claim he deserved to be paid for the detective's death as his kill. Zhang corrects him and informs him that the detective did not commit suicide but that it was the work of another hitman. Lin is then given Banba's business card and is ordered him to kill him by the next day. Lin refuses and proclaims he is going on strike until he is paid his fair share, deciding to go to Banba's office and kill any other hitmen Zhang sends to spite him. On his way back to his residence, he is bumped into by Yamato. Still fuming from his previous conversation with Zhang, Lin punches the man in the stomach and threatens him. He lets the man go but realizes when he gets home that the man had stolen his wallet.
He heads over to Banba's office, and upon finding the spare key outside the office door, he lets himself inside to find the man in question absent. He lounges on the sofa watching TV, waiting for Banba's return. When Banba comes back home, Lin informs him that he was given the assignment to carry out his assassination before telling him that he is on strike over his dispute with Zhang and tells him he has come to protect him in his place. Banba initially rejects his offer until Lin manages to overpower him and prove himself, making Banba reluctantly have him stay. Before Lin could get too comfortable, Banba coerces Lin to go out and buy him a spicy pollack roe from the store nearby. Although annoyed, Lin does head out and gets the product Banba asked for. On his way back, he encounters a man who calls him by name and proceeds to punch Lin in the gut. Before Lin can retaliate, the assailant begins to turn away. When he questions his motives, the man explains the host he ran into earlier, Yamato, had tasked him to avenge him by giving him a punch to the stomach like Lin did to him. The man introduces himself as the torturer José Martínez and hands him his business card.
Lin arrives back at Banba's place to find him watching a baseball game on the TV. After the game is finished, Banba prepares an instant ramen meal for him and they eat together. Lin later falls asleep on the coach and wakes up to find Banba gone and a hitman sent by Zhang in the apartment. Lin easily beats down the intruder and binds him with spare rope when Banba arrives home. Banba suggests they let the man go, but before they do, Lin gives the hitman the instruction to tell Zhang to pay up. After the man leaves, Banba calls Lin by name, startling him, and asks him about his situation. When Lin tells him he has debt to pay, Banba offers to pay the remaining amount of his debt to answer his questions about Lin himself and the organization he works for. After the questioning, Lin takes his money and leaves the office.
As Lin is heading home, he receives a call from Zhang. He boasts to his former boss that he received the last of the money to pay his debt back but is taken aback when Zhang mentions that he must have not seen the news. He drops the phone call, and when he arrives back home he turns on the TV to see that his sister, Qiaomei, had been found dead in a hotel in Fukuoka. Lin immediately calls Zhang back on the details and is horrified to hear that Qiaomei had been forced into human trafficking despite Lin's request for no one to touch her, and that his mother passed away years ago. Outraged, Lin storms into the Kakyuu Association's headquarters to confront Zhang. He kills five of Zhang's subordinates and comes out of a fight to the death with Ivanov victorious but injured. There is a phone call on Ivanov's cell phone, and Lin decides to pick it up to try and pretend to be the man he just killed and avoid suspicion. He is seen through by Munakata, however, and accidentally gives his location away. Just as Lin is about to make his escape, Banba arrives to help him make it out safely. Once Lin passes out in the car from his injuries and emotional stress, Banba takes him to Saeki to be treated.
Lin wakes up at Banba's office and attempts to leave and go after Zhang but is stopped by Banba, who suggests they work together to devise a plan. Shigematsu arrives to talk about Qiaomei's case and what the police department had found out about the suspect. Enokida arrives shortly afterward and shows them the security footage of the crime scene, proving Saitoh's innocence and that assassins working under the mayor are involved in Qiaomei's murder. Enokida suggests Mayor Harada's son Yusuke to be the culprit given his track record. Hearing that, Lin suggests posing as a woman and getting sold to the mayor's team in order to get close to Yusuke and kill him, requesting Enokida and Banba to help carry out his plan.
Lin gets ready and meets Banba at the square. He gets into the large suitcase Banba brings and is handed over to the mayor's men. He is carried somewhere, and when the case opens he finds himself not at Yusuke's apartment but in the execution room in the Kakyuu Association's offices, surrounded by Zhang and his men. He attempts to contact Banba with the redback spider listening device he was given, but the Niwaka Samurai appears, throwing Banba's head at his feet. After Lin is beaten up by Zhang's lackeys, Zhang orders the Niwaka Samurai to cut off his head, only for the Niwaka Samurai to turn on Zhang and cut down him and his allies. The Niwaka Samurai releases Lin from his bounds, revealing himself to be Banba, to Lin's surprise. Shigematsu arrives at the scene with a police team to clean up the bodies, and the pair gets into Banba's car to head to Yusuke's apartment.
They meet Jiro Tanaka and Saitoh there, and Banba prompts Reiko to make a run for it by calling her on Munakata's phone. Once inside, Lin and Banba are beginning to search the penthouse for Yusuke when the man in question rushes out at them with a gun. However, they are rescued by Saitoh, who incapacitates Yusuke with a baseball and a forceful pitch. Afterward, Lin goes to the warehouse with Banba and Jiro to watch Yusuke confess his crimes. When he hears the admission, Lin goes into a rage and beats up Yusuke, but he is stopped by Banba before he goes too far. Jiro and Martinez ask if Lin will watch the torture take place, but Lin decides he has had enough and walks away, Banba following after him.
The situation leaves Lin with nowhere to go. Banba casually suggests that Lin live with him, and Lin agrees without thinking. He instantly regrets the decision, as Banba's apartment is a mess, and Lin spends the next several months making renovations to make his new home livable.
Niwaka Samurai Impersonator ArcEdit
Banba has pressured Lin into joining his baseball team, the Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens, despite his resistance and lack of knowledge about the game's rules and strategies. When Lin makes several successive mistakes during a practice game, Banba eventually loses his temper, and the two begin to physically fight on the field. Their lack of coordination makes their teammates worry about their prospects in the upcoming tournament. While Lin is starting to take the game seriously enough to apologize for his behavior and shows a much improved offensive, Genzo suggests a punishment game during the final inning to spur the team on, and they collectively give Lin a penalty for his poor performance on defense, resulting in his loss.
Kumiko Izuku visits the Banba Detective Office and asks Banba to look into her husband's activities. Lin recognizes immediately that her husband Tadafumi is having an affair, but he is silenced. When Kumiko leaves, Banba calls in a favor from Yamato, who gets Lin a job as a hostess at Club Eve. Lin uses the alias Rinko, and during his shift, he meets Two-Hand Gun Ricky, who promises to ask for him again. When the Kakyuu Association's president Long Fang Wang and his assistant Li visit the club, Long Fang chooses Lin's company until his favorite hostess is free. Lin is shaken by the proximity to his former bosses, and he eavesdrops on their conversation concerning the Niwaka Samurai while being groped by Long Fang. After the hostess Yuri relieves him, Lin is dismissed for the evening, and gathers the information on Tadafumi that Banba requested of him.
Lin visits Genzo's ramen stall and is given an assignment to protect the yakuza subordinate Yasukuni Shindou. Shindou, stressed and anxious from living on the run, is disappointed in Lin's appearance but holds onto optimism and faith in his own subordinates. When a killer appears on the hotel balcony, Lin dispatches the would-be assassin while ordering Shindou to run. In the parking garage, Lin finds Shindou's body at the feet of the Niwaka Samurai. Lin attempts to attack Banba in frustration but trips and falls. He receives a lecture on paying attention to his surroundings as the two return to Gen-chan. There, he relays information about the killer G.G. being hired to kill the Niwaka Samurai, but Genzo confirms that the famous killer is long retired.
Later, Saitoh is targeted by Nguyen, an assassin from Murder, Inc., and he desperately calls Banba for help. Lin answers the Banba's phone and rushes to Hakata Station to help him. On a train bound for Kokura, Lin protects Saitoh by making use of Banba's advice, and he puts three bullets in Nguyen's chest.
When Banba takes time off to prepare for the annual Yamakasa event, Lin takes on a job as the Niwaka Samurai and fights Shunsuke Saruwatari in the parking garage of Canal City. Saruwatari has the upper hand, but Abe and Yamamoto abduct Lin during their fight. Intending to torture him for information, they answer an online advertisement for a torturer and send details and a picture of Lin to José Martínez. Martínez appears later with a large suitcase, and as Lin fakes noises of agony, Martínez leaves a body doctored to look like Lin and puts Lin inside the suitcase. He tells Abe and Yamamoto that Lin is not the real Niwaka Samurai and releases him when they are out of the pair's sight.
Genzo receives a photo of the corpse that looks like Lin and immediately contacts Banba. Banba leaves the Yamakasa festivities to meet Saruwatari and is visibly relieved on recognizing that the corpse is a forgery. After their fight in the Kakyuu Association's offices, Lin arrives to help Banba, and to cheer him up for missing the Yamakasa event, Lin treats him to ramen.
Shou Wang ArcEdit
Shortly before the start of the third light novel, a college student had gone to a restaurant, and the three male employees there had locked the shop and gang-raped her. Her father approaches Lin for help. Reminded of his sister, Lin accepts the job for 500 yen apiece, and he brutally murders each of the three rapists and retrieves the video they had taken of the assault.
Sayuri visits the Banba Detective Office looking for its owner, and as she and Lin wait for his return, Sayuri fills Lin on a little of their history. She leaves a list of names of Kakyuu Association members, and that evening Lin and Banba drive to the office of Takashi Unoyama, posing as a lawyer and secretary to gain access. Lin efficiently slaughters four of the seven employees working inside. Arriving at the apartment of Byeong-Hee Kim next, several police cars and a crowd are outside. Shigematsu fills them in on Kim's recent murder, and when they hear that a shuriken had been found at the scene, they realize that the Submarine Ninja is targeting the same individuals.
The Tonkotsu Ramens have their weekly practice, and the team decides to teach Lin their signs. As he practices stealing bases, he is constantly reminded of the intense training he was put through in the facility where he was raised, and Banba's advice to trust in his teammates makes him realize that he knows almost nothing about the man he has been living with and trusting in for the past eight months. After Banba roughly awakens him from a nightmare the following day, Lin worries that his senses might be dulling due to living a comfortable life. He realizes that he has no proof that Banba is in fact his ally and not an enemy trying to make him drop his guard, and that it will only be a matter of time before Banba turns against him. Quickly gathering his belongings, Lin leaves Banba a hasty note of thanks and runs away.
After leaving home, Lin has nowhere to go, and he winds up at the internet cafe in Nakasu that Enokida frequents. He runs into the informant there, and Enokida drags him downstairs to a coffee shop and asks him to take on a job, killing a man who has recently murdered two other informants. When Enokida shows him a candid photo of the man, however, Lin recognizes his childhood friend Feilang, the man he has been thinking about often lately, who is supposed to be dead.
Lin takes the time to fill Enokida in on his and Feilang's childhood, and he is unable to process his feelings about learning that the best friend he thought he had killed is still alive. In the meantime, to keep the informant from snitching his location to Banba, Lin has to fill him in on why he ran away from home. Enokida is able to see through Lin's feelings and makes the young killer wonder who he is trying to become and what is truly important to him now.
Lin goes to Gen-chan for dinner, where Shigematsu is glad to see him and asks about the serial stabbings of men named Noriaki Hayashi, a name that uses the same kanji spelling as Lin's. Lin does not recognize either of the victims, but he recognizes the message behind the murders and runs back to the cafe, looking for the informant. Enokida is able to find a connection between the victims and predict who the third victim will be, and Lin rushes to Hakozaki to confront Feilang.
Lin enters the unlocked apartment of Noriaki Hayashi and finds the body of the owner in the entryway. In the living room, Feilang has been waiting for him. Lin is upset by his need to take innocent lives, but his old friend reminds him that this is the life they were trained to live and fills Lin on everything he has endured since their final exam. His story makes Lin's heart hurt, but Feilang is not looking for revenge. Instead, he invites Lin to team up with him like they had once dreamed of. Lin finds this request unfair and turns him down, surprising himself with his proclamation that he is not interested in the money they could make nor the luxurious life they could live. He wants to stay in Fukuoka because of the friends and life he has made for himself. Feilang is upset by his attachments to the city and Lin's refusal to fight him, so Feilang attacks him to try to force his former self out. Lin shoots a window behind Feilang and leaps out, injuring himself as he lands. After finding a place to hide, he places a call to Banba for help.
Just as Banba finds him thirty minutes later, a gunshot rings out, and Banba falls over and begins to bleed out on the pavement. Lin had not noticed the tracking device placed on him, and several Kakyuu Association subordinates surround them, knock Lin out, and take them both to the Kakyuu Group headquarters in Suzaki City. When Lin wakes up, he and Banba are in a jail cell and their injuries have been treated and bandaged. Though he denies it, Lin wants Banba to ask why he ran away. He and Banba begin looking for a way out of the cell, and Feilang enters the room with Suzuki and two Kakyuu subordinates. They toss various weapons into the cell, and Feilang orders the two inside to fight to the death, just as he and Lin had in the past. Lin picks up a weapon and pulls out his knife-gun to fire at Feilang, but Suzuki shoots it out of his hands. Feilang picks up a poison-tipped crossbow and takes aim at Banba as Lin screams for Feilang to shoot him instead, but Banba gives Lin the sign to run when the arrow is fired. As Banba serves the poisoned arrow back to their enemies with a baseball bat, Lin is able to pick up his favored weapon and shoot Feilang. After Feilang is carried from the room, the ceiling begins to fill with poisoned gas, and Banba grabs Lin right before an explosion destroys one of the room's walls.
The pair jump out of the room and meet Genzo in the courtyard. He returns Banba's sword and holds off the few subordinates attracted by the explosion while Banba and Lin pursue Feilang. Banba offers to kill Feilang for him, but Lin needs to settle matters himself. At the worst possible time, the Submarine Ninja shows up in his pursuit of Feilang, and Banba holds him off as Lin runs through the empty manor. He finds a trail of blood going out the back garden gate, where he finds Feilang bleeding out as he stumbles down the street. Lin hesitates at Feilang's familiar, carefree smile, but he reminds himself that he is no longer the boy who has thrown away his heart. With something worth fighting for, he bids Feilang farewell and slices his friend through the heart, feeling the relief of being freed from his past.
After returning home, Lin decides to stop crossdressing, as he feels he no longer needs it to fill the emptiness that his sister's absence left him with. He persuades Jiro to cut his hair into a short bob, but after only three days, he tires of men's dull clothing and returns to wearing skirts. He puts in hair extensions as his hair grows out. A month after the story's end, Lin goes to Bar Babylon, where Jiro outfits him in a women's yukata and styles his hair, and he leaves for a fireworks festival with the rest of the Tonkotsu Nine.
With great effort, Lin drags a depressed Banba out of the apartment to Genzo's ramen stand, where the pair learn of Saitoh's arrest. Lin is quick to write Saitoh off after learning of his crimes, until Genzo assures him of their friend's innocence. He asks Genzo for work and takes first pick of the two jobs the mediator offers.
Lin's job sends him to Saeki's clinic. In the past six months, Saeki has received the corpses of five homeless men from an unknown sender. The corpses have been brutally beaten and stabbed, and their front teeth are missing. Saeki is unnerved at discovering that none of his clients are acquainted with the sender and that a courier has been threatened during their disposal, and he asks Lin to find and kill the culprit. Lin accepts the job but laments at how troublesome tracking down the killer will be, wishing he had taken the other job.
The following day, Lin agrees to meet Enokida at the Banba Detective Office, but Banba arrives home first. As they compare cases, a refined, elderly client enters the office, needing assistance with locating someone. Just as Lin recognizes the young man in Yagi's photo, Enokida arrives. He flees, to be followed by Yagi jumping out of the window in pursuit and Lin and Banba rushing down the stairs after him. Lin is shocked to discover Enokida once had parents, but a phone call from Saeki distracts him from the informant's situation. At Saeki's clinic, the body of Manabu Kuroiwa has recently been dropped off, and Saeki invites Lin to examine it. With clues from the corpse and Kuroiwa's wallet and phone, Lin heads to his apartment, where he attacks an unsuspecting Enokida. Stopping his attack just in time, the two exchange information and begin searching the room. Banba arrives next, retrieving a hidden surveillance camera, and from the footage, Lin identifies Irasawa as his probable killer. He heads to Gen-chan to fill Genzo in on the job while assigning Banba to question the homeless community.
At the ramen stand, Lin asks Genzo to help him identify Irasawa through his method of pulling his victim's teeth. Genzo gives him a list of thirty mediators in Fukuoka and Lin begins calling each one. Coming to a dead end, he decided to check the website Undergroundjobs.com for the killer and discovers a wanted ad for Enokida. Unable to contact Enokida, Lin waits in the detective office for him or Banba to make contact. Saitoh calls him while running from a hitman, but Lin hangs up on him, and he and Banba receive texts from Enokida at the same time.
After receiving Enokida's stolen wallet from Yamato, they find a script written by Enokida inside. Following it, Lin changes into concealing clothing and visits the restaurant where Enokida is waiting. He follows the informant into the bathroom, where the pair exchange clothing and return to each other's seats. When the power suddenly goes out in the restaurant, Lin, who appears to be Enokida, feels himself being grabbed by Irasawa and feigns being drugged. His body is carried out and placed in the trunk of a car, and he is woken later by a strike to the face. Lin allows the former boxer to strike him in the face and torso. Lin collapses on the floor, spitting up blood, and as Irasawa decides to end the match, Lin asks him about his homeless victims and pulled teeth, gaining the confession he needs to confirm his target. He reveals himself as a hitman and stabs Irasawa in the side. The former boxer's fenced-in ring only reminds Lin of his childhood in the facility, and he begins a counter-attack, paying Irasawa back twice the damage he had dealt to Lin. Satisfied with the payback, he severs the boxer's Achilles tendons and lets himself out of the ring. Enokida and Banba arrive at that moment, Banba congratulating him on his impersonation of Enokida, and they bring Irasawa to the avengers' warehouse so that Martínez can gather information from him.
Lin and Banba meet under unusual circumstances. Lin had originally been assigned to assassinate Banba, but to spite his employer, he decided to protect him. Despite these circumstances, Banba is quite welcoming toward Lin and provides Lin with food. The following day, Banba even goes so far as to pay off all of Lin's remaining debt, saving Lin from the Kakyuu Association, offers to assist him in carrying out his revenge, and offers him a place to stay once he has nowhere to go. Over the following months, Lin's trust toward Banba grows, along with a sense of obligation to keep him safe from the Kakyuu Association that is targeting him.
Over the following year, Lin grows much closer to Banba and begins to open up to him and their fellow teammates until a nightmare involving Feilang causes him to reconsider his situation and realize how little he knows about the man he lives with. Afraid of another betrayal, Lin runs away, but his concerns are dispelled by Banba again coming through for him. After Lin kills Feilang and comes to peace with his past, he begins to look toward the future and his relationship with Banba drastically improves, getting along better with him as a friend, teammate, and partner in crime. In many regards, Lin looks up to Banba. He may not express his true feelings out loud, but Lin highly respects Banba's strength and skill and cannot help but admire him. While he believes Banba could survive any danger, he still shows protectiveness concerning him. Due to completely different backgrounds, Lin's views often contrast Banba's, but he comes to understand Banba's points of view. In this regard, Banba acts as a sort of role model and teacher for Lin, directly or indirectly, as Lin constantly gains new perspective and learns from him.
While Lin initially seems to view Genzo as an employer once he becomes a freelance hitman, Genzo notes the changes in Lin caused by Banba's influence and treats him akin to a grandchild. When Lin learns of Genzo's history as the legendary hitman G.G. and sees Genzo in action, he develops a new sense of respect and awe for the old man.
Though Enokida's teasing attitude and the way he appears to know everything, seeing through Lin's lies and walled-up emotions, annoys Lin, he respects Enokida as an incredible hacker and valuable associate. As time goes on they grow closer through working together, their similarities cause them to clash more frequently and grow closer as friends.
- He was born in rural China, but his fake Japanese ID states his nationality as Taiwanese.
- The anime has his birthday listed in November; however, the third volume of the light novels states he recently had a birthday sometime in mid to late July. His birthday was later confirmed by the author to be July 20th.