I just re-read the whole Finder Series story thus far (for the umpteenth time) in the last few days and this is what lead me to a theory: Asami Ryūichi may be a spy or at least working with some government agency.
What do we really know about Asami? He's a business man. He owns clubs and hotels where it's known that yakuza and gangsters make their deals. But have we ever seen Asami make a drug or arms deal? Not once has there been a scene where he's made a drug deal or exchanged illegal merchandise with anyone. In the very first chapter his character was set up by the crooked detective to Akihito saying that on the outside he looks like a legit business man and there is a rumor that he is "an unstoppable drug dealer involved in smuggling." Akihito infers that Asami was in charge of the drug scandal but, that is only an assumption he made by association. Akihito has never once caught Asami red handed with any sort of illicit merchandise.
Who ever said a spy had to be altruistic? Spies kill. They get rid of the competition just like a real crime lord would, they try to break up crime families and syndicates (e.g. Asami's involvement with getting Fei Long to take over Beishe). All Asami has ever owned up to Akihito is that he lives in a dangerous world. Asami's warned Akihito time and time again to keep out of his business, yet he's never said what that business actually is. When I re-read the series with the perspective that Asami is working with some government agency, his flippant attitude about what Akihito thinks of him is incredibly romantic. Asami says at the end of the first chapter, "maybe I won't mind being seen though your viewfinder, after all," invariably daring Akihito, this virtuous treasure of a boy, to discover his true identity.
What draws Asami to Akihito in the first place is that he acts like a little spy, hiding in the shadows, getting close to danger, jumping off buildings, accepting that getting beaten and raped is all part of the job... Maybe he sees something in Akihito, something that he's lost in his many years of being so deep into his persona as a 'bad guy.' Why Akihito? Why him? Time and time again the people around Asami have questioned his fascination with Akihito. Asami saves this kid for no other apparent reason other than he feels like it. Time and time again Asami plays around with Akihito to get him to skedaddle and Akihito never loses his will, something that enraptures Asami to the point that he has to see for himself if his time with Fei Long has caused him to lose his strength and stubbornness. Akihito is one of the most honest and forthright people Asami has come across since God knows when and he's clinging to that scrap of humanity he has left in him by not being able to let Akihito go.
Now, there's this DA guy that knows an awful amount about Asami that he's not divulging. He's told Takaba he's been behind the scenes cleaning up the mess Takaba has made. One of Asami's subordinates, Sudou Shuu, steals his illegal goods and suddenly this guy, Kuroda Shinji, shows up at Asami's home and talks to Asami about how the higher ups are afraid his stolen shipment will be exported to other countries. Why the hell is this guy talking to Asami about this?! Why is it so critical to get this stolen shipment back and for Asami to know about this? Wouldn't this be the perfect way for "the higher ups" to catch Asami with illegal goods? But no, he's directly talking to Asami and involving him to retrieve his own illegal, stolen cargo! Why?! Kuroda says if they cannot retrieve the cargo, they won't be able to prevent it from being shipped to other countries. Why is this so critical? Isn't that what it was meant for in the first place? Wouldn't Asami only be concerned with getting the money back for the goods if that was what the goods were intended for in the first place? This mess can only be interpreted as "a mess" because Asami Ryūichi is involved with the government. His stolen shipment is closely monitored by some government agency and he has to get it back or his mission has failed.
Well, now we have to find out who's shooting up Asami's place and trying to kill him. Seemed pretty covert ops to me. Has Asami now become a liability to the government and he has to be taken care of? I guess we shall find out.
I think how characters are named is important to their personality. You can most likely look up any of your favorite character's kanji and see how it coincides with their nature. Although I've had a few years of Japanese classes, I am definitely not a Japanese Kanji expert by any means. This is what I've learned from looking up the characters. If anyone has more knowledge about how the characters together are interpreted, please send me a line and I can append any research.
Let's look at the meaning of Asami Ryūichi's name,
麻 (Asa) means thread, yarn, or woven cloth made from the hemp fiber.
見 (mi) means to see.
Asami's name could mean, "sees how the threads are woven together".
隆 (Ryū) means noble, prosperous. (This kanji could also be pronounced as "taka", same definition as the kanji in Takaba, see below)
一 (ichi) means one
It's interesting to me that Sensei chose the kanji for noble, prosperous, rather than 龍 (ryuu) "dragon", which I think a more befitting warlord title. She also didn't use the name Ryouichi (良一, 亮一) From 良 (ryou) "good" or 亮 (ryou) "clear" combined with 一 (ichi) "one". As I don't necessarily believe Asami is a character who could be defined as "one who is good" or "one who is clear".
Takaba Akihito (高羽 秋仁) and the kanji meaning is:
高 (Taka) means maximum, the limit, or tall, high, expensive
羽 (ba) means wing, feather, counter for birds or rabbits
秋 (Aki) means autumn
仁 (hito) means humanity, virtue, benevolence, charity, man, kernel
I'm not entirely sure why Sensei used the kanji for autumn in Akihito and not the kanji for "bright",明. There is a Japanese expression I found, 暗送秋波 (an sou aki nami), which means: giving an amorous sidelong look; casting an amorous glance (at); playing up to someone behind the scenes. It's an interesting expression which sort of fits Akihito if indeed Asami is who I think he is.
I could not find raws to see what the Kanji meaning is for Kuroda or Sudou. If anyone can point me to a raw page with their names on it, I could see if their names have any significance.
Like I said, this is just a theory. Asami could very well be the entrepreneur/crime syndicate leader he's rumored to be. Or, he can be grappling with an entirely different identity in the abyss of a ruthless drug lord and arms dealer.