Fumiko Matsuda is Ryo's mother. She was a professional kyūdōka (弓道家), someone who does kyūdō. The family had a long line of kyūdōka that can be traced back to 15th century Japan during a period of intense civil war in Japan. For generations her family taught kyūdō and Fumiko was no exception. Being the only child of her parents, she competed professionally until they died from a sudden car accident. Fumiko was forced to retire from the profession to take over the family business of teaching in their family dojo. She enjoyed it, but missed being on the national stage. When Fumiko was in her thirties, she met a charming young American who called himself Andrew who was looking for directions when he walked into her dojo on accident. They started to talk and they went out to go drinking. They later had a one-night stand. Fumiko was using birth control at the time, and thought it would be okay. The next morning, the American man left. six weeks later she found out she was pregnant, the birth control hadn't worked because she was taking antibiotics at the time of meeting Andrew.
It is very frowned on to be a single, unwed mother in Japan. To make it even worse, the baby was part-foreigner. Fumiko was shunned by the community except for a few people and her loyal students. Fumiko tried to find the father, but she did not even know his last name. Later, Ryo was born. Ryo means "bright", because when she was born the baby appeared to smile so brightly that she was named so. Fumiko decided to try her best to care for the child rather then send her to an orphanage or to be adopted.
Growing up was hard for Ryo. She was not treated very kindly because of her mother and her mixed-race. She was often picked on in school, until she realized that if she made the others laugh they would treat her better. She became the class clown and pulled pranks that were famous among her peers. She grew to be well-liked, but her mother still struggled with the community. The only thing that helped was the dojo.
When she was old enough to stand, Fumiko instructed Ryo in kyūdō. Ryo was not very good at first, she was by no means a natural at archery, but she worked very hard and trained everyday and became a master in it, but showed no interest in competing. After a long time, Ryo became one of the few remaining students at the dojo. Fumiko was spending more time going to school to get a college degree and the community still held bias because of her mixed-race child out of wedlock. The dojo had to be closed down, and the centuries old family bussiness was ended. It was at this time when Ryo was in junior school (at age 11) that Fumiko decided to emigrate to the United States. She had heard stories that it would be easier for Ryo there and with the family business shut down there was nothing left to stay for anyways. When Ryo was 12, they moved to Astoria, Queens, in New York, which is where an old kyūdōka friend lived and offered to help them adjust. The kyūdōka was named Yumiko. She was the grandchild of a half-blood daughter of Boreas, and her bloodline was so thin that she was kept often safe from monsters, but her mother knew of the dangers and had given her daughter lesson and a trained eye. It helped the Yumiko could see through the Mist thanks to her heritage and keen mind.
Ryo began to spend time with her "Aunt" Yumiko, who was like a second mother. Fumiko started to work long hours at an office building and worked to get an American degree, so Ryo was left with Yumiko often. It was very hard for Ryo to adjust to America. It was so different than what she knew, and she struggled greatly in learning English and going to school. Yumiko did her best to help, speaking to her only in English, helping her with homework, and teaching her about the culture and people. Ryo soon became fluent in English, but still spoke with an accent. Yumiko also encouraged Ryo to continue with kyūdō and practiced with her in place of her mother. She understood that Ryo did not want to compete, she just loved the sport. Ryo began to attend an American school and once again became the class clown. She did not have many friends, but had a handful of close ones. Fumiko was still apart of Ryo's life, but she was often so busy and tired that they hardly talked anymore. Ryo still loved her mother, but they grew distant as Ryo became older.
When Ryo was 13 and at Yumiko's house, she was attacked by a hellhound. Ryo was doing her homework while Yumiko was cooking when suddenly the hell hound burst into house through the open back door, which had been propped open to let in air flow. Ryo was very alarmed and yelled for Yumiko. Yumiko dropped her cooking and saw the hell hound. Now, being of half-blood descent, Yumiko was always prepared. She took the decorative naginata (なぎなた), which is a type of traditional broad sword associated with women, off the wall and wielded it against the monster. It had been specially made for her grandmother, a half-blood, with celestial bronze, making it deadly to the beast. Before her grandmother had died, Yumiko had received it as a gift and placed it in a position of honor on her wall. Well practiced with martial art, Yumiko destroyed the beast and turned it to dust. Ryo was terrified at what had happened. Yumiko, who was often sometimes as clueless as Ryo, decided that the beast must have smelled her, and Ryo was only an unintended victim. Ryo must be able to see through the mist, and that is why she saw what happened.
Yumiko calmed Ryo down and explained her theory as well as the situation, about half-bloods and the gods and even the camp that her grandmother had once attended. She assured Ryo that she should be safe, and that it was herself that the monster was after. the hell hound had attacked and been killed so quickly, it was hard to tell who the target was. Ryo began to become more aware of her surroundings, and they both agreed not to tell her mother. It would only trouble her more than moving to a brand new country was already doing to her.
This is when Yumiko decided to train Ryo a little more... carefully. Ryo began to practice in Kyūjutsu (弓術), which is the traditional art of archery and it what the samurai practiced. It is what modern kyūdō is based on. She also began to learn more about the gods. This was her life for a year. When Ryo was 14, her mother passed away suddenly due to an illness. Her mother asked for Ryo to be put into the care of Yumiko, and Yumiko became her guardian. Ryo was so upset by her mother's sudden passing that she could not think of anything else for such a long time. The only way to help her cope was to practice kyūdō., the sport her mother had loved so much. She poured herself into the sport, and became an expert marks-person, better than her mother, better than Yumiko, even. Yumiko tried her best to mentor her during this tough time.
When Ryo was 14, there came a second monster attack. It was another hell hound ("What are the chances?" Yumiko would later exclaim). Yumiko and Ryo were at a local park where they often trained. They were sitting, taking a break when Yumiko saw the beast come to them suddenly. Yumiko was unprepared, only having a small knife in her boot that would kill the monster. The hell hound, instead of jumping on Yumiko, jumped onto Ryo. Ryo had been training for something like this, but it was no match for the real thing. The monster tore a gash across her chest before Yumiko managed to get it off Ryo, who was running out of options. She was desperate, bleeding, and scared. Yumiko was trying to fight off the beast with only a small knife, and was going to die if Ryo didn't do something, anything. She grabbed her yumi and blindly searched for an arrow. Even if it would not do anything, it might annoy the hell hound enough that it would leave Yumiko alone and go after her.
When she drew back the arrow, she did not notice that the tip had changed from a dull silver to glittering bronze. She fired at the hell hound, and was surprised when it it wounded the creature. She drew back another arrow and fired it with deadly accuracy into the hound's head. It turned to dust. Ryo looked down at her bow and realized it had changed. It was no longer synthetic, but made out of bamboo, a more traditional yumi. Her quiver was now an ebira type, one that is strapped to the back and used for combat. The arrows in the quiver that had once been dull metal were now sharp and glittering bronze. Ryo did not know what had happened at first, but Yumiko did. She finally put the pieces together. the hell hound had not meant to attack her, it had meant to attack Ryo. The new arrows and bow and quiver must have been a gift from an otherwise absent godly parent, gifted from a desperate, silent prayer.
Ryo was bleeding badly and now that the excitement was gone, she became woozy from her injury. She collasped from it. Yumiko did not have any nectar or ambrosia. It was too strong to work on her, so she never kept it around. She had to make a choice; hospital or camp? The hospital would help Ryo, but it also might leave her vulnerable to an attack. Camp would protect her, but Ryo might not be alive with enough time to be helped. She decided to take Ryo to camp. She carried Ryo to the car fire-fighter style, chucked in the new bow and arrows and quiver in the back seat, and raced to camp.
Yumiko carried Ryo to camp, where she was put into the infirmary and given nectar and ambrosia. Yumiko was permitted to stay with her young charge since she had the blood of the gods in her, no matter how diluted. She also seemed like she would kill anyone who suggested she leave Ryo's side. Ryo soon became better and had a long talk with Yumiko about what would happen next. Ryo was scared, but she agreed with Yumiko. Camp Half-Blood would have to be her new home. That is when Ryo was claimed as a child of Hermes, sitting in the infirmary with tears streaking down her cheeks.