The Yakuza series is one of the most successful franchises under Sega's belt right now. It's also one of the most beloved in Japan and in the West. It' well-written and engaging plotlines, coupled with its highly entertaining action scenes and gameplay, have led the series to be the massive hit it is today.
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With a series so vast, bombastic, and dramatic, it's no wonder ithas characters with varying personalities. These characters are fun to watch, charismatic, and vital to the Yakuza series as a whole. We'll be bringing you ten of the most iconic Yakuza characters from all games in the series.
Updated by Michael Llewellyn on May 17, 2021: The Yakuza saga is a huge series with so many memorable characters. Each character is distinct in their jobs, occupation, and motivations in Tokyo’s underbelly.Thanks to these memorable characters, the Yakuza series has the ability to draw the player into its dark and wonderfully weird world of storylines. Some characters are recurring, while others have left a lasting mark on the protagonists in a brief time. All are iconic in their own way.
15 Jo Amon
- Member of the Amon Clan
Even though he is considered something of a minor character in the overarching narrative of the Yakuza series, Jo Amon is still one of its most recognizable. He serves as a recurring antagonist of Kiryu’s after he defeatedAmonin battle in the first Yakuza.
Thanks to his trademark shades, black attire, and cold-bloodedness, Amon is an excellent rival for Kiryu and is out to prove he’s a better fighter than the protagonist. He has appeared in every Yakuza game starring Kiryu, from the prequel up to Yakuza 6.
14 Masayoshi Tanimura
- Police Officer in the Community Safety Division
One of the main playable protagonists in Yakuza 4,Masayoshi Tanimura is a police officer in the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department. He’s the youngest protagonist in the series and can have a naive sense of justice.
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Nevertheless, he’s a refreshing change from the anti-heroes in the Yakuza series and has a great fighting style. He followed in his father’s footsteps as a police officer after his father was killed during an investigation.
13 Keiji Shibusawa
- Lieutenant of the Dojima Family
- Patriarch of the Shibusawa Family
- Affiliated with the Tojo Clan
Keiji Shibusawa is one of the three lieutenants of the Dojima Family in Yakuza 0. He only appeared in one game, but his impact on Kiryu lasted throughout the series. Keiji is the son of a disgraced politician and is the brains behind the brawn in Dojima Clan.
His business savvy is only matched by his ruthlessness and complete lack of empathy for others. Keiji is a formidable opponent for Kiryu, and serves as the final boss in Yakuza 0.
12 Daigo Dojima
- Former Member of the Dojima Family
- Sixth Chairman of the Tojo Clan
Daigo Dojima is the son of the infamous Sohei Dojima and a reluctant Chairman for the Tojo Clan. As chairman, he was quite inexperienced and showed it many times; for example, in his negotiations with the Ueno Seiwa clan. Nevertheless, he is a capable man and leader, as well as a good friend to Kiryu.
He's also capable in combat, which players seewhen he singlehandedly dispatches Richardson's men while injured to save Kiryu and Mine. He even shows his physical prowess as a boss fight against Kiryu in Yakuza Kiwami 2. As a child, his days spent with Kiryu taught him a valuable lesson on how money and a powerful name aren't absolute. This has turned him into the respectable leader and man he is today.
11 Kazama Shintarou
- Captain of the Dojima Family
- Patriarch of the Kazama Family
- Proprietor of the Sunflower Orphanage
Kazama Shintarou is quite an important character to the Yakuza series as a whole. In many ways, he started Kiryu's Journey in the Yakuza life. He is Kiryu's father figure, taking him into his orphanage, which eventually leads to Kiryu and Nishikyama becoming Yakuza members.
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He's not a saint, that's for sure. Killing Kiryu's parents is one such exampleof his misdeeds. Yet, he's also done a lot of good, and was a good role model to Kiryu and others in his orphanage.
10 Akira Nishikiyama
- Former member of the Kazama Family
- Former member of the Dojima Family
- Patriarch of the Nishikiyama Family
Nishiki was Kiryu's right-hand man and brother in the Yakuza. After joining at the same time, they've experienced a lot together. Nishikiyama is a passionate person and cares about the people he loves;players see thisin the events of Yakuza 0. Sadly, past experiences and harsh things he's gone through eventually leads him down a path of antagonism towards Kiryu. His past changes him into a colder person and outright villain.
Because of this, he committed a lot of misdeeds, even gunning down Kazama, his father figure in Yakuza Kiwami.However, in his final moments, Nishikiyama regretted his actions. He redeemed himself by sacrificing his life to help Kiryu.
9 Makoto Date
- Detective in the Tokyo police force
- Investigative Journalist
- Information Dealer for The Florist of Sai
With the exception of the prequel Yakuza 0, Makato Date has appeared in every episode of the Kiryu Saga in the Yakuza series. Makato Date is a detective in the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, and an investigative journalist.
He is a loyal ally of Kiryu’s and has been an integral part of the story development in every episode. They became friends after Date proved that Kiryu was not guilty of killing Sohei Dojima, and have remained best friends throughout the game’s main story.
8 Yoshitaka Mine
- Former member of the Nishikiyama Family
- Member of the Hakuho Clan
- Member of the Tojo Clan
- Member of the Black Monday
Mine is Daigo Dojima's right hand man, and has shown adoration and respect for him on countless occasions. Despite his success in life, he has gone through many betrayals, prompting him to join the Yakuza ranks to seek genuine bonds. To get closer to Daigo, he helped the Nishikiyama family rise through the ranks and proved to be quite the capable businessman.
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However,he uses aggressive methods that many disprove of. As the main antagonist in Yakuza 3, he shows distaste towards Kiryudue to his close relationship with Daigo. At the end though, similar to Nishiki, he redeems himself by throwing Richardson off a roof to protect Daigo.
7 Haruka Sawamura
- Kiryu’s adopted daughter
- Former pop idol
- Manager of the Morning Glory Orphanage
Haruka remains an important character right from the first Yakuza game and subsequent remasters. She has appeared throughout all the mainline Yakuza games (besides Yakuza 0). As the child of Yumi Samamura, Kiryu's first love, he made ithis obligation to take care of her.
Harukaeven helpsKiryu start an orphanage in Okinawa.Since appearingin the first game as a child, she's blossomed into a full-grown woman, chasing her dreams in Yakuza 5 and even having a child in Yakuza 6. As a character, she has shown the most development throughout the series.
- The Dragon of Kansai
- Member of the Jingweon Mafia
- Second Patriarch of the Go-Ryu Clan
Goda Ryuji is an infamous rival to Kiryu Kazumain thesecond Yakuza game and in Yakuza Kiwami 2. He is one of the most important characters in the series, as his introduction sets the tone for future installments. Goda is the son of the Osaka rival Yakuza gang, the Omi Alliance. Due to his family affiliations, he has an abrasive personality and thinks highly of himself. Nicknamed the Kansai Dragon, he believes he can be the only dragon andtriesto prove it by eliminating Kiryu.
As a character, he is everything Kiryu isn't, and is almost the polar opposite ofthe main character. His personality and motives leave a strong impression on players, making him worthy of his position on this list.
- Member of the Sasai Family
- Patriarch of the Saejima Family
- Member of the Tojo Clan
Saejima Taigahas a long history in the series. Though he wasonly being introduced in the fourth game as a playable character, his story actually begins twenty years before the first game. As mentioned in Yakuza 0, he is a sworn brother to Goro Majima. After an assassination incidentthat killed 18 people, he is sentenced to death row in prison.
Yet, he hassurprisingly not been killed 25 years later. He eventually escapes and returns to Kamarucho to set things right. He appears in multiple games from then on, as a playable character in Yakuza 5.Akiyama has astrong personality, and seeks to protect his sister and other loved ones whenever he can. As a character, Saejima Taiga is one of the best in the series.
- Owner of Sky Finance
- Owner of Elise
- Former Investment Banker
The first charactergamers get to play after Kiryu, Akiyama leaves quite an impression on fans. As Kamarucho's most generous moneylender, he doesn't care who you are or what you do when asking for a loan, as long as you can prove your worth by accomplishing one of his tests.
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Though it mightnot be the right way to run a business, it shows what kind of person he is, as it reflects his past. It also helps that he’s charismatic and enjoyable to play as.Akiyama is also a playable character in Yakuza 5 and even appears in Yakuza 6.
- Former Captain of the Shimano Family
- Former Vice-Chairman of the Tojo Clan
- Chief Advisor of Sixth Chairman of Tojo Clan
- Patriarch of the Majima Family
The mad dog of Shimano himself, Majima is by far the fan-favorite character of the series, mostly due to how ridiculous he is compared to other gritty and serious characters in games. Similar to Saejima, he's had a long history in the Yakuza. After the assassination incident, he is banished from the Shimano family.
Majimais tasked to manage a cabaret club to provide funds to let him back into the gang. While doing so,players get to seethe story of how he became the Mad Dog of Shimano. Asthe name suggests, he can be erratic at times, beating up anyone for any reason he chooses. Despite this, he is still a capable person with a good heart and a good friend to Kiryu.He alsopossesses the intelligence to lead businesses, including his own.
2 Ichiban Kasuga
- Former member of the Arakawa Family
- Formerly affiliated with the Tojo Clan
- President of Ichiban Confectioneries
- Leader of the Kasuga Party
As the brand new protagonist for the Yakuza series starting with the seventh entry Yakuza: Like a Dragon, Ichiban has already become a fan favorite. He’s a more light-hearted protagonist than Kiryu, determined to fight for justice and become the hero since leaving prison.
Ichiban is an inspirational and charismatic lead that draws people to him, building up a lot of loyal allies as a result. However, his loyalty to others can be his fatal flaw, since it put him in prison afterhe tookthe blame for a murder he did not commit. Ichiban has a big future ahead of him, with a brand new saga being built around his story.
1 Kiryu Kazuma
- The Dragon of Dojima
- Former Chairman of the Kiryu Clan
- Former Fourth Chairman of the Tojo Clan
- Former Lieutenant Advisor of the Dojima Clan
- Former Manager of Four Shine
- Chairman of the Sunshine Orphanage
Who wouldn't expect him to be number one on this list? The face of the franchise, The Big Daddy himself, The Fourth Chairman of the Tojo Clan, The Dragon of Dojima, Kiryu Kazuma. It would be useless explaining his past since the games have been through it so many times. He is the most iconic character not only because he's the protagonist, but also the coolest guy ever.
Even as a Yakuza, he has a strict moral code. He seeks to protect his loved ones and help anyone he can, and he can do this all thanks to his superior physical prowess. Kiryu is not a personto cross,unlesshis enemies want to come across an unstoppable force and an immovable object at the same time.
NEXT:Yakuza 0: 10 Funniest Substories, Ranked
The mad dog of Shimano himself, Majima is by far the fan-favorite character of the series, mostly due to how ridiculous he is compared to other gritty and serious characters in games. Similar to Saejima, he's had a long history in the Yakuza. After the assassination incident, he is banished from the Shimano family.Who is the most popular character in Yakuza? ›
The mad dog of Shimano himself, Majima is by far the fan-favorite character of the series, mostly due to how ridiculous he is compared to other gritty and serious characters in games. Similar to Saejima, he's had a long history in the Yakuza. After the assassination incident, he is banished from the Shimano family.Who is the strongest Yakuza character? ›
1. Kazuma Kiryu. Kazuma Kiryu, nicknamed the Dragon of Dojima, is the single most legendary and accomplished character in the Yakuza universe.Is Daigo Dojima a villain? ›
He briefly became an antagonist and was the final boss for Kiryu in Yakuza 4.What is Kiryu's catchphrase? ›
In Fact, I'd Rather Get Shot" — Kazuma Kiryu.Who is better majima or Kiryu? ›
Goro Majima utilizes distinctly different fighting styles than Kiryu, such as his masterful ability to wield melee weapons. Alongside this, Goro is known for being a combat savant, utilizing his speed and nimbleness to defeat his foes. While Kiryu strikes hard, Majima strikes swiftly and accurately.Who is the most feared Yakuza? ›
Kenichi Shinoda (篠田 建市, Shinoda Ken'ichi, born January 25, 1942), also known as Shinobu Tsukasa (司 忍, Tsukasa Shinobu), is a Japanese Yakuza, the sixth and current kumicho (supreme kingpin, or chairman) of the Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan's largest yakuza organization.Who is the most legendary Yakuza? ›
Shimizu Jirocho (1820–1893) is Japan's most famous yakuza and folk hero. Shimizu's was born Chogoro Yamamoto but changed his name when adopted, a common japanese practice. His life and exploits were featured in sixteen films between 1911 and 1940.Which Yakuza is the hardest to 100%? ›
Yakuza: Every Game Ranked By Hours To Completion
- 1 Yakuza 0—Completionist: 140+ hours.
- 2 Yakuza 5—Completionist: 120 hours. ...
- 3 Yakuza 3—Completionist: 107 hours. ...
Goro Majima (真島 吾朗, Majima Gorō) is the deuteragonist of the Yakuza video game series. He is one of the two protagonists of Yakuza 0 (along with Kazuma Kiryu), a major antagonist in Yakuza and its remake Yakuza Kiwami and a major supporting character for the rest of the series.
Type of Villain
He is a playable protagonist in Yakuza 0, a major antagonist in its sequel Yakuza and its remake Yakuza Kiwami, the main protagonist of the Majima Saga in Yakuza Kiwami 2, and a recurring supporting anti-heroic protagonist for the rest of the series.
Kiryu is a famous member of the Tojo clan, who earned the nickname of "the Dragon of Dojima". Early in the first game he was planning on starting his own subsidiary group until he takes the blame for the murder of his boss, Sohei Dojima, to protect his best friend, Akira Nishikiyama, and is imprisoned for ten years.Who is Kiryu's equal? ›
While in Osaka, Kiryu meets his Kansai equivalent and new rival, Ryuji Goda, the son of the head of the Omi Family, Jin Goda. Though enemies, Ryuji seems to hold a genuine respect for Kiryu and holds him in regard as his equal, hence necessary to vanquish Kiryu for there's only room for one Dragon in Japan.What does Kiryu call Majima? ›
While Kiryu respectfully refers to Majima as "Majima-san" (or "Majima-no-niisan", due to their diference in ranks in the Tojo Clan), Majima treats the former way more casually and always calls him "Kiryu-chan".What is Kiryu's strongest style? ›
Kiryu's main fighting style, the Dragon Of Dojima style is used in every game. It wasn't Kiry's first style he fought with, but it's the first style he crafted entirely on his own. While it borrows some aspects of Brawler in the Dragon Engine games, it's still Kiryu's own.Can you date Eri in Yakuza? ›
Once you have reached Rank 1 in the business minigame and have maxed out your Kindness stat, you will be able to begin a romantic relationship with Eri by speaking to her at the Survive Bar. This counts as an intimate relationship for Kasuga towards Playing With Fire.Who is the secret character in Yakuza? ›
To unlock Eri in Yakuza: Like A Dragon you'll first need to reach the tail end of Chapter 5. During the story you'll bump into her outside of Otohime Land and it'll turn out that she's your way into the business management minigame. And don't worry about missing out on meeting her as it's totally unskippable.Who killed Sagawa? ›
Issei Sagawa died due to complications of pneumonia at a hospital in Tokyo, on 24 November 2022, at the age of 73.Who does Majima marry Yakuza? ›
After the resolution of the Empty Lot Dispute and his return to Kamurocho, Majima befriends Naoki Katsuya, an action film actor at the time, and marries Mirei Park, who is an aspiring idol at the time.Why Majima is obsessed with Kiryu? ›
Goro Majima first appears in the original Yakuza game as a supporting character, head of the Majima Family and a lieutenant of Futoshi Shimano. Nicknamed "The Mad Dog of Shimano" (嶋野の狂犬, Shimano no kyōken), he takes an interest in protagonist Kazuma Kiryu because Kiryu refuses to fight him when provoked.
For fighting Kiryu, the team should be built up of Ichiban Kasuga, Joon-Gi Han, Saeko Mukouda, and Eri Kamataki. Kasuga, the main character of the game, should play the role of Hero and focus on his Brave Command and Brave Love abilities.Who is the biggest yakuza now? ›
Four largest syndicates
The Yamaguchi-gumi is the largest yakuza family, with about 8,200 members. The Sumiyoshi-kai is the second-largest yakuza family, with 4,200 members. Sumiyoshi-kai is a confederation of smaller yakuza groups. Its current head (会長 oyabun) is Isao Seki.
But since many of Yakuza-clans have fronts as companies, it is highly probable that there are some type of presence in the US. They do (or did) have a financial presence in the US as the US Department of Treasury initiated sanction in 2015, for example.What was the bloodiest yakuza war? ›
On January 26, 1985, Yamamoto sent a team of hitmen to Takenaka's girlfriend's home in Suita. While waiting for an elevator, Takenaka, underboss Katsumasa Nakayama, and one other member of the family were shot dead, sparking a bloody nationwide conflict that came to be known as the Yama–Ichi War.Who is the leader of all Yakuza? ›
The leader of any gang or conglomerate of yakuza is known as the oyabun (“boss”; literally “parent status”), and the followers are known as kobun (“protégés,” or “apprentices”; literally “child status”).Who are the biggest Yakuza leaders? ›
- YAKUZA GROUPS.
- Designated Boryokudan.
- Yamaguchi-gumi's Annus Horribilis.
- U.S. Freezes U.S. Assets of Yamaguchi-gumi Leaders.
- Yakuza in Tokyo.
- Yoshio Kodama, Legendary Postwar Yakuza Godfather.
Yakuza/Yakuza Kiwami: 1995
In rage, Nishikiyama shoots and kills Dojima. Kiryu takes the blame for Nishikiyama and becomes known as a patriarch-killer in his stead. The room where Dojima was murdered becomes a hideout for Dojima loyalists.
Yakuza 6: The Song of Life
Most Yakuza fans agree that Yakuza 6 had one of the saddest stories in the series. The Song of Life is far more depressing than any other game in the series because it's the last entry with the beloved Kazuma Kiryu as the protagonist and the tragic tales of many in-game characters.
Yakuza 0. Not only is Yakuza 0 the best Yakuza game, it's the one you should start with.What's the best Yakuza to start with? ›
First off, if you want to explore the mainline games — that is, Yakuza 0 through 6 for Kiryu's story — then Yakuza 0 is a great place to start. Not only is it one of the best, most beloved titles in the franchise, it's also the first mainline game chronologically.
Majima is not a virgin, though. Kiriyu is well outside the realm of realistic.Why is Majima so loved? ›
Sega cited that it seemed that Majima's popularity was due to him acting as a comic relief character who added some much-loved humor to the series. Regardless of the reason why he was voted top, Majima is the king of the Yakuza cast.Who is Majima secret boss? ›
So Amon is the secret boss for Kazuma Kiryu and is unlocked once you complete all side missions and are in the final chapter of the main campaign. Jo Amon is the boss for Goro Majima and is also unlocked once you complete all side missions for this character. However, you have to be in Stonebori for it to take effect.Why does Majima pretend to be insane? ›
After being used as a tool for so long, Majima decides he doesn't want to fall into the same game again and decides living life as mad as he can is the best way for that.Who does Majima love? ›
Obviously Majima loved Makoto, but did she feel the same way? There was that "he's a keeper" scene when they were getting takoyaki showing that she had affection for him. But does that affection come more from a point of gratitude or tending towards romance?What turned Majima crazy? ›
In the end, its the constant manipulation and disregard to his personal autonomy that made him decide to go from depressed apathy to unchecked mania.Who trained Kiryu? ›
In Yakuza 0, he uses the pseudonym Sometaro Komeki (米木 染太郎, Komeki Sometarō). He is a legendary martial arts master and former homeless man who teaches fighting techniques to Kazuma Kiryu in his dojo.Is the Tojo Clan gone? ›
In 2017, the newly-elected governor of Tokyo, Ryo Aoki, enacted the Kamurocho 3K Plan to weaken and eventually eliminate the Tojo Clan.How old is Kiryu in 0? ›
At the time of Yakuza 0, Kiryu is 20 years old and is working as a debt collector for the Dojima Family. The main plot of the game is triggered by the murder of a man in the Empty Lot.Who is the main character of Yakuza? ›
Kazuma Kiryu (Japanese: 桐生 一馬, Hepburn: Kiryū Kazuma) is a fictional character and the protagonist of Sega's action-adventure beat 'em up Japanese role-playing game series Yakuza.
Nick Ogata (ニック・尾形, Nikku Ogata?) is a supporting character in Yakuza: Like a Dragon. He is a successful entrepreneur.Who is the main character in every Yakuza game? ›
Though Kiryu is the primary main character, beginning with Yakuza 4, more playable protagonists are introduced, including Shun Akiyama (Yakuza 4, 5, Dead Souls), Taiga Saejima (Yakuza 4 & 5), Masayoshi Tanimura (Yakuza 4), Goro Majima (Yakuza 0, Dead Souls), Ryuji Goda (Yakuza: Dead Souls), and Tatsuo Shinada (Yakuza 5 ...Is Majima popular? ›
That's why it's kind of amazing that Yakuza series producer and director Hiroyuki Sakamoto didn't actually realise that fan-favorite character Goro Majima is actually extremely popular with the ladies over in Japan.Is there a Yakuza girl? ›
The Yakuza is populated almost entirely by men and the very few women who are acknowledged are the wives of bosses, who are referred to by the title ane-san (姐さん, older sister).Who is god of Yakuza? ›
There are two main branches of the Yakuza:
In addition to Amaterasu and the Emperor, they worship the god, Shinnō.
The Yamaguchi-gumi is the largest yakuza family, with about 8,200 members. The Sumiyoshi-kai is the second-largest yakuza family, with 4,200 members. Sumiyoshi-kai is a confederation of smaller yakuza groups. Its current head (会長 oyabun) is Isao Seki.Who stole the $10 billion Yakuza? ›
It is then revealed that Kazama, Yumi and Sera robbed the ten billion yen so that Jingu wouldn't use it to bribe the clan.Who is the strongest boss in Yakuza? ›
- 2 Like A Dragon: Ishin: Takechi Hanpeita.
- 3 Yakuza: Like A Dragon: Ryo Aoki And Masato Arakawa. ...
- 4 Yakuza 5: Masato Aizawa. ...
- 5 Yakuza 4: Seishiro Munakata. ...
- 6 Yakuza 2/Yakuza Kiwami 2: Ryuji Goda. ...
- 7 Yakuza/Yakuza Kiwami: Akira Nishikiyama. ...
- 8 Yakuza 0: Keiji Shibusawa. ...
Futoshi Shimano (嶋野 太, Shimano Futoshi) [a] is a character featured in Yakuza 0 and Yakuza/Yakuza Kiwami, with flashback appearances in Yakuza 2/Yakuza Kiwami 2.Who is Majima's love interest? ›
After the resolution of the Empty Lot Dispute and his return to Kamurocho, Majima befriends Naoki Katsuya, an action film actor at the time, and marries Mirei Park, who is an aspiring idol at the time.
Mirei Park | Yakuza Wiki | Fandom.