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- "I can take another name,and build a new life.. But on the inside I'll always have that instinct,no matter how much I hate it. I'm yakuza through and through. Guile only gets you so far in this game Remember that. You won't get another chance.""
- —Kazuma to Aoyama in Yakuza 5
Kazuma Kiryū (桐生一馬) is the main protagonist in the series.
Born in June 17, 1968 (blood type O), Kiryū lost his parents at a young age and was raised in the Sunflower Orphanage where he met Nishiki Akira, who became his best friend, the latter's sister Yuko and Yumi Sawamura. Kazama became a father figure for Kiryū and raised him like his own; fostering close ties. When Kiryū graduated from junior high school, with Kazama's support and guidance, he and Nishiki were introduced into the Dojima Family, Tojo Clan's most powerful subsidiary. Time flows to 1995, and now 27 years old, Kiryū had everything going well for him and rose in the hierarchy, earning the nickname "The Dragon of the Dojima Family" (堂島の龍 doujima no ryu) due to the dragon tattoo on his back. He had planned on starting his own subsidiary group until an event changed his life, where he took the blame for the murder of the Dojima Boss, Sohei Dojima, to protect his best friend, and was imprisoned for ten years. Before his release, he received a letter from Kazama, prompting him to return to the city.
20 years old, he is a working as member of Dojima family as debt collector. One day he was summoned by 3 of his superiors, into Dojima family office with very short notice, being informed that Kiryu murdered one of man who he collected money recently which was news to him.
To reclaim his honor with clan, he has given special task to complete. During this time, Kazama Shintaro, 2nd in command for Dojima Family is in prison for unrelated incident. The Boss Dojima Souhei promised one of these 3 superiors that anyone who can complete this special task will be awarded Kazama's post.
Kiryu could not give Kazama's post to any of these three, therefore he beg to banned from Dojima family and be on the run. While on the run, there was a property management business man named Tachibana approaches him and asks Kiryu to become employee of Tachibana Property Management company.
It appears that Tachibana Management company and Dojima Family is having all-out war for finding out who is the rightful owner of very small land (kara-no-itostubo) which is standing in the way middle of project to development of new building in middle of Kamurocho.
27 years old, Kiryu is just completed his final job as member of Dojima Clan collecting money from Peace Finance Company. In several days, he is to be promoted to have his own small clan, Kiryu Clan which will be working as small division of Kazama Clan. To celebrate his promotion, Nishikiyama Akira, Sawamura Yumi, and bar hostess Reina decided to party at bar Serena.
However, on the following morning, Kiryu was informed Yumi has been kidnapped by Boss Dojima. By the time Kiryu arrived at scene, Nishikiyama was already there. He murdered Boss Dojima and Yumi went into a deep shock. Knowing Nishikiyama's younger sister was in a hospital bed, Kiryu volunteered to take the fall for Nishikiyama, allowing the other two to escape.
10 years later, now 37 years old and after his release in December 2005, Kiryū returned to Kamurocho for answers and was told to search for Yumi. However, what was waiting for him was an unfriendly welcome by Nishikiyama. On top of that, the Tojo clan was also in disarray for losing 10 billion yen, stolen from a safe along with the 3rd Chair-Man of the Tojo Clan, Masa Sera, assassinated.
Kiryu finds himself in the middle of the incident during the funeral of Sera, being accused for attempted murder of Boss Kazama Shintaro. While on the run, a mysterious 9 year old girl named Haruka appears before him during in the wake of the incident. She then comes to rely on him as they searched for her mother, who was also being targeted by Tojo Clan for unknown reasons.
However, there was a glimmer of light welcoming Kiryu. Date Makato, Inspector from Division 4 Kamurocho Police Department has agreed to work together with Kiryu in exchange for the truth behind the incident which happened 10 years ago.
The odd team of former Yakuza, dishonored inspector, and 9 year old girl searches for who or what is behind all of the incident takes place in middle of Kamurocho.
It has been 1 year since, Kiryu became 4th Chairman of Tojo clan, resigned from Tojo Clan on same day, and decided to say farewell to his Yakuza-life to live in peace with Haruka.
Now, 38 years old, when the fifth Chairman of the Tojo Clan, Yukio Terada, is assassinated in December 15, 2006, Kazuma Kiryū wants Sohei Dojima's son Daigo to take the clan's leadership and prevent an upcoming yakuza families war between Tojo Clan (Tokyo Region) and Omi Alliance (Osaka Region) which was Terada's wish.
But the young man called Daigo Dojima does not want such a responsibility. Kiryu convinces Daigo to travel to Osaka, Sotenburi in Kansai Japan. Here he encounters new enemy called Boss Ryuji Goda, also known as Dragon of Kansai who is none other than son of 5th Chairman of Omi Alliance, Jin Goda.
5th Chairman of Omi Alliance also wants avoid unnecessary bloodshed with war and makes preparation for peace treaty. However, Ryuji does not wish peace and neither does majority of member of Omi Alliance, and decides to interrupt the treaty.
During the riot, Sayama Kaoru, Division 4 Female Inspector from Osaka Police Department, known as "Yakuza Huntress" who has been assigned to watch/protect Kiryu from escalating incidence get caught up in incidence.
The former Yakuza and Female Inspector are now working together to prevent the war between two of the biggest yakuza clans, as well as a mysterious Shadow group who seems to be working behind the scenes for some other motivation.
40 years old. Former Tojo Clan chairman. Legendary Yakuza known as Dragon of Dojima for the dragon tattoo on his back. Kiryu and Haruka moved to Okinawa after the feud with the Omi Alliance and runs an orphanage called Asagao by the beautiful beach.
While their lives were at peace, in just matter of few month their orphanage received eviction notice from local Yakuza clan, Ryu-do-Ikka who owns their land. Kiryu has decided to personally confront the local Yakuza on his own to understand meaning of eviction. Despite the local Yakuza's threat, Kiryu's strength was superior even to their strongest Rikiya Shimabururo on streets of Okinawa. In addition, Kiryu has even won he verbal charismatic battle with Boss Nakahara of Ryu-do-Ikka to demand to leave the land alone.
Several days later, Rikiya arrives to Asagao orphanage for request. Rikiya informs his boss Nakahara's adapted daughter Saki has been kidnapped by her biological mother who could be tied to their rival clan, Tamashiro-clan. Rikiya begged for Kiryu's assistance to calm his boss Nakahara down and some how defuse this situation.
After talking with Nakahara who was drunk and filled with sorrow, understanding the situation Kiryu raided into Tamashiro headquarter on his own defeating every member of Tamashiro clan and rescued Saki.
When Kiryu has returned to headquarter of Ryu-do-Ikka after the rescue, Dojima Daigo who is now 6th Chairman of Tojo Clan walks into Ryu-do-Ikka and which surprises both Kiryu and Nakahara. Daigo did acknowledge that it was Tojo-clan's job to research land and productivity of Okinawa for sake of military base expansion and hotel/resort expansion. For this job, Tojo clan did hired local Go-Ji-Dan-Tai (basically temporary group that is not directly connected to Tojo-clan, but just to do a small job) however, he was informed that their method was very severe and he has personally traveled to Okinawa to put stop to it including Ryu-do-Ikka and Tamashiro clan.
Daigo and Nakahara who finally came to his true senses agreed that he will not touch Kiryu's orphanage land for time being, and the peaceful life to Asagao returned.
But 6 months later, another incident takes place. Nakahara was shot by a man who resembles Kiryu's mentor Kazama Shintaro and deed to land was also stolen from Ryu-do-Ikka's office. In Tokyo, Dojima Daigo was shot by man who also resembles Kazama Shintaro according to Kashiwagi who requested his presence back in Kamuro-cho.
How could dead man Kazama Shintaro exist in 2 places, Tokyo and Okinawa almost same time? Where did the deed to the land go? Who is behind all of this incident who is pulling this trick? Is this someone from Tojo clan who is trying to start the process of military base and resort expansion again?
While still running the sunshine orphanage, one day Kiryu and Haruka finds a man who is washed up beach from of their home. The man who had tiger tattoo on his back calling himself Suzuki and after being nursed back to health he request money to send him to Kamuro-cho. Kiryu did suspect this man was escaped convict and and initially, Kiryu resists his request. But after Haruka felt "he is not a bad man", Kiryu sent him with clothes and money to send the man to Kamuro-cho after learning the man's true name is Saejima.
Few days later, another man washes up on the beach. This man was Hamazaki Goh, the man who stabbed Kiryu in stomach with knife one year ago. Despite their terrible history and strong protest from Haruka, Kiryu nurses him back to health. When Hamazaki recovers, he reveals that him and Saejima escaped together from prison (Okiniawa-Dai-San-Keimu-Shikei), and the prison he was staying is strong-hold of all of underworld money laundering and corruption by using all of top criminals as their pawns by making inside deals. In the document that Hamazaki had it with him, there was a transaction of Jingu-Kyoukei to Touto-Bank of 4 years ago, as well as the document also revealed that Ueno Seiwakai was planning on stealing Kamuro-cho-hills project from Tojo Clan and selling all of them to unknown group.
Then Kiryu meets another person in town. Her name is Saejima Yasuko, who was looking for her brother who was transferred in Okinawa. Kiryu suspected something was at work in Tojo clan, and before things gets out of control he decided to leave to Kamuro-cho to figure out what is going on.
44 years old. He has resigned from the orphanage job and now he lives in Fukuoka on his own without Haruka, as a Taxi Driver at Nagase Taxi Company. Kiryu has changed his name to Suzuki Taichi to hide his identify, and he is living with a girl named Mayumi, despite the fact that he is not in a romantic relationship with her.
One day while Kiryu was on the clock, Dojima Daigo approaches Kiryu's taxi and tells him about how Tojo clan will now sign a treaty with a very small clan in Fukuoka calle Yamagasa Clan.There is strong protest from many executive officers of Tojo Clan, due to the fact that Yamagasa clan carries only 500 men, while Tojo clan is over 30000 men. In addition, Tojo Clan has managed to flow in steady financial gain in last several years. After Daigo has given very brief update to Kiryu,
After having a chance encounter with Daigo, Kiryu decides to call it a day. However, he inadvertently ended up ticking off a rival taxi firm, so he must somehow make amends. Afterwards, he heads out on the town with his boss Nakajima, and the events of the night include touching conversations about how Kiryu got hired and brutal violence. The two workmates eventually head to a hostess club, where Nakajima’s attempt to cow two hostile members of the Yamakasa group ends up with Kiryu being dragged into another fight. After the two head their separate ways, Kiryu heads back to his apartment to reflect on the events of the day. Suddenly, an unknown woman enters his apartment, and it’s revealed to be one of the hostesses from the hostess club.
Kiryu's first design (version 1) from the first game lasted till Yakuza 2 and subsequently changed after that. From Yakuza Kenzan onwards, since the game's main characters had their faces modeled after their voice actors, Kiryu was modeled after Kuroda Takaya.
His hair length in Yakuza 3 and thereafter was slightly longer but still retained the pulled-back look. He still wears the familiar light-grey blazer and pants with a maroon shirt. However in Yakuza 5, there are other additions to his wardrobe. One of them, particularly different from his usual attire, is a light-grey jacket with double-breasted pockets and a zip collar, pulled over a dark-grey vest and a white shirt, With matching dark grey pants to complete the attire.
In,Yakuza Zero,his original appearance is black suit and it open coat and half opened button with white shirt and gold necklace on his neck. Change the costume from shopping along with Nishiki,he wear white light suit with summer orange shirt/
In the Yakuza 6 demo and trailer,he wears a blue large winter coat with a white shirt along with grey pants and black boots.
Kiryu's fighting style consist of 4 styles instead of one.
Thug style:This style has a some of kiryu's moves but with a unrefined style to its moves. The attacks are a little slow but very powerful. This style is one of Kiryu's basic styles like Majima's Street fighting style. This styles color has blue heat being the main color of the other playable characters fighting style.
Destroyer style: This moveset consist of using Kiryu's brute strength and use of super heavy weapons with many uses of crowd control tools. This style however is slow but powerful in attacks and impregnable defences. The rush combos can be charged for maximum damage and range. pressing square near weapons can have Kiryu instantly pick them up and attacking with that weapon to deal extra damage and can combo as well. Destroyer style can make heavy weapon's much easier to use as it can be picked up automatically and deal more damage. Taunting in destroyer mode can have Kiryu restore some health at a cost of heat with ability no.12. Dodging with Destroyer style is slow and is not always guaranteed to dodge most attacks. Blocking however is very unique as it has the ability to reduce damage which can be upragede even further with abilities, doesn't flinch or get knocked down, and can gain some heat as well while your getting attacked. This style is similar to Majima's Slugger style. This styles color has yellow heat.
Rush Style: a really fast style with boxing similarities. This style is known for dodging enemies easily and hitting enemies with really fast barrages of combos that could possibly go into stun. This style doesn't have a grab, but instead has a fast kick instead. This style has a counter where you can instantly send an enemy and go right behind them. This style can't pick up weapons but that doesn't mean he can't use weapons from his inventory. Kiryu can sidestep 3 or more times with upgrades. He doesn't block, but instead is replace with a dodging animation that gives invincibility frames. This style is similar to Majima's Break Dance style. This styles color has light purple heat.
Dojima no Ryu: Also known as the dragon of dojima.This style is the secret style for Kiryu, as it must be unlocked by completing the money island story. This style is the refined version of Kiryu's original moveset that has been used throughout the whole Yakuza series. However some moves have changed their attack animation, such as Komaki parry, Komaki parry is replaced with a tripping grab instead. Komaki knockback is replaced with a flying knee, and the Komaki tiger drop replaced with a elbow counter. This style is similar to Majima's Shimano no Kyoken(Mad dog of Shimano). This styles color has a white heat.
Kiryu can't handle weapons very well until he meets master Komaki in the first yakuza.
In the remake version of this game. Kiryu style retains the moves from Yakuza zero.
Kiryu obtains a new heat bar called the "red heat" which gives Kiryu more Heat actions associated with the Red Heat. Red Heat actions also do a Huge amount of damage. Kiryu is also the only character to perform Super Finishers.
Kiryu doesn't have the ability to do Super Finishers in this game. although Kiryu still has his Red Heat, He can't upgrade with a third Red Heat bar. When you begin as him in new game, He will have most of his abilities from Yakuza 3. The rest has to be unlocked with Soul Points. Most the moves he had from Yakuza 3 are removed such as Hell's Floor.
Kiryu's Red Heat is removed but instead replaced with Red Dragon spirit, this ability can make Kiryu invincible as well as automatically knocking back enemy attacks. Kiryu doesn't have to do a parry to do Essence of Dragon king. His Drunken thrust also changed drastically, although the animation did not change. He also gains some new Heat actions as well.
TattooDragon symbolizes power and dominance over all especially when seen holding pearls. 桐生・きりゅう・Kiryu's in particular, is the only one seen holding a pearl up. In which that represents variety of things such as wisdom, power, immortality, prosperity etc. They're known to have a hot temper regardless how they express that. His dragon being a silver/white color suggests that he is a pure person, although in what sense he is "pure" is a matter of debate.
Utabori is the tattoo artist who designed Kiryu's dragon.
The first part of Kiryu's given name is Kazu, which when written 一, means "first born son."
- Since Yakuza 3, his face has been modelled after his voice actor, Takaya Kuroda.