Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio has made a name for itself by weaving worlds full of memorable characters that players have gotten to know over the course of the company’s long-running Yakuza series. The latest addition to this prolific lineage is Like a Dragon: Gaiden, which acts as a gap filler for famed Yakuza protagonist Kazuma Kiryu, who returns as a playable character for the first time since 2016’s Yakuza 6. There are, of course, plenty more complicated Like a Dragon: Gaiden characters, each with their own motives to contend with, and we’ve rounded up the biggest players below.
Whether you’re playing on PS5, PS4, Xbox, or PC, our guide will get you up to speed for the upcoming Yakuza game, providing an overview of Like a Dragon: Gaiden’s bustling roster. But before we get into it, we have to issue a spoiler warning, as some of our descriptions will cover the events of the Yakuza games prior to Gaiden.
Like A Dragon Gaiden characters list
The Like A Dragon Gaiden characters are:
- Kazuma Kiryu (Joryu)
- Yuki Tsurono
- Kosei Shishido
- Homare Nishitani III
- Kihei Hanawa
- Head Priest
Kazuma Kiryu (Joryu)
Beyond a cameo in 2019’s Yakuza: Like a Dragon, not much is known about Kiryu’s life post-Yakuza 6. Thankfully, Like a Dragon: Gaiden is set to remedy this sequel prequel promises to close the gap between the events of Yakuza 6 and Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, giving us all the details on where he’s been and what he’s been up to.
In Like a Dragon: Gaiden, Kiryu has left his prestige behind, trading his Dragon of Dojima status to complete odd jobs for the Daidoji Family. In the finale of Yakuza 6, Kiryu makes a deal with the Daidoji Family to fake his death to protect his surrogate children, who now reside in Okinawa. Currently, Kiryu goes by Joryu, doing all manner of work for the faction to honor his deal.
Yuki Tsurono belongs to the Watase Family and is a high-ranking Captain. While we don’t know too much about his plans at large, we do know he wants to catch Kiryu in his lie and use him to achieve their own personal goals.
In the second gameplay trailer released by Sega, we see a tense interaction between Kiryu and Tsurono regarding the orphanage Kiryu went into hiding to protect. Tsurono and the Watase Family seem to have it in for Kiryu and will likely be major antagonists in Like a Dragon: Gaiden.
When the Watase family looks for brute force, they call on Kosei Shishido. Adorned with a huge number of battle scars, Shishido can be seen across many of the trailers, pummeling his targets with little to no remorse.
We met Akame first-hand in our Like a Dragon: Gaiden hands-on gameplay demo at Gamescom this year. This mysterious character appears to be a major player introducing Kiryu to a key plot location: The Castle. In this interaction, we get a taste of their all-knowing, all-seeing personality before they let Kiryu free to roam the grown-up playpen.
Akame is based on a reimagined version of Osaka’s famous Dōtonbori district, called Sotenbori, Akame is clued into its crime underworld via her eponymously named private network. Something of a fixer, Akame appears to know all the wrong people, placing her in a precariously powerful position.
Homare Nishitani III
If Ichiban Kasuga’s unique style and flair captured your heart, meet Homare Nishitani III, an important Omi alliance Yakuza. The parallels end there, though, as Nishitani is something of a thrill-seeking wildcard who’s always looking for a chance to prove themselves by violent means.
The Omi Alliance has been a major player throughout almost all the Yakuza games, though this will be our first meeting with this particular member. On the Ryu Ga Gotoku official page, they state that Homare is an extremely influential figure within the group, giving him some leverage to play with as Gaiden’s story unfolds. Between his hunger for a fight and his sway within the Omi Alliance, it’s clear he’ll have a reasonably important role to play in the events of Gaiden.
Kihei Hanawa ranks highly in the Daidoji Family, though what his intentions are for Kiryu long-term remains unknown. Responsible for giving Kiryu his codename – Joryu – Hanawa is also in charge of sending him on all kinds of jobs in service of the faction. He has no love for the former Yakuza with little to no patience for any of his slip-ups.
The Head Priest’s home is Kiryu’s decompression zone, giving him room to meditate and focus on forgetting the family and friends he left behind when he faked his death. In scenes from the announcement trailer, we can see the Priest wants Kiryu to let go of their past. Much like the rest of the Gaiden cast, the Head Priest’s intentions aren’t so clear as they’re associated with the Daidoji Family, so their loyalty would seemingly lay there.
Unlike Kihei Hanawa, Kiryu has a much closer relationship with the Head Preist, even confiding in him on occasion. With Kiryu so isolated in his situation, the Head Preist seems like a lifeline, giving Kiryu a place to speak more freely about what’s troubling him.
Referred to by RGG as a “cog in a cold-hearted and unfeeling organization”, Yoshimura is a ruthless Daidoji loyalist with a taste for violence. Even with Kiryu on his side, he doesn’t seem to appreciate his lack of integrity, confidently ‘expressing contempt’ for the former Yakuza. It seems the ex-Dragon of Dojima can’t catch a break.
Ryu Ga Gotoku has kept things tight-lipped on this mysterious older character, leaving us wondering what kind of role he’ll play. What we do know is he belongs to the Daidoji faction, the same faction Kiryu is working for, and his role in this group is quite senior. As Kiryu’s connection to the world at large is so severed, there’s a big chance the Boss will be someone he meets along the way through his missions for the faction.
There you have it, that’s all the Like a Dragon: Gaiden characters you’ll see along your journey through Kiryu’s past. However, fans of the series will know that almost every Yakuza game features some secret characters that will pop up randomly through the story, so prepare yourself for even more icons making their way into Gaiden’s main story and side missions. For a taste of who plays these characters check out our Like A Dragon Gaiden voice actors, and for all the details on its full release with our guide to the Like a Dragon Gaiden release date and everything we have seen so far.