How many Like a Dragon Ishin characters do you recognise? Ishin features a stacked cast, all touting complex histories and problems to solve. And, much like the game’s original Japanese release, this updated remake uses face models of fan-favourite characters from the Yakuza series. In fact, for the 2023 remake, they’ve swapped some of them around, adding new characters from 2020’s Yakuza Like a Dragon and providing players with more reasons to point at the screen excitedly as their beloveds pop up.
But, where the faces may be familiar, their stories are all new. Previously adored characters take on new roles in Like A Dragon Ishin as figures based on actual participants in Japanese history. Yet, depending on who is being adapted to this new setting, you can still see flashes of their trademark charms. So, If you’re looking for the lowdown on whose who in Kyo, this guide will cover all the details you’ll need as you make your way through the Like A Dragon Ishin chapters.
Like a Dragon Ishin characters
The list of Like A Dragon Ishin characters are:
- Sakamoto Ryoma / Saito Hajime
- Takechi Hanpeita
- Yoshida Toyo
- Kondo Isami
- Okita Soji
- Hijikata Toshizo
- Nagakura Shinpachi
- Ito Kashitaro
- Saigo Kichinosuke
- Narasaki Oryo
Sakamoto Ryoma / Saito Hajime
Sakamoto Ryoma is the protagonist of Like a Dragon: Ishin, and, as you likely know already, he shares a face with Yakuza series protagonist Kazuma Kiryu.
Returning to Tosa after spending time away polishing up his sword skills in Edo, Ryoma is faced with a tumultuous political landscape that he’d previously left behind. After a traumatic event pushes him into hiding, Ryoma must take on a new identity, Saito Hajime, to uncover the harsh truths that bubble under Kyo’s surface.
Alongside Ryoma, Takechi Hanpeita was raised by Magistrate Yoshida Toyo, solidifying their bond as brothers. Now many years later, Takechi runs the Tosa Loyalist Party, an organisation that invites lost Goshi (rural samurai) to fight for a new cause. Takechi, unlike his brother Ryoma, is a thoughtful person who doesn’t act rashly.
Clever and calculated, Takechi dreams of a Japan free of the class systems that hold it back, but after some dramatic bloodshed, the rift between the brothers can make their aligned goals seem miles apart. In the remake, Takechi’s face now resembles Keiji Shibisuwa, the antagonist of Yakuza 0.
Ryoma and Takechi’s adopted father and Magistrate in Tosa, Yoshida Toyo first appears as a conservative figurehead. But underneath his political mask, he cares deeply for the region and its subjects. Toyo wishes for his adopted sons to aid in the disruption of the current feudal system and the creation of a newer, fairer Tosa.
A cruel twist of fate, however, plunges his sons into murky waters as they scramble to follow their father’s wishes, each in their own ways. Toyo’s Yakuza series counterpart is Shintaro Kazama.
Kondo Isami is the shadowy leader of the Shinsengumi, a private militia working for the Shogunate. Kondo is often hidden in the shadows but harbours deep knowledge of the political landscape in Kyo, as well as who all of the city’s major players are.
The face of Kondo Isami is none other than Koichi Adachi, one of Ichibans’ allies in Yakuza Like a Dragon.
Immediately recognisable as Goro ‘The Mad Dog of Shimano’ Majima in the Yakuza series, Okita Soji flexes similar violent muscles.
As captain of the First Division of the Shinsengumi, Okita is notorious for his strength and speed and is feared by the people of Kyo – his haori is constantly stained with the blood of his enemies (which could be anyone).
Deputy Chief of the Shinsengumi and a loyal servant of Kondo, Hijikata Toshizo is an enforcer who always keeps his cards close to his chest.
A devoted Shinsengumi member, Hijikata awards Ryoma the role of Third Division Captain, much to the disbelief of the other captains. Hikikata shares a face with Yakuza 3 antagonist Yoshitaka Mine.
Shinsengumi Second Division Captain, Nagakura Shinpachi, runs the entry trials and subsequently fights Ryoma to secure his place in the organisation. Nagakura has a complicated friendship with Okita; the duo are often seen on the same side of arguments despite their differing demeanours.
Nagakura’s mainline Yakuza series counterpart is Taiga Saejima.
Shinsengumi Advisor Ito always likes to be seen as supportive of the Shinsengumi organisation. However, Ito’s ego and want for power inevitably ooze through their stone-faced facade.
Easily manipulated by their own self-importance, other Shisengumi captains poke fun at his self-serious nature. Ito shares a face with another Yakuza 0 antagonist Daisaku Kuze.
As the military commander of the Satsuma Domain, Saigo Kinchinosuke is a firm and feared character in Kyo. Unafraid of fighting with his fists, he initially meets Ryoma in a bathhouse. After a misunderstanding that ends in shared blows, he invites Ryoma for a drink, where Saigo’s softer, more righteous side comes out.
A highly powerful citizen of Kyo, Saigo frequently finds himself searching for the truth and attempting to do what’s best for Japan, from his perspective. Saigo shares a likeness with Yakuza 2’s main antagonist, Ryuji Goda.
Narasaki Oryo is a maid at Teradaya, the inn where Ryoma is staying in Kyo. Oryo frequently disagrees with Ryoma and doesn’t hold back her opinions when given the chance.
While at first, her role may seem obvious, her story is not as simple as meets the eye. As Ryoma wades deeper into the Shinsengumi, Oryo’s interesting past rears its head. Oryo shares a face with Yakuza 0 Club Sunshine hostess Yuki.
That lists some of the major Like a Dragon Ishin characters that you’ll come into contact with during the game’s story. Like any Yakuza game, of course, there are many more interesting folks to encounter across the campaign, as well as a vast range of vendors and quirky sub-story characters to interact with. If you’re looking for more content concerning Like a Dragon Ishin, check out our Like A Dragon Ishin Substories guide to get the low down on how long it takes to make it through, as well as our how to upgrade weapons in Like A Dragon Ishin and Like A Dragon Ishin Virtue guides to give you an edge in gameplay.