The Faces of Yakuza

Mr. Qoo

With Yakuza Online, the world of Kamurocho is now on your mobile devices. And with it, a lot of new and familiar faces! Each of these characters certainly has their own unique look, but some of them even look like certain famous actors! Which characters are created based on their real-life counterparts?

Kiryu Kazuma (Takaya Kuroda)

YakuzaSource: Yakuza Wiki / Takaya Kuroda’s Twitter

The very face of the Yakuza series himself, Kiryu Kazuma is an ex-Yakuza who just wants to live a quiet life running an orphanage and spending time with his kids. But he always seems to get dragged back into the underworld of the yakuza, where he has to teach the bad guys a lesson! Ever since the first game, Kiryu has been voiced by veteran voice actor Takaya Kuroda and the two even share a face! It’s a rare sighting to see him without his signature hat and shades though!

Fun Fact: You might have heard Kuroda-san from his many other roles, such as Yagyuu Koshinori from Gintama!

Goro Majima (Hidenari Ugaki)

YakuzaSource: Yakuza Wiki / Moegirl

The ongoing rival and ally of Kiryu Kazuma, Goro Majima is a yakuza member from a different clan. He’s best known for being a calm and cool figure willing to help others, but quickly switching to a crazy over the top personality when it comes to fighting his enemies. Majima is voiced by Hidenari Ugaki and while the two look exactly the same, they still share basically the same eyes and the same moustache. 

Fun Fact: There’s a rumor that Ugaki-san was originally chosen to play Majima without the director’s knowledge and was a surprise addition to the cast!

Haruka Sawamura (Rie Kugimiya)

YakuzaSource: Yakuza Wiki / The Movie DB

The adopted daughter of Kiryu Kazuma, Haruka Sawamura is an optimistic young girl who dreams of being an idol. She’s played by Rie Kugimiya, who has played many different idols in anime and games! Both of them look really cute!

Fun Fact: Kugimiya-san is probably best known for her role as Taiga Aisaka in Toradora!, one of the roles that won her the Seiyuu Award!

Futoshi Shimano (Naomi Kusumi)

YakuzaSource: Yakuza Wiki / Moegirl

The Patriarch of the Shimano Family, Futoshi Shimano is a ruthless and violent yakuza who believes in brute force over diplomacy. He is voiced by Naomi Kusumi. They have similar facial features, but the yakuza looks way more grumpy!

Fun Fact: Kusumi-san tends to play characters who are large in figure, such as Shimano here and Dudley from Street Fighter IV!

Daisaku Kuze (Hitoshi Ozawa)

YakuzaSource: Yakuza Wiki / Big Mountain

A junior lieutenant in the Dojima Family, Daisaku Kuze is one heck of a yakuza who never gives up no matter what the odds are. He always keeps on fighting to maintain a code of honor and respect. Kuze is played by and modeled after Hitoshi Ozawa, an actor well known for his roles in 80s yakuza movies! What a perfect fit!

Fun Fact: Despite being a tough looking guy, Ozawa-san is no stranger to silly stunts. He’s taken a punch and even a dropkick from a monkey for laughs!

Homare Nishitani (Keiji Fujiwara)

YakuzaSource: Yakuza Wiki / My Anime List

Intelligent and wild, Homare Nishitani is the Patriarch of the Kijin Clan.  Always chasing after his desires, he doesn’t take no for an answer! Keiji Fujiwara lends his voice and likeness to the role, although he’s probably better known for his more wholesome role as Hiroshi Nohara, Shin-chan’s father in the popular and long running series Crayon Shin-chan!

Fun Fact: Fujiwara-san has appeared in numerous popular video games, animes, and shows, but Japanese audiences might recognise him as the dubbing voice for Robert Downey Jr., including all the popular Marvel movies!

Hiroki Awano (Riki Takeuchi)

YakuzaSource: Yakuza Wiki / Notre Cinema

The Patriarch of the Taihei Association, Hiroki Awano is one of the more laidback lieutenants, especially when compared to Daisaku Kuze. He enjoys the luxuries and riches that come with being a yakuza, but he still likes getting into fights! Awano is modeled after and voiced by Riki Takeuchi, another actor best known for his role in yakuza films.

Fun Fact: Yakuza isn’t the first time Takeuchi-san and Ozawa-san have worked together, as the two of them appeared in Takashi Miike’s 1999 yakuza film Dead or Alive.

Makoto Makimura (Miyuki Sawashiro)

YakuzaSource: Yakuza Wiki / IMDB

A young woman who has lost her eyesight, Makoto Makimura works as a massage therapist in Kamurocho. Due to her mysterious past though, she becomes the target of the local yakuza! She is played by popular seiyuu Miyuki Sawashiro, who has appeared in countless anime and games!

Fun Fact: Sawashiro-san is completely fluent in English and regularly visits the United States. She also enjoys English musicals!

Yuta Usami (Tatsuya Fujiwara)

YakuzaSource: Yakuza Wiki / Wall of Celebrities

A young member of the Hirose Family, Yuta Usami spends his time hanging out in the quiet seaside town of Onomichi alongside his fellow yakuza members. While normally laid back, Usami is quick to jump in and protect his friends and family! He is portrayed by Tatsuya Fujiwara, who had the leading roles in numerous films such as Battle Royale and the live-action Death Note films!

Fun Fact: This isn’t the first time Fujiwara-san has appeared in the Yakuza series, as he voiced Rikiya Shimabukuro in Yakuza 3!

Kiyomi Kasahara (Yoko Maki)

YakuzaSource: Yakuza Wiki / Asia Celebs

Kiyomi Kasahara is a hostess in a small bar in Hiroshima. Known for her warm and friendly personality, she is one of the first locals to befriend Kiryu Kazuma after he arrives in town. Kasahara is modeled after and voiced by Yoko Maki, who is best known for her leading role in the TV series Mondai no Aru Restaurant!

Fun Fact: There is a rumor that Yoko Maki is one of Producer Nagoshi Toshihiro’s favorite actresses! What better way to meet your favorite actress than having them star in your game!

Tsuyoshi Nagumo (Hiroyuki Miyasako)

YakuzaSource: Yakuza Wiki / My Anime List

Captain of the Hirose Family, Tsuyoshi Nagumo looks out after the other members of his small yakuza family. Well more like he bosses them around! Hot-headed and quick to pick fights, Nagumo spends most of his time trying to win the affection of Kiyomi Kasahara. He is played by and designed after Hiroyuki Miyasako, whose best known as the boke, or funny man, in the comedy duo Ameagari Kesshitai!

Fun Fact: According to Writer and Producer Masayoshi Yokoyama, Miyasako-san had difficultly recording his lines with an Onomichi accent. Every line he recorded required an Onomichi expert to coach him through it!

Takumi Someya (Shun Oguri)

YakuzaSource: Yakuza Wiki / Japan Times

A smooth talking and ambitious man, Takumi Someya is the Patriarch of the Someya Family. While he strictly focuses on yakuza business, Someya seems to have a mysterious connection to Kiyomi Kasahara! He is modeled after and voiced by Shun Oguri, who has appeared in numerous films, television shows, and even some anime – you might recognize him though as Gintoki Sakata from the live-action GinTama films!

Fun Fact: Oguri-san said as a child, he wanted to become an actor just so he could meet his favorite actress, Yuki Uchida!

Toru Hirose (Takeshi Kitano)

YakuzaSource: Yakuza Wiki / Variety

The elderly Patriach of the Hirose Family, Toru Hirose is a friendly and relaxed leader. While he’s clever and quick to come up with solutions, Hirose spends his time coming up with quick money making schemes. He is portrayed by the legendary Takeshi Kitano (better known as Beat Takeshi) a man who has been in almost every form of entertainment ever created!

Fun Fact: Kitano-san’s appearance in Yakuza 6, is the second time he has even been involved with a video game. The first time being the infamously difficult 1986 game Takeshi no Chosenjo (The Ultimate Challenge from Beat Takeshi).

Akira Nishikiyama / Ichiban Kasuga (Kazuhiro Nakaya)

YakuzaSource: Yakuza Wiki / Anime Planet / Yakuza Wiki

Last but not least, are two characters played by the same actor! First up is Akira Nishikiyama, the sworn brother and fellow yakuza member to our hero Kiryu Kazuma.  Second is Ichiban Kasuga, an older, street savvy yakuza who is set to appear in both upcoming games Shin Yakuza and Yakuza Online. They are both played by Kazuhiro Nakaya and while neither character are modeled directly after him, Nakaya-san and Nishikiyama do look quite alike!

Fun Fact: Nakaya-san played a more secondary role as Nishikiyama in the original Yakuza, but now he is the lead in the Yakuza Online and Shin Yakuza!


Those are just a few of the faces seen throughout the Yakuza series! You know, the series is also best known for having hostesses starred by real porn stars! Did we miss any of your favorite characters or do you recognize any of the actors and actresses? We look forward to hearing from you!

Writer: Michael Ishibashi

Graphic Designer and Illustrator, gamer addicted to JRPGs and rhythm games, always hanging out with his cats and building up those social links!

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