I owe Kiryu an apology

Hey, Gamers. If you’re a long-time reader, you will know that I’ve been playing the Yakuza series for a few years now. I’ve slowly been making my way through them since my partner, Josh, played them all and got me invested in the story. I have planned on writing a post about how Kiryu is a bad father figure for a while, and I’ve briefly talked about my annoyance at his parenting style in my progress reports but until now, I have been fully set on doing a full-on post on his bad parenting.
Well, I’m on Yakuza 5 and I need to apologise for having the thoughts I had.

I have just started Haruka’s section, so this post will contain spoilers for everything before the first time you get to save as Haruka (or at least, the first time I found that I could save, which was her apartment).

All of my anger towards Kiryu has shifted onto Park and after talking to Josh about everything, I’m going to write about it here too because I am filled with pure rage. Now, I know that I should probably wait until I’ve finished the game to write about this. When I was talking to Josh, I actually said I was going to wait until I’m done with the series before ever writing anything about this game because this is like the biggest U-turn I’ve ever encountered and I am completely shocked… but again, I’m filled with pure rage and my rage-fuelled posts have done me well so far (that was sarcasm, they cause me anxiety and I have deleted most of them).

Okay, so we need to talk about why I thought Kiryu was a bad father. We are going to do this in three sections. The first one will be talking about Kiryu’s role as a father figure in Yakuza Kiwami and Yakuza Kiwami 2. Then we are going to talk about him in Yakuza 3 by itself, where he has increased responsibility. Lastly, we are going to talk about Yakuza 4. Yakuza 5 cannot be talked about much because I haven’t finished it and it’s what has changed my mind about this entire thing. While I talk about this, it’s incredibly important to remember that my opinion has changed, this is not the entire post, and I will be talking about why I no longer think Kiryu is a bad father.

So, Yakuza Kiwami (or the original Yakuza game, but I’ve not played that so I’m going to be commenting on Kiwami specifically in case there are any differences), Kiryu meets Haruka. Haruka ends up being the biological daughter of ‘the love of his life’ (by the way, does anyone else find it weird about how little Yumi there is in Yakuza 0?), Yumi, who she had with a politician during a period where Yumi had lost her memory. I know I don’t need to explain the plot of these games, but it’s the basis of Haruka and Kiryu’s relationship so it’s important. Kiryu finds Haruka, who is looking for her mum (who she thinks is her aunt, but- basically, Yumi pretended she had a sister called Mizuki and that Mizuki was Haruka’s mother while she had a relationship with Haruka as Haruka’s aunt, but Yumi was actually her mother and ‘Mizuki’ was Haruka’s made-up aunt to cover Yumi’s identity). She helps Kiryu track Yumi down, Yumi and Haruka’s biological father die and Kiryu decides to take guardianship over Haruka. Haruka’s parents both died in front of her; she also found out that her father was a… very evil person, while her mother died because her father shot Kiryu in the leg and went to shoot Kiryu fatally but Haruka stepped in front of Kiryu (because they had grown a pretty great bond by this point), and Yumi stepped in front of Haruka because Haruka was too young to throw her life away. So, her father killed her mother because her mother protected her and Kiryu. I think Kiryu takes pretty good care of Haruka throughout Yakuza Kiwami (despite Haruka being kidnapped 3 times throughout the game). He clearly cares about her. I think at this point, good intentions were enough and Kiryu clearly had them. I think Kiryu always has good intentions when it comes to Haruka, but it gets to a point where that’s not enough but in Yakuza Kiwami it is. For Yakuza Kiwami 2, it’s assumed that Kiryu has some sort of legal guardianship over Haruka as she lives with him (but he hasn’t adopted her, Josh says it’s a minor plot point in Yakuza 6). She has to go back to Sunflower Orphanage for the plot of Yakuza Kiwami 2, which Kiryu does seem upset about. She gets kidnapped again, which is extra bad because she wasn’t even in the plot at this point. While in Sotenbori, Kiryu is approached by a talent agent for Haruka to become an idol. He gets extra good dad points here, because he asks Haruka what she wants and listens to her, although he does initially try to accept the offer because she’s been kidnapped 4 times by this point, so he feels she’d be better off without him as he wants her to be safe. Haruka doesn’t want to leave Kiryu though, and she doesn’t want to be an idol at this point, so they don’t accept the offer. Haruka is also seen at the end of the game with Date. Haruka is with Date quite a bit in Yakuza Kiwami and Yakuza Kiwami 2, which I think is okay and not Kiryu just leaving her with a random person because… well, it’s Date. I think Date is the one person that Kiryu truly 100% trusts, and it’s clear Haruka likes him too (even though literally half of her kidnappings were under his care). Overall, Kiryu did all right with Haruka early on. As someone who went through a lot of trauma as a kid, I do personally wish he shielded her from what was going on a little better but at least in Yakuza Kiwami (where I think she really should’ve been kept in the dark), it wasn’t really his place to do that. Something I really like is how open and honest he always is with Haruka, even as a small child. He’s honest about who he is and what he does and his intentions, and I think that sets a really good base for their growing father-daughter relationship.

So, now we have to do some real-life research. According to the internet, adoption in Japan is different to adoption in the West. There are two different types: Regular and Special. Regular seems to be much more informal and can be dissolved at any time. It’s not available for foreigners, but that seems to be the only downside. Most of the information I could find was for people from the West wanting to adopt a baby in or from Japan, so it’s not the best research session I’ve ever done. From what I can tell, the Japanese authorities are much more strict with people who are not Japanese adopting kids from Japan. They check everything, from medical history, age and criminal history. I tried to find whether or not Kiryu could legally adopt as an ex-yakuza and as an ex-convict but unfortunately, the only information I found was about people from outside Japan and a clear understanding that the rules are different for Japanese people wanting to adopt. From what I did find, I believe Kiryu might have gone through a regular adoption with all of the kids in the orphanage, but with Haruka being the first one. I also believe this then got dissolved by Park, so that there are no ties between the kids and Kiryu’s past. The thing that seemed important with regular adoptions was the ability to dissolve them, and the fact that it doesn’t cut ties with the kids’ biological family. But yeah, in conclusion to this little digression, I believe Kiryu did adopt Haruka and the other orphanage kids, but via regular adoption rather than special adoption. He would not have qualified for special adoption as the kid has to be under the age of 6 or have been in your care since the age of 6. I’m not too set in stone on this, but I always wondered why it’s never mentioned if he adopted Haruka. I do believe that if he did, Park arranged for it to be dissolved. Let’s move on!

I went on that rant because we’re obviously moving onto Yakuza 3 and Morning Glory Orphanage. Earlier I said that I believe Kiryu’s intentions with Haruka were always good, and I believe that for the other orphans too. However, it is at this point where good intentions begin to be not enough. Haruka got kidnapped 4 times before Yakuza 3. What made him think he can handle more kids? I know he’s cut most ties to the Tojo at this point but… he’s always going to be the Fourth Chairman, he’s always going to be the Dragon of Dojima… like, c’mon. Regardless of that, the building he rents is literally owned by yakuza. He’s already building more ties with the yakuza just by renting that building. I think the thing that started my tirade of Kiryu being a bad dad was how much responsibility little Haruka had placed on her during the plot of Yakuza 3. It just seemed like a lot, like she wasn’t able to be a kid with the other kids, she also had to be a parent. It was emphasised by the substory where the teenager thinks that Haruka is Kiryu’s wife. Like, she has so much responsibility that it feels like she’s a mother to these new kids. I know I might be overthinking this and the amount of responsibility placed on Haruka might be normal in Japan… but give the girl a break, man. She then has to witness her father figure get stabbed as she’s holding his hand. Like- what? I’m sorry, you’re giving this girl more trauma? I know this wasn’t Kiryu’s fault, but he knew it was dangerous and he knew it was too dangerous for Haruka but because he thought he was going to die, he brought her along anyway. Because she clearly needed to witness another parent dying in front of her very eyes.

Okay, moving onto the real meat of this- Yakuza 4. For a moment, I want to take something out of context. Kiryu wanted to go to Tokyo to get closure for Haruka (at least that’s how he puts it across). Haruka asked him not to, said that she doesn’t need closure, she just needs him alive. He goes anyway. I know it’s more complicated than that, but the fact that she literally asked him not to go and he still goes angers me so much that I can feel my blood pressure rise. She is clearly terrified out of her little mind. Even when Hamazaki arrives, by Haruka’s reaction Kiryu should have made him leave immediately. Did you guys see the way she protected those kids? She is clearly traumatised, more so than her biological parents’ death traumatised her, and Kiryu just… helps him. It’s like he completely ignores the well being of Haruka (and even the other kids, to an extent) just to get some closure. It’s so sad. Like, I’m fine with him being selfish and going to do his own thing… but putting Haruka through that is just awful. He also didn’t step in or kick Saejima out during the very uncomfortable scene that pans across the literal child’s body. I feel like I could go on about this all day, but this is no longer what this post is about.

We finally get to why I need to apologise for: Kiryu, you are not a bad dad. Despite all of the evidence I’ve listed, you were manipulated massively and that only worked because you wanted what was best for those kids. If you were a bad father, you would have ignored Park. But you didn’t. Therefore, I am sorry.

Like I said, I am only just on Haruka’s section of Yakuza 5. I am a little glad it’s taken me this long because I’ve recently gotten into K-pop and idol culture so I’m going into it with a bit more understanding of the culture surrounding idols. Park manipulated Kiryu. Now, if it was for Haruka then that would be fine. But it’s not for Haruka, it was completely for herself. It was so she could fulfil her own dream. She messed with the life of Kiryu, Haruka and all of the other kids at Morning Glory just to achieve her own dream. Josh had told me that Kiryu did it because Morning Glory needed the money, but after watching the scene, I don’t agree with that. From what I could gather, Morning Glory needed money for their living expenses and caregiver because Kiryu was no longer there to provide it. When Park threatened Haruka, the only ground she had was her paying for the kids’ futures. If their deal was over, either Haruka or Kiryu could’ve gone straight back to Morning Glory and everything would have been fine. Her threat was her manipulating Haruka like she manipulated her father.

While I’m clearly still angry about Kiryu in Yakuza 4, nothing else feels like it matters because of how awful Park is to both Haruka and Kiryu (and indirectly the other kids at Morning Glory) in Yakuza 5. No one deserves to hear that the kids they worked hard to change their life for aren’t going to be able to achieve their dreams due to your involvement in their lives. That’s awful. No one deserves what Park did to Kiryu and the kids at Morning Glory. I know on the surface, she’s helping Haruka but it’s not enough. What she did is no where near okay, and I despise her on an Oda level.

In conclusion, playing the Yakuza series made me eat my own words again and I needed to talk to you guys about it because I am both upset and shocked. If you liked this post, you might as well follow me since I know I’m probably going to do a post about how I was wrong about Park at some point over the next few months.

That’s it for this post, Gamers! It’s kinda similar to the original post I’ve been meaning to write about Kiryu being a bad dad… in the sense of I still got to explain why I thought that. I feel so guilty. Those kids love him so much, and I always got so mad. If you liked this post, hit the like button and follow for more rage filled gaming content. See you next post, Gamers!


Published by eleanorreeswriting

Hi, I am an autistic gamer in my 20's who loves to share my experiences and thoughts about games, characters and everything about gaming.

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