Hey, Gamers! This is yet another post I am a worried about as it doesn’t have a great conclusion so I want to remind everyone that this is my blog that I have to share my thoughts and experiences. I am not a gaming journalist, I am just someone who likes writing and loves games. I am currently playing through the Yakuza series (of course, with heavy influence from my partner who adores the series) and there’s a few things off about one particular character… so, let’s get onto talking about why Shintaro Kazama ruined everything…
So, while playing Yakuza 0, it’s evident that Kiryu would die for this man. This is when things started to feel a little off to me. I wanted to like – love, even – Kazama, but I couldn’t. Kiryu threw his life away for the reputation of a man that he barely knew. Kazama ran that orphanage for the children of the people he murdered, becoming a father figure to them. These children felt indebted to the man that murdered their parents. Was that always his plan? To have a group of kids – who would obviously grow to be adults – respect and trust him so much that they would do anything to help him? I’d argue that the answer is yes.
Let’s talk about something that Kazama truly ruined for Kiryu: Nishiki. Kiryu and Nishiki were always lumped together, and they had strong bonds with each other and Kazama. Despite this, Nishiki would not be willing to throw everything away for Kazama like Kiryu would (and did). Therefore, Kazama clearly favourited Kiryu, leading to Nishiki becoming weak and insecure as he did not have the support system that he once had. This is especially evident when Kiryu goes into jail for the murder of Dojima, as Kiryu was the only one Nishiki had. He was meant to have Kazama, but Kazama didn’t care about the boy that wouldn’t throw his life away for him. Kazama ‘gave’ Nishiki a family of insubordinate Yakuza, knowing that these men had no respect for Nishiki. He knew that without Kiryu, Nishiki was weak. Of course, he would be when his only support system wasn’t around. Kiryu always had Kazama, but Nishiki only had Kiryu. Kazama stopped giving Nishiki his love and as much support because Nishiki wouldn’t throw his life away for him, as shown in Yakuza 0. If he was given the same love and support that Kiryu was given, things would have worked out very differently.
So there’s a little anomaly in my ‘Kazama ruined everything’ theory, and that is Yumi. Why would Kazama protect Yumi if he didn’t care for her? Because he wanted to give Kiryu more motive when he got out of prison. He knew that Kiryu and Yumi were in love, and he wanted Kiryu to have something to fight for other than Kazama. Something – someone – to use to manipulate Kiryu to do Kazama’s dirty work.
And of course, all this is suggested by Awano in Yakuza 0. I think that’s probably the biggest thing drawing me away from this theory. Awano is obviously a bad guy and I do believe that they tried to make Kazama a good guy, or at the very least, a neutral guy.
Regardless of that, one thing still stands: the kids of the people he murdered feel indebted to him. The clear power imbalance there, particularly between Kazama and Kiryu, just feels wrong. It’s a gross misuse of power and whatever way you look at it, it is manipulative.
I’m not completely sold on the idea that he ruined everything, but I am completely sold that he intended to use Kiryu and even the other children that felt indebted to him, and he discards or tries to ruin those that do not feel the need to sacrifice themselves for Kazama’s gain.
So, that’s it for this post, Gamers! I really just wanted to share my thoughts on this because the power imbalance just makes me feel gross and I feel like he really did Nishiki wrong. I know this doesn’t really have a satisfying conclusion as I am a little on the edge with it but I still thought I might as well share what I thought. Let me know what you think in the comments below, check out our streams on Twitch (our channel name is 2nerds_1game, and we’re streaming Yakuza every Saturday), and check out my socials to stay updated. See you next post, Gamers!