Yakuza Creator Doesn’t Want Kiryu ‘Beating Up Women’ In Fighting Games

Yakuza Creator Doesn’t Want Kiryu ‘Beating Up Women’ In Fighting Games

During a recent interview with Red Bull France, Yakuza creator Toshihiro Nagoshi was asked about the common request for series protagonist Kazuma Kiryu to appear in a fighting game. Nagoshi is hesitant, he said, because he doesn’t want Kiryu fighting women.

“We do get this request a lot,” Nagoshi told interviewer Grégory de Meyer, who published English translations of his French interview on gaming forum Resetera. “Of course there are exceptions, but fighting games generally have female characters, and personally I don’t really want to see Kiryu beating up women.”

Apart from playing arcade games and helping a hostess channel her inner dominatrix, Kiryu spends much of the Yakuza franchise beating down enemies in the underground world of Japanese crime. That alone makes him a great candidate for guesting in fighting games like Tekken or Virtua Fighter (the latter of which, it should be pointed out, is also developed by Sega). But in almost 15 years, the noble gangster and his creators at Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio have yet to even flirt with that sort of cameo.

Nagoshi’s hesitance makes sense. Kiryu practices an old-school style of chivalry, which puts honour and respect at the forefront even as the larger criminal family to which he belongs broadly makes its money through violence and extortion. While in the real world the image of the noble Yakuza may be an idealised myth built up in part by classic Japanese cinema, in the fictional Yakuza series, Kiryu very much wouldn’t lay a finger on a woman.

I’ve wanted to see Kiryu guest in fighting games in the past, but Nagoshi’s misgivings have led me to rethink my position. Much like my dissatisfaction with how Mortal Kombat 11 handled characters like RoboCop and Rambo, seeing Kiryu beat down Nina Williams and Pai Chan would definitely feel like a betrayal of his moral compass. Sure, treating those strong women as delicate flowers might be considered a different kind of sexism, but Kiryu would probably find a way to avoid those fights all the same. He’s just that kind of guy.


  • Reading his comments I can 100% get behind not having Kiryu in a fighting game, particularly as more move towards showing injuries caused by the beatdowns they get. Its very true to his character.

    As shown by the chronologically earliest title, Yakuza 0, Kiryu has no problem with respecting women and acknowledging their strength and that there are those stronger than he is. He just won’t fight them himself.

    Can you imagine the amount of dogpiling from certain regressive sections of the internet if he ever did fight a woman with the same violence he shows the thousands of men he beats up. His heat moves make Batman’s shifty eyed ‘I don’t kill’ finishers in the Arkham series look like a light massage.

  • What a pathetic f****** sexist. Even worse that he would force that sexism upon the character, why would I want to play as a piece of s*** sexist? Sexism is inherently immoral and a show of disrespect. It’s such a disappointment to perpetuate that kind of disgusting thinking.

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