Just today at the PlayStation Experience keynote, Sony’s Gio Corsi announced that both Yakuza Kiwami(Yakuza 1 Remake) and Yakuza 6 would be coming West in Summer 2017 and Early 2018 respectively. And that is before Yakuza 0 has even had a chance to release in the West this coming Spring. I love this series and I really wish it was more popular than it is here in the US. It really deserves the attention because its a great series with a phenomenal story. Yakuza 6 is billed as the end of Kazuma Kiryu’s legend. Not the end of his story forever, or even the end of the Yakuza series, just the end of his legend. The games subtitle is “Song of Life.” It references the circle of life and this motif is depicted in the game via a new character: baby Haruto, the son of Haruka Sawamura, Kiryu’s adopted daughter(Niece? It’s a bit confusing because he isn’t actually related to her. She’s the daughter of his best friend who he thought of like a brother and his lover. So I guess in a sense she is his niece, but since he adopted her you could call her his adopted daughter.) who has been with him ever since the first game in the series.
If you’ve followed the Yakuza series since its inception in the PS2 era, you’ve watched Haruka grow up from a little girl to a young woman pursuing her dreams. Yakuza 6 picks up give or take 3 years after Yakuza 5 and in the Prologue it is revealed that Haruka has a son that not even Kiryu knew about. The whole thing is shrouded in mystery and at least a small part of the game’s story is devoted to figuring out who the father is. Now, it seems painfully obvious that this is just a ruse and that Haruto isn’t actually Haruka’s son... right? RIGHT?!
See, this is my dilemma. This information was revealed back in September via Famitsu, and I’m typically on top of stuff like this when it comes to franchises I love. But I missed it somehow. Only today did I find out about it after watching the Yakuza 6 trailer from PSX. All I had to see was Haruka holding a baby to start googling. The game isn’t out in Japan for another 5 days so the answers aren’t out there yet. Yakuza isn’t the sort of game that has its story leak ahead of time and most people won’t even talk about the story once they’ve played it. And this revelation is bothering me. Just thinking about the fact that this character who is probably 19 by the time of Yakuza 6, has had a baby in between games, its screwing with me. And I don’t know why. I have no freaking idea why I care so much about this. It is curiosity, and it isn’t interest. There’s this genuine feeling of uneasiness, of fear. This is not normal for me.
I’ve been trying to sort this out for the last few hours now because it’s bothering me that much, and the only reasonable conclusion I can come to is that maybe I’m afraid of finding out how she had a baby. The Yakuza series is no stranger to treading unsettling territory with its characters. If I’m remembering correctly, the first game had rape in it, or at least implied. Yakuza 5 had a scene with Haruka where she was propositioned by the head of the TV Studio hosting the Idol competition. In exchange for sexual favors, Haruka would automatically win. Obviously she turned it down, but it showed that the writers were willing to enter uncomfortable territory that unfortunately hews quite close to reality. What little we know of Yakuza 6's plot is that ever since Haruka revealed to her fans that her adoptive father was a Yakuza and subsequently retired in the middle of a concert, they began threatening both her and the people closest to her, which is definitely something that would happen in that industry. Idols typically have contracts that prevent them from dating or even seeing members of the opposite sex outside of their fans at events because it ruins that image of purity that the fans hold. Diehard fans can be especially nasty because they’re the ones who obsess over these “perfect” idols who are “available” to them. And so this whole thought process had led me to some very unsettling conclusions as to how Haruto may have been conceived. Not all of them are grim dark, but most are. That’s provided he even is her biological son and not a child she adopted or the child of a friend that she’s passing off as her own.
About the only thing I can tell for certain is that how I feel is tied to how much time I’ve spent with this character. I may not have spent as much as some other people(Full disclosure: I entered the franchise at Yakuza 3 give or take 4 years after its release. I have not played Yakuza 1 or Yakuza 2.) with her, but the three games that I have I’ve grown attached to her just as I have the other characters in the Yakuza series. I don’t typically get this attached to a character in a video game. I try, and sometimes I at least feel something, but it isn’t something as heavy as attachment.
Now, up until this point I’ve probably made it seem like my uneasiness or fear is related to HOW the child was possibly conceived, but I can say for certain at least that that isn’t it, though it is still an unsettling thought. No, I think it actually has more to do with the fact that it implies that this character I’ve watched grow up over the course of three games had sex with a man, possibly before she was even 18. And that’s on top of the father apparently either not knowing or refusing to be a part of it. I’m not certain of it, but thus far that is where my thoughts have led me as to a possible reason why I feel this way.
Anyway, I appreciate whoever read this for putting up with this... very random article. I guess it was my version of venting, definitely not something I typically do. I have a few normal articles in the works, this just happened to be the one that I was able to sit down and write in one sitting, so it gets out first.