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Kazuma Kiryu Has Never Killed Anyone

Part of a series on Yakuza / Like a Dragon. [View Related Entries]

Updated Sep 06, 2021 at 05:23AM EDT by Philipp.

Added Jul 09, 2021 at 03:15PM EDT by Adam.

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Kazuma Kiryu Has Never Killed Anyone is a catchphrase of the Yakuza fandom as a way to joke about the series' main protagonist, Kazuma Kiryu, and his steadfast "no-kill" policy during the games' main plots, despite dispatching generic enemies in very violent ways which would almost assuredly result in their death.


Throughout the Yakuza series, the games maintain that Kazuma Kiryu has a "no-kill policy" and will often feature cutscenes where Kiryu could choose to kill a significant enemy but elects not to. However, fans started noting the increasingly violent ways with which Kiryu would dispatch generic enemies with the release of Yakuza 0 in January 2017. One of the earliest posts to point out this contradiction was posted to ResetEra on February 5th, 2017,[1] as user pentagramknight noted that a car chase sequence in the game features Kiryu appearing to murder dozens of pursuers. The user wrote:

Does anyone know if the writers have ever commented on what counts as "canon" for the people that get killed during gameplay sequences? I mean the story in every Yakuza game goes out of its way to have Kiryu not kill a single opponent, no matter how much they deserve it, but then you have these action sequences where he's killing people left and right. I guess my main question is, has Kiryu ever officially killed someone? Have the other playable characters ever killed anyone?

On February 14th, YouTube channel 1-UP CUP[3] posted a Let's Play of the game, with the commenters reacting incredulously at the claim "Kiryu has never killed anyone" over the game's opening sequence. Later that year, some of the first parodies of "Kiryu has never killed anyone" appeared. These often take the form of cutscenes from the game that show Kiryu violently dispatching an enemy with a variation of the title phrase. On August 30th, YouTuber Bluemage_V posted a clip from the game in which Kiryu stabs a generic enemy in the stomach with a bottle with the title (shown below).


The phrase "Kiryu has never killed anyone" became a more prominent joke in the fandom over the following years. On October 9th, 2017, YouTuber Mysterious Jojo posted a scene from one of the games in which Kiryu uses a waiter as a human bullet shield (shown below, left). On May 2nd, 2018, YouTuber Leon posted a clip of Kiryu throwing an enemy's head into a corner store's microwave and ordering an employee to nuke his head, gaining over 1.1 million views (shown below, right).

On April 23rd, 2018, Kotaku[2] published an article titled, "I Thought Yakuza's Hero Wasn't A Killer, But He Keeps Stabbing People With Samurai Swords," poking fun at the contradiction. On August 22nd, 2018, YouTuber GiantTastyXD posted a compilation video of Kiryu's violent dispatches with the title, "Kiryu has never killed anyone," gaining over 602,000 views (shown below, left). On May 25th, 2020, YouTuber Noel Major posted a video showing Kiryu's violent actions, gaining over 710,000 views (shown below, right).

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I'm pretty sure this has always been a mild translation error. Kiryu is all about that Yakuza life, for the total 15 collected minutes he's actually in the Yakuza during the entire series, and beyond. Killing other Yakuza doesn't count as killing, in his mind. Same as Majima's line near the end of 0 "You guys won't even add to my body count".

Kiryu has never, and would never, kill a CIVILIAN. He has at least canonically killed one non-civilian person, a Triad member, in game (in the first game, he uses a guy as a human shield against some dude with an assault rifle).


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