- After the incident ten years ago... I lost what felt like a piece of my life. And then I decided that I'd sacrifice everything to change the fates.
— Akira Nishikiyama, Yakuza Kiwami
Akira Nishikiyama (錦山 彰, Nishikiyama Akira), often referred to as Nishiki, is a major supporting character in the series. He serves as the the deuteragonist of Kazuma Kiryu's story in Yakuza 0, and is the main antagonist and final boss of the first Yakuza/Yakuza Kiwami. He is the sworn brother of Kiryu, one of the children adopted by Shintaro Kazama, and the patriarch of the Nishikiyama Family.
In Yakuza and Yakuza Kiwami, Nishiki's primary appearance is depicted as having long slicked-back hair. He wears a double-breasted white suit, black undershirt, white tie, and black crocodile pattern leather shoes. In Yakuza 0, he wears a maroon suit with a black and gold shirt, as well as having his hair down. During the prologue and flashback sequences of Yakuza and Yakuza Kiwami respectively, he has his hair down similar to his appearance in Yakuza 0.
As seen in Yakuza 0, Nishiki started off to be very loyal and supportive towards his friends and family such as Kiryu and Kazama. He also hangs out with Kiryu often in several activities and acting friendly and kind towards him. Several times in the storyline, he helped Kiryu against the Dojima Family and fought alongside him after he couldn't bring himself to kill Kiryu. Nishiki also seems to worry about Kiryu for his reckless attempts against the Dojima family. In spite of his seemingly charming demeanor and cool personality, however, Nishiki harbors a deep inferiority complex throughout the series. In 0, Nishiki struggles to help Kiryu in his attempt to keep him safe from harm as he is shown to be out of his depth in terms of the intrigue of the Tojo clan. His attempt to protect Kiryu repeatedly backfire and his inferiority against Majima only made him more cynical in the process. The inferiority complex would serve as the tipping point during Kiryu's imprisonment when his lack of authority made him easily manipulated by Jingu and Shimano who made it clear to Nishiki that he is unfit to be a leader of a family much less the chairman.
During the 10 year time skip of the first game, Nishiki has drastically changed to a cold and heartless person. To get to the missing 10 billion yen, he went as far as hurting his former friends and betraying them for his ambition of becoming a chairman. A prime example of this was when he shot Kazama, the man who raised him, with a sniper rifle. It was at the end of the game where he finally regrets his decisions and sacrificed his life to stop Jingu as well as an attempt to reassert one last degree of control in his life that was defined.
At the age of 17, he joined the Dojima family along with his best friend Kiryu, despite excessive protests and even a beating from Shintaro Kazama. Contrary to Kiryu's motivation for joining the Yakuza to "help Boss Kazama and carry on his will", Nishiki felt indebted to Kazama and the Yakuza for paying for his sister's medical bills when she fell into illness. While Kiryu and Nishiki initially joined the Yakuza due to their penchant for getting into fights, both would go on to seek self-gratification through this newfound lifestyle.
Yakuza 0: 1988
Nishiki joins the Yakuza at the same time as Kiryu does, three years prior to the events of the game. Nishiki first appears to pick up Kiryu, after watching him beat up some street thugs. Then Kiryu and Nishiki go to a karaoke bar where Kiryu sings. After, they go to a ramen shop where they learn that the man Kiryu had just collected money from had been murdered.
Nishiki contacts Kashiwagi who gives them both the jist of the situation; If Kazama loses his position, he is likely to be expelled from the Dojima family and killed to maintain his silence. Nishiki tries to talk Kiryu out of leaving the family but Kiryu remains adamant on protecting Kazama. Nishiki reluctantly drives Kiryu to the HQ of the Dojima family while reminiscing about how they asked Kazama to join against his wishes. However, Kiryu survives and tells Nishiki that he is alive and left the Dojima family. Kiryu also says that now he cannot come inside the Kazama family building and asks Nishiki to tell Kashiwagi that he is alive. After being formally employed by Tachibana, he calls Nishiki to help him for buying new clothes for the Tachibana estate meeting in the cafe. They got to a shop and Nishiki decides for Kiryu to buy the white suit before heading back to Serena.
Jun Oda eventually arrives at the bar, beaten by Dojima family men led by Awano's men. Kiryu fights the Dojima family. Meanwhile, Nishiki and Awano have a little chat. Nishiki objects and is pinned down by Awano himself as he threatens Kiryu to tell all the info about Tachibana real estate so Kiryu will be spared. He refuses, leading Awano to order a manhunt led by the entire Dojima family, including his oath brother.
Kiryu is saved by Nishiki and Nishiki promptly asks Kiryu to get in his car to hide from Dojima family members who are searching him. Nishiki drives Kiryu to the woods with intent to kill Kiryu to save him from Dojima family and The Hole. Nishiki bursts into tears, unable to kill Kiryu, telling him he is nothing without him. Kiryu takes Nishiki's car and goes back to Kamurocho to finish what he started against Nishiki's wishes.
When Kiryu returns with Makoto, he runs into Nishiki again, who was ordered by his fellow men to kill Kiryu for causing them so much trouble. One of the thugs offers Nishiki a chance to be promoted by killing Kiryu, however, Nishiki refuses and instead joins forces with Kiryu to fight their way back to Makoto. They managed to find Tachibana but it was too late for him as he was dying from his injuries from torture.
When Majima arrives at Serena, he demands that Nishiki tell him Kiryu's and Makoto's location. Nishiki refuses, and they fight. Majima manages to overpower Nishiki and asks again where Kiryu and Makoto are, but he tells him he doesn't know. Then Nishiki goes to Kiryu and tells him that he had an encounter with Majima, telling him that he is on Kiryu's side as he is wanting to protect her.
Nishiki later informs Kiryu that the Kazama family is considered as an enemy by the Dojima family due to the promotion of Shibusawa, who takes over Kazama's position and becomes captain of the Dojima family. So, he orders his men to eliminate the Kazama family and sent Kuze to the Kazama family HQ who tells Kiryu about Shibusawa's true plan as Nishiki arrives to report that the Dojima Family has launched a raid at the Shibaura wharf. Nishiki and Kiryu go to the Nikkyo Consortium where Makoto is hidden from the Dojima Family while she recovers. However, the Dojima family manages to find Makoto and slaughter most of the Consortium members with the intention to draw out Sera and any remaining Kazama
loyalists. Kiryu and Nishiki arrive and fight the Dojima family. Kashiwagi brings his reinforcements to fight off the Dojima family. Nishiki and Kiryu manage to enter the ship and fight the Dojima family. They are confronted by Dojima family members armed with pistols on one side of the ship’s lower deck. Nishiki tells Kiryu to go ahead and find Makoto Makimura without him. Nishiki stays behind and provides cover fire for Kiryu to continue
Nishiki manages to defeat the remaining Dojima family members and arrive in the nick of time to save Kiryu from killing Shibusawa. Explaining to Kiryu that "you cannot cross that line" and swore that if they must kill someone to advance up the ranks then they will do it together.
Afterwards, Nishiki can be seen at Serena, where he meets Kiryu who is in his new suit and Nishiki criticizes Kiryu's new suit calling it to be not his taste as it does not make him look like yakuza. Kiryu responds that "this was the most comfortable color of my suit and I will wear it forever". Then Nishiki requests Kiryu to go to a most expensive place to grab a bite, in response Kiryu says he "does not have enough money". Causing Nishiki to be annoyed and they leave Reina's bar.
Yakuza/Yakuza Kiwami: 1995-2005
Nishiki asks Kiryu about starting his own family and scoffs, stating Kiryu is always ahead of him after talking about Dojima and Kazama. He explains that his sister is in the hospital and that her next operation is going to be her last. Nishiki and Kiryu noticed Yumi coming in to join them. Nishiki, Kiryu and Yumi were having fun drinking before Kiryu fell asleep. Nishiki and Yumi have vanished when he wakes up. It's revealed that he is chasing after Dojima who kidnapped Yumi and took her to the Dojima family office. Nishiki rescues Yumi but killed Dojima to protect her.
Nishiki was actually the one responsible for the death of Sohei Dojima, but reluctantly allowed Kiryu to take the fall for it so he could tend to his ill sister.
Shortly after the murder of Sohei Dojima, Nishikiyama is back at the Dojima Family office where he overhears a conversation between Dojima family members about the murder of their patriarch. In the midst of the conversation, one of the members claims that the situation of what to do with Kiryu wouldn't be as complicated if Nishiki was the one to pull the trigger seeing as he is not Shintaro Kazama's “favorite”. As they all agree on that notion, Nishiki feels insulted by that comment and soon leaves. Nishikiyama goes back to Serena to deliver the news to Reina about Kiryu and Yumi. Reina is devastated while Nishiki is still in shock over all that has happened. When Reina asks if there wasn't anything he could do to save them, Nishiki assumes she is calling him useless in the same way those Dojima members were. In his unstable state, Nishiki slaps Reina leaving her further in tears as he looks at his hand dumbfounded over what he just did.
A year later, Nishikiyama is finally given the news by Kashiwagi that he is to run his own family. Nishiki is grateful and happy to learn that Kazama believes in him and has even given him some of his most experienced soldiers to help him run the business. Kashiwagi also tells him that another reason to give him his own family is to help Kiryu join the Tojo clan again seeing as he can't be accepted back to the Dojima family given “his” crime. Encouraged by Kashiwagi, Nishiki vows to work hard to make his family strong for himself and for Kiryu. However, Nishiki is young and still has no control over his men, a fact proven in a meeting he has with his members. Matsushige (one of the veterans on loan to Nishiki from the Kazama family), showed his distaste and disrespect for his patriarch, even stating if it were Kiryu it would be different as he is not a suck up-to-the boss type like Nishiki. Matsushige doesn't follow Nishiki and commands more respect in the family than Nishiki himself does.
- Yakuza Kiwami: Some time later, Nishikiyama goes to the hospital to learn from a doctor that his sister Yuko needs a heart transplant which will take time to find a donor, time that Yuko doesn't have. Nishiki asks if there is an alternative to which the doctor says that he has some illegal contacts which can provide a heart for Yuko for the price of 30 million yen. Nishikiyama, desperate to save his sister, agrees to the deal and asks Matsushige to get him the 30 million, whatever it takes. Matsushige seems surprised but quickly agrees to it, delighted at the control he has over Nishiki. Nishiki later finds Matsushige, demanding to know why he would take money from shops in Kashiwagi's territory. Matsushige seems unfazed by this and only replies by claiming if he doesn't like his methods, Nishiki can do it by himself. Kashiwagi soon learns this and proceeds to beat Nishikiyama in his office as punishment for betraying all that Kazama and he did for him. Nishiki doesn't resist and takes it, only sobbing after the beating, feeling ashamed that he betrayed the very man that gave him his family. Kashiwagi lets him off but not before letting slip a comment that with Kiryu this wouldn't have happened, a comment that shocks Nishiki.
- Nishiki leaves the office only to run into Futoshi Shimano, who knows all about Nishiki's situation. Shimano tells him that Kazama only cares about Kiryu having his family, commenting that even though Kiryu “killed” his patriarch, that has only strengthened his reputation, one that not he nor Nishiki can reach and that is all that matters in their world: reputation. Nishiki replies that he will take Kiryu into his family but Shimano claims the only one who needs to be looked after is Nishiki himself, even stating for him to quit being a yakuza. Nishiki is once again in his office when Matsushige walks in with the money necessary for NIshiki to pay the doctor. Matsushige says that a doctor paid his debt which is how he got his money, something that gets the attention of Nishiki. He then identifies the doctor as the same one who asked him for the money in the first place and races to the hospital to confront him, only to learn he has vanished. Nishiki then leaves the hospital, broken and depressed at the fact that all his efforts were in vain and that his sister will die, crying in front of the hospital.
- After all he has been through and failing, Nishiki stands in an office about to commit suicide. Before he can do it, Matsushige walks in and continues to treat Nishiki with the same disrespect he displayed in the past, when he compares him to Kiryu, Nishiki, having constantly been compared to Kiryu, reaches his breaking point and kills Matsushige with the knife he planned to kill himself with. Nishiki decides his path was destined the moment he killed Dojima and abandoned Kiryu, vowing to reach the top no matter how many he must kill to achieve his dream.
When Kiryu returns to Kamurocho, he finds that Nishikiyama has not only started his own subsidiary group, but he has changed into a cold, heartless man completely unlike his former self.
He tries to kill Kiryu on several occasions. When Kiryu escaped the funeral of Sera of Tojo Clan, he notices Nishiki when he turns his head while running away. Nishiki smirks before walking away.
Nishiki learned Kiryu went to meet the tattoo artist from Reina and called Kiryu to ask him if he learned about Mizuki's body. Nishiki wishes to meet him in private at Serena. Nishiki and Kiryu finally meet again after 10 years.
Nishiki explained that killing Mizuki wasn't supposed to happen. His men accidentally killed Mizuki while trying to interrogate her. Nishiki gets angry and shoots down two of his men for killing Mizuki before leaving. He also explains that Mizuki has been on his radar ever since he learned that Yumi had a sister. Nishikiyama reveals that he indeed wished to work with Kiryu again after his sentence had ended. He explains how a war in the Tojo Clan is about to break out and Kiryu can't stop it. He asks Kiryu to help him win the war by handling over the Ten Billion Yen and Haruka, who he has learnt is the niece of Yumi. Kiryu refuses and criticizes him for the man he has become. Nishiki reveals that he was the one behind the shooting of Kazama and the assassination of Sera. Kiryu becomes enraged and punches Nishiki to the ground. Before leaving, he says that Kazama is still alive and well and that he is in hiding with the help of Shinji. Nishiki reveals that he has a bug placed on Shinji and has been tracking him ever since he escaped with Kazama. Nishiki leaves Serena before ordering his men to kill Kiryu.
It is revealed that Reina, the owner of Serena and former ally of Kiryu, was a mole for Nishikiyama. Because she was in love with him she betrayed her friends, but later regrets it and tries to kill Nishikiyama. She fails and is killed by Arase on a rooftop.
Finally, in Chapter 13, Nishikiyama reveals that he knew Jingu was trying to use him. After his best friend went to prison and the loss of his sister, he has never trusted anyone since. He reveals his romantic feelings towards Yumi, and that he that was jealous of Kiryu because she loves him, not Nishikiyama. Wanting to surpass Kiryu, he has made sacrifices and numerous betrayals in order to claim the 10 billion yen so that he may become the Tojo Clan's fourth chairman. With that realised, he will claim Yumi for himself. Yumi asks Nishikiyama if he is truly happy with the things he's done because of his obsession, that he has failed to confront his inner problems. Nishikiyama scolds Yumi for not falling in love with the person he is, which makes Yumi cry. Kiryu then tells Nishikiyama how he and Yumi are not irreplaceable for him. He couldn't change the hurt and pain from the past, even if he wanted to.
Then, Kiryu says that they both must settle this feud once and for all. Nishikiyama accepts this final showdown with his former best friend Kiryu, both removing their shirts to display their yakuza tattoos on their backs - the Dragon and the Koi. They fight to the bitter end but Kiryu eventually wins. After Jingu shoots Yumi while trying to kill Kiryu, Nishikiyama redeems himself by stabbing Jingu with a knife and pushes him into the vault, blowing up himself, Jingu and the 10 billion yen by taking control of his life that was defined one last time, to save Kiryu and Haruka.
Yakuza 2/Yakuza Kiwami 2: 2006
A year later, Kiryu has nightmares about Nishikiyama's death. He pays his respects to his deceased friend at his grave, along with those of his foster father and Yumi Sawamura.
Yakuza 6: 2016
Nishiki doesn't appear in the game directly, but Kiryu can mention him to hostess', and he can appear in a flashback when Kiryu sings the song, 'Tonight'.
Nishikiyama's ghost can be seen at New Serena when taking selfies in a certain area of the bar.
In the first Yakuza, he uses a simplistic fighting style during his final boss sequence that combines powerful punches and kicks. When fought as a final boss in Yakuza Kiwami, he primarily uses swing fist moves combined with roundhouse kicks and running knee strikes from his younger self in Yakuza 0, (and has two quick time events involving Reina), and incorporates karate hammer fists similar to Kashiwagi and Kazama. For defense, he uses a continuous dodging maneuver akin to Kiryu's "Rush" style and he is able to deflect counterattacks from Kiryu's "Thug/Brawler" style by default.
- The name Akira means "patent, clear" (彰).
- Akira's surname Nishikiyama means "brocade" (錦) (nishiki) and "mountain, hill" (山) (yama).
- Nishikiyama and Nishiki are most likely derived from Koi, specifically nishikigoi (錦鯉, lit. "brocaded carp"). Appropriately, the Koi serves as Nishiki's animal motif and tattoo.
- Kazuhiro Nakaya (Nishiki's voice actor) now plays a new series protagonist Ichiban Kasuga.
- Nishiki is in charge of a rehab program that sets up people with honest jobs.
- Nishiki washes his hair daily and spends an hour with a leave-in treatment, as well as taking half an hour to dry it. "He always has beautiful hair"
- Nishiki uses a Dojima Family pin to get out of parking tickets
- Nishiki drives "the highest-quality domestic brand saloon." It cost him six million yen. He also installed "the newest 5-set cassette and car stereo" as well as a "car phone."
- Seven Stars are his preferred brand of cigarette
- Nishiki regularly sends gifts and money back to Sunflower Orphanage
- Nishiki's lighter cost him one hundred thousand yen.
- In a poll conducted in 2018, Nishiki was voted the seventh most requested character for Ryu ga Gotoku Online, coming in at 152,420 votes..
- Prior to and during Yakuza 0 Nishiki handled jobs such as temporary employee placement, hostess scouting and restaurant troubles.
- Nishiki's total income in 1988 "comes to tens of millions"
- This is "several tens of thousands" higher than Kiryu.
- https://ryu-ga-gotoku.com (December 16, 2005) - 主要登場人物紹介 (Ryū ga Gotoku shuyō tōjō jinbutsu shōkai, lit. "Ryū ga Gotoku main character introduction") - Archive
- "Ryu Ga Gotoku 0, Hot Dog Press" 2015, p. 6-9. English Scanlation
- https://ryu-ga-gotoku.com (September 12, 2018) - 「龍が如く」シリーズキャラクター総選挙 (Ryū ga Gotoku series character sō senkyo, lit. "Ryū ga Gotoku series character general election") - Archive