The Arakawa Family (荒川組, Arakawa-gumi) is a primarily Kamurocho-based criminal organization featured in Yakuza: Like a Dragon and Ryu ga Gotoku Online. Formerly a third-tier subsidiary of the Tojo Clan, it is a direct subsidiary of the Omi Alliance. Its offices are originally located on the corner of Pink Street and Nakamichi Alley, later relocated to the Millennium Tower.
— Masumi to Kasuga, Yakuza: Like a Dragon (Japanese Audio)
"Everyone has a specialty that they bring to the table. Some are like you, charging in headfirst regardless of the consequences. Some cover the rear, like Mitsu, and some are good at cracking the whip, like Sawashiro. That's what keeps the family running."
The Arakawa Family was founded as a third-tier subsidiary under the Tojo Clan sometime between 1977 and 1982 by Masumi Arakawa. Despite its size, it quickly became well-known throughout Kamurocho due to the fact Arakawa had become a patriarch relatively young, being in his twenties at the time the family was established. For its involvement in numerous murders and its militant stance on protecting its territory and reputation, it later came to be feared as the "Killer Arakawa Family" (殺しの荒川組, koroshi no Arakawa-gumi), with its patriarch earning the name "Arakawa the Assassin." At the same time, some members of the Arakawa Family were entrusted with the care of Arakawa's son, Masato Arakawa.
After Jo Sawashiro's induction into the family in 1982 and his subsequent rise to the rank of captain, the family left at least one body in its wake per month in its peak during the Bubble era. In order to dispose of the corpses, a long-standing agreement was formed with the "chiefs" of the homeless camp in Isezaki Ijincho, Yokohama. The Arakawa Family would pay them in exchange for the burial and concealment of the corpses it delivered to the camp. Aside from carrying out assassinations, the Arakawa Family also provided an additional service: on request, they would fake the deaths of clients who were willing to pay for it. As such, if someone was delivered to the camp alive, the Arakawa Family instructed them to assist in covering their tracks and let them go free.
- Wanderings of the Golden Dragon: In 1999, Masaru Sera instructed the Arakawa Family to assassinate Ryuji Goda and Joon-gi Han on behalf of Takashi Nihara, who considered them the most suited to the task as the individual members of the family were seen as disposable due to their status as some of the lowest-ranking members of the Tojo Clan. Arakawa chose to assign Kasuga to the task rather than Sawashiro, who strongly objected to the decision. While Kasuga was successfully able to shoot Ryuji several times point-blank, Ryuji survived the attempt.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon: 2000-2019
In 2001, Ichiban Kasuga; a soldier of the Arakawa Family, agreed to go to prison for a murder charge at the request of Patriarch Arakawa. Kasuga had been told by his boss that the family Captain, Jo Sawashiro, had killed an officer of their rivals, the Sakaki Family; so Ichiban had to take the fall in order to prevent Sawashiro being arrested and the family being punished because one of its officers killed a higher-ranking member of the Tojo. In truth, it had been Patriarch Arakawa's son, Masato Arakawa, who had committed the murder and, since he was not part of the family, his crime would not have resulted in an official punishment from Tojo headquarters. Ichiban would spend 18 years in prison for this murder, getting released in 2019.
In 2017, Patriarch Arakawa's son Masato; who had been elected Governor of Tokyo while using the alias of Ryo Aoki, approached his father with an ultimatum: Either he betrayed the Tojo Clan and started providing Masato with information about their operations so that he could shut them down or Masato would start arresting him and his officers on trumped up charges to sabotage their business, which would inevitably lead to its collapse. Patriarch Arakawa informed the Tojo's Sixth Chairman, Daigo Dojima, about his son's threats and the two of them; along with Omi Alliance Captain Masaru Watase, hatched a plan to stop Masato's power grab.
Dojima and Watase had been planning for some time to dissolve their respective organizations, since they had grown too large to control and they feared that the government would start cracking down on them aggressively with use of new anti-yakuza laws. However, both men knew that their groups were too large and powerful to simply dissolve and they feared that the announcement of a dissolution would lead to a mutiny. When Arakawa told them about Masato's plans, they decided to use this to their advantage. The plot entailed Arakawa pretending to agree to Masato's deal and providing him with information to bring down the Tojo's operations in exchange for his own family being left alone. Once the Tojo had been essentially dismantled by the Police, Arakawa would make a deal with the Omi Alliance to let them take over Tokyo in exchange for letting the Arakawa Family join the Alliance. Once the Omi Alliance had expanded into Tokyo, its forces would be much more divided and spread out. Both men figured if they announced the dissolution of both the Tojo and the Omi after this, it would be much less likely that any mutineers would rally around a single new Chairman to replace Watase; meaning the Alliance would break apart into much smaller yakuza groups and would thus be effectively disbanded.
The three plotters executed their plan as intended, with Arakawa seemingly betraying the Tojo Clan by providing Masato with the information he requested and later by having his family join the Omi Alliance.
In 2019, the final part of the plan went into action and Watase and Daigo announced the disbanding of both the Tojo and the Omi at a ceremony held in the Omi Alliance headquarters. Both Chairmen were protected by members of the Arakawa Family from being attacked by rioting Omi patriarchs. Their defense was also aided by Tojo officers Goro Majima and Taiga Saejima, by Ichiban Kasuga and his friends, and by Yosuke Tendo of the Ryudo Clan. After being escorted out of the Omi headquarters, both Chairmen would travel to Osaka City Hall with an Arakawa Family escort and there they would formalize the dissolution of their respective yakuza groups.
Following the disbanding of the Omi Alliance, Patriarch Arakawa intended to disband the Arakawa Family along with it, but he would be betrayed and assassinated by Tendo before he could. In the aftermath of Arakawa's death, Captain Sawashiro would briefly serve as the Family's second patriarch, but he would soon after turn himself over to the police and confess to the murder of Ryuhei Hoshino of the Seiryu Clan. After Sawashiro's arrest and conviction, the Arakawa Family was dissolved.
- Masumi Arakawa - First Patriarch (1970's/1980's - 2019)
- Jo Sawashiro - Captain (1980's - 2019) / Second Patriarch (2019)
- Shinsuke Matoba - Officer (Unknown)[a]
- Mitsuo Yasumura - Member (1990's - 2019)
- Ichiban Kasuga - Soldier (1993 - 2001)
- Shinsuke Matoba is introduced as a member of the Sawashiro Family in a mid-battle title card in Yakuza: Like a Dragon's files, which may hint at the existence of the Sawashiro Family in both Yakuza: Like a Dragon and Ryu ga Gotoku Online. However, the file is unused, and there is otherwise no mention of the Sawashiro Family's existence in-game.