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Ichiban Kasuga (春日 一番, Kasuga Ichiban) is the main protagonist of the Yakuza series from Yakuza: Like a Dragon onward, as well as the main protagonist of The Legend of Ichiban Kasuga: Part 1 in Ryu ga Gotoku Online.
The dragonfish tattoo on his back earned him the nickname "The Rock-Bottom Dragon" (どん底の龍, Donzoko no Ryū).
- 1 Profile
- 2 Background
- 3 Involvement
- 4 Other Media
- 5 Fighting Style
- 6 Gameplay
- 7 Trivia
- 8 References
Profile[edit | edit source]
Appearance[edit | edit source]
Described as having been born with "nothing but physical strength," Kasuga has a balanced muscular build that gives him the opportunity to be proficient at a variety of fighting styles. His eyes are grey and he has medium-length dark hair styled into an afro after his release from prison, as well as a beard. Prior to this, his hair was styled into a much shorter punch perm, growing out long enough during his time in prison to be tied into a short ponytail.
Tattoo[edit | edit source]
Kasuga's tattoo covers most of his back and ends just above his thighs. It depicts a dragonfish (龍魚, ryūgyo), the in-between state of the koi in the legend of a koi that swims up to the top of a waterfall and is rewarded for its tenacity by being transformed into a dragon. The tattoo represents the strength and perseverance of the koi as it struggles upstream, as well as a greater destiny that lies ahead, as the koi has not fully finished its transformation into a dragon.
- Ryu ga Gotoku Online: Kasuga's inspiration for the tattoo was Jo Sawashiro, whose tattoo depicts the same creature. The two both hold a strong admiration for Masumi Arakawa and view him as the 'dragon' they aspire to be. Only the outlines of the tattoo are filled in up until Chapter 21, but it is seen in its completed state in the rest of the game.
Utabori is the tattoo artist who designed Kasuga's dragonfish, and he incorporated elements from both Kazuma Kiryu and Akira Nishikiyama's tattoos in its design.
Attire[edit | edit source]
Kasuga's signature attire consists of a maroon suit worn over a white shirt with an upturned collar and a gold chain necklace. He also wears black leather loafers with gold buckles and a matching black leather belt with a gold buckle. When assigned his unique class, Hero, the way he envisions his attire changes slightly in battle; his sleeves are rolled up to the elbow, he wears black leather gloves, and his necklace is replaced by a red silk scarf.
Personality[edit | edit source]
Kasuga is a fiercely loyal and steadfast individual, perhaps to a fault. He wears his heart on his sleeve and is prone to letting his emotions get the best of him, whether it be sheer rage or getting overly excitable. However, he has a strong sense of justice and is always willing to help out anyone in need. Kasuga is also a huge fan of Dragon Quest, a video game he loved to play ever since his youth. This contributed to his strong sense of imagination where he imagines his battles as if they were a turn-based JRPG. This imagination has also made him a quick thinker and a creative tactician in battles despite his rash and impulsive demeanor.
One of Kasuga's notable traits is his unfailing kindness and general love for people. These traits have made him an infectiously charismatic person that never fails to inspire admiration from the people around him. He cares deeply about his party members and leads them with grace and in turn, they stand by him and are ready to have his back no matter how overwhelming the odds are.
Background[edit | edit source]
Kasuga was born to Akane and Masumi Arakawa on New Year's Day, 1977, in Shangri-La. He was hidden in coin locker #100 at Shinjuku Station by Akane on Arakawa's instructions in order to keep him safe while they were being pursued by members of Hikawa Industries; however, Arakawa unknowingly retrieved the baby locked in the adjacent locker #99. Kasuga was instead taken in by Shangri-La's manager, Jiro Kasuga, and raised by the people of Kamurocho. Although beloved, he lived in poverty and the people who raised him were considered "trash" by the rest of society. To escape this reality, he spent his nights playing Dragon Quest in the back office of the soapland and dreaming of being a hero one day.
After the death of his father, he stopped going to junior high school at fifteen and resorted to whatever means necessary to earn money and support himself, leaving his education behind for good. He spent most of his days fighting people for money, regardless of who they were. However, one day, he severely injured and hospitalized a yakuza. The family the yakuza belonged to sought revenge and managed to capture him. They beat Kasuga to the brink of death, and fearing for his life he blurted out the name of a feared yakuza, Masumi Arakawa, saying that if they killed him they'd be hearing from him; in reality, he had never met the man and was only aware of him due to his reputation as "Killer" Arakawa.
Kasuga hoped mentioning his name would somehow get him free, but it only backfired. The family that held him captive were enemies of the Arakawa Family. They summoned Arakawa to their office and asked him to collect Kasuga in person, assuming Kasuga was part of his family. To Kasuga's surprise, Arakawa arrived. The men demanded he takes responsibility for Kasuga's actions. Arakawa offered them his finger in exchange for Kasuga's freedom and the men quickly let Kasuga go.
Kasuga followed Arakawa and tried to thank him, but Arakawa punched him, saying he didn't cut his finger off for his sake. He explained to Kasuga that being a yakuza meant you had a reputation to uphold, and he would have lost face if he simply bowed his head and asked for him back. Kasuga asked him why he would go to such lengths for someone he didn't even know, to which Arakawa responded, "Maybe I just wanted to look cool in front of a kid who knew who I was."
Kasuga decided then and there he'd follow Arakawa for the rest of his life. He waited outside of the Arakawa Family office for one hundred days before Arakawa finally broke down and agreed to swear him into the family at sixteen, against Jo Sawashiro's wishes. The two went on to become akin to father and son, with Kasuga being tasked as his adoptive brother, Masato Arakawa's carer sometime after his induction to the family.
Involvement[edit | edit source]
Yakuza: Like a Dragon: 2000-2019[edit | edit source]
On the 31st of December, 2000, Kasuga is called into the Arakawa Family office, where Arakawa informs him of Jo Sawashiro's involvement in the murder of a member of the Sakaki Family. Arakawa asks Kasuga to shoulder the blame and go to prison on Sawashiro's behalf. Kasuga is more than happy to oblige, believing this to be the chance he had been waiting for to repay Arakawa for all he'd done for him. On January 1, 2001, he turns himself into the police.
In 2019, Kasuga is freed from prison, returning home to Kamurocho. He is surprised and angered to find that while he was away, the Tojo Clan was exiled, and the Omi Alliance is now in control. He is even more shocked to find out that his boss and father figure, Arakawa, was supposedly the man who betrayed the Tojo and let the Omi into Kamurocho.
Other Media[edit | edit source]
Ryu ga Gotoku Online[edit | edit source]
Wanderings of the Golden Dragon: 1999[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Ryu ga Gotoku Online#Wanderings of the Golden Dragon
The duo eventually encounters their targets in Nagasugai, Fukuoka. Their fight is soon interrupted by a group of thugs led by Shou Takayama, the acting chairman of the Go-Ryu Clan, who has been chasing Ryuji for a while. Knowing that they couldn't face so many enemies at once Ryuji and Han decide to split up. Kuze and the Go-Ryu follow Ryuji, while Kasuga chases after Han.
After vowing to make Kasuga pay for all the pain the Tojo Clan has inflicted to the Jingweon, Han and Kasuga start fighting. Suddenly, a member of the Go-Ryu Clan appears, giving Han a chance to escape.
Streets of Kamurocho[edit | edit source]
Kasuga appears as a hidden character in the short beat-em-up title inspired by the story of the original Yakuza and the gameplay of SEGA's Streets of Rage franchise. His gameplay, much like that of Kiryu and Majima, is a reskinned version of the Streets of Rage series' main character, Axel. He can be unlocked after completing the single stage once.
Fighting Style[edit | edit source]
Kasuga's fighting style is based around streetfighting and pro-wrestling techniques that—while lacking in finesse—are powerful and highly adaptive to his immediate environment.
Gameplay[edit | edit source]
Yakuza: Like a Dragon[edit | edit source]
Kasuga has two character-specific jobs that remain exclusive to him; the first is Freelancer, a high-offense fighting style which utilizes his hand-to-hand combat prowess. The other is Hero, in which Kasuga uses a baseball bat as a weapon, wielding it like a hero's sword. The Hero job transforms Kasuga into an all-rounder, gaining him access to a wide-array of support, recovery and offensive abilities. Also in Kasuga's arsenal is the Poundmates system, which allows him to summon various characters Kasuga and his team have befriended to give the party various buffs, and attack/de-buff enemies during battle.
Freelancer[edit | edit source]
|Ichiban Kasuga exclusive job. Relies on bare-knuckle brawling and Kasuga's pro wrestling moves to knock enemies senseless. A high-offense job that allows Kasuga to learn terrain-based Skills.|
|Requirements||Ichiban Kasuga||Yu Nanba||Koichi Adachi||Saeko Mukoda|
|Joon-gi Han||Tianyou Zhao||Eri Kamataki|
|Characteristics||Weapon||Element||Elemental Bonus||Stat Bonus||Criticality Rate||Accessories|
|Bare-Handed||Blunt||—||Attack, Agility||2%||Dragonfish Tenugui|
|See Freelancer for a full overview of this job's statistics.|
|Search for hidden treasures scattered throughout the city. |
Try pressing [Interact] any time you find something shiny on the ground.
|2||Tenacious Fist||8||1 Enemy||Attack||Blunt||Stun||Light (1.3×)||Job|
|Kasuga puts all his energy into a single punch that may leave the enemy stunned.|
|4||Rock Swing||10||1 Enemy||Attack||Blunt||—||Light (1.4×)||Job|
|Damage an enemy by putting them in a headlock and throwing them.|
|5||Headbutt Barrage||13||1 Enemy||Attack||Blunt||—||Light (1.6×)||Job|
|Damage an enemy with an onslaught of headbutts.|
|Kasuga hypes himself up and attunes to the flow of battle, boosting his Evasion and Attack for 2 turns.|
|12||Dropkick||21||1 Enemy||Attack||Blunt||—||Medium (1.8×)||Job|
|Damage an enemy with a flying kick. High chance to land a critical hit.|
|16||Ruffian's Kick||28||1 Enemy||Attack||Blunt||—||Medium (2.0×)||Job|
|Damage an enemy with a swift, brutal kick.|
|20||Atomic Drop||43||1 Enemy||Attack||Blunt||—||Heavy (2.4×)||Job|
|Damage an enemy by hitting them hard in their vital spot. High chance to land a critical hit.|
|24||Release German Suplex||50||1 Enemy||Attack||Blunt||—||Extreme (2.7×)||Character|
|Damage an enemy with a wrestling technique known as a release German suplex. May instantly knock out the enemy.|
|28||Essence of Roadside Weapon||65||1 Enemy||Attack||Blunt||—||Extreme (2.8×)||Job|
|A powerful skill that damages an enemy with an improvised weapon lying about the city.|
Changes depending on the surrounding area.
|See Freelancer#Skills for a full overview of this job's skills.|
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Kasuga was given the name "Ichiban" (一番, lit. "number one" in the context of being the best) by executive director Toshihiro Nagoshi and lead writer Masayoshi Yokoyama. They decided on the name due to its contrast with his background and lifestyle being emblematic of Kasuga as a character, who "[lives life] to the fullest like he doesn't see the irony."
References[edit | edit source]
https://dengekionline.com/ (November 1, 2018) - “新・龍が如く”の幕開けとなるスマホアプリ『龍が如く ONLINE』の実態を直撃！【電撃PS】 ("Shin Ryū ga Gotoku" no makuake to naru sumaho apuri 「Ryū ga Gotoku ONLINE」 no jittai wo chokugeki! [Dengeki PS], lit. "Getting Straight to the Facts on the Mobile App That's Raising the Curtain for "Shin Ryu ga Gotoku," Ryu ga Gotoku Online! [Dengeki PS]") - Archive Yokoyama: その頃はまだ新主人公は未定だったのですが、名越から「この男には一番という名前を背負わせたい」という話があり、後に春日一番という名前が決まりました。“究極の名前負けというビリっ尻人生を、一番という名前であっけらかんと強く生きる”いう思いが込められています。 We were still figuring the new protagonist out when Nagoshi said, "I want to burden this man with the name 'Ichiban.'" So then I decided on Ichiban Kasuga. The "ultimate example of not living up to your name," who'd get the ass-end of life despite the name Ichiban and live it to the fullest like he doesn't see the irony—that's the thinking behind it.