Jiro Kawara (瓦 次郎, Kawara Jirō) is a hard-boiled veteran police detective who is on the trail of a Korean crime gang, which is later revealed to be the secretive Jingweon Mafia.
Kawara's hardened cop side is especially prevalent through his trigger-happy attitude. Despite this, he does have an otherwise good side of morality, but frequently overshadowed by his bitter side.
Kawara wears a gray suit over white shirt. He has a graying hair due to his age. Karawa's likeness was drastically changed for Yakuza Kiwami 2 compared to the original Yakuza 2, being based off his voice actor Susumu Terajima. His hairstyle is also different in the two respective games.
In 1980, Kawara was a detective with the Organized Crime division of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police. On Christmas night, while tailing a suspect through a nightclub, Kawara wound up at the Jingweon Mafia offices in time to witness the Dojima family massacre the Jingweon's leadership. Kawara managed to avoid detection and wound up saving the Jingweon Boss' wife, Suyeon Jung, and her baby.
Since Suyeon's desertion from the Jingweon made her and her child targets due to the Jingweon's iron creed, which mandated "death before dishonor", Kawara convinced Suyeon to give her son away to an acquaintance of hers and then go into hiding. Kawara would periodically check in on Suyeon while she lived under her new identity and the two soon fell in love, married and had a daughter together.
Tragically, while Kawara was in Hong Kong for an assignment, Jingweon assassins tracked down Suyeon and killed her. However, her and Kawara's daughter survived. Grief-stricken, but certain that it was the best way to ensure his daughter's survival, Kawara gave his baby away to Tamiyo Sayama in the hopes of hiding her true identity.
In the years that followed, Kawara would go on a personal revenge mission against the Jingweon. While partnered with Makoto Date in the TMPD, Kawara would track down Jingweon operatives working in Japan and murder them under the guise of them being suspects killed for "resisting arrest". This series of extrajudicial executions disguised as on duty shootings would net him a reputation as a trigger-happy, cold blooded police detective and eventually earn him the nickname "Killer Kawara" ("Demon Kawara" in Yakuza Kiwami 2).
In 2006, the Jingweon Mafia have resurfaced within the Tokyo underworld, plotting to destroy the Tojo Clan for the massacre of their leaders in 1980. After the bombing of the Kazama Family offices, Kawara and Date are called for a meeting by Chiefs Junichi Sudo and Wataru Kurahashi, where they are assigned to investigate the case due to Kawara's experience with the Jingweon and Date's proximity to the Tojo Clan. Their first lead is Stardust owner Kazuki, who is suspected of being connected to the Jingweon and participating in the bombing.
Kawara and Date question Kazuki in his club, prompting him to flee. The detectives chase him to an abandoned building, where they find two Kazuki's on the rooftop: the real one and a Korean lookalike who'd been posing as Kazuki. The confrontation is soon joined by Kazuma Kiryu, who'd been lured to the building by the fake Kazuki. The standoff eventually results in a shootout in which Kawara and the real Kazuki are wounded but the fake Kazuki is killed.
Kiryu, Date and Sayama (who was unaware that Kawara is her father), take Kawara and Kazuki to a nearby underground doctor to be treated. While he's in recovery, Kawara speaks to Sayama, asking her questions about her life; this being the first time he'd ever spoken with his daughter as an adult. After having his injury tended to, Kawara informs Kiryu, Date and Sayama about the Jingweon Mafia and the Christmas Massacre, but he deliberately does not tell them about his romance with Suyeon and Sayama's parentage.
Kawara reappears later in the story, when Date and the Florist of Sai discover that Chief Kurahashi is actually one of the survivors of the Jingweon Massacre and are promptly kidnapped by him. Kiryu, Sayama and Kawara head to the Florist's offices in Millenium Tower, where Kurahashi (whose real name is Yeongmin Ji) is holding his captives. The confrontation results in the truth about Sayama's parents being revealed, but the reunion between father and daughter is short-lived. During the battle, Ji fatally wounds Kawara and, in retaliation, Sayama kills Ji. Kawara only has time to tell his daughter that he is proud of her and that she is just as brave and stubborn as her mother before dying in her arms.
- Kawara appears to be an audiophile, as he is seen at the beginning of the game sitting in front of an expensive-looking hi-fi.
- In the original translation of Yakuza 2, his nickname 鬼瓦 (Oni Kawara) is adapted into "Killer Kawara", perhaps to sound better by incorporating alliteration into it. In the Kiwami remake, it is translated more directly as "Demon Kawara". The trophy for completing Chapter 13 of Kiwami 2, "Demon, Killer, Father", is a reference to this translation change.