Ryo Aoki (青木 遼, Aoki Ryō), also known as Masato Arakawa (荒川 真斗, Arakawa Masato) is the main antagonist of Yakuza: Like a Dragon. He is the current governor of Tokyo as well as the founder of the non-profit organization Bleach Japan.

Profile

Appearance

Aoki has a slim build. His short black hair is combed back save for two loose pieces on either side of his face, and he has a neatly-kept goatee. His attire consists of a dark gray pinstriped suit over a gray and black patterned shirt and black dress shoes. He also has gold stud piercings in both ears and wears a silver chain necklace.

When not using ephedrine injections, Aoki is confined to wheelchair, though by 2019 he no longer needs either of them.

During his time as Governor of Tokyo, he changed his attire, changing his hairstyle to a more conservative style, shaves his face clean, and wearing a conservative navy blue suit over white shirt with green pinstriped tie, a pair of matching navy blue pants, and brown leather shoes. He also wears a pair of prescription glasses by 2019.

Personality

Though he and Ichiban Kasuga are the same age, Aoki can be considered the opposite of his adoptive brother, as a calm and quiet individual who prefers to keep to himself. He treats Kasuga as a servant, but has a strong sense of faith in the captain of the Arakawa Family, Jo Sawashiro.

As the Governor of Tokyo, Aoki is well aware of his popularity in the politics scene, maintaining a seemingly down-to-earth image. However, behind the scenes, he appears to be a control freak who dislikes the possibility of his acquaintances acting without his knowledge.

Background

Aoki was born to an unnamed mother and Jo Sawashiro on January 1, 1977 in the bathroom of a department store. He was locked in coin locker #99 at Shinjuku Station as a newborn and abandoned by his parents, who were unable to care for him.

Masumi Arakawa retrieved him, unknowingly believing him to be his child with Akane, who he had instructed to hide their baby in a coin locker in order to keep him safe while the two were being pursued by members of Hikawa Industries. However, it was a cold night, and hypothermia set in before Arakawa was able to take Aoki out of the locker and bring him to a hospital, resulting in multiple organ failure.

Aoki was given the name Masato Arakawa and raised as Arakawa's only son. Although he grew up in wealth, he appears to have had an unhappy childhood due to chronic illness, which required him to use a wheelchair from a very young age. He experienced a great deal of shame about this, to the point that he was once in such distress about his inability to walk that he had to be restrained from hitting his legs, a sight that inspired Sawashiro to join the Arakawa Family in order to watch over him. Ichiban Kasuga was tasked with Aoki's care some time after his induction into the Arakawa Family.

At one point, he attended Harvard University, majoring in political economy. During his studies, he met Hajime Ogasawara, who later became co-founder of Bleach Japan and received a lung transplant which restores his mobility.

Involvement

Yakuza: Like a Dragon: 2000-2019

On the 24th birthday on New Year's eve. Masato was taken by Ichiban to visit Yumeno's hostess club for her birthday celebration. Taking an illegal Ephedrine injection he was able to walk for the evening as he met Juro Horiuchi, a law enforcement official who rebuked Masato's bribe to see Yumeno. That day he learned of Yumeno's true feelings about Masato and saw him as nothing more than someone to squeeze money from while talking with Horiuchi. Dejected he attempts to go home by himself only for the medication to wear off and was attacked by Suzumori, a rival family member who believed he was trespassing. Driven by anger and desperation, he murders Suzumori and calls Sawashiro to report the murder that Ichiban would take the fall for.


The events that happened on that fateful birthday made Masato despise the world that he grew up in and with Jo's help he faked his death to travel to America under the alias of Aoki Ryo and receive a lung transplant that allowed him to function properly and walk at last. There he met Ogasawara and talked of his ambition to end the existence of Grey Zones in Japan and formed Bleach Japan, a social movement to do so with Souta Kume being one of his most loyal supporters.

Trivia

  • The kanji characters in the name Masato are a combination of his father and grandfather's names: (masa), the first kanji in Masumi Arakawa's given name and (to), the first kanji in Toshio Arakawa's given name.
  • Ryo Aoki bears some similarities to Kei Ibuchi in terms of physical appearance and personality. Both are not only calculating, but have no problem with sacrificing whoever they must in order to attain their goals. While seen as merely businessmen from an early stage, it is later revealed that there's more to them than meets the eye. In addition to this, both their plans entail the merging of both the Tojo Clan and the Omi Alliance.

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