He is an extremely wealthy entrepreneur with a net worth of 100 billion yen popularly known as "The Lifeline of Kamurocho" due to his willingness to lend money with no interest to those with nowhere left to turn, provided they pass his tests. He runs Sky Finance alongside his assistant Hana, as well as Club Elise, a hostess club which he commonly uses in his tests.
Akiyama has several outfits that he is seen wearing throughout the series, though most commonly worn is his default outfit, consisting of a pair of black chukka boots, black slacks, and a black silk dress shirt under a maroon pinstripe jacket. He also wears a gold chain necklace with a gold circular pendant and a black leather belt with a gold buckle. In Yakuza 4 and Dead Souls, he is seen wearing a gold watch with a black face, whereas in Yakuza 5 it is replaced with a silver watch with haphazardly aligned numbers on its face and a brown leather band.
During flashbacks in Yakuza 4 as well as the beginning of Yakuza 6 when Akiyama is homeless, he wears a stained grey hoodie over a blue tee shirt, black track pants with a white stripe down the leg, a brown baseball cap, and a pair of black and white sneakers. At the end of Yakuza 4, he wears a black unbuttoned suit with a white dress shirt, and black leather dress shoes. In a photograph in the Sky Finance office with his ex girlfriend, he is seen with a shorter slicked back side part hairstyle and wearing a dark gray suit with a white dress shirt, blue neck tie, and a lanyard around his neck. At the end of Yakuza 6, his outfit is similar with his black suit and shoes, though he now wears a black dress shirt instead of a white one in addition to a gold chain necklace with a red pendant.
Akiyama is a lackadaisical, yet kind person. Like Kiryu, Akiyama is always ready to help people in need, commonly putting the city's residents' needs over his own. Despite his occupation as a loan shark, he selectively lends out his money free of interest and collateral; instead, he gives unique tests to his clients before he loans them money to determine if they are truly in need of the money. He will sometimes help them accomplish their tasks if it is within his power to do so. He will not hesitate to turn down his clients if they fail his tests, though he is not opposed to second chances.
Akiyama is shown to be a slacker and does not appear to take his job very seriously, much to Hana's chagrin. He often sleeps on the couch in his office, and leaves it a complete mess, leaving Hana to do the cleaning. He regularly forgets trash collection day, and has to be reminded of his responsibilities constantly.
In Yakuza 4, he forgets to lock his office door, which allows Takeshi Kido to enter his office and discover his safe containing ¥100,000,000,000 behind his bookshelves, which results in the money later being stolen. Despite his evidently atrocious memory, he is still able to remember where every single book on the shelf is supposed to be.
He is exceedingly kind to the homeless population of Kamurocho, often buying them food and drinks, and appears to sympathize with them due to his previous situation, being homeless himself at one point.
His loyalty towards anyone showing selflessness is also apparent, and he appears to idolize Kiryu somewhat, as well as Arai for his help back when Akiyama was still homeless. He maintains his belief that it was Kiryu who saved his life (as much as Arai), attributing his success to Kiryu's defeat of Jingu and Nishiki, resulting in money raining down from Millennium Tower.
Akiyama also cares deeply for Hana, whom he previously knew from his time working at Toto Bank. He and Hana have a bond that resembles an old married couple, with Hana mothering Akiyama, bringing him food when he forgets to eat and forcing him to do his job. He often displays fond annoyance when she nags him, but appreciates the concern, occasionally returning the sentiment. Their relationship developing into romance has been teased, most notably in the Yakuza 4 epilogue when they have a near-kiss, and throughout Yakuza: Dead Souls, but it is never made official.
Born in 1978, Akiyama was considered a golden boy when he was younger, one of the privileged youth who would aspire to do great things. He entered Toto University and graduated with top honors and a business (law in western releases) degree at the top of his class. His talents were sought after by Akihiro Yamori, the head of the Toto Bank's investment branch, who offered Akiyama a position - which he accepted. He quickly became the top employee in the investment department. He rose up in the ranks and started dating his fellow employee Eri, and the two eventually got engaged.
However, disaster struck in the Spring of 2005 when he was fired from his job with charges of embezzlement after it was discovered that a sum of ¥1,000,000 was taken from one of his clients' account and deposited into his own. In actuality, the money was part of a laundering scheme carried out by Kyohei Jingu before the events of Yakuza. Yamori was the one who sold out Akiyama and had planned the whole thing from the start.
Although Akiyama was innocent, it was a losing battle against Yamori, who had been very thorough in his plot to frame Akiyama, destroying all traces of his involvement. Akiyama spent all of his life savings trying to prove himself innocent. As a result, he ended up homeless on the streets of Kamurocho, his fiancée leaving him for the man who had fired him.
In December 2005, as Akiyama slept in Theater Square, he witnesses the bomb exploding the penthouse of Millennium Tower, followed by the stolen ¥10,000,000,000 raining down onto the streets below.
Akiyama gathered as much money as he could during this "ticket to another crack at life", however, he nearly loses that second chance when thugs attack him and steal the money while he was sleeping. Hiroaki Arai, who witnesses the attack, returns Akiyama's money to him. Akiyama feels indebted to Arai for the selfless act of kindness. It is later revealed that the very money gathered off the pavement was the money that had gotten him framed and fired in the first place.
Akiyama started investing his money and slowly built up a fortune. When he amassed enough money, he began to use it in order to improve Kamurocho, becoming its "Lifeline". He still feels indebted to Arai for his actions five years prior and hopes that Arai will one day become the head of the Tojo Clan in order to keep it under control, putting his faith in him, and lending out as much money as Arai needs for his endeavors.
Yakuza 4: 2010
During one collection run (at the behest of Hana), Akiyama runs into Kido, Arai's underling, and loyal ally. When Masaru Ihara, a member of the Ueno Seiwa Clan causes trouble at Club Elnard, he quickly provokes a fight with Akiyama, who buys enough time for Arai to confront. In desperation, he pulls out a gun at them and shoots Arai. Returning to his office, he finds Arai has murdered Ihara. The police quickly discover the body in the New Serena backlot and take Akiyama in for questioning. He is released thanks to Hana's testimony, however, Sky Finance is put under surveillance by the police following the incident.
During this time, he meets Lily, a woman who resembles his ex-fiancée, Eri. Her request is a ¥100 million loan; as a test, she is told to earn ¥3 million at Club Elise - a net loss for Akiyama as he knows he is unlikely to recover from the loan. During this time, he discovers that several of his clients are being murdered one by one - all whom had connections to the Shibata Family - and he begins to suspect it is the work of a woman. Sky Finance comes under attack, and Akiyama rescues Kido from the Hatsushiba Clan. During the second day of Lily's test, they are attacked by Kazuo Shibata's thugs, who Akiyama fends off.
Lily earns the required amount within the time limit set, and Akiyama explains to her why he loans his money out to people with no conditions. Wanting to see Lily's dream fulfilled, he gives her the money that she has earned for the test's completion, but not before asking if she was responsible for the deaths of Shibata's men, which she denies. Returning to his office, he checks up on Hana who is furious at him, announcing her resignation after he chases and catches up with her.
Some time after the meeting between Majima and Akiyama, he receives the money back from Tanimura who had taken the ¥100 million back from Lily as she was going to Okinawa to find her brother before his execution (which was no longer needed, as it had been discovered that Saejima had escaped from prison) and tells him where the last surviving Shibata family member is located. After Tanimura finds out the truth, they meet again at Homeland when Munakata and Katsuragi make their decisive plays against them, Sky Finance is held under direct investigation, and Akiyama is thrown out of his office under suspicion of coercing people into taking his loans.
With few options left, they contact Yasuko, asking her to come to Purgatory where she can meet up with Saejima. However Tanimura and Akiyama are intercepted by Kiryu, who they attempt to fend off in order to keep Yasuko and Saejima safe, not knowing that the two have already been kidnapped by Katsuragi.
Using the massive fortune he has accumulated over the years as bait, he battles and defeats Arai. With Date's help, they shower the city with a news article that exposes Munakata's corruption. In one final act of vengeance, Munakata shoots Akiyama, who is saved by his very last stack of money hidden away in his breast pocket. Arai goes to prison for his involvement in the murders, and Akiyama reunites with Hana, who self-reinstates herself as his secretary.
Around this time, he becomes acquainted with Haruka Sawamura.
Yakuza 5: 2011-2012
After exposing corruption of Toto Bank and Kamurocho Police Department of 26 years of money laundering to public with Kiryu, Tanimura, Saejima and Date, Akiyama quietly returned to his non-profit business of managing Sky Finance company. Akiyama is approached by Mirei Park seeking a loan of 300 million yen. He puts her though a test consisting of hostess and construction work and she passes spectacularly. He decides to open an office in Sotenbori to receive more clients across Japan. However, he is struggling to open the office to the public even nearly a year since purchasing the premises due to not having Hana's assistance.
While taking an afternoon nap, he receives a call from Hiroshi Horie, an assistant of Park. Horie informs him that Park committed suicide and the 300 million yen was stolen. Akiyama rushes to Dyna Chair office immediately and to his surprise he re-unites with Haruka, now an aspiring pop idol under the Dyna Chair talent agency. Haruka believes that her boss was actually murdered, and requests Akiyama to join him on his investigation. Additionally, he decides it was his duty to fulfill Park's dream of Haruka being on the stage of a Tokyo Dome Concert.
During an investigation with Haruka at Dyna Chair, they overhear Horie being thrown off and catch Kan Ogita in the act. Akiyama fights him and is met upon by a mysterious man named Kamon Kanai. He manages to fend off both of them, forcing them to retreat. The next day, Akiyama sees Park's suicide letter and notices with Haruka's help that it was forged. He visits the man who forged the suicide letter, who reveals that it was requested by Kanai, an underling of Naoki Katsuya of Osaka Talent. He visits Katsuya at his building to discuss Park's death in which he claims he had nothing to do with it, although Akiyama still doubts him. When he returns to his office, an police detective reveals that an organization named Ousaka Enterprises orchestrated Park's death. After he leaves the office, several Omi Alliance members arrive. Akiyama intends to gain info from Hakamada, causing them to fight.
After the fight, Hakamada tells Akiyama that Kanai is currently at their offices an hour away from Sotenbori. Upon arriving, Akiyama is faced by hostile Ousaka Enterprises employees before meeting Ogita, who is heavily injured and begging for Akiyama's help in exchange for his information. He confesses his involvement in Park's accidental murder and that he and Kanai were looking for a letter from Park's ex-husband. After Akiyama finds Kanai, he tells Akiyama that his underlings are currently on their way to kidnap Haruka, leading to a fight with Kanai's goons. Afterwards, Yamaura informs Akiyama that Haruka was kidnapped by some yakuza.
Back at the Dyna Chair office, everyone is greeted by Katsuya, who brought Haruka back. He apologizes to Akiyama for putting Haruka in harm's way, and continues by confessing that he's the president of Osaka Talents as well as chief of headquarters of Omi Alliance and chairman of Ousaka Enterprises, and admitted that Kanai was his underling. During the encounter, he reveals that Park's ex-husband was none other than Goro Majima. After Katsuya leaves, Akiyama tells Yamaura and Christina that Sotenbori is too dangerous for Haruka due to Omi Alliance's prominence, prompting him to leave Osaka and take Haruka to Kamurocho. He notices Haruka act strangely, and follows her to a train station where he rescues her from Kanai's ambush before taking her to Tokyo by taxi.
Akiyama encounters Katsuya again in Tokyo, this time with an offer of 500 million yen to cancel the Japan Dome concert as well as Katsuya's guarantee that Osaka Talent will cover the cancellation expenses, which he declines. Back at Sky Finance, he meets Tatsuo Shinada who requests a 320 million yen loan to cancel a concert in Japan Dome, much to his surprise. Akiyama joins Date, Saejima, Kiryu, and later Shinada at New Serena, and they all offer their assistance to Kiryu in guaranteeing Haruka's safety. The next day, Akiyama and the others fight the Omi Alliance across Kamurocho. Upon defeating Kanai one last time, he gains a high degree of respect from the Omi Alliance, Yamagasa Family, and Kitakata Family to a point where all of the families bow down before Akiyama. He later witnesses Haruka's confession and retirement on a large monitor.
Yakuza 6: 2016-2017
When Kiryu returns to Kamurocho in search for Haruka's whereabouts, after attempting to call Akiyama he finds out that his number has been disconnected, so he decides to head to Sky Finance to ask Akiyama in person what he may know. However, on his way to the building bumps into Date who informs him that Akiyama has shut down Sky Finance, ostensibly temporarily, and apparently is hiding out somewhere in the city. Kiryu begins to ask the local shop owners to find out why Akiyama closed up shop and where he could have gone. Eventually, he learns that a group known as the Saio Triad has been rising in prominence and around Kamurocho, they attack any Yakuza they come across in addition to Grey-Area civilians as well, Akiyama was chased into hiding by these men due to his previous connections with members of the Tojo clan. Kiryu would eventually track down Akiyama in hiding living in the sewers with the help of the local homeless people protecting him. The two briefly catch up on what has happened in the past few years and Akiyama informs Kiryu that he doesn't know the whereabouts of Haruka, but their conversation is cut short by Ed, a member of the Saio Triad who was one of the primary reasons Akiyama was forced into hiding. The two team up to defeat Ed and promptly flee the scene together. While exiting the sewer Kiryu receives a call from Date about Haruka's whereabouts and that she has been in a hit and run accident.
Akiyama accompanies Kiryu to the hospital where they find out that Haruka has been left in a coma from her accident, though he in initially turned away due to his lack of hygiene. It is also at the hospital that it is revealed Haruka has a young son named Haruto. When child-services appear to take the child away, Kiryu decides to kidnap Haruto, stating that he doesn't want him to grow up in an institution just like he and Haruka had to if she takes a turn for the worse. Akiyama, not wanting Kiryu to be arrested and charged with kidnapping, tries to stop him and the two fight inside the children's ward. Kiryu eventually overpowers Akiyama and he reluctantly agrees to let Kiryu take Haruto.
He's later seen in the 7th chapter where Kiryu asked him to meet at a hotel in Theater Square. Disguised as a window cleaner, he met Kiryu, accompanied by Murota of Tojo Clan's Jinsei Family, his new acquaintance. There, Akiyama told Kiryu a few things: rumors that Sugai was affiliated to Saio Triad, that the arson's purpose was to give Saio Triad a place to move, staging a war between the Tojo Clan and Saio Triad to bring Daigo down. In return, Kiryu told him that he's looking for Tatsukawa and also his plan to go to Little Asia to talk with Ed, which he agreed under the condition that Kiryu should bring more men to go there. To meet the condition, Kiryu brought Yuta and Nagumo to infiltrate Little Asia.
During the infiltration, a butcher caught him and Kiryu, forcing both men to fight him. They managed to find Ed, however, they have to face the Triads after fighting Ed. After fighting the Triads, he's seen at New Serena, along with Kiryu, Yuta, and Nagumo, where he explained about heihaizi (a Chinese term referring to children born outside Chinese government's one-child policy) and that the Saio Triad had smuggled them to Japan for quite a while.
In the final chapter, Akiyama is seen paying a visit to the now-recovered Haruka at the police hospital. He told Kiryu that Haruka may have to move around to keep her safe from both Tojo Clan and Yomei Alliance, however, he can't help Kiryu to take care of Haruka and joined Kiryu and the rest of Hirose Family instead. Back at Serena, he ensured Kiryu that Haruka's safe in the hands of Date and that he's willing to take care of Yuta's injuries, only to found him escaped from his shack sometime later.
One month later, Akiyama finds Date inside Serena and informs him that Sky Finance is reopening. He talks about Kiryu's supposed death, noting his suspicions that only Date confirmed the body before it was promptly cremated. When Date claims that there was no reason to keep the body intact since Kiryu has no living relatives and that the only reason he could see the body was due to his connections in the police force, Akiyama shrugs it off, remarking that he hopes Date can tell him what really happened to Kiryu someday.
Akiyama was strolling around Kamurocho when Hana (who suffered from fever) rushed to him and told him that it's collection day and brought him his cell phone. On their way to Hotel District, Akiyama happened to met Sotaro Komaki who gives him a small memo. While continuing their trip, Akiyama noticed a gunfight coming from a building. Upon closer look, he found a person falling out of a window. Much to the citizens' fear, said person turns out to be mutated into a zombie and Akiyama decided to take things into his own hands by taking a gun that's previously used by said zombified person and telling Hana to run away.
Feeling confused, he tries to escape the zombie by heading towards the underground mall, where he found out that the escalators are closed. Shortly after, Hana followed him to the underground mall, only to be told to return to the office.
The following day, Akiyama woke up only to found out that Hana's fever is getting worse and that zombies are starting to storm the office, much to Hana's fear. Due to the outbreak, Akiyama decided to cancel any collection for the day and took Hana to New Serena while he headed to the clinic to get a doctor to treat Hana, only to found out that the way is blocked. A low-level yakuza named Nagahama meets Akiyama by chance, and offered him to help by telling an alternative route at the cost of the gun Akiyama carries at that moment. Akiyama initially refused, but Nagahama told him that he can get another piece at a DVD store in Theater Avenue just under the theater. Upon reaching the theater's basement, a female named Reiko Hasegawa approached Akiyama, and she told him that she needs zombie samples for her research.
At the DVD store, Nagahama brought a few people, where one of them who happened to be a former employee told him that there are guns stashed at the store, much to his surprise. He told Akiyama an exit route and decided to tag along. Upon clearing the zombies, both men found a hatch that took them to an underground complex, which leads to a safe zone.
In the next chapter, Akiyama met Kamiyama (who now runs a pawn shop and a gun shop) and Hasegawa in the safe zone. Hasegawa introduced him to Akaishi, a member of the Crimson Shield group who serves as Hasegawa's right-hand. He makes his way through Kamurocho's underground complex to Theater Square to learn a route that the Crimson Shield use to enter and exit the safe zone. Eventually, Akiyama made it into the clinic, but the doctor wasn't present at that time and that a female's watching over the clinic. Akiyama managed to get a fever medicine after persuading the female to open the medicine cases. Outside the clinic, he met someone named Gary who takes him to his "boot camp", a marksmanship training facility located in a basement. Upon delivering the medicine to New Serena, he was shocked by the bar's now derelict condition and immediately search for Hana. Shortly after killing a couple of zombies at the bar, the bar's phone rang and Akiyama answered it, revealing that Hana escaped the bar and now hiding in Oriental Building in Nakamichi Street. Having reached the building, Akiyama encountered a large mob of zombies that caused trouble even for the Self-Defense Force as the zombies had surrounded their tank. Shortly after seeing the situation, Nagahama told Akiyama to head under the theater and find an exit route to the safe zone. Inside the safe zone, Nagahama told Akiyama about an alternate route to the Oriental Building.
Having reached the Oriental Building, Akiyama arrived just in time to save Hana and give the medicine to her. However, not so long after, a zombie appeared and knocked one of Akiyama's guns off his hands. Initially, Hana felt worried about him, but Nagahama's men arrived just in time to join Akiyama. After defeating the zombie, Akiyama, Hana and Nagahama's men investigated the zombie only to find out that it's a purposely made zombie.
After Kiryu destroys the Oikazuchi Omega form of Nikaido on top of the Millennium Tower, DD says his piece to Kiryu, Goda, and Haruka, before bidding them farewell as a Blackhawk helicopter comes to pick him up. In fact, the helicopter is being piloted by Akiyama, who bails out onto the Millennium Tower rooftop, causing the helicopter to plunge to the ground, killing DD in an explosion.
Throughout his appearances, Akiyama consistently fights with a heavy reliance on high-kicks. The style greatly resembles Taekwondo, but according to Akiyama himself, his fighting style isn't based on any particular pre-existing martial art.
- Akiyama's fighting style consists mainly of kicking, allowing him to unleash multiple hits at once. He relies on his quick and nimble dodges to stay one step ahead of his opponents and avoid being swarmed. While his grabbing abilities are still rather poor, his multiple-hit combo gives him an edge to finish enemies quickly. He has the ability to dodge while performing his standard combo, a feature that prevents him from being attacked while hitting another opponent. Akiyama doesn't have much in the way of Heat actions, but his fast-paced, swift combos make up for it. Akiyama is able to make potentially infinite combos after completing his training regime.
- Akiyama still retains his moves from Yakuza 4 though he also gains some newer moves, such as the Launch Strike, a red heat move flash kick (or flying knee strike if Akiyama is running) that sends enemies up into the air, followed up with an aerial combo. He gains several new standard heat actions as well. His moves are also now even more kick-heavy than before, such as punches when grabbing an enemy being replaced with knee strikes.
Yakuza: Dead Souls
- Just like the other protagonists, Akiyama has a personal weapon. He dual wields handguns that have a high fire rate, a large clip size, and reload quite fast, but aren't very powerful in individual shots (quite similar to Akiyama's melee fighting style).
- In Yakuza 4, the protagonists represent the 4 Eastern Gods. Shun Akiyama represents the Vermilion Bird (or Suzaku), as he has the most elegance (speed and flow) out of the 4 protagonists and is the most idealistic. He also has a red coat, the color of the Vermilion Bird. In the following game, he also gets access to air combos, furthering his Vermilion Bird motif.
- Akiyama's watch in Yakuza 5 is designed by real-life Japanese apparel company GaGa Milano.
- Akiyama appears as a guest character in the following video games: LINE Rangers, Binary Domain, Taiko No Tatsujin DX and SEGA Heroes.
- His likeness was featured in Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight as a DLC costume for Yusuke Kitagawa.
- Akiyama shares the exact same name with a real-life literary critic.