Spoiler Warning for Yakuza Kiwami!
Yakuza Kiwami is a sometimes ridiculous story about Kazuma Kiryu. There are a lot of ways to describe Kiryu: An ex-yakuza member who took the fall for a murder, the Dragon of Dojima, the guy everyone seems to want to beat up, but I think the best descriptor for him is Father.
Doesn't his face just scream best dad to you?
Through the course of the game, Kiryu finds himself taking care of a ten year old girl who is connected to his past. Kiryu does his best to take care of her, and from what I understand, he does so throughout the series (though I've only played Kiwami so far, so I might be mistaken in that regard). Kiryu basically becomes her adoptive father and does his best for her. I don't really want to focus on his relationship with Haruka, instead I want to look at what helped shape Kiryu into the father that he became for Haruka.
From Kiwami alone we don't know a lot about Kiryu's history (I'm looking forward to playing 0 to find out more about that) but we do know that he was an orphan who was taken in by Kazuma Shintaro. Despite being a member of the yakuza, Shintaro does his best to help Kiryu and seems to be a decent guy. He brings Kiryu into his yakuza family and seems to keep Kiryu away from much of the dirtier work of the yakuza. As the game opens, he is arranging for Kiryu to be a family head, which seems to be really big deal. When Kiryu takes the blame for the murdered clan leader, Shintaro knows Kiryu well enough to know what likely happened and does his best to help Kiryu after his 10 years in prison.
Shintaro was Kiryu's biggest influence in his early life, and since I don't have any other evidence to suggest otherwise yet, I beleive that he was the reason that Kiryu had the strength of character to take the fall for his best friend. Whether or not Kiryu should have taken the fall is a different discussion, but Kiryu saw his friend, Nishiki, in a situation that would ruin him and did what he thought would best help him. He was thinking of Nishiki's little sister, who needed her brother. He knew that he could handle the punishment and so he protected his friend.
Which, in hindsight, maybe wasn't the best idea.
We see in this action Kiryu's deep compassion for those he cares about. Kiryu became a convicted murderer to protect his best friend from from becoming one. This alone doesn't mean he would be a good father, but it does point him in the right direction.
There are a lot of substories in Yakuza Kiwami. After Kiryu gets out of prison, he can wander the city and do plenty of side quests. There are a lot of these side quests that prepare Kiryu for his coming role as a father. A few stood out to me as I played through them. In one called "Prodigal Son" Kiryu is approached by an old homeless man who mistakes him for his son. Kiryu is a little confused (which seems to be a constant for him) but plays along with it to see what will happen. Before Kiryu can talk to the man and correct his mistake, the man gets mugged and Kiryu has to beat the tar out of the muggers to save the man, who he now knows as Gen-san. A friend of Gen-san explains to Kiryu that Gen-san's son disappeared a long time ago and was likely dead. He then thanks Kiryu for giving the old man a glimpse of his son, who he had always been waiting for. Kiryu ponders what a father's love means as the substory concludes.
While Gen-san's story is sad in a lot of ways, I think the interaction showed Kiryu how long lasting and deep a father's love really is. This senile old man was always looking for his son. Though it seems like his memory was hazy, his son was the one thing he would always remember.
Something for Kiryu to think about.
In another substory, Kiryu finds a cafe owner bemoaning the state of his vandilized sign, and since Kiryu has a powerful case of hero syndrome he can't just ignore the poor man. He agrees to find out who is constantly vandilizing his sign, but is surprised to discover that the man's son is the perpetrator. The son is fed up with his father not listening to him about his dreams. The father wants to son to take over the cafe, but the son wants none of that, he wants to be a graphic designer. Kiryu is able to convince the son that he needs to have a good heart to heart talk with his dad instead of resorting to vandilism. When Kiryu checks in on the two, he finds that the father has accepted that his son wants to follow his own dreams and apologizes for not hearing him sooner.
Kiryu somehow stepped into the middle of a family feud and was able to help resolve it with just a few words of encouragment (and a small beat down). In the substory menu we can see a little of what Kiryu thinks about what happened. It says "Sometimes family members need to sit down and have an honest discussion. Don't give in and bottle up your feelings before speaking your mind." Kiryu already knew the importance of communication before meeting this struggling family, but his belief was cemented as he saw it working in real time. This experience will give Kiryu to think back on as his fatherly duties solidify.
One other event in the game that I want to talk about happens in chapter six in the main story. Kiryu finds himself in the middle of another yakuza conflict as a lower member of a yakuza gang runs away with the daughter of the boss. They want to be together and Kiryu goes way out of his way to help make sure that they succeed. He implies that he's doing it so that "The Florist" (the young man's father a powerful informant) will owe him a favor, but it kind of seems like Kiryu intervenes before he has any thoughts of reward. It's possible that Kiryu sees what he missed out on due to the early events of the game in these two love birds, but Kiryu is also just a really good guy and would obviously want to help.
Kiryu ends up fighting a big group of armed Yakuza, because he always does somehow, and stops the yakuza from killing the young man. The young man vows to take care of his girlfriend, and the girlfriend says that she wants to stay with her boyfriend. The yakuza man then pulls out a letter from his boss to the daughter. In it, the father apologizes for his lifestyle and how that lifestyle prevented him from being a good father. Kiryu is present as the letter is read and hears the confessions of a loving, but ultimately poor father. He hasn't quite become a father yet, but he is protecting Haruka at this point. While he might not be applying what is happening to his relationship with Haruka, he is still being shown what a yakuza lifestyle does to a father and daughter. While he tries to pass off what happens here as getting the florist to owe him one, I think what happened there will follow him for a long time as he tries to take care of Haruka. Even after being kicked out of the yakuza, he was still very much involved in that world. Could he continue to live like this and adequately take care of Haruka? These are probably questions for future games in the series.
Does that apply to Kiryu too?
Kiryu's adventures in Kamurocho go a long way to mold his character and prepare him for his future duties as a father. There are probably a lot more examples of father or family themed events in Yakuza Kiwami that Kiryu could learn from, but these were the ones that stuck out to me. I'm looking forward to playing more of this series to see how Kiryu grows as a person and as a father, and with how good Kiwami has been, I'm sure that I won't be disappointed.