Voiced by: Masaya Matsukaze (JP), Corey Marshall (EN)
The main character and Protagonist of the story, Ryo is an 18-year old Japanese high school student, a skilled martial artist and heir to the Hazuki dojo. Outgoing and part of a generation of a changing culture, Ryo is more interested in living his independent life than inheriting the legacy of the family dojo. His life is forever changed when a mysterious stranger by the name of Lan Di breaks into his home to steal the Dragon Mirror and take revenge on his father's life for supposedly killing a man in China. Seeking answers in a quest to avenge his father's death, Ryo embarks on a journey not knowing his role in a prophecy that has been predetermined since ancient times.
Determined, stubborn, impulsive and reckless, Ryo is unrelenting in his quest of vengeance but is a good person who is always willing to help those in need and unable to defend themselves.
- Anti-Hero: Gambling? Check. Going into a bloodthirsty quest of revenge to kill the murderer of his father? Check. Getting to fight in the underworld for money? Check. Beating some teenage girls in school uniforms? Unacceptable! Completely gross! Stop right there! Now we are talking about something completely socially unacceptable, little Ryo-chan!
- Apologetic Attacker: Against friends such as Eileen, he'll apologize for going overboard in a sparring battle if he wins.
- Badass Biker: Ryo knows how to ride and takes on the Mad Angels a couple of times riding one. He also feels this trope in his blood towards the end of the first game when he borrows a friend's motorbike (Naoyuki's) and rushes to save Nozomi. He borrows it again for Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing, just as determined to win a race as he is to avenge his father's death.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Ryo seems like an all around Nice Guy, willing to help little kids, the elderly, and look after kittens without needing a reason. But once he sees someone in trouble he won't hesitate to kick their ass up to high heaven, and he's more than willing to use force to squeeze information out of anyone who wrongs him.
- Big Damn Heroes: Whenever a friend's in trouble, Ryo finds himself doing this often.
- Big "NO!": Ryo's anguished "NOOOO!!!" after his father dies.
- Bully Hunter: Predominantly in the first game. If he sees anyone getting bullied he'll immediately step in, which always initiates a fight. Guess how that turns out?
- Cannot Spit It Out: If Ryo calls Nozomi on the phone the day after he rescues her, he almost confesses his feelings for her and tells her what she means to him, but he hesitates and can't think of the words and tells her she's a really good friend instead. So close, Ryo, so close.
- Celibate Hero: Ryo is so set on his quest that he appears completely oblivious when women are clearly attracted to him. The official guide reveals that he first experienced feelings for a girl when he was a child, but a friend picked on him for it and the two got into a fight. Since then, he's fought off any attraction he might have for women, which makes it difficult for him to understand how he feels for Nozomi. He may come off as dense and oblivious (and sometimes is if Fangmei's any indication), but the photo he takes with Joy says it all.
- Chick Magnet: Many women in the series find themselves attracted to him, but he's far more concerned with his quest for revenge to recognize their affection. That or he doesn't want to put them in danger.
- The Chosen One: According to the prophecy that's been passed down through Shenhua's village, he has a power that can either destroy him or grant him his greatest wish.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: If someone needs help, whether they're in danger or asking for a small favor, Ryo will usually help them without thought or hesitation and isn't afraid to fight. When asked by an elderly lady why he saved her, he simply thinks it's what anyone else would have done.
- Determinator: He saw his father being killed in front of him, he was beat to an inch of his body's functionality, and yet just a few days later, he recovers and goes out to avenge his father and kick the hell out of the murderer's ass. Hard to be as determined, patient and cool about things as Ryo is.
- Didn't Think This Through: Ryo has a reckless tendency to leap before looking, though he's skilled enough to get out of whatever situations he gets himself into. He also seems convinced he'll avenge his father's death the moment he's in the same room with Lan Di, while others point out (or prove) that at his current skill level, he'll be dead in seconds.
- Dull Surprise: All too often.
- '80s Hair: He sports a spiky mullet.
- Expy: His initial fighting style makes him one to Akira from Virtua Fighter, although Ryo can learn moves from different styles and has a different personality. Not too surprising considering Shenmue was originally a Virtua Fighter RPG with Akira as the protagonist.
- Fish out of Water: Once Ryo arrives to Hong Kong, he gets robbed and into fights just moments after he sets foot off the ferry boat. He can also tell Fangmei how different Hong Kong is from Japan.
- Frozen Face: Ryo is always staring around with his tough, serious looking eyes, it even gets funny when he gets to be photographed with a nice girl.
- Good Is Not Soft: Anyone who gets in Ryo's way or puts his friends in danger gets beaten down hard. He also tends to twist his enemy's arm to squeeze information out of them.
- Guest Fighter:
- He is one of the playable racers in Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing, where he borrows Naoyuki's bike again as his main vehicle. His All-Star move has him summoning the iconic #5 forklift which can also be used as his main vehicle via DLC. After a popularity contest, he appeared as a DLC character for the PC version of Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, which has him riding the arcade cabinets of OutRun, Space Harrier and Hang-On.
- He also appears in Project X Zone 2 as a support character.
- Before all that, he was among many Sega characters that can be unlocked as a Free Agent in 2003's ESPN NFL Football.
- He, along with Shenhua, Bob Johnson and 1 other character appears in SEGA Heroes.
- Heir to the Dojo: Although the game approaches this from a more cultural viewpoint where the changing values at the time has Ryo more interested in finding his own path in life than carrying the family legacy.
- Honor/Revenge Before Reason: Several characters point out that Ryo is completely in over his head in his quest to avenge his father's death, needlessly putting himself in dangerous situations and will only end up getting himself killed, if not by Lan Di himself. When you stop to think about it, they're not wrong about that. Ryo also tends to put himself in danger for all the right reasons but with little thought to his own well being.
- Humble Hero: Due to his martial arts discipline, Ryo never boasts about himself or his accomplishments no matter how awesome they are. He's not above taunting some of his less honorable opponents though.
- It's All My Fault: Ryo usually blames himself when others are put in danger because of him, such as when Nozomi is kidnapped by the Mad Angels, and especially when Guizhang is injured saving him. He still feels guilty when reminiscing about them to Shenhua.
- It's Not You, It's My Enemies: When Joy discovers Guizhang was injured saving Ryo and wants to know who was responsible, Ryo withholds the information from her as usual, but tells her this is the reason and why he's been cold to her. He doesn't want to endanger her like he did with Guizhang.
- Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: While he doesn't deliver No Holds Barred Beatdowns to helpless foes, Ryo isn't above brutally twisting the arms of thugs (or even threatening to break them) to make them talk when he needs information.
- Lightning Bruiser: He's capable of pulling off very swift and agile moves, and is also strong enough to lift a grown man by the collar one-handed.
- Missing Mom: Ryo's real mother died when he was three years old. No other information has been revealed about her. However, he considers his caretaker Ine-san as one.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Getting too involved with the Mad Angels is what gets poor Nozomi kidnapped, and by locating Yuanda Zhu, he leads the Yellow Heads straight to him, allowing him to be captured..
- Not So Different: From Lan Di, as Xiuying and Yuanda Zhu attempt to point out, due to Lan Di taking revenge on Iwao for the death of a man, and Ryo going after him for the same reason.
- Oblivious to Love: While he does have a hard time with women who clearly like him (see Celibate Hero above), he's completely oblivious to Fangmei's crush on him. She asks him if he prefers "beautiful or cute", and he answers how different they are to tame; he thinks she's talking about a cat. She's understandably baffled.
- Odd Friendship: With rivals Guizhang and Ren. They start on bad terms but in the end, Guizhang risks his life for Ryo and Ren also risks his neck for Ryo for reasons beyond money.
- Perpetual Frowner: Ryo has been in some of the most endearing, beautiful, funny and romantic situations, yet he always seems to have the same angry/serious modern-era Samurai look on his face. Averted with when he was a child, as seen in his flashbacks. There are rare occasions where he does crack a slight smile, but it's easy to miss.
- Pointless Bandaid: Wears a white adhesive strip beneath his left eye for the entirety of both games, supposedly due to an an injury he received in a martial arts competition just before the start of the first game.
- Religious Bruiser: Ryo comes from a Buddhist family. The altar room in his house has a Batsudan that he can pray to.
- Revenge: What ignites Ryo's motivations and what starts his adventure. Word of God says that Ryo's bloodthirsty quest for revenge would slowly be put aside as the series continued, and that other features from life, like inner feelings, personality traits, and relationships between people would be explored.
- Samurai: You could call Ryo a modern-era Samurai, going from his distant and tough-guy personality. Lampshaded in an easter egg in the second game via a recorded phone call:Joy: I just met this interesting Japanese guy, that's all!Guizhang: "Interesting Japanese guy"?Joy: Yeah. He's really serious, and he's like a samurai.Guizhang: I knew someone like that.
- Signature Move: Similar to Akira, the Elbow Assault. A flashback shows his father teaching him the move, a few of his combos end with it, and he learns a counter variant in the sequel. It's also the move that knocks Chai into the water both times, and he uses the Counter Elbow Assault to take down Dou Niu for good.
- Smoking Is Not Cool: Examining packs of smokes in the employee breakroom causes Ryo to disdainfully remark "Ugh, cigarettes. Blah." Yes, he really does say the word "Blah."
- Spiky Hair: As part of his design.
- Stock "Yuck!": Young Ryo doesn't like carrots.
- The Stoic: Ryo is a hard-ass stoic teenager who happens to live in a perpetual stoic life full of harm and he doesn't seem to change a little by the environment, although it's implied he was quite the opposite before his father died.
- Not So Stoic: Ryo cries out loud in the intro when he hears his father's last words spoken to him. He also loses his cool whenever he gets screwed over by someone, such as Jimmy or Terry.
- Working-Class Hero: When Ryo gets a job at the Harbor working with forklifts, he defends his fellow workmates against the bullying Mad Angels gang members, and fights against the gang. He loses his job, but ultimately frees his mates from the Mad Angels' yoke and defeats the gang.
- Worthy Opponent: The mysterious Master Baihu in II, bored by countless victories, finds one in Ryo when he and Joy infiltrate the Yellow Head Headquarters. When Ryo emerges victorious, Baihu keeps his word and allows them both to escape, only requesting the name of the man who just beat him.
- Would Hit a Girl: Ryo won't lay a finger on a woman unless absolutely necessary, but when he does he doesn't hold back. Case in point, when trying to save a friend from getting involved with a girl gang, he's assaulted by two gang members wearing school uniforms, one armed with a huge wooden plank no less. Unsurprisingly, they get the crap beaten out of them, but he goes out of his way to take them out with a single strike each.
- The second game introduces female combatants, and while he still hesitates against most of them, he doesn't hold back against them and treats them as equal opponents. On the other hand (depending on region), Yuan gets the worst of it.
- You Killed My Father: Ryo will stop at nothing to track Lan Di down to avenge his father's death.
Voiced by: Hazuki Ishigaki (JP-I & II), Haruka Terui (JP-III), Debora Rabbai (EN, I), Akasha Scholen (EN, II), Brianna Knickerbocker (EN, III)
The Deuteragonist of the series, Shenhua is a kind-hearted 16-year old girl that has lived her whole life in the rural mountains of China in a village that has existed since the Tang Dynasty. Described as innocent and pure, she also possesses a mysterious power that allows her to directly interact with nature, but knows very little of city life and the culture of other countries.
Shenhua first appears in Ryo's dreams throughout the first game (and is featured on food items like chocolate, chips and the winning can), and he finally meets her in person when he follows Lan Di to Guilin. After attempting to save her life, she serves as his guide toward Bailu Village and discovers he is the one described in an ancient prophecy she is also a part of, and they are both destined to embark on a great journey together which will forever change their lives.
- Deuteragonist: Advertised as the second main character of the whole series, even though she's introduced at the end of II.
- Establishing Character Moment: She's introduced jumping into a river to save a deer during a violent storm that could've gotten her killed. Granted, it's the guardian animal of her village.
- Girlish Pigtails: Two braided ones.
- Girl of My Dreams: She appears in Ryo's dreams throughout the first game, and he finally meets her in person in the second. They discover they're part of an ancient prophecy and are destined to embark on a great journey together. Whether they get romantically involved remains to be seen.
- If Fangmei asks Ryo about what he'd have his fortune told on and the "Love" option is picked, he'll specifically talk about the girl who appears in his dreams and whether they'll meet. When they do, Shenhua can easily tell Ryo feels more for Nozomi than he lets on.
- Happily Adopted: Her real parents died when she was young, and considers the man who raised her as her real father. She points out it wasn't always this way, as she threw tantrums wanting a mother and siblings when she was younger.
- In Harmony with Nature: Shenhua travels across dangerous areas with ease and knows how to hunt and survive in the wilderness, and possesses a mystical knowledge of nature. She's never been outside Guilin, but feels the environment and animals provide her the knowledge and company she needs. That is, until Ryo arrives and becomes extremely curious about Japan, his friends and his journey.
- I Owe You My Life: Shenhua's very appreciative for Ryo risking his life to save hers, and repays him by guiding him through two day's worth of travel in the forest to her house near Bailu Village. She insists on cooking dinner for him and letting him rest there for the night for saving her.
- Living MacGuffin: In the second game's Non-Standard Game Over, her mysterious powers make her a target for the Chiyoumen, which may play into the main story at some point.
- Nature Lover: Justified as she was raised in the forests of China and has a unique connection to the animals and environment around her.
- Nice Girl: Shenhua doesn't appear to have a bad bone in her body and has nothing but admiration for the good in her life. But she also hunts for food and isn't naive about bad people existing in the world.
- Purity Personified: While she comes off as more human than most examples, a lot of Shenmue's marketing really went out of its way to depict her this way, which can be seen in countless promo renders featuring her. She's stated to be naive and pure, but fearless in the face of danger.
- Ship Tease: With Ryo, naturally. One scene in Guilin has him helping her pick flowers, and thanking him, it looks like she's moving in for a kiss. He sheepishly backs off and moves on, and she simply giggles at the response.
- Spell My Name with an "S": The first game referred to her as "Sha Hua", which is also another translation of her name.
- Wild Magic: She has a mysterious ability to manipulate nature to some degree. She claims the trees, mountains and water all carry energy, which she is able to draw power from.
- Wolverine Publicity: Out of all the characters, Shenhua is by far the most featured character in official promotional material. And while she does appear in Ryo's dreams in the first game and the opening demos for both games, Ryo doesn't actually meet her until the very end of the second game.
Voiced by: Takahiro Sakurai (JP), Paul Lucas (EN)
The Big Bad of the series is the merciless high ranking member of a powerful Chinese cartel known as the Chiyoumen, and an extremely powerful martial artist who practices a forbidden martial art rumored to have been lost long ago. His cold stare alone is enough to strike fear into the hearts of even the most hardened opponents, and is feared by all who know of him. He's introduced at the beginning of the first game forcing his way into the Hazuki dojo where he kills Ryo's father for killing a man named Sunming Zhao, nearly does the same to Ryo, and steals the Dragon Mirror for reasons unknown.
Unaware that Iwao possessed another mirror, the Phoenix Mirror, it's feared that should he get his hands on both mirrors, nothing will stop him. Ryo follows him to Hong Kong, where he hires the Yellow Heads to capture Yuanda Zhu, the man who sent Ryo's father the letter warning him of Lan Di's impending arrival.
- Animal Motifs: Commonly (and appropriately) associated with a dragon, representing one of The Four Gods.
- Big Bad: The series antagonist.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Takes out Ryo and his dad, skilled martial artists themselves, completely unscathed.
- Death Glare: Iconic for this. He doesn't engage in them; this is his normal facial expression. According to Tom, he got one look at Lan Di's glare and wisely backed off from chewing out him and his driver.
- The Dreaded: Anyone who's heard of him know full well how dangerous he is and want to steer clear of him, and think Ryo has a death wish for challenging him.
- Establishing Character Moment: Everything about the first game's introduction. He smashes the Hazuki residence sign, is completely calm and composed in his fight against Iwao, takes out Ryo with one hit and threatens to kill him. He allows Iwao to die like a warrior and kills him with his bare hands, leaving the two Hazukis lying on the floor as he leaves with the mirror completely unscathed. Cold, mysterious and a powerful martial artist, he is an enemy unlike any other.
- Evil Counterpart: To Ryo. Lan Di's father was also killed, but he instead took a darker path to avenge him.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Particularly in the English dub.
- Expy: Somewhat one to Virtua Fighter's Lau Chan, who also practices the Tiger Swallow style which is said to be a lost and forbidden fighting technique in that series.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Has a long scar on his left cheek. It's not known how he received it.
- Kick the Dog: If killing Ryo's father wasn't enough, the black car he drove in splashed water on Nozomi and almost ran over one of Tom's customers. And the little kitten in Yokosuka that Megumi and Ryo take care of? It ran over its mother.
- Meaningful Name: In the credits of both games, he's listed as Cang Long, which is one of the names for the Azure Dragon.
- Nonchalant Dodge: Demonstrated masterfully in the game's opening, where he is effortlessly able to evade everything Iwao and Ryo throw at him.
- Perpetual Frowner: If his eyes didn't tell you how serious he is.
- Revenge: Before killing Ryo's father, Lan Di asks him if he remembers Sunming Zhao, a man he claims Iwao killed, as if to avenge him.
- Spell My Name with an "S": In the first game, he was credited as Chang Long, which was changed to "Cang Long" in the second game.
- The Triads and the Tongs: According to one of Yokosuka's residents, Lan Di's very name indicates he's a member of the Chinese mafia.
- Villain Respect: Though he fully intends to kill his target, Lan Di nevertheless has enough respect for a fellow martial artist to let Iwao stand up and come at him one final time, so he may meet his death as a warrior.
- You Killed My Father: As Yuanda Zhu reveals, Lan Di's real name is Longsun Zhao, the son of Sunming Zhao.
Voiced by: Hiroshi Fujioka (JP), Robert Jefferson (EN)
Ryo's father and the master of the Hazuki dojo. A strict but loving father and a revered martial artist, his life is ended by the hands of Lan Di when he comes to steal the Dragon Mirror, and for supposedly killing a man named Sunming Zhao.
A letter from China warning Iwao of Lan Di's imminent arrival comes too late, and as Ryo uncovers more answers behind his father's murder, he also discovers a deep past that his father kept hidden away from him. Ryo then discovers the second Phoenix Mirror and learns that his father went to China to learn martial arts, and the reason Lan Di killed him was to avenge the death of his own father, Sunming Zhao.. His true involvement in the situation, as well as how he obtained both mirrors has yet to be revealed.
- Action Dad: Even though he knew Lan Di was coming for him and the mirror, he didn't go down without a fight and gave his killer everything he got.
- Adult Fear: Lan Di threatening to kill Ryo is what makes him finally cave in and reveal the location of the Dragon mirror.
- Death by Origin Story: His murder at the beginning of the game is what sets Ryo to take revenge on his father's killer.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: In his son's.
- Famous Last Words: "Keep friends... those you love... close to you."
- Good Parents: If Ryo's flashbacks indicate anything, he deeply cared for his son and was compassionate in teaching him lessons in martial arts, friends and valuing the hard work of others.
- Martial Arts Uniform: Always depicted wearing one.
- Mysterious Past: Ryo only learns of his father's extensive history after his death, which is other reason for his quest beyond vengeance; to uncover what it is his father did in the past that put him at odds with Lan Di and what the Dragon and Phoenix Mirrors mean to his family. All he knows so far is that Iwao was indeed responsible for Sunming Zhao's death, but according to Yuanda Zhu, the two men were best of friends and it was not a deliberate act of malice.
- Power of Friendship: He taught Ryo to treasure his friends in his life as a child, which he reiterated with his Famous Last Words.
Shenmue Main Characters
Voiced by: Megumi Yasu (JP), Ruth Hollyman (EN)
An 18-year old high school student of mixed Canadian-Japanese heritage who works at a florist. She was born in Japan but moved to Canada when she was young, and returned to Yokosuka to live with her grandmother when she was a junior high student. She's secretly in love with Ryo, but his quest for revenge and her parents' insistence that she return to Canada keeps them from realizing their feelings for each other. After she graduates from high school, she goes back home just as Ryo leaves for Hong Kong, fearful for his future.
- But Not Too Foreign: Nozomi is of mixed Canadian-Japanese heritage.
- Childhood Friends: With Ryo. He stood up for her when she was bullied by others for her different ways, and they've become close since.
- The Cutie: Nozomi is a precious, fragile, tender teenage girl who cries because she is going to Canada and thus won't be seeing her friend Ryo anymore, and has a difficult time admitting her true feelings for him.
- Damsel in Distress: Poor Nozomi is kidnapped near the end of Chapter I when Ryo gets too deep into the affairs of the Mad Angels, but he goes out and rescues her.
- Easter Egg: As explained here, nearly 20 years after the game was initially released, it was discovered that by raising the kitten's hidden affinity points to 500 and inputting a tricky command sequence in the first shot of the opening cutscene, Nozomi will actually participate in the fight against Enoki and Nagashima at Sakuragaoka park using Ryo's moveset.
- Half-Breed Discrimination: When she was younger, Nozomi was bullied and discriminated against by her classmates due to her different ways and culture, which prompted Ryo to stand up for her. She's grown fond of him since.
- Innocent Flower Girl: The innocent part is well spoken for, and she works at her mother's flower shop.
- Leitmotif: "Nozomi's Confession", a soft piano tune that perfectly accompanies her soft and delicate nature, as well as her feelings for Ryo. It's heard again in the second game when Ryo shows Shenhua the photo he took with her at the harbor.
- Light Is Good: Wears a white turtleneck sweatshirt and is too good to be involved in Ryo's dangerous affairs.
- Love Interest: With Ryo in the first game. Too bad he's completely consumed in avenging his father's death and cute Nozomi's feelings can't reach his heart.
- Nice Girl: Nozomi is nothing but a sweet and tender girl who worries for Ryo, it's no wonder he doesn't want to endanger her. Her gentle nature does not mean that she is weak or passive, though; an optional encounter has Ryo defend her from two thugs, because they were threatening a child and she stood up to them both by herself.
- Zettai Ryouiki: Type D.
Voiced by: Tetsuya Sakai (JP), Eric Kelso (EN)
Master Chen's 30-year old son and a skilled martial artist trained in the Yan Qing Style since childhood, Guizhang works in his father's Chinese trading company at the harbor. While he's still learning how to manage the business, he serves as his father's bodyguard.
Always appearing to be cool-headed and composed due to his expressionless face, he's quick to recognize the danger Ryo is putting himself into and tries to dissuade him from continuing his quest. Realizing he'd do the same thing if his father was killed, he sympathizes with Ryo and helps him at times while maintaining his position on Ryo's impulsive recklessness. He serves as Ryo's rival in the first game. He's known Joy since she was a child and saved her life after she was kidnapped, and the two have been good friends since.
- Back-to-Back Badasses: With Ryo before they both take on the entire Mad Angels gang, after they kicked the crap out of each other no less.
- Badass Baritone: Most notably in the English dub, where the voice actors describe his voice as a Chinese Clint Eastwood.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: Always seen wearing a nice business suit and even fights while wearing it.
- Big Damn Heroes: In one of the side story comics when he comes to rescue Joy when she was younger.
- Brutal Honesty: Guizhang never hesitates to tell Ryo if he thinks what he's doing is foolish and reckless, even after they're on good terms.
- The Cameo: An easter egg in the sequel has a recorded phone call where Joy calls him, and Guizhang teases her about calling him to tell him about a new boyfriend, which she quickly denies.
- Deadpan Snarker: Certainly has his moments against Ryo.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Although he means well and does looks after Ryo, Guizhang is also cold towards him and calls him out for his foolishness. It's not until after they take down the Mad Angels together that they're on good terms with each other, and Guizhang not only offers to help arrange Ryo's trip to Hong Kong, but puts his life on the line to save Ryo's.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Before Ryo leaves for Hong Kong, Chai knocks down a steel beam from above. Guizhang pushes Ryo out of the way, but he's able to kick the beam aside to prevent himself from being crushed. He injures his leg doing so, preventing him from going to Hong Kong with Ryo until his leg heals. If Ryo tells Shenhua about it, she believes Guizhang did it with no regrets, and assures him it's what a Chinese loyal friend would do.
- Hidden Depths: Good at playing pool, enjoys dancing, and fluent in Japanese, English, Chinese (both Mandarin and Cantonese) and Russian. One would also never expect him to be on good terms with Joy of all people.
- Intergenerational Friendship: According to one of the manga side-stories in the sequel's Xbox/HD version, he's known Joy since she was a child.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: While Guizhang acts coldly toward Ryo, he still looks out for his safety even if he thinks what he's doing is foolish, and is very loving of his father. After taking on the Mad Angels together, he helps arrange Ryo's trip to Hong Kong.
- Not So Different: At first, he dismisses Ryo's quest for vengeance as an admirable but foolish waste, until he realizes he'd do the same thing if anything happened to his father. He's also just as stubborn and proud as Ryo is.
- Perpetual Frowner: He's never seen smiling, and combined with his cold demeanor, he gives people the impression he's more cool-headed and composed than he really is.
- Put on a Bus: He was injured at the end of Chapter 1, preventing him from going to Hong Kong along with Ryo, though it was implied he'd soon follow once his injury heals. He doesn't appear in II but he can be heard in an easter egg phone call recording, indicating that he's still alive and well. Ryo will be able to call him and others in the third game.
- The Rival: Serves as Ryo's in the first game, as Guizhang seems far more level headed and sees Ryo's quest as foolish, though comes to understand where he's coming from. His skills are also on par with Ryo's, which the Mad Angels catch wind of and succeed in setting the two up against each other.
- Rivals Team Up: After kicking the crap out of each other and realize they were set up, Ryo and Guizhang team up and get even by taking out the entire gang in the game's epic 70-man fight.
- Smoking Is Cool: Often seen with a cigarette, though removed in certain regions.
- The Stoic: Rarely emotes and says little, he seems to prefer keeping to himself.
- Tranquil Fury: Guizhang's fighting style and his deep, penetrating voice even seems to reflect that in some way.
- What the Hell, Hero?: While they fight, he's quick to note how foolish it was for Ryo to take a lowlife like Terry at his word (i.e. a guy who had just kidnapped and threatened one of Ryo's closest friends the night before).
Voiced by: Masaru Hachinohe (JP), Eric Kelso (EN)
Mostly referred to as "Fuku-san" by Ryo and his peers, Fukuhara is a 26-year old student at the Hazuki dojo who lives with Ryo and his family. Iwao took him in due to his diligence and honesty, and while they are not related, Ryo considers him an important member of the family and is like a brother to him. While Fukuhara has a hard time thinking things through and is a bit of a slow learner, he does everything he can to help Ryo find Lan Di and seek answers for his sensei's death.
- All Love Is Unrequited: He has a major crush on Akemi, a hostess from Bar Yokosuka. She doesn't seem to recognize his affections, but once he stops visiting due to Hazuki-sensei's death, it seems she misses his company. Though it seems to be platonic, to his disappointment.
- Bumbling Sidekick: God bless his dumb little heart, Fuku-san tries to help Ryo however he can but tends to make things worse. He does prove to be helpful with some puzzles if the player cannot figure them out in time, and gives Ryo his life savings so he can go to Hong Kong.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: You can spar with him in the Hazuki dojo to practice your moves (the only way you can train up your throws, which you obviously need a live partner to use them on). As it turns out, goofy as he is, all the time he spent as your father's disciple was not wasted.
- Deuteragonist: Of Chapter 1, he helps Ryo train with martial arts, assists him with finding the Phoenix Mirror in the basement, potentially saves him from Chai, helps him buy the Hong Kong Ticket and helps provide him spending money when he leaves for Hong Kong. Guizhang could be considered the Deuteragonist for Disc 3 and is the tritagonist overall.
- Dumb Is Good: He may not be the brightest bulb on the tree, but his heart is invariably in the right place.
- Martial Arts Uniform: Always seen wearing one.
Voiced by: Kazuhiro Tsuboi (JP), Ryan Drees (EN)
An American from the Big Apple who owns a hot dog trailer in Dobuita. Always seen dancing to Hip-Hop music with a smile and an upbeat attitude, he believes this draws in more customers although his strange looks and broken Japanese tend to do otherwise. He's a good friend of Ryo's and knows a good trick or two. He also gave Lan Di a piece of his mind after his car nearly ran over a customer and lived to tell about it.
- Ambiguously Brown: It's not made clear what his ethnicity is, although he's dating an African-American woman named Honey.
- Dance Battler: Tom likes to dance to some funky hip-hop sounds, and teaches Ryo a Tornado Kick inspired in his dancing style. Then he tosses a glass bottle in the air and shatters it by adding a second kick.
- Funny Foreigner: Tom's looks and mannerisms really makes him stand out compared to the others in Dobuita. The Japanese dub also has his dialogue peppered with English words and phrases, as he's not quite fluent in Japanese.
- Walking the Earth: His backstory explains that he hitchhiked around the world and learned some martial arts in Latin America before settling down in Yokosuka.
- What the Hell Is That Accent?: In the Japanese dub, Tom has a heavy American accent. However, in the English dub, since everyone speaks with an American accent, Tom speaks with a bizarre mix of Chinese, Russian and Jamaican accents.
Voiced by: Captain George (JP), Jerry Ledbetter (EN)
An American who works at the Yokosuka harbor as a forklift operator. A quiet man reluctant to talk about his past, Mark becomes quick friends with Ryo when the latter gets a job there seeking the Mad Angels gang. As Ryo gets more involved in their affairs, the gang targets Mark and accuses him of leaking secret information to Ryo. While he's mostly innocent of it, Mark helps Ryo however he can if it can put a stop to the gang, who he believes may have killed his missing brother. Mark speaks fluent Japanese and is also the one in charge of the forklift races that take place every morning before work.
- Face of a Thug: He looks intimidating, but is one of friendliest people working at the docks, and is harassed by actual thugs due to his meekness. It's a holdover from pre-production, where he was originally part of the Mad Angels gang.
- Nice Guy: Mark is quick to make friends with Ryo once he joins their team, and tries to help Ryo out and put an end to the Mad Angels.
- The Stoic: Mark is calm and sensitive, but doesn't say very much.
Voiced by: Takahiro Sakurai (JP)
An 18-year old Greaser Delinquent, former gang leader and high school dropout who hangs around the Yokosuka harbor, earning him the nickname "Harbor Goro". Although he's first shown threatening people for money, he turns a new leaf after an unpleasant encounter with Ryo and helps land our hero a job there. Goro is also dating Mai, an old friend of Ryo's who was saved from going down the wrong path earlier, and before long, they plan to get married.
- Bullying a Dragon: How he and Ryo meet for the first time. He learns his lesson pretty quick.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Goro's first shown threatening people for money before setting his sights on Ryo. A can of whoop-ass later, he is much friendly and eager to help Ryo however he can.
- '50s Hair: He sports a pompadour, which looks as silly as he acts.
- Greaser Delinquent: Stands out compared to the other Japanese Delinquents found in the first game, sporting a pompadour and has his own 50's style Leitmotif that earns him a spot in this category.
- HeelFace Turn: Becomes Ryo's friend once he's handed his ass, and later ditches his deliquent ways to go straight.
- Hidden Heart of Gold: He's dead serious on marrying Mai, and with all the right intentions no less, but this is the reason why she accepts. Still, it's a bit too soon.
- Large Ham: You won't find a more over-the-top performance of having to use the can just to weasel out of giving out information.
- Leitmotif: "Yokosuka Blues", highlighting his status as the game's Greaser Delinquent.
- Milking the Giant Cow: His body-language is about as loud as his voice.
- No Indoor Voice: Granted, you never see him indoors, but he seems incapable of speaking lower than a near-shout, even when he's urging Ryo to keep his own voice down.
- Plucky Comic Relief: He's eager to please, and his over-the-top mannerisms make him stand out as much as Tom.
- Totally Radical: Perhaps his defining trait is how often he uses the words Yo, Bro and Dude.
Voiced by: Hiroaki Ishikawa (JP), Rob Croker (EN)
The leader of the Mad Angels gang at the Yokosuka harbor, who deal in illegal trade and contraband and want total control of the Hong Kong trade route, which puts them at odds with Master Chen. Terry acts as a Lan Di's guide in Japan in hopes to ingratiate himself with the Chiyoumen.
When Ryo gets too deep in their affairs and learns of the Long Zha, Terry arranges for Nozomi's kidnapping to force Ryo into a deal: fight and cripple Guizhang in exchange for Nozomi. Ryo agrees with his own ideas, but also demands to be taken to Lan Di, which Terry agrees to.
- A Handful for an Eye: Does this in his fight against Guizhang. Since Ryo forces him to fight fair, he tells Guizhang Terry's next move.
- Arc Villain: He's Ryo's main target in Disc 3 who tries to discover the connection between the Mad Angels and Chi You Men.
- Beard of Evil: He wouldn't look intimidating as a gang leader with a clean shave, now would he?
- Blatant Lies:Terry: Hey, I ain't no street punk! When Terry of Yokosuka speaks, he means what he says!
- Combat Pragmatist: He doesn't know how to fight, relying on his 70-man muscle to do his dirty work. He'll use weapons instead, and his surroundings when he's deprived of them.
- Dirty Coward: Always brings a weapon to a fight, uses dirty tactics to win and has his thugs do everything for him. When he's cornered and forced into a fair fight, he quickly loses.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Given a particularly deep voice.
- Kubrick Stare: He's doing this when his face is first revealed.
- Obviously Evil: Skull necklace, Kubrick Stare, deep sinister voice?
- Smug Snake: Given his standing, he's not intimidated by Ryo or Guizhang when they go after him. This doesn't change after they've taken down every other Mad Angel and he's the only one left standing.
- The Unfought: By Ryo. Guizhang takes him on instead, although Ryo takes Terry's weapon away from him and overlooks the fight. It doesn't last long.
Voiced by: Issei Futamata (JP), Paul Lucas (EN)
A creepy looking hunchback and a low-ranking member of the Chiyoumen, Chai's dream is to ascend the ranks of the organization and serve under Lan Di. Despite his low rank, he is very acrobatic, able to jump to high areas with ease, and is an exceptionally dangerous in his fighting ability. He learns of the second Phoenix Mirror and tries to obtain it while thwarting Ryo from going to Hong Kong, but is defeated by him.
In the second chapter of the saga, not shown in the games themselves (but intended), Chai sneaks onto the ferry boat to Hong Kong and takes a small girl hostage to lure Ryo outside to do battle with him again. Again, Ryo knocks him into the water.
- Ax-Crazy: Chai's absolutely nuts.
- Bald of Evil: To the point where he's often referred to as a "creepy skinhead" by others.
- Battlecry: Often accompanied by one.
- Big Bad: The main villain of Chapter 1 in the Shenmue Saga, he tries his hardest to sabotage Ryo's quest in Yokosuka to find a lead on series Big Bad Lan Di. Chai also tries to steal the Phoenix Mirror.
- Card-Carrying Villain: He's creepy, he knows he's creepy, and has absolutely no qualms about any acts of villainy. He even takes pleasure telling the player to watch out for him in the QTE tutorial explanation.Chai: Characters like me turn up out of nowhere. Don't panic! Stay on your toes! If you're careless you might... suddenly find the Great Chai has crept up behind you and— YAHAHAHAHAH! YEHAHAHAHA!
- Determinator: Chai is absolutely determined to get the Phoenix Mirror for Lan Di, and won't give up even if you outwit him or beat him. You thought knocking him into the water was it? In the saga's second chapter, he sneaks onto the ferry boat and tries again! Even after Ryo knocks him off the boat and into the water again, we probably haven't seen the last of the great Chai.
- The Dragon: Serves as one for Lan Di. He's eager to have his efforts recognized to ascend the ranks of the organization, and dreams of serving directly under him.
- Evil Laugh: He's constantly laughing like a maniac.
- Expy: Arguably one to Gollumnote .
- Extreme Omnivore: In the first game, near the end of disc 2, Ryo goes to the You Arcade to claim his Hong Kong ticket when he is suddenly attacked by Chai.Chai: "Came for your Hong Kong ticket, did you? But you are not going to Hong Kong!" (Chai then eats it)
- Final Boss: Of the first game.
- Gonk: There's a reason some characters refer to him as a creepy skinhead.
- Gross-Up Close-Up: His QTE Tutorial in the Shenmue Passport shows that he has loads of ear fungus.
- Handwraps of Awesome: Also on his legs and feet.
- Hopeless Boss Fight: The battle against him at the arcade is a subversion. The game progresses if you lose and it looks like he's invincible but the reality is he's just REALLY hard to fight. If you're good you CAN beat him and get a different cutscene. Unfortunately it doesn't really affect the story after so it's more for personal satisfaction than anything else.
- Inferred Survival: He never reappears in Shenmue II, but is unlikely to have died after his second defeat in the comic adaptation of Chapter 2, as he's kicked off the ship Ryo is traveling on well within sight of the docks at Aberdeen. Early screenshots for Part III confirm that Chai is indeed still around to cause trouble for Ryo.
- Large Ham: Plays this up in his QTE tutorial explanation.
- Leitmotif: "Chai's Attack"
- Lightning Bruiser: He's incredibly fast and just as tough.
- Obviously Evil: A bald hunchback who's creepy on just about every level, and his Leitmotif sounds like a theme for a demon.
- Scary Teeth: Missing or sharpened, adding to his already hideous appearance.
- Shout-Out: His moveset is based on Lion's from Virtua Fighter.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Despite his impressive skill, he's considered a low-ranking member of the Chi You Men, but still refers to himself as "The Great Chai".
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Wears a shirt but it's always open.
- Would Hit a Girl: He threatens to make Nozomi cry when she's kidnapped.
- Would Hurt a Child: When he sneaks onto the ferry between the first two games, he takes Xiaomei hostage to lure Ryo to the deck to do battle with him, and ties her up outside.
Shenmue Supporting NPCs
A college student who works at the Tomato Convenience Store in Dobuita.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: It's possible for Ryo to ask her about Charlie, and based on his description, she thinks he sounds really cool.
- Never a Self-Made Woman: Her official profile states that she's a clubber and a party girl who often skips her classes. She doesn't worry about her grades because she always has at least ten guys at hand willing to do her homework and tests for her, and pours drinks for her professors at parties. Her life philosophy is that life should be easy for a pretty girl and aims to prove it.
- Younger Than They Look: Her ingame model resembles a woman approaching her 30s but she is actually a young college student.
A popular fortuneteller who runs the Lapis Fortune Teller in Dobuita.
- Fortune Teller: Owns the business Lapis Fortune Teller which provides services various divinations which Ryo can purchase.
Shenmue II Characters
Voiced by: Takumi Hagiwara (JP), Eric Kelso (EN)
The 19-year old leader of the Heavens gang in Aberdeen, Ren is cunning, charasmatic and obsessed with money, who's also friends with Joy and idolized by Wong. A rival of Dou Niu and the Yellow Heads, Ryo seeks him out as Ren knows of Yuanda Zhu's whereabouts, but Ren tries to swindle him instead. After a confrontation where Ren discovers the Phoenix Mirror, he decides to help only because he thinks there's money involved behind it, leading Ryo to Kowloon.
In the walled city, he aids Ryo in finding Zhu and in his fight against the dangerous Yellow Head gang by gathering information, but also takes full advantage of Ryo by making him do much of the hard work. Although he thinks Ryo's going to get himself killed chasing Lan Di and the Yellow Heads, he finds himself tagging along for the ride anyway and later puts his neck on the line for him. When it's revealed treasure is involved with the mirrors, he seems intent on following Ryo to Guilin.
Ren has been announced to appear in the third game.
- Badasses Wear Bandanas: He's never seen without his white bandana.
- Berserk Button: He hates being told what to do, which he sees as being ordered around. This ranges from being told to stay quiet in a dangerous situation, or simply to get up in the morning.
- Big Damn Heroes: When Ryo first encounters Dou Niu and is trapped in a hold, Ren breaks in, takes out a couple of mooks, and tries to take on the Yellow Head leader. Unfortunately, seconds later, he and Ryo are knocked flat on their asses.
- Brains and Brawn: Ren is clearly the brains while Ryo is the brawn, although Ren is capable of being both.
- Character Development: Although Ren is slightly less greedy and manipulative as he was in the beginning of Shenmue II, he slowly and suddenly develops more heroic motives toward the climax of the game. Word of God says that we've yet to see the end of this, and that his encounter with Ryo will have an impact that forever changes his life.
- Deuteragonist: Of Shenmue II. Ren is Ryo's partner on the longest Disc set in Kowloon and Disc 2 resolves around earning his support. He's also the character standing next to Ryo on the box art, almost on equal footing.
- Decoy Antagonist: The Aberdeen Chapter presents him as the most dangerous gang leader in Hong Kong, his gang the Heavens cause Ryo trouble, stealing his bag and money, and later leaving him for dead in the Beverly Hills Wharf. Ren tries to knife him and tricks Ryo into a dangerous confrontation with the bigger gang known as the Yellow Heads, lead by actual Big Bad Dou Niu. Ryo must hunt Ren before their alliance begins.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Ren appears as an animation in the Shenmue Goodies VMU minigame found on the Shenmue Passport.
- Fatal Flaw: Impatience.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Ryo and Ren aren't on good terms with each other throughout much of the game and are constantly annoying each other, but once they journey through the Yellow Head Building together, Ren sticks his neck out for Ryo and fights off some thugs so our hero can go off and rescue Yuanda Zhu.
- The Gambler: One scene in the second game has him putting Ryo in a street fighting match and placing a bet. Naturally, Ryo wins, but hilariously, Ren lost because he bet against Ryo.
- Greed: Obsessed and driven by money.
- Guile Hero: While he's as tough as Ryo is, he manipulates him to do most of the fighting for him, but will look out for himself first and foremost. He appears to graduate to Anti-Hero status right before the game's climactic Rooftop Confrontation.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: For a guy so insistent that he only cares about money, he ends up having done a fair bit of good by the time Ryo departs for Guilin.
- Kansas City Shuffle: After he and Ryo break into Yuans apartment and hear Dou Niu approaching, Ren says to Yuans pet bird Hide in the closet! twice and tells Ryo to hide somewhere else. Sure enough, Dou Niu hears the bird say this and inspects the closet, only to get shoved and blocked inside.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: When Dou Niu appears a second time (see Big Damn Heroes above), Ren immediately bails. He considers doing this altogether when Yuanda Zhu is taken to the Yellow Head building considering it's too dangerous for even him. This doesn't last.
- The Lancer: Serves as one to Ryo when the two are taking on the Yellow Heads through Kowloon. Ryo's more honest, eager to help people and goes head-first into a fight, while Ren is manipulative, driven by greed and relies on his cunning street-smarts to get the better of his enemies.
- Last-Name Basis: Only referred to as "Ren".
- Manipulative Bastard: He's just as tough as Ryo but manages to make our hero do most of the hard work for him.
- Only in It for the Money: He claims this is why he keeps himself involved in Ryo's business.
- Opportunistic Bastard: While he agrees to help Ryo on his quest, he's driven by greed and is only in it for himself. At least that's what he insists.
- Pet the Dog: An official comic has Wong cornered by thugs, and when it appears Ren has come to save the day, he refuses to help Wong if he can't fight his own battles. Wong escapes from the thugs on his own, not knowing that Ren later came back to kick their asses anyway.
- The Rival: Serves as Ryo's throughout the second game, easily able to outwit him numerous times on his adventure. While he's not a martial artist, he's shown to be just as tough and dangerous as Ryo is in a fight. He also serves as one to Dou Niu.
- Street Smart: And how. Ren tends to avoid putting himself in danger by getting his information from the right people, tricking and using people to his advantage, and knows how to make money.
- The Trickster: He easily uses Ryo's gullibility, impulsiveness and skills to his advantage.
- Two-Headed Coin: Ren uses them in dangerous situations. More specifically, against Ryo, and later gives them to him as a memento.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: He wears a shirt but his chest is always exposed.
Voiced by: Satsuki Tsuzumi (JP), Amanda Satchell (EN, I), Lisle Wilkerson (EN, II), Jasmine Allen (Young EN, II)
A beautiful but quiet 26-year old woman that expresses little emotion, her eyes reflect a deep sadness within her. She is actually Lishao Tao, the martial arts master recommended to Ryo by Master Chen at the end of the first game and master of Man Mo Temple in Hong Kong.
An exceptional martial artist that is well-versed in Chinese culture, Xiuying is completely intent on quelling Ryo's desire for vengeance, fearing that his sole motivation of revenge would lead him to fall astray to an evil path. Ryo later discovers that she was raised in an orphanage with her older brother Ziming, who left her when they were children to avenge the murder of their parents, and hasn't been seen since. She wants nothing more than for Ryo to avoid going down the same path and losing himself in hatred.
While few know the truth of her past or who she really is, Xiuying is admired and respected by everyone who knows her for her strength, beauty and wisdom at her age. She took in Fangmei, who was raised in the same orphanage, and has her working as her assistant.
- Action Girl: She may stay out of dangerous affairs, but should she engage herself in action, no one's left standing remembering a thing.
- Big Damn Heroes: While she chooses not to support Ryo's quest for vengeance, she monitors him and will still come to save him when he's in danger, and will utterly wipe the floor with whoever threatens him. Even Final Boss Dou Niu!
- Broken Bird: Xiuying and her brother were very close as children, and he was the one who inspired her to become a great martial artist regardless of her gender. It all changed when their parents were killed and he became consumed by vengeance, leaving her at a young age and hasn't been seen since. She doesn't express it, but she deeply worries that Ryo will succumb to the same darkness her brother did.
- Cultured Badass: Xiuying is extremely versed in Chinese culture, literature, and Taoism.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Xiuying is this trope personified. Ryo can't land a blow on her for the life of him, and anyone she comes across is knocked out flat in seconds.
- Early-Bird Cameo: She appears in a Shenmue Passport tutorial explaining the use of items before Ryo meets her in the second game.
- Flash Step: Followed by an Oh, Crap! moment courtesy of Ryo (and probably players too).
- Friend to All Children: Many people in Wan Chai look up to Xiuying as a role model, but children and orphans in particular want to grow up to be just like her and admire her for the kindness she shows them.
- Genius Bruiser: Many people in Wan Chai also look up to Xiuying for her intellect alone. She's described as both a warrior and a scholar.
- Girlish Pigtails: Had twintails as a child, as seen in her Flashbacks.
- Hopeless Boss Fight: Unlike some other fights that are just really difficult, allow you to get a few good hits in, or your attacks are parried, they compare nothing to Xiuying; no matter what you throw at her, nothing will touch her.
- Indifferent Beauty: Xiuying is renowned by many in Wan Chai and Aberdeen for her beauty, but it doesn't seem to mean anything to her, finding her training to be far more important.
- Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: See the next trope.
- Lady of War: Xiuying could be a poster girl for this trope. She effortlessly avoids Ryo's attacks, then puts him in his place with a bare minimum of force... all while wearing a stunningly elegant Chinese Dress. She can do the exact same to more than one opponent, too.
- Leitmotif: "A Gaze of Elegance", first heard in her Passport tutorial. Another version plays when Ryo talks to Shenhua about her.
- Martial Pacifist: Aside from Ryo for the purpose of testing him, she never instigates a fight and stays out of the business of the Heavens and Yellow Heads, saving Ryo when it looks like he needs protection. She truly believes that martial arts are only to be used for helping people, but shows Ryo how easily she (and by extension, Lan Di) could kill him in a real fight.
- Meaningful Name: While Lishao Tao is not her real name, it can translate into "Few Disciples", meaning she hardly accepts any.
- The Mentor: She takes Ryo under her wing in order to teach him patience and take his mind off revenge, but in the end, even she's powerless to stop him.
- Mentor Ship: With Ryo of course. See There Is Only One Bed below.
- Nonchalant Dodge: She effortlessly dodges Ryo's attacks with grace and elegance, making it impossible for Ryo to land a hit on her.
- Perpetual Frowner: The only time we see her smiling is in flashbacks when she was a child.
- Qipao: She wears an elegant blue one when she trains or fights.
- Samus Is a Girl: Considering how Master Chen described Lishao Tao as "one of Hong Kong's elder masters", Ryo is completely floored when he learns that the master of Man Mo Temple is in fact a beautiful woman in her mid-twenties instead of the older man who sent Ryo on the Wude quest in the first place.
- Sexy Mentor: Although she and Ryo don't seem to express any attraction toward each other, she stands out compared to his other mentors. Attractive, has one awkward scene with Ryo, and her Qipao shows her legs quite well.
- She's Got Legs: Very apparent when she's practicing in her Qipao.
- Ship Tease: With Ryo like many other girls.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Invoked literally. This seems to be the case with her missing brother Ziming, whose quest for revenge has led him into the ranks of the Chiyoumen. Furthermore, each of them holds one half of a Yin Yang pendant.
- Stern Teacher: Strict toward herself and others. Most evident when she has Ryo perform tedious tasks such as airing out books and catching leaves before giving him the information he wants. But she does give it to him.
- The Stoic: She emotes little and doesn't talk about herself much, more than the other stoic characters.
- Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Her stoicism covers up the pain she feels from losing her brother, but it doesn't hide how deeply she cares for those she's taken under her wing.
- There Is Only One Bed: She invites Ryo to stay with her at her apartment where there is only one bed. After he points it out, she tells him he'll be sleeping on the couch instead.
- Thou Shall Not Kill: Believes that revenge is no different than murder and Ryo will be no better than Lan Di should be get his revenge.
- Tragic Keepsake: One half of a Yin Yang pendant her brother gave her when she was young, and he has the other half. She gives her half to Ryo when he leaves for Guilin, perhaps foreshadowing that one day their paths will cross.
- Tritagonist: Of Shenmue II.
- True Blue Femininity: Wearing her Qipao, Xiuying fits this trope like a glove.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: Her martial arts mastery, philosophy and wisdom is on par with the other elder masters found throughout Hong Kong, and she's merely in her mid-twenties.
Voiced by: Rio Natsuki (JP), Lisle Wilkerson (EN)
The 18-year old daughter of a rich businessman, Joy is a fierce free-spirited woman who drives a motorcycle throughout Hong Kong. She quickly develops an interest in Ryo when he arrives there and tries to help him out, although he acts coldly toward her at first. Her brash attitude leads many to misunderstand her, Ryo included, but beneath the surface, Joy is really a good-natured person at heart who just wants to help even if she's a bit nosy and overestimates herself.
She's associated with the Heavens gang and her father has worked with Master Chen since she was a child. She became friends with Guizhang, who later saved her life after she was kidnapped. She's since grown close to him and "Uncle" Chen, and is surprised when she learns they helped Ryo get to Hong Kong. She becomes even more eager to help Ryo after learning her friend was injured saving him.
- Absolute Cleavage: Stands out as the most scantily clad in the main female cast up to Shenmue II, highlighting her free-spirited nature.
- Badass Biker: Joy rides a vertiginous, sports motorbike, and her reputation is enough to drive off anyone harassing Ryo.
- Bare Your Midriff: If we couldn't tell she was rebellious and free-spirited already.
- Big Damn Heroes: She saves Ryo from a confrontation with the Poison Brothers, and gets him out of a bad situation with a greedy photographer.
- Biker Babe: She's certainly a hottie, but that's not enough to win over Ryo.
- Brutal Honesty: Joy always speaks her mind and is just as frank and blunt as Ryo and Guizhang. Unfortunately, she also has a tendency to say things that come off as more rude and demeaning than she realizes.
- Cool Bike: A fancy red motorcycle befitting her wealthy nature, and almost runs everyone over with it. Too bad Ryo doesn't get to drive this one and declines her numerous invitations to go on a ride on it with her.
- Crash-Into Hello: Almost crashed, but enough to leave a bad first impression with Ryo.
- Damsel in Distress: She decides to go after Ryo and Ren when they infiltrate the Yellow Head headquarters (after warning them it was too dangerous to go no less) and gets herself in trouble. She was also kidnapped as a child and rescued by Guizhang.
- Deadpan Snarker: She's very snarky towards Ryo, particularly when he rejects her assistance or doesn't show his appreciation for her help.
- Didn't Think This Through: When Ryo heads into the Yellow Head Building and gets herself captured, she tells him the reason she followed him was because she was worried and came to save him. She was going to accomplish that how exactly?
- The Dreaded: Many people in Aberdeen and Wan Chai tremble before the very sound of her name and her presence, and absolutely refuse to mess with her. While she's tough on her bike, it's largely due to the fact that she's the daughter of a very wealthy businessman.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Joy goes out of her way to do favors and important tasks for everyone without being asked, but isn't shown much gratitude by the others for her efforts, which clearly frustrates her. All Joy wants is a small thanks once in a while and know that she's appreciated.
- Easter Egg: When Ryo checks the cassette tapes, you can find a recording of a phone call to Japan where Joy knows Guizhang and his password.
- Fiery Redhead: Even Ren says she's too tough for him to handle.
- Has a Type: It's implied in a sidestory comic that she has a crush on Guizhang, who is strong, serious and quiet, and becomes attracted to Ryo who shares similar traits.
- It's Personal: When she learns Guizhang was injured saving Ryo's life, Joy becomes more eager to help him and wants payback against those who hurt her friend. Ryo wants to keep her out of it so she doesn't endanger herself similarly.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She can be very brash and blunt which can be off-putting at first, but Joy really just wants to help out wherever she can, however she can.
- Leitmotif: A Heavy Metal song whenever she appears on her bike.
- Male Gaze: The game camera does this in Ryo's place.
- Ms. Fanservice: Stands out among the female cast but was toned down from early versions, where she was wearing ripped shorts instead of jeans, seen here.
- One of the Boys: Her relationship with the Heavens gang. Even Ren was surprised how quickly she made friends with his.
- Rebellious Princess: Being the daughter of a wealthy businessman is one of the main reasons no one in Hong Kong messes with her. This doesn't save her from the Yellow Heads, however.
- Rebellious Spirit: She hangs around the likes of Ren and the Heavens gang despite being rich, drives her motorcycle in crowded areas without a care in the world, and perhaps her Fatal Flaw, rarely listens to the advice of others. She comes off as nosy and somewhat obnoxious because of this at first, but she really has no ulterior motives in helping Ryo.
- Spoiled Sweet: Although "sweet" may not be the best word, Joy still uses her influence and power with good intentions, and is well-liked by everyone that knows her well. She helps Ryo find a place to stay once he arrives in Hong Kong, land him a job and drives off some thugs for him, and continues to help get information in Kowloon.
- Street Smart: Joy knows the streets better than most and can handle herself just fine. Against the mafia, on the other hand...
- Unwanted Assistance: Pretty much how Ryo treats her during his time in Hong Kong. Even though he wouldn't have lasted long without her help, she's still quick to stick her nose in places that aren't her business. Although he later lightens up, he still keeps her out of the loop to keep her out of danger. It doesn't work, as she follows him to Kowloon.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Aside from calling Ryo out on his cold behavior toward her, she delivers a big one when Ryo goes to Kowloon without telling her or saying goodbye. Ryo's at a loss of words, while this tips Ren off to her attraction toward him. She gets one in return after Ryo rescues her, demanding to know why she followed them into the dangerous Yellow Head building.
Voiced by: Kumiko Watanabe (JP), Akasha Scholen (EN)
A 13-year old Street Urchin, Wong is the youngest member of the Heavens gang in Aberdeen. While he's a known pickpocket that engages in petty crime and mischief with them, the residents of Aberdeen still see him as good kid at heart, and he never forgets to return a favor. He causes trouble for Ryo early on in the second game, but after Ryo chases him down, Wong proves to be a great help, resourceful ally and a loyal friend. He idolizes Ren and wants to be just like him when he grows up.
- The Artful Dodger: Wong is a Street Urchin that can take care of himself and is a bit of a pest when he's first encountered. But after that, his help proves to be crucial in Ryo's quest.
- The Heart: Intended to be this for the Heavens, as Wong helps and looks out for Ryo when he gets himself involved with the gang and furthermore in Kowloon.
- Man Bites Man: He does this on Dou Niu when he's caught by him.
- Master of Unlocking: Picking locks is his most valued skill among the members of the Heavens.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Everyone calls him Wong; his full name is only mentioned in official guides.
- Tag Along Kid: He helps Ryo when he needs to meet Ren, tries to help them in Kowloon, and is present in the final battle against Dou Niu.
- Think Nothing of It: He's a bit embarrassed when Ryo leaves Aberdeen and thanks him for his help, thinking he hadn't done anything special.
- The Trickster: When Ryo first meets him, Wong acts as if he's being chased by gang members, but it's a ruse for Ryo to drop his guard and bag for the taking.
Voiced by: Ikue Otani (JP), Jasmine Allen (EN)
A 14-year old orphan with an upcoming birthday who was taken in by Xiuying and serves as her loyal assistant. A cheerful girl who's liked by those around her, she helps clean the Man Mo Temple as gratitude for the kindness they've shown her over the years. When Xiuying takes Ryo under her wing, Fangmei helps look after him and quickly develops a crush on him. She loves cooking and aims to be one of Hong Kong's best cooks, and later becomes good friends with teenage martial artist Eileen Edelweiss.
- Berserk Button: Don't compare her to a cat or threaten Ryo in front of her.
- Cry Cute: This happens if she develops enough feelings for Ryo when he has to leave.
- The Cutie: Serves as the primary one in Shenmue II. Aside from her cheerful outlook and demeanor, she tries her best to look after Ryo and is eager to please him with food or tea. An optional side quest allows Ryo to learn more about her, when her birthday is, and can buy the sweet girl a birthday gift, which wins her heart.
- Fangirl: She becomes one if she catches a glimpse of Xiuying training.
- Feminine Women Can Cook: Her goal is to become one of Hong Kong's best cooks, and many conversations with her include what to make for dinner and what Ryo thought of her cooking the previous day. He even compares her deep concentration on cooking similar to his martial arts training. Unfortunately, we never get to see her cook or see Ryo eating her food.
- Frying Pan of Doom: In an optional QTE fight where Ryo comes to her rescue in Man Mo Bistro, she can assist using one of these, although Ryo simply knocks a thug into it.
- Girlish Pigtails: A pair of twintails.
- Graceful Ladies Like Purple / True Blue Femininity: Her default and favorite outfit has both, which Xiuying picked out for her.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Quickly gets jealous whenever Ryo mentions another woman. It doesn't help that he's completely oblivious to her crush on him.
- Happily Adopted: She's been adopted by the temple and works there to repay them for their kindness. She gets along well with the people there and appreciates all the good in her life.
- Leitmotif: "A Lovely Girl".
- Nice Girl: Why she's so well-liked among the people in Wan Chai, although she's not above letting Ryo cut loose on some thugs and keeping it a secret from Xiuying.
- Plucky Girl: Always upbeat and cheerful, except when her Berserk Buttons are pressed.
- Precocious Crush: She develops one for Ryo, and getting closer to her through the birthday side quest will have her confess her love to him when he leaves for Kowloon. Not doing said side quest results in an alternate scene with a case of Cannot Spit It Out.
- Thou Shall Not Kill: Like Xiuying, she believes that vengeance is immoral. If Ryo tells her Lan Di killed his father, she'll warn him about the path he's taking and plead for him to reconsider.
- Video Game Caring Potential / Video Game Cruelty Potential: You can say nice things to her and potentially learn her birthday and buy her a present, or you can also say mean things to her and make her angry.
Voiced by: Takahiro Sakurai (Japanese version), Unknown (JP, EU version) Lisle Wilkerson (EN)
A high-ranking member of the dangerous Yellow Head gang, who serves as Dou Niu's right-hand man and partner, Yuan enjoys harassing the people of Hong Kong with threats and blackmail. He/she despises anything filthy and is quite obsessed with knives, and is the one in charge of discovering Yuanda Zhu's whereabouts for Dou Niu to deliver to Lan Di. Yuan seems to be more bark than bite at first, but is still a dangerous force to be reckoned with.
Infamously, Yuan was a male in the Japanese version of the game, a Villainous Crossdresser who is in a relationship with the Yellow Head leader, Dou Niu. The PAL version of the Dreamcast game, which retained the Japanese dub, redubbed Yuan as female with all male references being removed. This change carried over to the XBox version of the game with a new English dub, where Yuan is voiced by a womannote . While the HD Remaster keeps Yuan voiced by a woman in the English dub, the Japanese dub carries his original voice. Shenmue III appears to retain Yuan as a male.
- Beware the Silly Ones: Yuan's apparent wackiness and Sissy Villain traits go right out the window when he/she strides up to Ryo and Ren holding a goddamned chainsaw.
- Chainsaw Good: Not so good when it's being used by a Villainous Crossdresser intent on chasing down and killing Ryo.
- The Chew Toy: A downplayed example, but Yuan easily gets the worst treatment of the Yellow Heads courtesy of our heroes, and deserves every bit of it.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Heard but not shown. Once Zhu's associate is captured, this is how Yuan attempts to get information on Zhu's whereabouts. We only hear what sounds like a whip, and Zhang seems pretty beaten up when Ryo saves him.
- Depraved Homosexual: Portrayed as such in the original Japanese version. He's Dou Niu's partner and his vain flamboyance plays a large part of his villainy.
- The Ditz: Has a nasty habit of tripping early on.
- The Dragon: Serves as Dou Niu's. It's also why Yuan can get away with pretty much everything until Ryo and Ren come rolling around. And even then Yuan can call for backup or the big guy is nearby.
- Jerkass: Yuan pretty much lives to spread misery, spending his/her nights harassing many of Kowloon's shop owners for no good reason. Regardless of whether he's a man or a even a woman, it's really hard to feel sorry for Yuan after everything Ryo and Ren put him/her through.
- Knife Nut: Has a large knife collection.
- Neat Freak: Absolutely loathes anything that's dirty, trashy or smelly, and is said to compulsively clean anything that fits those descriptions.
- Rich Bitch: Male and female!
- She's a Man in Japan: An infamous example in gaming.
- Sissy Villain: Totally vain and absolutely hates trash, and isn't really much of a threat until much later.
- Took a Level in Badass: When Yuan is cornered and deprived of his/her chainsaw, Ryo and Ren expect Yuan to run just like every other time. Instead, Yuan gets into a fighting stance and takes on Ryo, being a practitioner of the Mantis Dagger Fist style, and puts up a decent fight.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Trash and garbage. Simply knocking trash on the floor is enough to stop Yuan from chasing you with a chainsaw.
- Villainous Crossdresser: Yuan's original role. His Shenmue III profile describes him as a man who fancies himself as a woman, but is deadly with a knife.
Voiced by: Masayuki Kumagai (JP), Dean Harrington (EN)
A giant-sized man who is the leader of the dangerous Yellow Head gang in Kowloon. Dou Niu is also searching for Yuanda Zhu, having been hired by the Chiyoumen to capture him for Lan Di, which would allow him to join their ranks and gain full control of Hong Kong. He's also at odds with Ren, and in the Japanese version of the game, is in a relationship with his male partner, Yuan.
- Badass Gay: In the original Japanese version. He's a crime boss, takes out both Ryo and Ren in a Curb-Stomp Battle, and his romantic partner is a male Villainous Crossdresser.
- Bald of Evil: Not a strand of hair on the head of the Head of the Yellow Head.
- Big Bad: Of Shenmue II and the Kowloon chapter.
- Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: Chai was a small, fast and acrobatic adversary, while Dou Niu is a massive tank of a man who overwhelms his opponents with brute force.
- Depraved Homosexual: In the original Japanese version, his relationship with Yuan only added to his intimidating presence, and hurting his boyfriend is a good way to get him pissed off.
- The Dragon: He seeks out Yuanda Zhu in the hopes of becoming one to Lan Di.
- Dumb Muscle: While he's not a complete meat-head he certainly has some moments.
- Evil Is Hammy: This guy does not merely speak; he bellows.
- Evil Laugh: When he thinks he's gained Lan Di's support and control of Hong Kong.
- Final Boss: Of Shenmue II.
- Climax Boss: Although the game continues on after his defeat.
- Finishing Stomp: Failing QTEs will have Dou Niu finish off Ryo this way.
- Large and in Charge: By far the largest of the Yellow Heads, and its leader.
- Red Right Hand: The mole on his forehead.
- Stout Strength: He's able to take blows from Ren without wincing, can knock Ryo across the room, and can even break the floor he's standing on. Granted, the Yellow Head building was already falling apart.
- Unskilled, but Strong: Dou Niu's knowledge of martial arts is basically limited to just slamming his fists into his victims. He makes up for it by being built like a gorilla.
- Would Hurt a Child: In the final confrontation with him, he threatens to throw Wong off the roof of the Big Ox Building, the largest in Kowloon.
Shenmue II Supporting NPCs
A Japanese 18-year old student studying in Hong Kong who works at the Tomato Convenience Store in Wan Chai. She quickly becomes friends with Ryo after recognizing their shared heritage and the two seem to have quite a bit in common. She becomes interested in him just as quickly.
However, a well-hidden side quest reveals that she secretly has something else in common with Ryo; she's also skilled in martial arts and enough to give Ryo a run for his money. Beating her challenge unlocks the duck racing minigame.
- Badass Adorable: Adorable goes without saying. As for the Badass part, keep reading.
- Beware the Nice Ones: If you uncover her challenge, do not, repeat, do not underestimate her.
- Birds of a Feather: Izumi quickly becomes friends with Ryo when she learns that they're both Japanese, the same age, and haven't been in Hong Kong for very long, and becomes attracted to him just as quickly. She also knows martial arts.
- Bonus Boss: An optional and hidden sidequest can allow Ryo to partake in a fighting contest in Hong Kong, with the final opponent being none other than the cute Tomato Convenience store clerk herself. Most players weren't ready for her and found out the hard way that she puts up one of the most difficult fights in the entire game.
- Calling Your Attacks: "Viva Sakura Festival!"
- The Cutie: Izumi is another kind, pleasant and attractive girl that's Ryo's age and quickly becomes interested in him. She would probably be a great help if her work and studies didn't keep her busy. It makes it all that more surprising if players discover she's really a...
- Cute Bruiser: Izumi is sweet, polite and cute as a button, but make no mistake, she can absolutely destroy you.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Izumi appears in the What's Shenmue demo as a guard preventing players from going into a restricted area, before being introduced in II.
- Fanservice: Izumi exists solely as a sidequest character with no relation to the plot, and players can beat the game without ever encountering her. She stands out as one of the most pleasant characters in Hong Kong, is also Japanese and the same age as Ryo, knows how to fight and is one of the most unique combatants in the game, and she can unlock a unique minigame. She makes it very clear she's attracted to Ryo and wants to go to all sorts of places with him (even her place!). To the chagrin of many players, the game doesn't allow this. This probably stems from the fact that Izumi was originally designed to be "the heroine" of the first game, before she was redesigned and became Nozomi.
- Fish out of Water: Like Ryo, she's not used to life outside of Japan and everything in Hong Kong is still very new to her.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Not as bad as Fangmei, but if Ryo asks her what she knows about Xiuying, she can show signs of this.
- Leitmotif: She gets a remix of the Tomato Convenience Store theme.
- Lightning Bruiser: She's incredibly fast and hits hard. If you don't know how to dodge well, she'll take you out without the need of her special move.
- Nice Girl: An incredibly sweet girl that is always willing to lend a hand, if only her work and studies didn't get in the way. But she's not without her secrets, and even then she's still a sweetheart.
- Shout-Out: Her moves are taken from Sarah from Virtua Fighter.
- Spirited Competitor: She doesn't hold back in the fight against her and displays a healthy competitive spirit. Although she's bummed if she loses, believing she tried her hardest, she quickly gets over it and keeps her promise.
- Zettai Ryouiki: Type D.
A character that had long been advertised in official material before the first game was released and has yet to appear in the story. Niao Sun is one of the four leaders of the Chiyoumen who rules over the southern region of China.
Niao Sun appeared in the ending image for Shenmue II, indicating that she was to set to appear in the next chapter before the series went on hiatus. Upon the announcement of Shenmue III, she was immediately confirmed to appear in the latest installment.
- Absolute Cleavage: While it's not as apparent in renders, official illustrations depict her as the bustiest character in the franchise.
- Boobs of Steel: A leader of the deadly Chiyoumen, and Word of God says her bust measures at 98 cm. To put that into perspective, she outdoes the entire Dead or Alive cast, beaten only by the recently-introduced Honoka who measures at 99 cm.
- Early-Bird Cameo: She appeared as an animation in the Shenmue Goodies VMU minigame found on the Shenmue Passport, as well as making a brief appearance in one of the side story comics in the XBox version of Shenmue II, before being set to appear in Shenmue III.
- Femme Fatale: Described in official materials as the deadly siren of the Chiyoumen who wears a voluptuous red dress, likes to seduce and confuse people as well as her prey.
- Ms. Fanservice: Her concept art speaks for itself, and her character description just cements it.
- The Tease: Part of her official description.
Voiced by: Mayumi Asano (Young, JP), Akasha Scholen (Young, EN)
Xiuying's missing brother. They were close as children and he was the one who inspired her to become a great martial artist in spite of her being a girl. When their parents were killed, he became consumed by vengeance and left her to find the people responsible to take revenge on them, believing the Chiyoumen would have information. He hasn't been seen since, but official material reveals that he has joined their ranks.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Appears as an adult in one of the unlockable comics for the XBox version of Shenmue II, which confirms he has joined the Chiyoumen.
- Flashback: Appears as a child through these in Shenmue II, which not only reveals Xiuying's tragic past, but also the reason she doesn't actively help Ryo in his quest for vengeance.
- Revenge: Became consumed by it when his parents were killed.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: With Xiuying. He still holds his half of the Yin Yang pendant, and his sister describes him as having fallen to an evil path.