Cash-Cow Franchise: In its native Japan, the franchise is certainly this for Sega and shows no sign of losing momentum anytime soon. In the ten years since the first game, several sequels, spin-offs and HD remasters have been released, with almost every game becoming best-sellers and falling under Playstation's "The Best" line. A prequel and remake of the first game were released to commemorate the series' ten year anniversary, and the the seventh game in the main series was released recently.
IGN has announced that the Yakuza 6 and Yakuza Kiwami will both be released to the western markets. This comes as a great surprise to fans of the series and it is an appreciated gesture from Konami, who really need to fix their image after the Kojima controversy and all the dirty secrets of the Konami production process that were disclosed. Yakuza Kiwami is a remaster of the original Yakuza game, which will feature the original title, paired with bonus content. The new additions to the game include an extended soundtrack, new cut scenes and completely reworked textures.
Possibly unintentional example. Andre Richardson in 3, who is voiced by Charles Glover, receives an Expy in Ishin named Thomas Glover.
In the live-action film, Goro Majima is portrayed by Goro Kishitani.
Dueling Dubs: Yakuza 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 all received new, more-faithful localizations with their respective remakes and remasters, making terminology more consistent from game to game. Notable changes include:
Kiryu is rendered as "Kiryu" in all menus and dialogue. The original localization scripts for 1 and 3 referred to him as "Kazuma" instead.
Shintaro Kazama's name was restored as "Kazama" in all games. In the original localizations of the first three games, he was Dub Name Changed to "Fuma", presumably to prevent confusion with Kiryu's own given name, "Kazuma".
Japanese Honorifics are restored. Majima's "Kiryu-chan" is left untranslated, as opposed to the original localizations using "Kazzy".
"Sunshine Orphanage" from the original localization was changed to "Morning Glory Orphanage" (as it was in Yakuza 6), a more direct translation.
The new localization of 3 removes the original Dub Name Change of Mame the dog to "Rex", keeps the subplot of Riona's racism that was censored in the original localization, restores the cut minigames and hostess content, and nixes several now-very-dated 4chan memes.
Fandom Life Cycle: The series was stage 2 outside of Japan until the release of 0; now it's somewhere between stages 3 and 4.
Humble Beginnings: In the west, the Yakuza games started out as a niche curiosity, and the disastrous release of Dead Souls almost spelled the end of the franchise internationally (and it would've been had it not been for devoted fans campaigning for the fifth game to be localized). Thanks to the critical and commercial success of Yakuza 0, however, the series entered the gaming mainstream and has enjoyed worldwide success ever since. This was never the case in Japan, though, where it was a Cash-Cow Franchise from the start.
Keep Circulating the Tapes: The western versions of the first four games (especially the PS2 titles) were given relatively low print runs, turning them into sought-after collector's items. After the release of Yakuza 0, Sega saw fit to reprint them and sell them directly to online retailers, making them affordable to players who missed out on them the first time.
Meme Acknowledgment: At the height of series staple karaoke song "Baka Mitai" gaining widespread recognition as a meme due to deepfake technology allowing for edits of anyone and everyone singing it, Kiryu's voice actor Takaya Kurodatweeted about it, thanking everyone. The song's writer, Ryosuke Horii, did as well. Likewise, at least one trailer of Like A Dragon ended with the English version of the song.
Milestone Celebration: In Japan, Yakuza 0 and Kiwami were both marked as 10-year anniversary projects, released in 2015 and early 2016 respectively, with the latter being a Video Game Remake of the original 2005 game. Outside Japan, Yakuza 5 was released on December 8, 2015, ten years from the Japanese release of the original game. Yakuza: Like a Dragon was also released on the year of the series' 15th anniversary in Japan.
Newbie Boom: Outside Japan, although the series had a solid but niche following, many got their first start when the series jumped onto the PlayStation 3 with Yakuza 3. Following the demand for Yakuza 5, Sega decided to localize and publish Yakuza 0, which became a breakout hit and drew in several new fans to the series. It helps that as a prequel, it serves as an excellent starting point that doesn't require prior knowledge of the story or characters from the previous five games. 0 and Kiwami both became "Playstation Hits" titles in North America, a first for the series. And then there's Yakuza: Like a Dragon launching across all available platforms (except for the Nintendo Switch, sadly) simultaneously in the West (PS4, Xbox One, and PC), including the Xbox Series X|Sat launch and a PlayStation 5 version in March of 2021.
No Adaptations Allowed: The series' creator forbids one specific type of adaptation. He refuses to let Kiryu appear in a Fighting Game, because he doesn't want Kiryu fighting women.
No Dub for You: The original PS2 game was dubbed in English for its western releases, but due to poor sales all the sequels were brought over with Japanese voices only in order to cut down localization costs. However, after the series enjoyed a resurgence in the west thanks to Yakuza 0, they started doing English dubs once again with the spinoff titles Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise and Judgment. Yakuza: Like A Dragon would end up being the first mainline game since the original to have an English dub.
While all the mainline games have all seen Western releases in some form, the same cannot be said about Kenzan! and Ishin, the two period-themed spin-off titles, nor to the Kurohyou spinoff line that was available exclusively on the PSP. For a while, an English localization of Yakuza 5 was uncertain due to the poor sales of previous games in the west, but strong support from Sony's #BuildTheList campaign made it possible. However this came with one caveat: because the English version came out late during the PS3's lifespan in 2015 (three years after the Japanese 2012 release), it completely skipped over any physical disc release and went straight-to-digital on the PlayStation Store.
This applies not only to whole games, but also to specific versions. Ryu Ga Gotoku 1 & 2 HD Edition for the PS3 and its Wii U port, Ryu Ga Gotoku 1 & 2 HD for Wii U, were completely skipped over despite the fact that both games in the collection were already localized, likely for the same reasons that Sega considered skipping over Yakuza 5. And while Yakuza 0 and Kiwami were both localized late like Yakuza 5, they were released strictly as PS4 games in the west, as Sega opted not to bring over the PS3 versions.
No Port For You: The franchise was exclusive to Sony machines for years, but as a result of its sudden surge in popularity in the west thanks to Yakuza 0, Sega decided to port over the game to other platforms. Since then, all the mainline entries up to Yakuza 6 have been made available on Windows PC (via Steam) and Xbox consoles (via Game Pass), with 1 and 2 being based on the Kiwami versions, while 3 through 5 are based on the remastered PS4 ports. Yakuza: Like A Dragon, the seventh numbered entry in Japan, even got a simultaneous western release on PC and Xbox consoles in addition to the PS4. This leaves Nintendo Switch as the only current platform without any titles in the franchise (although the Wii U did get a remastered collection of Ryu Ga Gotoku 1 & 2 exclusive to Japan).
The Other Darrin: Kiwami saw several voice actor changes due to either the voice actor passing away or from retirement. Key replacements include Shindo's and Reina's voice actors (Tomoyuki Dan and Hiromi Tsuru) and a majority of the actors in Yakuza Kiwami, most if not all of them were replaced by popular voice actors like Maaya Sakamoto, Tomokazu Sugita, and Tōru Ōkawa. Terada was replaced by Go Shinomiya in Yakuza 2, but Nomura reclaimed the role in Kiwami and Kiwami 2.
Like a Dragon also saw this for some of its returning characters from the first game in its English dub, too. Majima, for example, is no longer voiced by Mark Hamill, but rather Matthew Mercer, and what is possibly Kashiwagi ("The Bartender") isn't reprised by John DiMaggio, as he's now voiced by David Hayter in this game. Though this is subverted with Kiryu and Date, as Darryl Kurylo and Bill Farmer both reprise their respective roles from the first game.
Prop Recycling: Tons of it. Ranging from reused rooms to reused movesets (most notably Mine's moveset, which has been reused quite a bit in Lost Judgment), there's no shortage of asset reuse throughout the series.
The Wiki Rule: The franchise has a wiki site, which was very poorly maintained until some dedicated fans started cleanup efforts in 2019. Localization lead Scott Strichart went on record to credit the wiki's initially dismal quality as an inspiration for the Yakuza Experience website.