Kaoru Sayama will not return in Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth as a prominent role in the main story, says RGG Studio

Kiryu x Kaoru fans shouldn't get their hopes up for a reunion.

[July 20: This article has been updated to mention that Kaoru Sayama will not return in a prominent role in Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, as clarified by RGG Studio]

Though there’s a huge demand from fans, RGG Studio Executive Producer Masayoshi Yokoyama confirmed that Kaoru Sayama will not appear in Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth as a prominent role. Yokoyama confirmed this in an interview with members of the SEA gaming press.

Kaoru Sayama is a fan-favorite character from Yakuza 2 (or Kiwami 2 for those who played the remake) who is considered one of Kiryu’s few love interests. Sadly, Kaoru only appeared in Yakuza 2, and she has not returned to the series since.

But with the reveal of Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, fans began hoping that Kaoru will return. This is because she left Japan to go to the US at the beginning of Yakuza 3, and Infinite Wealth is seemingly set at least partly overseas.

After this, the recent RGG Summit Summer 2023 event showed a clip of Kiryu telling Ichiban about a proposal. Many fans soon believed that this might be a reference to Kaoru, with several theories being made about a potential return.

During the interview, Yokoyama shot down the theories as he explained:

“With regards to the proposal, it was actually very lighthearted. There wasn’t much depth to that. He just wanted to go with the flow of the conversation and say, Hey, you know what? I proposed before without thinking much about it. So, there won’t be any further talking about the actual proposal in the background of that conversation because it was mainly just out of fun.

We did actually have a deep talk on this on one of our show on livestream, so you can check that out and get the idea of where it was actually just out of fun. There are also parts where the conversation scenes before and after were actually cut.”

Sadly, the proposal conversation wasn’t serious as it was just Kiryu and Ichiban engaging in casual conversation,

But if you’re still holding out for Kaoru’s appearance, Yokoyama directly addressed this, saying:

“Also to clarify, it’s not a build-up to bring back previous female characters. Everybody is expecting Sayama or other popular female characters [to return as a prominent role], but there’s no plan for that. The purpose of the scene is to showcase the interactions between Kasuga and Kiryu. It’s trying to emphasize that the two characters are being closer and closer.”

Sadly, it seems that Kaoru Sayama will not return as a main character to the Like a Dragon series anytime soon. Though as with many fans, I’m personally hoping that RGG Studio reconsiders and at least brings Kaoru back in the future.

Like a Dragon Gaiden will be released on November 9, 2023, on the PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC.

Meanwhile, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth is set to release in early 2024 for the same platforms.