Each member of the Investigation Team in Persona 4 is so unique that it can be hard to memorize the necessary details to utilize them to their fullest. The first Persona character to join the team in battle after the original four of Yu, Yosuke, Chie, and Yukiko is a rough and tough first-year student named Kanji. This Kanji Tatsumi guide will come in handy after you defeat his shadow form and recruit him to your party.
When you first meet Kanji, he’s aggressive and intimidating. Don’t worry – it’s all a front. In reality, Kanji is a teddy bear, and his bad attitude comes from a place of self-consciousness. The more you get to know him through Persona 4’s main story and Social Link events, the more Kanji opens up.
In battle, Kanji is adept at physical and magical abilities. The skill list of his Persona, Take-Mikazuchi, combines powerful Electric-type spells and devastating physical attacks like Primal Force. This allows Kanji to fill a spot in the Investigation Team similar to Chie Satonaka, though Chie is more balanced.
If you’re ready to learn more about this hard-punching, foul-mouthed Yasogami High student, read on!
Bottom Line Up Front
- Kanji Tatsumi is a character and party member in Persona 4.
- Kanji has a reputation for being a wild child and getting into fights with local biker gangs, but it’s a cover for his hobbies that those around him might consider feminine.
- Kanji and his Persona, Take-Mikazuchi, are the strongest physical attackers in the game, but weak against Wind attacks.
Who is Kanji Tatsumi?
Note: This Kanji Tatsumi guide contains spoilers.
Kanji Tatsumi is a tough-looking first-year high school student with a heart of gold. He is a character and party member in Persona 4 and its expanded edition, Persona 4 Golden. He is also a playable character in Persona 4 Arena, Persona 4: Dancing All Night, and the Persona Q series on the Nintendo 3DS.
His family runs a textile shop in the Central Shopping District of Inaba. He lives alone with his mother; his father passed away when he was just a child. Most people in the small town seem to think that Kanji is nothing but a delinquent. When he was in middle school, he took out a whole biker gang by himself, so the label stuck.
But Kanji’s rude and crude behavior is nothing but a cover. He’s worried about people finding out about his hobbies, which include cooking, knitting, and collecting cute things. He’s also extremely insecure about himself and his sexuality, a fear that manifests itself in Kanji’s suggestive Midnight Channel dungeon. While Persona 4 suggests that Kanji might be gay, it ultimately leaves the interpretation of the character up to the player. The assertion I think the game makes is that your hobbies and interest are a result of your upbringing, environment, and personality, not who you love or are attracted to.
All of this insecurity is partly a result of his father, who right before his death, told Kanji that he needs to become strong if he wants to be a man. It also stems from the teasing he’s received in the past from both guys and girls for his hobbies, though Kanji tends to stress that girls have been meaner to him.
Kanji is caught in a no man’s land expressing his true interests without fear and ridicule, or hiding them with actions of brute force and masculinity. This leads to some funny interactions with the other members of the Investigation Team, but I always got the feeling that Kanji was never fully able to accept himself. Persona 4 Arena provides more closure for Kanji’s character arc when he fights Shadow Kanji again and wins easily, proving that he’s made a lot of progress in overcoming his inner turmoil.
Being one of the younger members of the Investigation Team leads to Kanji being a little brasher than the rest of the gang. Like Yosuke, he sometimes speaks without thinking. He’s also an act first, think later type of person. That said, once you get to know him and bring him into the Investigation Team, Kanji is a great friend and fierce protector of those he cares for.
Kanji has a clear fondness for punk fashion. His has been bleached blonde and he has multiple piercings. He also has a skull and crossbones tattoo on his left arm, even though he’s only 15 or 16 years old during the events of Persona 4. The tattoo isn’t always there, suggesting it might be just for looks. He also has a scar above his left eye.
He wears a skull and crossbones shirt underneath his school uniform on school days, along with a bullet attached to a string as a necklace. The collar on his school jacket is larger than normal and features a golden bone pin.
On non-school days and holidays in the summer, he ditches the jacket and wears a tank top with a flaming skull on it. His winter clothes feature a black leather biker jacket with a yellow undershirt, black jeans, and brown shoes. When snow hits, he opts for a purple hoodie that he wears with other pieces of his school uniform.
Persona 4: Dancing All Night added many unique outfits to Kanji’s wardrobe. His Frankenstein Suit, Kingpin Duster, and Sogabe Design outfits are among the best.
Key Moments in Persona 4 and Persona 4 Golden
Kanji is the fourth victim to be thrown into the Midnight Channel by the mysterious killer. His lingering questions about his hobbies and the ridicule he’s received from girls his age manifest themselves in the Steamy Bathhouse dungeon, meant for men only.
At the top of the dungeon, you’ll find Shadow Kanji. He is the representation of Kanji’s inner self and the fears he has of being considered feminine by others. Shadow Kanji speaks in a flamboyant manner and wears little clothing. Shadow Kanji’s monster form, a large, black and white muscular being surrounded by roses, is flanked by two other Shadows that represent the duality of the real Kanji’s personality: Nice Guy and Tough Guy.
Up until this point, defeating a character’s Shadow has been followed by them accepting that the Shadow represents a part of their true feelings. This isn’t the case with Kanji. After defeating Shadow Kanji, Kanji still doesn’t accept that he has those feelings inside of him, causing his Shadow to plead with the party to accept him. This prompts the real Kanji to punch him, which apparently is his way of accepting difficult things.
After this crucial story event, Kanji’s Persona is awakened. Shadow Kanji transforms into Take-Mikazuchi, a Persona that excels at physical attacks and Lightning-type spells.
Social Link Rank 5
This is my personal favorite of all of Kanji’s Social Link events. In the previous event, Kanji spent time trying to help a young boy find a stuffed rabbit in the Samegawa River. The boy threw the rabbit, which belong to a friend of his, in the river after being ridiculed by his other, male friend.
Kanji finds that he relates to the boy and decides to help him. In the Rank 5 event for his Social Link, Kanji gives the boy a new rabbit that he made himself. The rabbit is much better than the original – Kanji took the time to create clothes, a ribbon, a hat, and an umbrella to go with it. The kid is thankful and asks where he bought it, because he wants one, too. Flustered, Kanji pulls out another bunny to give to the boy, this time with a different outfit that includes clothes, shoes, a hat, and a soccer ball.
At this point, you can either tell Kanji to tell the truth or tell the boy yourself that Kanji made it. Either way, the truth comes out and the boy thinks that Kanji is cool for his talents. You can further praise Kanji by telling him that you thought the bunnies were amazing.
Even though he’s embarrassed, this Social Link event marks a turning point for Kanji. He is beginning to accept his talents and revel in the fact that there are people out there that appreciate him simply for being who he is.
Social Link Rank 9
In Kanji’s penultimate Social Link event, he takes Yu to the spot where they first found the young boy who threw the bunny doll into the river. By this point, Kanji has made numerous dolls and has earned the praise of not only the boy but his mother and teacher as well. Kanji’s mother has even told him how much she enjoys the work he is doing.
Kanji confides in Yu that he went to visit his father’s grave. Before his father passed away, he told Kanji that if he was a man, he needed to become strong. Kanji misinterpreted that message at first, thinking that he need to punch and fight his way to strength while tossing away the things that made him genuinely happy. Now, after becoming friends with Yu, he understands that isn’t what his dad meant.
Kanji pledges to stop lying to himself about the hobbies that make him happy. He also promises to be himself around everyone he meets. It’s a complete 180 from the aggressive brawler he was when we first met him.
Social Link MAX
By the time you max out Kanji’s Social Link, he’s come to fully accept Shadow Kanji and the feelings he represented. This scene, like other Social Link MAX events for Investigation Team members, takes place in Yu’s room at the Dojima residence.
Kanji begins by saying he’s figured something else out and says that Rise came by Tatsumi Textiles the other day. Not known for having a filter, Rise Kujikawa first calls the dolls cute, but upon learning that Kanji made them, she calls them creepy. Keeping his promise from the Social Link Rank 9 event, Kanji pushes through Rise’s comment and continues to show her more dolls, at which point she concedes that he might be “an amazing guy after all.”
Kanji continues by saying that he finally understands what his dad meant. Becoming strong to be a man isn’t necessarily a show of physical strength, but being comfortable in your skin and not caring about what others think of your talents or skills. Before this point, Kanji had been lashing out at the world, keeping everyone at arm’s length because he was afraid of what they might think of him.
Kanji’s growth as a character is apparent in this scene as he comes to terms with the fact that everyone won’t understand him easily:
It ain’t just about hanging out with guys who understand you and telling the rest to get bent…You gotta make an effort if you want people to understand you. I wasn’t even trying.
– Kanji Tatsumi, Persona 4 Golden
Kanji establishes two new rules for his life: number one, to be himself, and number two, to get people to understand him. Because you, as the player, helped to get him to this point, he gives you the Cute Strap item as a gift. This enables the fusion of the Persona Odin.
After fully accepting his other self, Kanji’s Persona, Take-Mikazuchi, transforms into Rokuten Maou. With the Emperor Social Link now maxed out, speaking to Kanji after January 10th will cause Rokuten Maou to evolve into his Ultimate Persona, Takeji Zaiten.
Persona 4 and Persona 4 Golden
Kanji’s Persona, Take-Mikazuchi, has extremely high Strength and Endurance stats, making him a perfect physical attacker and tank. His ability list is largely the same in the two games, save the addition of the passive ability Regenerate 1. Here is Kanji’s ability list from Persona 4 Golden, along with ability types and the level they are learned at:
- Mazio (Electric) – learned
- Zionga (Electric) – learned
- Rakukaja (Support) – learned
- Kill Rush (Physical) – learned
- Regenerate 1 (Passive) – learned
- Elec Boost (Passive) – level 27
- Fatal End (Physical) – level 34
- Cruel Attack (Physical) – level 38
- Mazionga (Electric) – level 40
- Torrent Shot (Physical) – level 44
- Elec Break (Support) – level 48
- Ziodyne (Electric) – level 54
- Vile Assault (Physical) – level 58
- Matarukaja (Support) – level 60
- Maziodyne (Electric) – level 67
- Primal Force (Physical) – level 73
- Elec Amp (Passive) – level 75
Kanji’s biggest weakness is his lack of SP. If you’re fighting a lot of enemies or a boss that is weak to Electric spells, you may need to keep some SP-replenishing items in your inventory like a Chewing Soul or a Soul Food.
Persona 4 Arena
Kanji is a brawler through and through, with a focus on grappling. This can work both to his advantage and his detriment. Kanji has some of the most powerful attacks in the game and the highest health, so he can dish out and take some major damage. However, he’s slow and a bit cumbersome.
The main drawback to fighting as Kanji is that you have to commit to each action. If you miss, you’re in for a world of pain. Thankfully, that huge amount of HP can absorb a lot of hits for you. Kanji struggles most when fighting long-distance and speedy characters, but he can compensate somewhat by shocking his opponents, slowing them down just enough to land some powerful attacks.
As the player character and protagonist, Yu is instrumental in helping Kanji to learn to be himself around others. You can offer support to Kanji as he makes cute bunny dolls for a young boy, and stand up for him in the face of accusations by Inaba’s police.
Maxing out Kanji’s Social Link, which is connected to the Emperor Arcana, ensures that Yu and Kanji become close friends. Doing so also allows you to fuse Odin after receiving the Cute Strap item from Kanji.
Kanji’s Midnight Channel arc coincides with the first appearance of Naoto Shiragane, the genius detective recruited to help the police in Inaba solve the murders in town. Kanji mistakes Naoto’s interest in him as attraction, making him further question his sexuality and what it means to be a man.
The two are linked because of the gender issues with which they both struggle. Kanji opts for hypermasculinity as a cover for his hobbies that others consider feminine, while Naoto wishes to be a man to be taken more seriously as a detective.
Through the course of the investigation and Social Link events, both characters become more comfortable in their skin and challenge traditional gender ideas.
Question: Where can I find Kanji in Persona 4?
Answer: To meet Kanji for Social Link events, you can find him on the first floor of the practice building at Yasogami High School.
Question: How tall is Kanji in Persona 4?
Answer: Kanji is tall for a first-year high school student. He is listed at an even 6’0″, making him the tallest member of the Investigation Team.
Question: How do I find information about Kanji to unlock his dungeon?
Answer: Gaining access to Kanji’s dungeon, Steamy Bathhouse, is a three-step process. First, speak to his mother outside of Tatsumi Textiles, a shop in the northern part of the Central Shopping District near the shrine. Second,
Question: Who voices Kanji Tatsumi in Persona 4?
Answer: Kanji is portrayed by two different voice actors for the English dubs of Persona 4, its anime, and its spin-offs. Troy Baker, most known for voicing Joel in The Last of Us and Sam Drake in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, voices Kanji in Persona 4, Persona 4 Golden, the first half of the Persona 4 anime, and Persona 4 Arena.
Matt Mercer, who has some big anime credits to his name as Levi in Attack on Titan and Jotaro in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, voices Kanji in the second half of the Persona 4 anime, the Persona Q series, Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, and Persona 4: Dancing All Night.
Kanji Tatsumi Guide: Conclusion
I enjoyed getting to learn more about Kanji through his Social Link. I feel like Persona 4 handles his character decently well. Instead of writing him in a way that he abandons his hobbies to be “more manly,” Persona 4’s developers allowed him to embrace the things he enjoys in life and be who he really wants to be. While they didn’t fully commit to Kanji being bi or gay, letting the player interpret that for themselves leaves room for people to connect with him how they see fit.
Kanji isn’t a usual member of my party – I prefer my high SP spellcasters and usually opt for Chie if I need a physical attacker. However, Kanji is a great melee character to use in your party as long as you keep an eye on his SP. You can learn more about other Persona 4 characters, and characters throughout the Persona series, by reading Persona Fan’s other character guides.
- Kanji Tatsumi Guide: Persona 4’s Tough Guy Explained - May 1, 2022
- Nanako Dojima Guide: Yu Narukami’s “Little Sister” - April 15, 2022
- Naoto Shirogane Guide – The Genius Detective - March 23, 2022