The Persona video game series is known for its strong cast of characters that make the stories that this series tells both exciting and memorable. Persona 4 is no exception. Every member of the Investigation Team has a unique personality that brings that fun anime-like charm to the fourth Persona entry.
The enjoyable character writing doesn’t stop with just the people you can recruit to join your party, though. Persona 4’s cast of supporting characters is as strong as any game in the series and they often play pivotal roles in the main story itself.
Nanako Dojima is one of those supporting characters with major story implications. Despite her size and age, this little girl has a big role to play in the events of Persona 4. Her adorable enthusiasm for June’s supermarket lightens the heavy mood of Persona 4. More importantly, your decision in a major scene late in the game directly affects her and goes as far as changing your final Persona 4 experience.
Are you curious to learn more about Nanako, her relationship with the protagonist Yu Narukami and her father Ryotaro Dojima, and how she plays into the bigger picture of Persona 4?
I’ll cover what you need to know about her in this Nanako Dojima guide, from her first meeting with Yu to the final scenes of the game, as well as her inclusion in some Persona 4 spin-offs. Let’s meet Nanako Dojima!
Bottom Line Up Front
- Nanako Dojima is the daughter of Ryotaro Dojima, a detective in the small town of Inaba, and the cousin of Yu Narukami, the protagonist of Persona 4.
- Even though she is a supporting character, you can form a Social Link with her – the Justice Social Link.
- Advancing her Social Link requires leveling up the protagonist’s Expression trait.
- Because of her Social Link and some important endgame choices, Nanako is one of the most important supporting characters in Persona 4.
Who is Nanako Dojima from Persona 4?
Note: This Nanako Dojima guide contains major spoilers for the ending of Persona 4.
Nanako Dojima is the maternal cousin of Yu Narukami, the protagonist of Persona 4. She is also the daughter of Ryotaro Dojima, the detective who is put in charge of solving the grisly string of murders that rocks the small countryside town of Inaba.
When in preschool, Nanako lost her mother to a hit-and-run accident. Ryotaro devoted himself to finding the killer, but he was never able to track them down. Her father’s commitment to his work as a detective has made Nanako’s relationship with him less than rosy. His frequent long nights at work have led Nanako to mature at an early age as she does her best to keep their home in good order.
Yu meets both Nanako and Ryotaro on the first day he arrives in Inaba. The pair pick him up from the train station just after he arrives. Nanako is shy around Yu at first, but as you forge a relationship with her through dialogue and Social Link events, she eventually opens up to him, calling him “big bro.”
Nanako is wise beyond her years from having so much hardship early in her life, but she does still act like a kid from time to time. She loves anything that has to do with Junes, and her favorite song is the Junes jingle that comes on TV with every Junes commercial. She sings this song every time she hears it without fail.
In addition, Nanako will ask the protagonist some tough questions about life and death in certain Social Link events. These are questions that any child would ask at her age, like “Why do people die?”
Answering these questions as the protagonist is both difficult and heart-wrenching, but helping to comfort Nanako and her fears provides for touching moments that develop the relationship between her and Yu.
Nanako is a 6-year-old elementary school student when the events of Persona 4 first kick-off. She wears her short brown hair in pigtails tied up with pink ribbons. If you’re able to achieve the true ending of Persona 4 Golden, you’ll see that Nanako has grown her hair out a bit. She also has brown eyes.
When you first meet Nanako, she’s wearing her spring outfit, which consists of a pink and red dress, a white turtleneck sweater, white socks, and pink loafers. Like other characters in the game, her outfit changes with the season.
In summer, she wears a sleeveless white and pink dress accented with pink lace. When the weather gets colder, she’ll sport a warm-looking jacket with a red diamond pattern on the pockets, bottom, and end of the sleeves.
Nanako is also a playable character in Persona 4: Dancing All Night. This means that she gets a whole new plethora of outfits as a part of this spin-off. The coolest of these is the Lawson outfit, which resembles the work clothes and colors worn by employees of the Japanese convenience store chain.
Key Moments in Persona 4 and Persona 4 Golden
Given Nanako’s tragic past and her unresolved questions regarding the life and death of her mother, it’s no surprise that her Midnight Channel dungeon takes the form of Heaven. The design of this dungeon is much less sinister than that of other characters’ dungeons.
The entrance, called the Pearly Gates, is decorated with rainbows and brightly colored flowers, a major shift from the steamy saunas and dark striptease clubs of the Investigation Team’s previous forays into the Midnight Channel.
At the top of Heaven, the team finds Nanako and the man who kidnapped her, Taro Namatame. If Namatame’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he is the same politician that had an affair with Mayumi Yamano, the first victim of the Midnight Channel. He has since deluded himself into thinking he is some kind of savior and says he is simply trying to save Nanako.
Defeating Namatame and his shadow form, Kunino-sagiri, allows the team to rescue Nanako. However, her age and lack of a Persona cause her to become extremely ill from the effects of the Midnight Channel and its fog. Her condition worsens as she is in the hospital.
Seeing his daughter on the verge of death causes Ryotaro to snap and confront Namatame, who is being treated in the same hospital. He is escorted away by the police, giving the Investigation Team the chance to visit Namatame without interference from local law enforcement. This is where you’ll have to make an important decision that affects the ending of Persona 4.
The team debates whether to get revenge on Namatame by throwing him into the Midnight Channel by way of the TV in his hospital room. If you, as the protagonist, choose to kill Namatame, this results in the “bad” ending of Persona 4.
This ending is easily the saddest of them all. Nanako never recovers, dying before her father gets the chance to speak to her one final time. As a result, only Ryotaro Dojima is there to see you off as you leave Inaba. The mystery behind the murders is never fully solved.
The middle-of-the-road ending, or “neutral” ending, is also somewhat disappointing to receive. To get this ending, you have to spare Namatame’s life. If you are unable to question him and find out more about the identity of the real murderer, Nanako doesn’t die but remains in a coma for the rest of the game. In this ending, Ryotaro is again the only person there to see you off as you leave Inaba.
There are two “good” endings, one that is considered good and one that is considered the “true” ending of Persona 4 Golden. The true ending to Golden involves the exclusive character Marie, but those details are best left to a guide specific to her.
These endings again require that you don’t kill Namatame and that you express doubts about his motives and the details of the case you have gathered so far. After doing so, the Investigation Team is called to Nanako’s room where it’s revealed that she’s recovered and is no longer in a coma.
When the protagonist leaves Inaba, Nanako is there to see him off with a smile on her face. This is the same in both the good and the true ending.
Social Link Rank MAX
Nanako’s Social Link events include some of the most touching and heart-wrenching moments in Persona 4. Her Social Link From her questions about life, death, and the meaning of being related by blood, to the moment when she runs away from home out of anger toward her father, Nanako’s Social Link is a roller coaster of a side story that culminates with a happy ending.
The scene starts with Nanako saying that her dad just called and that she wants to make dinner with Yu. She’s already bought all of the ingredients, so all you have to do is prepare the meal with her. She’s cheerful and sounds driven to get a lot of her chores done, too.
She gives you the task of making a salad while she cooks some eggs. Her reasoning for wanting to prepare dinner for her father becomes clear after she explains that at school she learned that families help each other. She acknowledges that she’s lonely, but she smiles and adds, “But I have Dad!”
I feel this Social Link event is the most important because it shows Nanako’s growth and newfound maturity. She knows that her father is also lonely after he lost his wife. She wants to do more for him so that he doesn’t feel lonely anymore.
Most importantly for you as the player, Nanako now considers you part of her family, saying:
You’re my family, too, so…Let’s work hard together!
Choosing to answer “Let’s do it” will pump Nanako up even further. She then gives you the key item “Family Picture” and adds:
You’re family too, so you should have a family picture. Let’s get a picture of you and me and Dad all together one day! I love you, big bro!
The Family Picture item allows you to fuse Personas to create Sraosha.
A short time later, Ryotaro arrives and the three of you enjoy dinner together. After all of the late-night conversations and difficult decisions you have to make when discussing complicated subjects with her, the fact that Nanako’s Social Link ends on such a high note makes it worth completing just to see the happy conclusion.
Yu, the protagonist of Persona 4, is Nanako’s cousin. He fills the role of a big brother for Nanako and she starts to call him “Big Bro” after you establish her Social Link. Throughout Persona 4, the two become inseparable. As we’ve seen in her Social Link, Nanako eventually comes to view Yu as part of her family.
This relationship is also important because it informs the ending of Persona 4 as it will be extremely difficult for you to control your emotions and not get revenge on Namatame for kidnapping Nanako. However, it’s best to spare his life, because it’s the only way to save Nanako.
Ryotaro is Nanako’s father and Yu’s uncle. Throughout Nanako’s Social Link, we see that the relationship between her and Ryotaro is strained at best. This is because of the sadness and loneliness they’re both experiencing after the loss of Chisato, who is Ryotaro’s wife and Nanako’s mother.
Ryotaro cares immensely for Nanako, but he has trouble expressing those feelings. Sometimes, he prefers that Yu speak to Nanako and help her to understand events in the game. Part of your role as protagonist in Persona 4 is to help Ryotaro and Nanako reconcile their differences and communicate more effectively with each other.
Question: Does Nanako have a Persona?
Answer: No, she doesn’t. After rescuing Nanako from Namatame, it’s clear that she is struggling with the harsh environment of the Midnight Channel. Teddie mentions this could be due to her age and innocence, both of which are potential factors in her not having a Persona.
Question: Who voices Nanako in Persona 4?
Answer: Nanako is voiced by Akemi Kanda in the Japanese version and by Karen Strassman in the English version. Akemi Kanda has numerous anime and video game credits to her name. Karen Strassman’s work spans numerous anime series and live-action shows, including the popular anime Bleach and the TV show Weeds in which she portrayed Agent Jolene Wait.
Question: Does Nanako die in Persona 4?
Answer: This is entirely up to the player. As previously mentioned in the Key Moments in Persona 4 and Persona 4 Golden section of this guide, choosing to kill Namatame in the hospital after rescuing Nanako will result in her death. To keep her alive, Namatame has to stay alive, too.
Unsurprisingly, it’s the members of the Investigation Team that often get the most attention when talking about characters from Persona 4. This is unfortunate because, in my opinion, Persona 4’s minor characters are some of the best in the franchise. This includes Nanako.
Nanako’s Social Link provides needed character development not only for her but also for Yu Narukami. It develops a more personal and caring side of him as he becomes an important part of the Dojima family.
Whether you’re playing Persona 4 for the first time or gearing up for another run through the game, make sure to spend time with Nanako and experience what her Social Link and the Justice Arcana have to offer.
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