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Persona 4 started a beautiful trend for the Persona series that I hope continues into Persona 6 and onward. I’m not talking about the investigations or traitorous twists (though, those are nice) but the guardian that watches over your main character. In Persona 4, that was none other than your uncle, Ryotaro Dojima. An intriguing and complex character, you can find out about him in this Ryotaro Dojima Persona guide.
Ryotaro Dojima is, oddly enough, one of my favorite characters in Persona 4. I wasn’t as big of a fan of the cast as other Persona fans, though that has changed some in recently replaying the game. But ever since the first time I booted up Persona 4 Golden on PlayStation Vita, I was perplexed and impressed by the complicated storyline surrounding your uncle.
He isn’t the kind guardian you might expect, but a realistic character with anger issues, drinking problems, and a penchant for neglecting his daughter. It struck home a little too much but I appreciated that. Find out all about this groundbreaking character in this Ryotaro Dojima Persona guide.
Bottom Line Up Front
Ryotaro Dojima is the uncle of Yu Narukami, the main character you play in Persona 4 and its Golden variant. You move in with him and his daughter, Nanak, for a year in the small town of Inaba in the countryside of Japan.
He is one of the police detectives in the city, investigating the serial murders that begin popping up around. He is quick to anger and not the nicest guy to be around at times, but he has a surprisingly loving and kind side if you can reach it.
Ryotaro Dojima Overview
Without getting too much into my own personal life, I’ll admit that meeting Ryotaro Dojima and his story in Persona 4 Golden was certainly like seeing some people in my own world in video game form. There were immense similarities between him and people in my family who had similar issues and personalities.
In a way, playing Persona 4 Golden was healing in a manner as I had the chance to interact with someone familiar to me like Dojima, and see events happen with him that I wish would happen in real life. It was harrowing and one of the best parts of the entire JRPG. A game that I otherwise enjoyed but not nearly as much as Personas 3 and 5.
Parents are a tricky part of any video game or anime. Still, Persona 4 Golden goes full force into this territory by making your guardian a significant part of the entire storyline from start to finish. Ryotaro is an integral part of the plot in trying to hunt down the serial killer in the small town.
He is also one of the significant social links that you can progress through in Persona 4. For everything you need to know about your uncle, let’s take a look.
Ryotaro Dojima has the looks of a rather typical middle-aged hard-working man. He looks like any dude who is likely tired of working the same job for so many years and looks forward to his eventual retirement. He wears a suit every day, or, well, almost the entire suit.
He carries around his suit jacket and rarely wears it himself, opting to only wear the gray undershirt with a red tie and black dress pants. He thinks he’s cool since he only carries his suit jacket around. This is his basic detective uniform.
His hair is cut short but usually messy, like he’s gone a while without a haircut. He has a somewhat attractive appearance but is hardened and angry like he could use a makeover to get back to the olden days when he was a stunner.
Key Moments in Persona 4
Ryotaro Dojima is the main character’s uncle and is present in the entire game from the very beginning all the way to the very end of the storyline. As such, going over the events that happen with him will constitute heavy-duty spoilers for the entire storyline of Persona 4. Considering this is one of the best parts of the game, you are doing yourself a disservice reading this if you haven’t beaten the legendary JRPG yet.
Taking Yu In
At the start of Persona 4, Ryotaro Dojima is in a rough place in life. Forced to take in his nephew, who he has no relationship with, this is the least of his problems. Dojima meets Yu Narukami, his nephew, at the train station and introduces him to his daughter, Nanako.
Dojima is strict primarily at the start of the game, being like a harsh father who just wants the best for his kids but has no way of expressing his actual emotions to them. He ensures that Yu doesn’t get into trouble at school and that he always abides by his rules.
If you play his and Nanako’s social links, you find out that there is more to his story than meets the eye. He drinks a lot and leaves Nanako at home alone due to his overworking and the trauma from losing his wife in the past. He struggles to be a single dad and work at the same time.
As such, he leaves Yu in charge of a lot of the home activities like tucking in Nanako to sleep at night, cooking, and cleaning up the place. For the most part, it seems like normal life for the first bit of the Persona 4 storyline.
Investigating the Serial Murders
However, everything changes when a body is discovered after a bout of fog lifts in the town one morning. Ryotaro Dojima goes from a simple detective tasked with investigating random crimes and issues in the tiny town to now having to deal with a full-on murder investigation.
He is a massive part of the investigation, leading it alongside his sidekick and assistant, Tohru Adachi. The investigation doesn’t go smoothly at all at first, leading to nothing but dead ends and suspects that lead nowhere. It isn’t long before the bodies start to pile up one after another, with some tragic deaths in the town.
Eventually, his investigations start to center around his own nephew and his friends, that are up to no good in the town. Dojima tries to tell Yu and his friends to back down and not get involved in the investigation, but this does little to stop them in the end.
They continue getting involved and beating the police to the punchline to figure out who the next victim is. Over time, Dojima becomes even more suspicious of his high schooler nephew and his friends but doesn’t outright think they are the root of the problem.
Helping to Find the Truth
In the process of searching for the truth, Dojima ends up finding a lead to another high schooler who is acting suspiciously around town and arrests him, only for that to end in failure. Then his investigation turns towards another man who seems to be the real killer behind everything.
Dojima thinks that he is getting close to the truth when a sudden moment happens in the story where a letter is sent to his house. Addressed to Yu, it is from the culprit, and they are threatening them. In a fit of rage and mistakes, Dojima blames Yu and takes him to the station to keep an eye on him.
However, this leaves Nanako Dojima vulnerable at home, where she is kidnapped, and Dojima ends up in a car crash trying to save her. They both end up in the hospital and in grave danger, with Nanako appearing to look like she won’t make it.
At this point, Dojima’s fate can change based on the player’s actions. In the game’s worst ending, Dojima loses his daughter and eventually recovers but sees the main character off in his lowest place. This is a fate that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
In the neutral ending, Dojima and his daughter live, but Nanako is in a coma at the end of the game. In this version, Dojima is grateful that she lives, but he is haunted by the fact that it feels like there is more going on in the story than meets the eye.
However, in the true ending, Dojima and Nanako both live, with the latter recovering from her coma and being able to go home. Dojima learns the truth about the Investigation Team and plays a supporting role in taking down the true mastermind behind everything, who happens to be closer at hand than the detective first thought.
He is able to move on from his past trauma and be a better father and guardian, seeing off Yu at the end of the game with the cleanest conscience.
Unlike his nephew and the other main characters in Persona 4, Ryotaro Dojima has no special powers. He is simply an average man who lives and works in a small town. However, that doesn’t change the fact that he is a talented detective, given his circumstances, with a heart for justice.
Though he may not have the wild card powers that Yu has or the ability to enter the TV World willingly, Dojima is no slouch in the real world. He is the best darn detective in all of Inaba and likely for a large radius. He is an expert when it comes to investigating leads and tracking down killers.
Much of the problem surrounding his investigative skills comes from the fact that he is constantly being misled by the killer (if you know, you know). Otherwise, on his own accord, without the misdirection, Dojima would likely be one of the best detectives around and give the Genius Prince Boy Detective a run for his (err, her?) money.
He has a strong instinct for what is going on in a case and the ability to find the suspicious leads that he needs to follow. This is seen in the fact that he knows relatively early on that Yu and the Investigation Team are up to something. Though he doesn’t initially know what that is, he is able to sniff out that it is related to the murders in some way.
Ryotaro Dojima Voice Actor
Persona is a Japanese-developed series, but the benefit of Persona 4 and other games in the franchise is the fact that the English dub is arguably just as excellent as the Japanese dub. And this is coming from someone who has been learning the language for years and prefers the Japanese voiceovers in most scenarios because of it.
Whether you are playing the video game or checking out the anime adaptation, the benefit is that you’ll hear the exact same voices in both languages across various mediums. The Dojima role is even reprised in a small way in some of the many spin-off Persona titles that exist.
If you play the English dub like I did both times I played through this game; you’ll hear the excellent JB Blanc as the voice of Ryotaro Dojima. He has some amazing roles in both anime and video games outside of this one. Some of the iconic characters he plays that I recommend you check out include Vander in Arcane, Caustic in Apex Legends, and even Shuji Ikutsuki in some of the Persona spin-offs. If you haven’t played 3, be sure to do so.
On the other hand, if you play the game in Japanese, you’ll hear Unsho Ishizuka. Some of his most iconic roles in anime and video games include Mr. Satan in the Dragon Ball series, Professor Oak in the Pokemon anime series, and Sergei in the criminally underrated The Legend of Heroes: Trails From Zero and Azure games.
Ryotaro Dojima is one of the main characters at the heart of the Persona 4 storyline, so he has a relationship with several of the other primary cast members. One of the most critical relationships includes the protagonist that you play, Yu Narukami.
Despite being Dojima’s nephew, the two are not close in the slightest at the start of Persona 4. This is mainly due to Dojima not being present in his life until then. That said, their relationship is explored quite a lot in the social link for Dojima, in which you see the two grow to care for one another. In the canonical playthrough, where you max out his social link, Dojima and Yu genuinely see each other as a family by the end.
Speaking of family, there is Dojima’s other most important relationship, and that is with Nanako. At the start of the series, his daughter is a young kid, but Dojima is distant from her and treats her much older than she is. He leaves her alone at home and expects her to care for herself, which leaves her feeling alone. But, like Yu, Dojima and Nanako’s relationship grows stronger over time until it reaches the point of what it should have been all along for the father and daughter.
After that, Dojima mostly has minimal relationships with the other members of the Persona 4 cast. He interrogates and gets to know the members of the Investigation Team but doesn’t seem to have any notable relationships outside of maybe antagonizing Kanji Tatsumi often due to his troubled background.
However, the final relationship that is noteworthy is with Dojima’s assistant investigator, Tohru Adachi. Their relationship is almost like child and parent, with Dojima often berating Adachi for slacking on the job and the like. There is some level of trust between the two, even to the point of Dojima letting Adachi take care of Nanako and Yu at times, but this isn’t fully explored as much as I would have liked.
Social Link Explained
Like most of the main characters in Persona 4, Ryotaro Dojima has a social link relationship attached to him. This is one of the significant parts of the game since you are able to build relationships and, optionally, get to know the main characters on a deeper level. Dojima has one of the best, most underrated social link stories in the entire game, so don’t miss out on it. Here’s what you need to know to avoid that mistake.
How to Start
Ryotaro Dojima’s social link arcana is the Hierophant. The first day you are possibly able to start building your relationship with him is on May 6. However, there is a key part of his social link that you need to know about, or you may be wondering why he isn’t showing up yet.
In order to be able to build your relationship with Dojima, you must have completed the current story dungeon before the deadline or be in that awkward story phase between major dungeons. Either one will work, but if you are in the middle of an incomplete dungeon, you won’t be able to hang out with him.
When to Spend Time With Dojima and Tips
The rule of not being able to meet with Dojima and advance his social link when in the middle of an incomplete dungeon applies to his entire social link. You won’t be able to do any of his ten social link ranks until you are entirely done with whatever dungeon you are in the middle of.
So long as that prerequisite is met, you’ll find that Ryotaro Dojima has one of the most open schedules out of any character in the game. You can hang out with him at night on any day of the week, even when it is raining outside.
This makes his relationship one of the most flexible, so long as you aren’t in the midst of completing a dungeon. When you are ready to hang out with Dojima, find him usually at the dining table at home at night. But keep in mind that, like the other social links, you need to raise your social stats to certain levels at various ranks to continue your relationship.
For instance, to reach the second rank of his relationship, you need to reach eloquent Expression, which is the second level. Then to get to rank four, you’ll need level three of Expression, which is persuasive. Finally, to reach rank five and the subsequent levels, you’ll need level four of Expression, which is called touching.
One more thing to note about the Dojima social link is that there is a hard deadline. You must complete his entire social link by October 31, or else you won’t be able to finish it for that playthrough. This restricts you considerably since he is available only so many weeks. Complete any story dungeons as fast as possible, which I always recommend.
Question: How old is Dojima?
Answer: It’s uncertain exactly how old Dojima is, but I’d have to guess in his early to mid-40s. Perhaps even in his late 30s. This is all based purely on speculation about his appearance and how old Nanako is in the game.
Question: How is Yu related to Dojima?
Answer: Yu is related to Dojima as a nephew and uncle, respectively. Ryotaro Dojima is the brother of Yu’s mom, which is why they don’t share the same last name. It is uncertain if Dojima is the older or younger sibling regarding Yu’s mom.
Question: Was Dojima originally the killer Persona 4?
Answer: No, Ryotaro Dojima was not originally the killer in Persona 4. While I will not spoil who the killer is, it was never going to be Dojima. This rumor circulated because of a fake claim that the Japanese official art book noted that Dojima was originally the serial murderer. However, that was not the case. The only changes to his designs were to make him look less criminal.
Who to Check Out Next in Persona 4
Ryotaro Dojima is one of the most complex characters in Persona 4 and easily one of my favorites. A game rarely goes into the real-world issues of having a broken and struggling father figure. But that is precisely what happens with Dojima, and the JRPG is all the better for doing so.
This aspect of him is fully explored in his relationship with Yu Narukami and even his daughter, Nanako Dojima. Speaking of which, Nanako is one of the most beloved and intriguing characters in Persona 4.
Though she could have easily been the annoying “little sister” character who is all but useless to the plot, she plays an integral role in the story that is crucial to much of what happens toward the end of the JRPG.