The world of Persona is filled with dark dungeons and labyrinths, which in turn are loaded with Shadows that have the singular goal of shortening the player’s life. Persona 4 takes the dungeon crawling formula of previous Persona titles and gives it a sleek visual makeover in the form of a television studio set.
While the game is mechanically similar, knowing that your greatest fears and most profound emotions are being broadcast to the world lends a different kind of unease to the events in the 4th Persona title. That’s why it’s good to have a buddy you know you can rely on when exploring the Midnight Channel.
In Persona 4, Yosuke Hanamura is that buddy. Inaba isn’t his hometown, just like the protagonist. He’s the first Persona character to join the protagonist in the Midnight Channel. He unlocks his Persona right after him, too, which lets Yosuke join in on the Shadow-bashing fun early in the game.
Yosuke isn’t only helpful in battle, though. His interactions with Yu (the protagonist), Chie, Teddie, and the other members of the Investigation Team bring a little comic relief to an otherwise serious story.
Though he can sometimes seem like a bit of an airhead, his thoughtfulness and courage occasionally shine through as the team rescues victims from the Midnight Channel. As I learned more about him through Social Link events, Yosuke quickly became a favorite of mine, and I feel like he will for you, too.
Looking to learn more about your best mate in Persona 4? Continue reading our Yosuke Hanamura guide to find out all there is to know about Yosuke Hanamura.
Bottom Line Up Front
- Yosuke Hanamura is a character and party member in Persona 4.
- Like the protagonist of Persona 4, Yosuke moved to Inaba from a bigger city.
- Yosuke dual-wields weapons in battle, while his Persona (Jiraiya) casts powerful Wind-type spells.
- Leveling up Yosuke’s Social Link results in stronger Magician Personas.
Note: This guide contains spoilers.
Yosuke Hanamura is a skinny high school student with a penchant for speaking without thinking. He is a character in the Persona 4 games of the Persona franchise, an offshoot of the Megami Tensei series.
He appears in Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4, Persona 4: Golden, Persona 4 Arena, Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth, Persona 4: Dancing All Night, and Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth.
He transferred to Yasogami High School just before the protagonist, making him a natural friend. His family moved to Inaba to manage the local Junes supermarket, making him a local speculation target.
The townsfolk feel that Junes is tanking local businesses, and some of them hold Yosuke responsible. However, he has no choice in the matter. Because of this, he feels like an outsider until he meets Yu and starts helping with the investigation.
Yosuke’s presence in the Investigation Team helps to keep the mood light. The first time you catch a glimpse of him, he’s crashing into trash cans outside of Yasogami High. He’s often the butt of slapstick humor like this in the game.
Despite this, he has a serious side that comes out when trying to solve the murders in the Midnight Channel.
He doesn’t have a filter and will make comments at will, sometimes leading to him apologizing for insensitive statements. For example, after rescuing Kanji from the Midnight Channel, Yosuke’s questions concerning the tough guy’s sexuality are cringeworthy and unnecessary.
However, those comments are excusable, and he gets along with all members of the Investigation Team. This includes Chie, even though he’ll occasionally find himself on the receiving end of a swift kick to the nads.
Yosuke tries to be a ladies’ man, too. This never works out for him. For example, after a random student asks Yukiko out on a date only to be denied, Yosuke swoops in, hoping to capitalize on the situation. The outcome is the same for him – straight-up denial.
In battle, Yosuke dual-wield daggers are one of the quickest party members. His Persona, Jiraiya, packs some powerful abilities that absolutely wreck foes susceptible to Wind-type attacks. He’s well-rounded with a good mix of physical attacks, Wind spells, and buffs. He can also pull duty as a healer in a pinch.
As I originally made my way through the events of Persona 4, Yosuke became my ride-or-die guy. He never left my party, always bobbing his head to whatever music he listens to on his headphones during battle.
His enthusiasm and determination to solve the murder investigation are contagious, and he never misses a chance to sing the praises of the protagonist. He’s a good friend and an even better Investigation Team member.
Yosuke is a skinny high school student with light brown hair, brown eyes, and a trademark pair of orange and red headphones that never leave his head.
Yosuke has my favorite sense of style of all the characters in Persona 4. He wears the standard Yasogami High School uniform with his headphones during school and when visiting the Midnight Channel. For his summer school outfit, he removes the jacket and wears only a white button-up short-sleeved shirt with a V-neck undershirt.
His casual outfit during winter and spring includes a white and cream jacket with a fuzzy collar, an orange V-neck t-shirt, brown slacks, and boots. In summer, he wears a short-sleeved V-neck T-shirt with a red logo, plus bright red slacks to match.
Persona 4: Golden added a few outfits to Yosuke’s winter wardrobe. When it becomes colder, he’ll wear a red jacket with a white hoodie and blue scarf to keep warm. He also wears some fashionable camo pants. He’ll have on a light blue hoodie under his school uniform during school.
Persona 4: Dancing All Night introduces some really fun costumes for Yosuke. My favorites include the Werewolf Costume, the Butler Suit, and the Junes Coveralls.
Key Moments Persona 4 and Persona 4: Golden
Konishi Liquor Store (Meeting His Shadow)
Yosuke’s feelings of isolation and misgivings about Junes in Inaba come to a head after the death of his friend, Saki Konishi. She’s the second victim of the Midnight Channel. She holds a part-time job at Junes to help support her family and their failing alcohol store, which her father holds against her.
All of this is revealed in Yu and Yosuke’s first trip together into the Midnight Channel, as well as Saki’s disdain for Yosuke’s happy-go-lucky attitude. This fact is particularly crushing for Yosuke as it seems like he cared deeply for Saki.
He’s in utter disbelief as Saki’s disembodied voice tells Yosuke her true feelings: that he’s annoying, that he’s “a pain in the ass,” and that Junes has essentially ruined her life.
We can see Yosuke’s negative traits boil to the surface when he confronts his Shadow form in the Konishi family store. He’s bored in Inaba – it’s a small town with not a lot to do. Shadow Yosuke accuses him of not wanting to find out what happened to Saki but instead just looking for cheap thrills.
We can assume that he latched on to the protagonist so quickly because he’s afraid of being alone. I think that’s natural for a teenager who’s just moved to a new town. After battling Shadow Yosuke, the real Yosuke accepts the flaws of his shadowy form as his own and gains the power of Jiraiya, his Persona.
I don’t think Yosuke’s negative emotions are that bad when considering those of the rest of the Investigation Team. Before Yu arrived, Saki made Yosuke feel accepted, which led to him developing a little crush on her.
Hearing her harsh words in the Midnight Channel must have been devastating, given that the root of how he feels is the loneliness and isolation of being in an unfamiliar setting. Most of us have experienced that at one time in our lives – this is part of what makes Yosuke an endearing fan favorite.
Social Link Rank 8
Yosuke’s Social Link story goes deeper into his relationship with Saki Konishi and how’s he coping in the aftermath of her murder. Increasing your Social Link Rank with Yosuke allows you to create better Personas of the Magician Arcana.
On the banks of the Samegawa River, Yosuke shows the protagonist a sticker picture he took with Saki before she died. Seeing the picture again brought up some of Yosuke’s old memories of when he first moved to Inaba.
He felt he was too good to live in a small town in the middle of nowhere. Not only that, he knew that he would be disliked because his father owns Junes, a large chain store that actively takes away business from Inaba’s local shops.
Saki was the only person to address Yosuke’s guilt regarding Junes, saying, “Parents are parents. You’re you.” Those kind words helped Yosuke in his early days in Inaba, and he began to enjoy living there.
This Social Link event, in particular, made me realize just how much he was hurting when he first moved to Inaba and didn’t know anyone. Saki was the only person he could even remotely call a friend at first, but she was brutally murdered. I sympathize with Yosuke’s anger, too, at wanting to have more time with Saki and get to know her better.
Yosuke lets it all out, sobbing and telling Yu that he wants to forget about Saki and Inaba. He saw the murders and the Midnight Channel as a chance to matter, as a chance to be important even in a small town. Still, he didn’t consider how this approach would affect him mentally.
This Social Link event renews Yosuke’s sense of purpose, and he promises to let go of Saki so that he can change. After my first playthrough of Persona 4 – I think he makes good on his promise. Completing this Social Link event grants Diarama, a strong version of the healing ability Dia, to Jiraiya.
Social Link Rank 9
Yosuke’s Social Link events provide insight into his life as the son of the Junes manager. Workers in the store come to Yosuke with their problems, even though Yosuke doesn’t have much authority.
They’re rude to him and dislike him, which is exactly what Yosuke feared would happen when he moved to Inaba. But with Yu, he feels like he doesn’t have to lie and can be himself.
That realization comes to Yosuke in the Social Link Rank 9 event. As they stand on top of a hill overlooking Inaba, Yosuke admits that living in Inaba isn’t bad since he has his family, friends, and Yu to make life more enjoyable. He goes on to say that he’s been waiting to become important to someone:
I thought my life’d finally have meaning if I was ‘special’ to someone.
He’s excited that he received his Persona and can help with the Investigation Team. Still, he’s come to realize that life isn’t about being extraordinary or a superhero – it’s about being special to those closest to you because they’re the people who matter.
In a touching moment that shows how close the two have become throughout Persona 4, Yosuke tells Yu that he’s special to him. The two have been together through thick and thin at this point, and this moment is an important one in the development of their friendship.
Social Link MAX
The final Social Link event for Yosuke is another heart-to-heart between him and the protagonist by the Samegawa River. He admits that after first meeting Yu, he was jealous of him.
After everything they’ve been through together, it seems like a strange thing to admit, but it makes sense after Yosuke explains. He was jealous of Yu’s ability to adapt to Inaba, how quickly he got his Persona and his knack for bringing people together and leading them.
So, where is this admission coming from? When I initially played through Persona 4, I didn’t have any clue that Yosuke felt this way. He goes on to say that he wanted to be “acknowledged” by Yu, leading to his feelings of jealousy.
Then, out of nowhere, he asks Yu to hit him! He wants to stand on equal footing with Yu and believes that taking a punch from him will elevate him to that.
You have the option to fight with Yosuke, at which point you’ll see a white screen with punching sound effects. It seems that the quick brawl does the trick for Yosuke because afterward, he offers you Buddy’s Bandage (which allows you to create the Persona Mada from fusion) and decides he’s going to live life to the fullest – for himself and Saki.
It’s an oddly sweet moment between two friends that sometimes shows words can’t communicate our true feelings.
Maxing out Yosuke’s Social Link results in his Persona, Jiraiya, evolving into a stronger form, Susano-o.
Takehaya Susano-o Event
Speaking to Yosuke anytime after January 10th and after completing his Social Link events will result in this event. In it, Yosuke reflects on his past feelings about working at Junes. He says he felt overworked and that people were taking advantage of him, but he feels differently now. He’s grown since we’ve met him.
Instead of looking at how Junes treated as negative, he’s decided to acknowledge the constant attention as people rely on him. He says that he tries harder when he’s doing things for other people.
This makes a lot of sense when you think about how much energy he’s thrown into the Midnight Channel and the Investigation Team. Yosuke even brings up how he acted after Nanako was kidnapped and how he handled the situation maturely. He wanted his best friend to be able to rely on him.
By the end of the scene, Yosuke has decided he wants to keep pushing himself and making those around him happy, which triggers the next evolution of his Persona. Susano-o transforms into Takehaya Susano-o, the final form of Jiraiya. With the transformation gains the skill Youthful Wind.
Key Moments Persona 4: Arena
Fight with Chie
After entering the Midnight Channel again at the beginning of Persona 4: Arena’s story mode, Yosuke is separated from the rest of the Investigation Team. He encounters a girl he’s never met before, who is later revealed to be Labrys. However, she merely introduces herself as the student council president, slightly bewildering an already confused Yosuke.
The events of Persona 4: Arena are literally kicked into high gear as Chie steps out from a cloud of smoke as Yosuke’s first opponent of the P-1 Grand Prix. Her carnivorous tendencies are in overdrive in this version of the Midnight Channel, and a brief, hilarious dialogue takes place before she attacks Yosuke, hoping to snack on him later.
Chie’s bizarre behavior clues Yosuke in on the fact that the Midnight Channel is even stranger this time around. His friends are now, for a brief time, enemies, and he’ll have to do his best to figure out what’s wrong with Teddie and Rise. After you defeat Chie, Yosuke can continue in the Grand Prix.
Persona 4 and Persona 4: Golden
Yosuke is a fast character, which means that he’s usually the first to attack in battle. He’s a well-rounded character, and his Persona, Jiraiya, can dish out physical pain as well as Wind-based attacks. He also does an adequate job as a healer if Yukiko isn’t in your party and can buff as needed.
Yosuke joins your party at level 4 and will already have Garu and Dia’s spell, along with the physical attack Bash. He’s weak against Electric attacks, so figuring out a way to protect him in battles where Electric spells are being cast, like the battle with Shadow Kanji, is crucial.
You can obtain Yosuke’s best weapon and armor by defeating the Reaper, which has a chance of being found after opening a certain number of chests (22) in a dungeon. Yosuke’s best weapon is the Malakh, and his best armor is the Godly Robe.
Persona 4: Arena
Yosuke is fast – very fast. He’s easily the fastest character in the game and is known for leaping attacks that allow him to throw knives from different angles.
He attacks with his usual twin kunai in a flurry designed to overwhelm opponents with their speed. Yosuke doesn’t have a lot of health, so it’s best to opt for an in-and-out strategy, so you don’t get caught up in a combo from your opponent.
Yosuke’s Awakening is Sukukaja, which boosts his already high speed. With it activated, his quickness will be near teleportation levels, allowing for you to slice and dice your opponent before they have a chance to react.
Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth
Yosuke can be a party member in both Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth and its sequel, New Cinema Labyrinth. His gameplay traits are similar to how he works in the main Persona 4 entries. He can adequately fill most roles in your party, whether it’s healing, doing damage, or buffing your other party members.
In New Cinema Labyrinth, Yosuke has the option of learning a special combo move with the other “sidekicks” of the Persona games, Junpei Iori (Persona 3) and Ryuji Sakamoto (Persona 5). He’s drawn to these two characters in particular because of the way they support the leaders of their groups in their games.
Yu Narukami (The Protagonist)
The friendship that this forged by Yu and Yosuke during Persona 4 is a tight one. It originally stems from the fact that both moved to Inaba from bigger cities – an instant bonding point.
The two grow closer after the battle with Shadow Yosuke. Yu was the only one to witness Yosuke’s true negative emotions. For that, Yosuke is eternally grateful to him for helping him through that time.
For the rest of the game, you’ll spend time nearly every day with Yosuke, whether it’s driving to Okina City on your motor scooters, eating grilled steak at Junes, or simply hanging out in your room while joking about naughty magazines hidden under your futon.
While Persona 4 gives us the choice of who we want to build friendships with, I naturally gravitated towards completing Yosuke’s Social Link events because it felt like he would be best pals with Yu.
The two naturally click as characters, and taking the time to learn more about Yosuke through the role of the protagonist makes playing Persona 4 a better experience.
Saki isn’t a member of the Investigation Team, and she isn’t around for very long in the game. Still, she plays a large, unseen role in Yosuke’s Social Link events. She’s the driving force behind why Yosuke decided to join the Investigation Team in the first place.
Saki’s family runs a liquor store in downtown Inaba that’s been in the family for generations. You can imagine how big of an issue it was with her father.
She took a job at Junes, a direct competitor, and takes away business from the small shops of the Central Shopping District in Inaba. The drama at home was starting to take its toll on Saki before being murdered.
As Yosuke says, she was the only person to offer any kindness to him when he first arrived in Inaba. This, more than anything else, helps us to understand why he is affected so much by her death.
These two fight like siblings, but it makes every one of their dialogues fun. Chie and Yosuke’s scenes often form the basis of Persona 4’s attempts at comedic relief, from Chie punishing Yosuke for breaking her kung fu DVD to Yosuke nearly getting poisoned from Chie’s (and Yukiko’s) bad cooking during the school camping trip.
They might not be able to stand each other a lot of the time, but their interactions help break up the heavier events of Persona 4’s story.
Question: Who is Yosuke Hanamura?
Answer: Yosuke Hanamura is a character and party member in Persona 4 and its spin-off entries. He joins Yu Narukami as one of the initial members of the Investigation Team trying to solve a string of murders in the small Japanese town of Inaba. He likes to joke around and constantly has his trademark headphones on his ears or his neck.
Question: How Old is Yosuke Hanamura?
Answer: In the original release of Persona 4 for Playstation 2, Yosuke is 16 or 17 years old. His age was updated to 18 in the updated version of the game, Persona 4: Golden.
Question: Is Yosuke a Romanceable Character?
Answer: Despite the connection between Yosuke and Yu, you can’t be in a relationship with him in Persona 4 unless you install a mod for the original game.
Question: What is Yosuke’s Best Gear Set?
Answer: This is Yosuke’s best gear:
• Best weapon: Malakh
• Best armor: Godly Robe
• Best accessory: Shinatobe Vow
You can obtain both Malakh and Godly Robe by defeating the Reaper, an optional boss. The Shinatobe Vow is my accessory of choice because of the boost (+50%) it gives to Yosuke’s Wind damage.
I like equipping this because it gives me the option of taking up another skill slot with Wind Amp, a skill that also boosts Wind damage. Combining the two gives Yosuke some pretty heavy damage output. Shinatobe Vow can be found in a golden chest in Yomotsu Hirasaka.
Question: Is Yosuke Different in the Persona 4 Anime?
Answer: The main difference between Yosuke in the anime is that he no longer has to be the mouthpiece for the protagonist. The hero of Persona 4, who goes by the name Yu in the anime and subsequent game releases, follows the “silent protagonist” trope and, as such, has to rely on dialogue from other characters occasionally.
Because we can’t fully express ourselves as the protagonist, Yosuke’s dialogue often carries some of that weight.
Other than this difference in storytelling and expression, Yosuke in the anime has the same character traits and personality as he does in the games.
Yosuke Hanamura, despite being insensitive at times and having a knack for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, is a vital member of the Investigation Team and a great friend to the protagonist.
Granted, his early character development isn’t the deepest – he’s an angsty, big-city teen who’s mad about moving to the boring ol’ countryside – but the relationship that develops between him and Yu is one of the purest and most believable friendships I’ve seen in a video game.
If you’re anything like me, Yosuke will be a permanent fixture in your Persona 4 party, nodding his head to the music in those cool headphones.
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