An Ode to Sega’s Yakuza and its Fictionalised Kabukicho

Tenkaichi Street, as depicted in Yakuza Kiwami 2 (SEGA)

Over on Overlode, you can read my piece exploring the fictional district of Kamurocho – the setting for most of Sega’s long-running Yakuza / Like a Dragon series, based on real-life Tokyo’s Kabukicho district.

Back in 2005, it was an area packed full of bars, short-stay hotels and adult entertainment venues, and was often called a red light district. The Yakuza series features the same attractions as the real Kabukicho, and several such establishments were either nods to or actual branded versions of real locations, from Sega’s own arcades, to the landmark Don Quijote store, and the baseball batting cage beloved by fan-favourite Goro Majima. In many cases, the games act like time capsules from when they were released, capturing snapshots of a Tokyo that has changed considerably over the last two decades. Sega may have closed its arcade business, but the arcades live on in Yakuza.

Read the full piece, “The (almost) unbroken history of Yakuza’s Kamurocho”, on Overlode now

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