Yakuza is an action-adventure game developed and published by Sega in 2005 for the PlayStation 2. The western version was released in the following year. The story follows the Yakuza Kazuma Kiryu, who after spending ten years in jail for a crime he did not commit, learns of a change in the crime organization and starts protecting a young girl named Haruka who is said to have the key for the Tojo clan's lost money.
As an action-adventure game, the player controls Kazuma in an open world where he can have access to sidequests besides the main story. Combat is a major focus in the game as the player gains experience from every battle in order to level up Kazuma's stats and increase his fighting capabilities. In order to both support the game's expensive production and make Kamurocho a realistic recreation of Tokyo's Kabukicho, Sega contracted a tie-in campaign with famous Japanese companies.
Critical reception to Yakuza has been positive. Although criticized for some clunky mechanics, the game has been well received by video game publications. It sold a total of one million units. This game is the first entry in the Yakuza series. It spanned an entire franchise with the second game being released in the next year
Although the game does not explicitly say it, much of the game takes place in Tokyo's Shinjuku ward, most noticeably a recreation of Shinjuku's red-light district Kabukichō, which is famous for its hostess bars (cabarets), host clubs, love hotels, shops, restaurants, nightclubs and its organized crime presence. Although the area was recreated as a fictionalized "Kamurocho district", much of Kabukichō's landmarks remain such as the red neon sign Kabukicho Ichiban-kai (歌舞伎町一番街) portal in the district's main entrance (renamed "Kamurochō tenkaichidōri", 神室町天下一通り), Koma Theater (renamed Kamuro Theater), Theater Square, Milano Bowl (renamed Shunjiku Mach Bowl), Don Quijote discount store (a tie-in), Seibu Shinjuku Station, Kabukicho Sakura Street (歌舞伎町 さくら通り) portal renamed "Kamurocho Pink Street" (神室町ピンク通り), and its adjacent FamilyMart convenience store (renamed Poppo). Tokyo's area called Shinjuku Golden Gai (新宿ゴールデン街), which is located in eastern Kabukicho and is famous for its small bars, is also recreated in as the "Kamuro Champion Gai" (神室チャンピオン街).
Kabukicho's highest skyscraper Tokyo-to Kenko Plaza Hygea (東京都健康プラザハイジア) and its surroundings don't exist in Kamurocho though, and they have been replaced by different streets and a comparable yet fictitious building called "Millenium Tower", the game's main landmark.
The game follows the story of Kazuma Kiryu, a yakuza whose fiance was attempted to be violated by his own boss, Sohei Dojima. As the yakuza boss is murdered by Kazuma's best friends, Akira Nishiki, Kazuma decides to take the blame for the the murder and be in prison. During his ten years of stay in prison, Kazuma gets expelled from the Tojo clan. After his release, he returns to find his friend Yumi Sawamura is missing and the Tojo Clan he was once a part of has had ten billion yen stolen from them, which the entire Japanese underworld is now searching for. Kazuma tries to talk about this with his former boss Shintaro Fuma about what happened to Yumi but Fuma is shot by Nishiki and Kazuma has to escape from the Tojo, who deem him as an enemy for Dojima's death.
In searching for Yumi, Kazuma finds a little orphan named Haruka who is searching for her mother and has an aunt named Yumi. Haruka is also searched by the mafia who find her pendant is the key to the ten billion yen. Kazuma also befriends a detective named Makoto Date who had been investigating Kazuma ever since the death of Dojima. He is investigating the murder of Chairman Sera from the Tojo clan.
In his way, Kazuma encounters several enemies including Futoshi Shimano who was after the position of chairman and the lost money, Goro Majima, Shimano's lieutenant, and Nishiki, who has changed in the last decade into a corrupted yakuza. Kazuma and Date learn of a secret criminal organization named MIA who has a member involved with the lost money: Kyohei Jingu. He had given the money to the Tojo as part of a scheme to manipulate the clan. Kazuma manages to meet Fuma again this time alongside Terada from the Omi Alliance. Fuma reveals that Yumi had married Jingu and that upon learning of his true motivations, they stole the money from the Tojo alongside the late Sera. Shortly afterwards, Shimano tries to kill Haruka and Fuma, but the attack only kills the latter who uses his body to protect the former.
Now aware of the money's location, Kazuma and Haruka head to Millenium Tower where they meets Yumi who is revealed to be Haruka's mother. Their reunion is interrupted by both Jingu and afterwards Nishiki with the former wishing to recover his money and the latter wishing to settle his fights with Kazuma. Although Kazuma is victorious in both fights, Yumi is shot by Jingu and Nishiki sacrifices his life to kill Jingu and destroy the money at the same moments. Date later convinces Kazuma to keep on living by taking care of Haruka as the last deed he can make to Yumi.