|“||Who did you say was inept? Who'd you say has less potential than Kiryu? Here's a gift you can bring to hell with you... The man who killed Dojima... It was me! And don't forget it.||„|
|~ Akira Nishikiyama|
Akira Nishikiyama (renamed Akira Nishiki in the localization of Yakuza 1-3) is the main antagonist of Yakuza and its remake Yakuza Kiwami and a major supporting character in Yakuza 0. He is the first patriarch of the Nishikiyama family and is the sworn brother of Kazuma Kiryu. In the spin-off Yakuza Ishin, Nishikiyama appears as an antagonist and takes on the role of the Japanese samurai Okada Izo.
Nishikiyama grew up in Sunflower Orphanage alongside Kazuma Kiryu and Yumi Sawamura. At the age of 17, Nishikiyama and Kiryu decided that they would become yakuza and joined the Dojima Family, after their foster father Shintaro Kazama beats them up out of disapproval of their actions, despite being yakuza himself.
Set in 1988, Yakuza 0 explores Kiryu and Nishikiyama's friendship before everything changes in Yakuza. Nishikiyama was involved in the Empty Lot incident. He assists Kazuma Kiryu and prevents him from beating Keiji Shibusawa to death, telling him that it's not worth it, and if he were to eventually "cross that line", they would do it together. Ironically, this is not the case later on.
7 years after the events of Yakuza 0, Nishikiyama and Kiryu are continuously rising up the Dojima ranks, with Kiryu's ascension being much more rapid due to his actions in Yakuza 0, gaining him the name "the Dragon of Dojima". Nishikiyama casually admits his jealousy towards Kiryu, but this jealousy would be a factor that turns Nishikiyama into a different man. On a stormy night, Sohei Dojima, patriarch of the Dojima family, kidnaps Yumi and tries to rape her. Nishikiyama follows them and ends up murdering Dojima. Kiryu arrives onto the scene and willingly takes the blame, and serves 10 years in prison. While Kiryu is in prison, Nishikiyama goes through a tragic series of events, one being the death of his sister Yuko Nishikiyama. After Kiryu is released from prison, he learns that Nishikiyama is no longer the man he once knew. Kiryu sees this for himself as Nishikiyama calls him over to a bar that they used to hang out in. Nishikiyama offers Kiryu a chance to join him and work alongside him in exchange for a girl named Haruka Sawamura, which Kiryu has been taking care of. Kiryu refuses, and Nishikiyama ends their brotherhood there. For the rest of the game, the Nishikiyama family continues to antagonize Kiryu. Nishikiyama himself is not seen again until the end of the game, where Kiryu and Nishikiyama engage in their final battle. In the end, Kiryu is victorious, but was nearly killed by Kyohei Jingu. Nishikiyama sacrifices himself in order to kill Jingu.
Yakuza 2 Onwards
Even after Nishikiyama's death, the Nishikiyama family continues to cause problems for Kiryu, with each new patriarch being just as horrible as the first.
Before Yakuza, Nishikiyama was a model modern yakuza, and he often made fun of Kiryu for being old-fashioned and not getting in with the times. Despite this, Nishikiyama was very loyal to Kiryu, as seen when he takes on Goro Majima in order to protect Kiryu. Nishikiyama was also very popular with the ladies, which he only did in order to gain the respect of higher-ups. After Nishikiyama's transformation, he becomes a cold, ruthless person. He has no problem with killing off any disobedient family members. He is also very manipulative, as he uses a woman's love for him to his advantage in order to give away Kiryu and Haruka's position, then later sends goons to kill her. He hates being called useless or being compared to Kiryu, which is what sparked his transformation in the first place.
- Nishikiyama shares the same voice actor as the series' newest protagonist, Ichiban Kasuga, as well as Shin in Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise.
- His theme in the original Yakuza is remixed for each boss encounter with him throughout the rest of the games.