Dad I'd Love to F*
a Ryōtarō Dōjima tribute
Welcome to DILF, a small tribute to Detective Ryotaro Dojima of the Inaba Police Force from the video game Persona 4.
If you accept that, then read on!
The Game Persona 4
Taking place in the rural town of Inaba, Japan, Persona 4 is a murder mystery where the weapon used to commit the murder is a TV. As in, people were pushed into a TV and later turned up dead. Of course, the police is powerless to figure this one out and it's up to a group of plucky teens to stop the murders.
The Man Ryotaro
Ryotaro is a gruff, no-nonsense police detective and the maternal uncle of the protagonist. Smart, but hard-working to the point of being a workaholic, he neglects his daughter Nanako who must take care of the house in his absence. With the strange string of murders occurring in Inaba, Ryotaro is busier than ever, and Nanako misses him dearly.
When not busy with the murders, Ryotaro is obsessed with the hit-and-run killing of his wife, Chisato Dojima. Even though, as he tells the protagonist, the car that hit her was an oversea model sedan and that the culprit has most likely left Japan, he still tries to solve the unsolvable.
Although suspiscious of his strange nephew and of his involvement with the murders and kidnappings of Inaba, which began around the time said nephew came into town, he does still trust him enough to put Nanako's life in his hands when he is incapacitated by a violent car accident. Better yet, he believes his nephew and his nephew's friends are the only ones who can be relied on to save Nanako.
Official guide information
- Name: Ryotaro Dojima 「堂 島 ・遼 太 郎 」
- Date of Birth: May 16th, 1969
- Age in-game: 41
- Blood Type: O
- Height: 179cm
- Weight: 66kg
- Zodiac Sign: Taurus
- Arcana: The Hierophant
The gruffness and the excessive work are both masks worn by Dojima in society, in line with the theme of the Persona series. Ryotaro uses them to hide his pain of having lost his wife in an unsolved hit-and-run and having to raise, alone, a daughter who is the spitting image of his dearly beloved wife. I'm not saying that his hard-working attitude is not real. However, he stays late evenings trying to solve a killing where, he admits himself, the perpetrator will in likelihood never be found, since he must have left the country. Meanwhile, his daughter is alone at home, waiting in vain for her daddy.
This clearly gives the impression that Ryotaro does not care about his daughter very much, and, given how much she reminds him of his wife, it could have been true. However, when Nanako is the latest victim of a kidnapping by TV, he chases down the culprit in a high speed car chase and lands in the hospital from it. While he waits, powerless, he tells his strange nephew that he believes that, somehow, he can bring Nanako back. When Nanako is taken back to the real world, her condition takes a turn for the worst and Ryotaro can be found at the door of Namatame's highly guarded hospital room, banging on the door and demanding to have his daughter given back to him because "she's all I have!" Ryotaro does care about his daughter, painfully so. He's just unsure how to express it or how to deal with her when he feels he has been such a failure in bringing the killer of his wife, Nanako's mother, to justice.
Is Ryotaro Dojima an alcoholic?
I would like to dispell, somewhat, a myth that I have seen around in the Persona 4 fandom: the idea that Ryotaro is an alcoholic. It's featured a lot in parodies of Ryotaro and I think people have the wrong idea because he comes home drunk a few times during the course of the game, helped back home by Adachi.
In Japanese work culture, it is expected of coworkers to go out drinking together at the end of the work day. Not only that, but it is the responsability of your coworkers to make sure your glass is never empty. Even if you have only drunk a little in your glass, they will top it right off all over again, and soon you're losing track of how much you've actually drunk and the others are encouraging you to drink more and suddenly it's midnight and you have trouble standing up. If Dojima was doing this every night, or worse even doing it during the day, then yes, he would absolutely be an alcoholic. However, as it stands, this doesn't seem to be a common occurence for him, so I doubt he is an alcoholic. Should he stop drinking sooner in the evening? Absolutely. Is he an alcoholic? Absolutely not.
The Arcana V. Hierophant
The Hierophant, also called The Pope, is the sixth major arcana in tarot and bears the roman number V (5). It represents education, authority, conservatism, obedience to the rules and relationship with the divine.
Difficult to find a more appropriate arcana to describe a police detective like Ryotaro, who is serious, dedicated to his work and to justice, all this while being a single parent.
Ryotaro, however, like all social links character, starts out in the game with his arcana representing its reverse state: dubious advice, poor counsel, rejection of family values. The protagonist's extended family seems, indeed, to have a problem with family relationships: the protagonist's parents are always travelling for work (the game begins as they leave the protagonist in his uncle's care because they are going abroad for a whole year), and Ryotaro, while not travelling abroad, seems to value his work over his young daughter.
Throughout the course of this finicky Social Link (Ryotaro is only available once the kidnapee is safe; when he is available, Nanako is not; the protagonist's Expression, at some point, needs to be nearly maxed for the Social Link to continue), it is the protagonist's task to help Ryotaro realise how his behaviour affects Nanako negatively, how lonely Nanako is without him, and how he must let go of the past to form a family with his daughter, right here, right now.
When Ryotaro finally realises all this, the Social Link is maxed, and Ryotaro gives the protagonist his very own coffee mug to drink coffee with his uncle, as a family. Ryotaro is then the upright Hierophant: mature, powerful, worthy of respect, invested in his family.
The Social Links Relationships
Ryotaro's beloved wife. She was killed in a hit-and-run while getting Nanako from kindergarten. After all these years, Ryotaro is still trying to find the culprit, even though she was hit by an oversea sedan and the culprit is most likely long gone.
Ryotaro's beloved daughter. She goes the primary school and takes care of the house when Ryotaro is working, which is nearly always. She also does all the cooking. She is lonely without her dad at home, but she tries not to let it show. She is the spitting image of Chisato and she reminds Ryotaro of her every time he looks at Nanako.
Ryotaro appears to not care very much about his daughter, but nothing could be further from the truth. This is painfully demonstrated when Nanako is kidnapped, where he engages the kidnapper in a high speed car chase, and even more when Nanako, upon her return, appears to die in the hospital. Ryotaro is abolutely demolished even before she breathes her last, screaming at Namatame to bring his daughter back because she's the only thing he has in the whole world.
Ryotaro's nephew from his sister. At first he is happy to welcome him in his home, but as the murder and kidnapping case progresses, he gets more and more suspscious of his strange nephew and his friends. Things get to a head when the protagonist receives a threatening letter warning him to stop or someone close to him would die. That is too much for Dojima and he take the protagonist in for questionning. Unfortunately, even if the protagonist tells Ryotaro the truth, Ryotaro doesn't believe him (who would have?) and keeps him locked up for the night in punishment, wounded that the protagonist doesn't trust him as he trusted the protagonist. Yet, once Nanako is kidnapped and Dojima gets seriously hurt chasing after the kidnapper, he still trusts the protagonist will somehow bring Nanako back. Perhaps he has begun to believe...
His trust is rewarded when Naoto is indeed brought back, though she is in a very bad condition. After a heartbreaking scene where Nanako appears to die, if the protagonist heads for the True End, she is revived and begins getting better, fortunately for her father, who was absolutely devastated when she died. Ryotaro doesn't know how, but ultimately, the protagonist and his friends bring an end to the case, the fog, everything: the culprit is locked up for execution, and Ryotaro can finally live as a real family with his daughter.
Ryotaro is, at first glance, not very nice to Adachi. He yells at him a lot and sometimes even hits him when he's been particularly stupid. However, I believe it's because he thinks the bumbling blabbermouth that is Adachi can do better than that at his work. Perhaps he seems him a bit as a son in need of some good discipline? Whatever the reason, he is harsh on Adachi, who doesn't seem to get much better with time. Still, he trusts him enough to work with him, sharing his ideas on the case with him, letting him take him home after an evening out drinking, letting Adachi in charge of the Investigation Team after Nanako has been kidnapped, and seems genuinely upset when the reveal happens in the True Ending.
If Ryotaro doesn't seem to get through Adachi and correct his bad habits, however, it's because Adachi is a complete sociopath who doesn't actually give a shit. The bumbling personality is his mask in society, and he's not going to correct it just to please his partner, who he probably has not much but contempt for. Adachi probably goes to bed at night patting himself on the back for having fooled Ryotaro one more day.
The Fandom fannish things
When I was playing the game at first, I was shipping Ryotaro Dojima and Tohru Adachi because in part because they were the only handsome adults around. That sort of fell apart later on, though.
I do RP Ryotaro with a friend who plays Kanji, but that is not a very realistic ship (crack is fun!). I think that Ryotaro, giving his level of obsession with Chisato, fueled by Nanako reminding him of her, is not ready for a relationship of that level yet. It would feel too much like betraying Chisato, not to mention Nanako's possible reaction to having a mother-in-law.
So what if Ryotaro did join the Investigation Team? I love the very idea of this AU, so I have played with it a lot in RP in the lot, even going so far as to create Personas for Ryotaro. Below is the one I made for Ryotaro joining the team to search for Nanako, because given the opportunity, he'd say fuck the doctors and go for it.
|Mediarama||12 SP||Recovers a moderate amount of HP of all allies|
|Mabufu||16 SP||Inflicts a moderate amount of Ice damage on all enemies|
|Growth 3||Passive||Persona gains full experience even while inactive|
|Poison Skewer||9% HP||Inflicts a small amount of Physical damage with a chance of Poison on one enemy|
|Posumudi||3 SP||Recover from Poison (1 ally)|
|Auto-Sukukaja||Passive||Begin the battle with Sukukaja cast on yourself|
|Poison Boost||Passive||Poison-based attacks are 1.5 times more effective|
|Rebellion||5 SP||Increases Critical Rate (1 ally)|
Why I love Ryotaro Dojima
I'm going to be totally honest here, as if the name of the site was not a big clue: I love Ryotaro Dojima because he is smoking hot. Unfortunately I'm coming to an age where Ryotaro is closer to my age than, say, Kanji Tatsumi, so it is about time I started admiring the older characters in these RPGs...
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Dojima artwork taken from the official Persona 4 fanbook.
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This simple one-page shrine was built using CSS grid, thanks to Grid by Example, and he code editor Atom. It uses a Rain pattern from Hero Patterns. Fonts used are Noto Sans, Noto Sans JP and Noto Serif. Thank you MDN webdocs for everything, especially ruby annotations.
Site opened on April 6th, 2014. Reopened on September 11th, 2017. Last updated on March 21st, 2020.