List of Ring characters
This article lists the characters who have appeared in the Japanese Ringu franchise, based on a trilogy of novels written by Koji Suzuki. The series is made up of Ringu, Rasen, Ring 2, Ring 0: Birthday and Sadako 3D. The films have also been adapted into the Korean film The Ring Virus, and the American franchise The Ring, Rings, and The Ring Two.
The books and films revolve around a mysterious video cassette which is said to curse those who watch it so that they will die within a week of viewing. The main characters discover this to be true and must solve the videotape's origins to save themselves and other characters from the deadly curse.
Kazuyuki Asakawa (浅川 和行 Asakawa Kazuyuki ) is the lead character in Koji Suzuki's novel Ring, published in 1991. He is married to Shizu Asakawa and they have a one-year-old daughter named Yoko. His best friend is Ryuji Takayama, an alleged rapist. After his wife's niece Tomoko dies and he comes across another boy who died on the same day on his motorbike, Asakawa tries to find out why which then links him to the cursed videotape. After watching it, he is left with just seven days to figure out how to break the curse.
Reiko Asakawa (浅川 玲子 Asakawa Reiko ) is a character in the 1998 film adaptation of Koji Suzuki's novel Ring, published in 1991, portrayed by Nanako Matsushima. She also plays important roles in Ring 2 and Rasen. She was adapted from Suzuki's original protagonist, Kazuyuki Asakawa, who was originally male. Producers changed the character's gender because they felt that a woman would be more appealing to the box office audience.
Asakawa is better known in the male guise of Yoichi Asakawa, portrayed by Rikiya Otaka in the 1998 film adaptation. Apart from sex, Yoichi differs from Yoko because:
- Rather than having married parents, he has divorced parents.
- Rather than being one, he is seven years old.
- He appears more often than her, especially in the scene when he watches the cursed videotape.
- Time of viewing the film has changed.
- Aidan Keller, in the 2002 American remake of the 1998 Japanese film, is the son of single-mother Rachel Keller.
- Hong Booram, in the 1999 South Korean remake of the 1998 Japanese film, is the daughter of single-mother Sun-joo Hong.
- Cody Campbell, in the 2003 parody Scary Movie 3, a paranormally frightened child, the nephew of Cindy Campbell.
Yoichi Asakawa (浅川 陽一 Asakawa Yōichi ) (Sometimes called Yoichi Takayama) is a character of the 1998 film adaptation of Koji Suzuki's novel Ring, published in 1991, portrayed by Rikiya Otaka. He is based on the novel character Yoko Asakawa, daughter of Kazuyuki Asakawa. He also appears in the "official" sequel to the Ring Trilogy, named Ring 2. He is the son of Reiko Asakawa and Ryuji Takayama, is about seven years of age and like his parents (particularly his father) is gifted from supernatural powers, namely ESP. He, like Sadako, has been considered a monster due to his strange powers and mysterious personality.
To close family members in Ring and Ring fans (ringworms) his pet name is "Yo-chan".
Ryuji Takayama (高山 竜司 Takayama Ryūji ) is a character in the Ring cycle, appearing and mentioned in Koji Suzuki's novels Ring, Rasen, Loop and The Birthday as well as in the films Ring, Ring 2 and Rasen. Ryuji is played by Hiroyuki Sanada in the movie series. He has also been played by Yoshio Harada in Ring: Kanzenban and Tomoya Nagase in Ring: The Final Chapter who also was used in the Ring manga.
In Ring, Ryūji Takayama is a strange man who claims to be an occasional rapist, and seems to fear nothing. As soon as Asakawa explains the story Ryūji believes him, and wants nothing other than to see the cursed videotape. Asakawa shows it to him, and although Ryūji remains nonchalant he agrees there is a powerful aura around the tape. He asks Asakawa to make him a copy to study at home, which Asakawa does. By the end, he and Asakawa believe they have solved the mystery surrounding the series' central character, Sadako Yamamura; The following day, however, Sadako's malignant spirit emerges from the tape and kills him.
In Spiral a former medical school classmate, Andou, performs the autopsy on Ryūji. He discovers a bit of newspaper sticking out of Ryuji's stomach sutures, with two sets of numbers on it: "178" and "136". Later on, it's traced to a code, utilizing a sequence of Ryuji's DNA. The message contained was "mutation". Andou later discovers that Ryūji decided to join forces with Sadako, and is blackmailed by Sadako into bringing Ryūji back to life. Sadako and Ryūji then plot to spread the virus throughout the world using the diary of his dead friend, Asakawa.
In Loop, protagonist Kaoru Futami discovers that he is actually a clone of Ryūji, who realized he was living in an artificial world right before his death and asked the outside world to help him escape. Kaoru realises that he is the cure to the virus that afflicts his girlfriend Reiko and is implanted into the Loop; in order to obtain the cure to the virus to save his girlfriend, he has to die. When in the Loop, Kaoru is reborn through Sadako instead of Ryūji, and Kaoru from then on lives under the name of Ryūji Takayama.
After six months of research, Kaoru/Ryuji creates a vaccine for the Ring virus, a sample of which he gives to Andou. The vaccine is then mass-produced, neutralizing the effects of the Ring virus. He also creates a virus designed to accelerate the Sadako clones' aging rate and kill them, ridding the Loop of Sadako Yamamura forever. However, the virus also affects Ryuji, and he eventually dies his second death. His last thoughts are of Reiko and her face, attempting to say "happy birthday".
Ryuji Takayama's character in the film series is very different from the novels. In the films, Asakawa becomes Reiko Asakawa, his ex-wife and mother of his child, Yoichi. Ryuji and his family all have a similar power to what Sadako and her family had called ESP.
Other variations include his relationship to other characters, in particular Mai Takano. In the novels, his relationship with Mai appears to be romantic. In the films, however, only in Rasen is she ever mentioned as being his girlfriend. In the rest of the series, such a relationship does not exist.
- Noah Clay in the US remakes of the Japanese films, the character is named Noah Clay, and is similar to the Japanese Ring movies' (not Rasen) character.
- George Logan in the parody Scary Movie 3, George Logan is similar to Ryuji, he helps Cindy solve the curse. However George survives, whereas Ryuji doesn't.
- Brenda Meeks is also a parody of Ryuji in Scary Movie 3, During the scene in which Tabitha kills her.
- Dr. Choi Yeol in the Korean film remake, the character is Dr. Choi Yeol, a pathologist, and is similar to the character Mitsuo Ando from the second novel, Spiral (Ryuji's best friend), also a pathologist.
Sadako Yamamura (山村 貞子 Yamamura Sadako ) is the antagonist in Koji Suzuki's novel Ring and the 1998 film adaptation. She returns as the antagonist in Rasen and the protagonist in Ring 0: Birthday, and appears in the Korean and American remakes of the Ring Trilogy, although as different characters. Her American movies' counterpart is Samara Morgan.
Her name combines the Japanese words for "chaste" (sada) and "child" (ko).
- Jotaro Nagao (長尾 城太郎 Nagao Jōtarō ) - A young doctor who was responsible for tossing Sadako down the well in the novels. He raped Sadako, passing on the smallpox strand that would become the virus in the cursed tape. He discovered she had Testicular Feminization Syndrome after raping her and threw her down the well.
- Shizuko Yamamura (山村 志津子 Yamamura Shizuko ) - Sadako's mother. Shizuko gave birth to Sadako under mysterious circumstances. She possessed the power of foresight, which was eventually put on display by Doctor Ikuma and Shizuko's cousin Takashi for the press. However, one journalist mocked Shizuko and labelled her a fraud. He was murdered by a young Sadako. Shizuko eventually went insane, spending hours on end standing in front of a mirror combing her hair. She predicted the eruption of a nearby volcano on Oshima Island, and her prediction came true the day she committed suicide by leaping into the volcano. She was played by actress Masako.
- Her American counterpart is split into two characters:Anna Morgan, played by Shannon Cochran. She was a famous horse breeder but suffered from hallucinations caused by Samara, leading to her trapping Samara down a well. She committed suicide moments after by falling off a cliff. The second one is Samara's biological mother, Evelyn, played by Sissy Spacek. She tried to drown Samara as an infant and has been living in a mental institution ever since.
- Doctor Heihachiro Ikuma (伊熊 平八郎 Ikuma Heihachirō ) - Shizuko's lover and Sadako's stepfather. In the books, he had an affair with Shizuko whilst working as a professor at Tokyo University. He gained tuberculosis after Shizuko's suicide whilst to activate possible psychic powers of his own and was hospitalsied for many years. In the films, he cared for Sadako but locked her evil twin away for years. He eventually tossed her down the well after both girls reunited and killed numerous people. He died shortly after. He was played by Daisuke Ban.
- Takashi Yamamura (山村 敬 Yamamura Takashi ) - Shizuko's cousin, Takashi was responsible for setting up Shizuko's public demonstration and was the catalyst for the events following to Sadako's imprisonment in the well. In Ring 2, he shows regret for his actions and allows Sadako's ghost to kill him. Played by Yoichi Numata.
- Mitsuo Ando (安藤 満男 Andō Mitsuo ) - The protagonist of the second novel Spiral and the retconned film sequel Rasen. A forensics doctor and autopsy surgeon, Ando was friends with Ryuji Takayama in medical school before he turned to mathematics and has to perform an autopsy on his body. His young son Takanori died of an unknown illness. Ando and Ryuji's student Mai Takano destroy the original tape after he watches it to end Sadako's curse for good, only to both become pawns in Sadako's resurrection. Ando agrees to help spread her curse and his son is reborn using Sadako's DNA. Played by Kōichi Satō.
- Mai Takano (高野 舞 Takano Mai ) - Ryuji Takayama's student and possibly girlfriend, Mai has a minor role in the first novel and film but finds his body after Sadako kills him. She was played by Miki Nakatani in the films. Her character role differs between the sequels. In Spiral and Rasen, Mai helps Ando Mitsuo investigate what truly killed Ryuji and learns of the tape and Sadako. The two end up sleeping together, leading to Sadako's resurrection, Mai used as an incubator for Sadako in her fertile stage and is killed. Her body is oddly found in a pipe by the authorities. In Ring 2, Mai investigates Ryuji's death and learns of the tape, etc. However, she becomes attached to Reiko and Yoichi and helps them flee the police, but Reiko is hit by a truck and dies. Mai becomes Yoichi's guardian and looks after him. At the end of Ring 2, Mai and Yoichi are involved in an experiment by Dr. Kawajiri to remove Sadako's powers from the boy. The experiment goes awry and everyone present save Mai and Yoichi die, who end up in the well but escape thanks to Ryuji and Sadako allowing them to leave.
- Tomoko Oishi (大石 智子 Ōishi Tomoko ) and Masami Kurahashi (倉橋 雅美 Kurahashi Masami ) - A pair of girls seen at the start of the novel and film, the two discuss the rumours of the cursed tape which turn out to be true. Tomoko watched the tape a week ago in the Izu County with three others, and is killed by Sadako at the start of the film. Masami witnessed the death and went mad, ending up in hospital. In Ring 2, Mai encounters Masami in hospital and she is used by Doctor Kawajiri in his first attempt to destroy Sadako's powers but is killed in the process. They are played by Yuko Takeuchi and Hitomi Sato.
- Kenzo Yoshino (吉野 賢三 Yoshino Kenzō ) - A 35-year old journalist who is associated with Kazuyuki. Yoshino works in Yokosuka, Kanagawa and helps Kazuyuki and Ryuji investigate the origins of the cursed videotape, following Kazuyuki's instructions and learns of Sadako's past. In Spiral and Rasen, he continues to investigate Sadako's background and meets the elderly Hiroshi Toyama. He cameos in the first film, and has a prominent role in the retconned Rasen, where he comes into possession of Reiko's journal, which carries the Ring Virus, and he is eventually killed by it.
- Okazaki (岡崎) - A journalist who works alongside Reiko Asakawa. He has a brief role in the first film, but reappears in Ring 2 investigating Reiko's disappearance and helps Mai for a part of the film. He gets a copy of the tape from a girl named Kanae Sawaguchi who he promises to save after she watches the tape, but lies and allows her to die. This comes back to literally haunt him as Kanae's ghost stalks him until he ends up in hospital.
- Hiroshi Toyama (遠山 博 Tōyama Hiroshi ) - Sadako's lover. Working as the sound operator in the acting troupe Sadako joined, Toyama learnt of her nensha powers but accepted them, promising to run away with her. Unfortunately, an early form of Sadako's curse started killing troupe members and Sadako fled to avoid killing Toyama. Years on, an elderly Toyama is on his deathbed but is visited by the resurrected Sadako who eases his passing, promising that they will be together in death. In the film prequel Ring 0, Toyama is dating Etsuko Tachihara but leaves her for Sadako. He is killed by the reunited forms of Sadako, who is unable to recognise friend from foe.