Heihachi Mishima

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Heihachi Mishima
Tekken character
Heihachi Mishima (T7).png
Heihachi Mishima in Tekken 7
First gameTekken (1994)
Created bySeiichi Ishii
Designed byAya Takemura (Tekken 3–5, Tekken Tag, Soulcalibur II, Namco × Capcom)
Takuji Kawano (Tekken 4–5, Soulcalibur II)
Portrayed byCary-Hiroyuki Tagawa
Voiced by
Motion captureSyuichi Masuda (Tekken: Blood Vengeance)
Kouji Kawamoto (Tekken: Blood Vengeance) (stunts)
Fighting styleMishima-ryu Karate (based on Goju-ryu karate)

Heihachi Mishima (Japanese: 三島 平八, Hepburn: Mishima Heihachi) is a fictional character of Namco's Tekken fighting game series. Introduced as the boss character from the first Tekken video game from 1994, Heihachi appears as the leader of an empire known as the Mishima Zaibatsu. He was the protagonist of Tekken 2, and was a boss character in two additional installments. He is opposed by many of his relatives who wish his death and taking over the Zaibatsu across the series after Heihachi betrayed them whereas Heihachi wants to defeat his son and grandson, Kazuya Mishima and Jin Kazama respectively, in order to obtain their Devil Gene powers. Heihachi's past and motives are revealed in Tekken 7 which is said to be his final appearance in story.

Outside Tekken spin-off titles, Heihachi also appears in other games such as SCE Santa Monica Studio's PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale and Capcom's Street Fighter X Tekken as a playable character. He is also featured in the printed, animated and live-action adaptations of the Tekken series. In contrast to the main Tekken games, Heihachi also appeared in many games with a younger appearance.

Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada referred to Heihachi as one of his favorite characters from the series. Critical reception to Heihachi has been positive with journalists praising his moves and characterization. His popularity has led to often being one of Sony's mascots as well as one of the best characters in fighting games.

Conception and creation[edit]

Tekken series director Katsuhiro Harada has stated that Heihachi is his favorite character in the overall series[3] and the character he most frequently selects when playing.[4] He further described Heihachi as a "very human character", stating that while focus had been placed on his appearance he found the character's philosophy more interesting, and that in the series he was a "perfect portrayal of the evil that lurks in men's hearts", an evil "far more hideous than any made-up monster or demon".[5] In Tekken 5, his movesets were viewed as one of the strongest ones from the cast but GameSpy commented he lack a weakness as well as quicker attacks.[6] In response to claims that the story of Tekken was complicated, Harada denied as he saw it as a "simple" struggle between members from the Mishima family.[7]

After Tekken 6, Heihachi's voice actor died. In order to include the character once again in the spin-off Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Namco hired a new actor who would fit into the character as for that this game Heihachi took a potion to make himself look younger.[8]

Tekken 7's story mode was supposed to conclude the long struggle between Kazuya and Heihachi. However, Namco made the story so that newcomers to the franchise would understand it.[9] In further tease of the game, Harada stated that in Tekken 7 Kazuya or Heihachi would die in their final fight.[10] In 2016, Harada commented he had his own family. As a result he compared it with the violent characters from Tekken who are constantly fighting each other: Heihachi, Jin and Kazuya. He viewed this type of family too hard in comparison.[11] When asked about the final fight between both Kazuya and Heihachi, Harada called it "a major milestone in the storyline" as he was surprised by how extended the rivalry between these two characters due to the franchise's popularity have been and thus felt it was necessary to end this in a mortal fight.[12]

In preparations for Tekken 7, Harada comments he would often try Devil Jin if he was an "intermediate player" comparing his skills with Heihachi's.[13] For Capcom's crossover game Street Fighter X Tekken, the official guide noted how Heihachi's multiple combos could inflict a large amount of damage on the opponents.[14]

For the film Tekken: Blood Vengeance, writer Dai Satō commented he had to wait to get Namco's approval to introduce Heihachi's final transformation using the power of the Mokujin in order to fight Jin in his Devil form. Heihachi's transformation surprised Harada and other members due to how over-the-top it was.[15]


In video games[edit]

Main Tekken series[edit]

In the first Tekken game, Heihachi hosts the Iron First Tournament where he faces his son, Kazuya Mishima.[16] Kazuya wins the tournament, tosses Heihachi off a cliff and assumes control of the Zaibatsu.[17] Heihachi survives the fall, meditates and trains extensively, then returns two years later in Tekken 2 to defeat his son. After defeating Kazuya, Heihachi tosses his body into a volcano, killing him.[18][19]

After assuming control of the Mishima Zaibatsu once more, Heihachi forms the Tekken Force, an elite army whose actions would ultimately lead to world peace. Fifteen years later, during a Tekken Force expedition at an Aztec Temple in Mexico, the Tekken Force is obliterated by a mysterious being called "Ogre". Realizing that Ogre has immortal blood, Heihachi seeks its blood in order to create an "ultimate life form". Around this time, he meets a teenager named Jin Kazama, who claims to be his grandson and begs Heihachi to train him so he can take revenge against Ogre for murdering his mother Jun.[20] Heihachi agrees, and four years later, announces the King of Iron Fist Tournament 3 to lure Ogre out. After Jin defeats Ogre, Heihachi betrays and attempts to kill him. However, Jin transforms to Devil Jin and knocks Heihachi out.[21]

Afterwards, Heihachi collects the remains of Ogre and attempts to combine his and Ogre's DNA, but discovers that he will need the Devil Gene possessed by his son and grandson as a catalyst. Unable to find Jin, Heihachi learns Kazuya has been resurrected by Tekken 4. To lure both to him, Heihachi holds the fourth King of Iron Fist Tournament two years later with his company's ownership as the grand prize. After the Tekken Force captures Jin upon arrival, Heihachi eventually defeats Kazuya in the finals, and takes him to Hon-Maru. However, the two are defeated by Jin, who escapes after sparing Heihachi's life.[22]

Immediately after Jin's departure, an army of G Corporation Jack-4s invade Hon-Maru. Heihachi is seemingly killed in the attack, but in reality was blown a great distance away after the Jacks detonated.[23] It is revealed in Tekken 6 that he was unconscious for the duration of the fifth King of Iron Fist Tournament. Upon his recovery, he discovers that Jin took control of the Mishima Zaibatsu in his absence. He appears in the story mode in the console version of Tekken 6, whose main character is Lars Alexandersson, Heihachi's illegitimate son.[24] Heihachi tries to make an alliance with Lars but it fails.

Heihachi returns as the main character and antagonist in Tekken 7. The story follows most of his backstory. Heihachi is better known as the only son of Jinpachi Mishima, a famous martial artist who founded the Mishima Zaibatsu company. Decades before the events of the original Tekken, Heihachi used to have a happy life following his father's foot-steps. He later meets Kazumi Hachijo, who is much younger than him and sent by her family to train in Jinpachi's dojo, with Heihachi as her friendly rival. Eventually, Heihachi and Kazumi become closer and get married, and Kazumi gives birth to their son, Kazuya. A few years later, when Kazuya is five years old, Kazumi suddenly becomes ill, leaving Heihachi to nurse her. Kazumi recovers quickly, but her personality changes considerably. One evening during Heihachi's training, Kazumi attempts to kill Heihachi in cold blood and reveals that was the reason she married him. Her clan foresaw his attempt at world domination in the future and she was sent to assassinate him before that future comes to pass. However, Heihachi overpowers and, realizing the woman he loved is gone, regretfully kills her. In the same year, Heihachi overthrows his father for control of the Mishima Zaibatsu. He wishes to go against his father's wishes and utilize the company as a military power and manufacture weapons for the highest bidder. When Jinpachi attempts a coup d'état to reclaim the Mishima Zaibatsu, Heihachi captures and imprisons him below the Mishima compound Hon-Maru, leaving him to starve to death.

Following Jin's disappearance after his battle with Azazel, Heihachi single-handedly retakes the Mishima Zaibatsu and announces a seventh tournament to lure Kazuya out. At the same time, he is confronted by Akuma, whose life was once saved by Heihachi's deceased wife, Kazumi, and who promised to kill both Heihachi and Kazuya for her in return. Heihachi clashes with Akuma and loses, but survives. In order to save the Zaibatsu's image, Heihachi captures footage of Kazuya's battle with Akuma in his Devil form; Their fight is interrupted as Heihachi blasts the two using Dr. Able's satellite, but both survive. Deciding to face his son one on one, Heihachi allows a reporter to interview him about his past; Heihachi reveals that he was once happily married to Kazumi Hachijo, who had secretly been sent by her family to get close to Heihachi and kill him, having foreseen his future actions. Heihachi killed Kazumi in self-defence, and then threw Kazuya off the cliff to kill him in case he had inherited the Devil Gene from Kazumi; Kazuya's survival confirmed his worst fears. Heihachi then confronts Kazuya at the site of a volcano and the two clash. After a long struggle, Heihachi is finally killed when Kazuya damages his heart with a devil-powered punch to the chest; his body is subsequently thrown into a river of molten lava.

Other video games[edit]

In spin off Tekken Tag Tournament, Heihachi appears as a playable character. By winning the game as him, Heihachi is seen meditating while remembering his fights against Kazuya and Jin.[25] In Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Tekken 3D: Prime Edition, Tekken Revolution, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, Project X Zone, and Project X Zone 2, Heihachi appears to have regressed back to his original appearance.[26][27][28][29] Heihachi is seen with a full head of hair for the first time. According to his character profile on the Tekken Tag Tournament 2 website, this is because he drank a rejuvenation serum.[30] In the ending of such game, Heihachi tries to drink a serum to become a Devil like Jin, Kazuya and Kazumi, but instead turns into a bear, leading some fans to believe that Kuma is really Heihachi's transformation.[31]

Heihachi makes a brief appearance on the Tekken spin-off game Death by Degrees as an optional boss.[32] He also makes an appearance as a playable guest character in the PlayStation 2 and HD Online versions of the fighting game Soulcalibur II, and as an unlockable narrator in Ridge Racer 6, one of the launch titles for Xbox 360.[33] A Mii costume of Heihachi was added to Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U through DLC.[34] In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, he appears as an 8-Bit Sprite for Pac-Man’s Taunt called Namco Roulette. In an interview, Masahiro Sakurai said that he considered including Heihachi as a playable character, but would ultimately pass on the idea as it would have been too difficult to have a moveset for him in Super Smash Bros.

Heihachi is one of the bonus characters available to play as or against in Anna Kournikova's Smash Court Tennis for the PlayStation (alongside fellow Namco characters) and is an unlockable character in Smash Court Tennis Pro Tournament 2. He also makes guest appearances in the role-playing game Tales of the Abyss (as one of Anise's custom dolls) and in Pac-Man Fever (alongside several other Namco characters).[35][36] In the crossover tactical RPG Namco × Capcom Heihachi appears as one of playable characters representing the Namco universe. He also appears in the crossover fighting game Street Fighter X Tekken with Kuma as his official tag partner.[37]

In other media[edit]

Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa portrays Heihachi in the live-action films

Heihachi appears as the main antagonist in the anime Tekken: The Motion Picture, voiced by Daisuke Gori in the Japanese version and by John Paul Shepard in the English dub. Loosely following the plot of the first two games, Heihachi throws Kazuya off a cliff as a child, and sixteen years later, hosts the King of Iron Fist Tournament in order to lure Kazuya out in the hope that he will accept his destiny as his heir. In the climax, Heihachi battles Kazuya and initially takes the upper hand, but is ultimately defeated. Kazuya, however, spares his father's life, and Heihachi escapes the battleground in a jet.[38]

He is also present in the 2009 film Tekken where Heihachi is portrayed by stuntman Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa.[39] Tagawa reprised his role in the prequel Tekken 2: Kazuya's Revenge.[40] He also appears as the main antagonist in the 2011 CGI animated film Tekken: Blood Vengeance, which is an alternate retelling of the events between Tekken 5 and Tekken 6. In it, he was supposedly killed by Kazuya four years ago, though in reality he is hiding and had conducted the M-cell experiment (taken from the Devil Gene) on a high school class to test immortality. However, all of the subjects died with the exception of Shin Kamiya, who managed to gain immortality as Heihachi desired. Heihachi is absent for most of the film until the climax, where he reveals that the experiment was just a ruse; he instead tries to take the Devil Gene from Kazuya and Jin, which gives its users increased power. After killing Shin, he fights Kazuya and Jin, awakening the Mokujin spirit for help, though he is ultimately defeated by Jin.[41] He is also present in the novel Tekken: The Dark History of Mishima.[42]

Tohru Fujisawa featured Heihachi as a cameo in his manga Great Teacher Onizuka, modeled after his younger appearance in Tekken. In it, he engages in an arm wrestling competition with protagonist Onizuka, shouting out controller inputs while the crowd shouts for him to "Do a combo!" Though Heihachi strains him for a moment, Onizuka defeats him, calling him "triangle head" as an insult.[43] Heihachi cameos again in a later issue briefly, overseeing students as they clean graffiti from the school's walls.[44] Heihachi also makes a cameo appearance in the Puchimas! Petit Petit Idolmaster ONA series.

In merchandise[edit]

In 2006, Namco released a Heihachi figurine as part of a Tekken 5 set based upon his promotional artwork for the game. While not posable, the PVC figure came with equipable clothing items modeled after those in the game.[45] A "statue" of Heihachi modeled after his Tekken 5 attire also appears in the Namco-themed lounge available for Japanese PlayStation Home users.[46] A Heihachi Mishima-Inspired "Sukajan Jacket" was also released.[47]


In 1996, Japanese magazine Gamest named Heihachi the 15th best character of the preceding year,[48] and in December 1997 he placed 40th on their list of the best video game characters.[49] Gaming Target listed him as the best Tekken character, citing his strength despite his age.[50] IGN called him "...one grandpa you don't want to come across in the retirement home",[51] citing his ruthlessness in their profile of him.[52] GamePro in their preview of Soul Calibur II's console ports called Heihachi's appearance in the series a landmark both as the second Tekken character to appear in the titles and as the first unarmed fighter in the series.[53] Complex ranked Heihachi as "The 24th Most Dominant Fighting Game Character", commenting "The King of the Iron Fist Tournament son".[54] Complex also ranked Heihachi as the 7th best Tekken character, commenting, "The old man who's responsible for everybody's misery, Heihachi just won't be killed."[55] The site also named Heihachi's Tekken 2 ending as one of the craziest moments in the Tekken series, and also listed him as having one of the best mustaches in video games.[56][57] Computer and Video Games also listed him as one of the angriest gaming characters as a result of his actions towards Kazuya made to eliminate his weakness.[58] GamingBolt ranked Heihachi as the "89th greatest video game villain of all time" and for having the "5th best mustaches in video games".[59][60] GameSpot named him one of the top ten villains in video games at number three, describing him as one of the most interesting villains in fighting games and adding comments on his little changed design across the series.[61] In PS2Planet's "Top 5 PSOne Villains", Heihachi was third with comments on him being the most realistic villain because of the themes the character touches.[62] He was listed as the 78th "most dastardly ne'er-do-wells" villains on video game by GamesRadar.[63] GamesRadar listed Heihachi as the 3rd "Top badass old folk", with comments focused on his role within the story.[64] GamesRadar also ranked Heihachi's guest appearance in Soul Calibur II as the "40th awesome character cameo".[65] The same site also named him as the "3rd gaming's richest jerk", for having the "10th most impractical hairstyle in gaming", "3rd gaming's most sinister mustaches" and as the "3rd gaming hero you didn't realize was dead the whole time".[66][67][68][69] On the other hand, Arcade Sushi named Heihachi for his appearance in Soul Calibur as one of the "worst fighting game guest stars".[70] Edge described him as "a legendary fighting game villain", and cited the impact of his supposed death in Tekken 5.[71] WhatCulture named him as the "9th Most Memorable Video Game Boss Of All Time", stating "Heihachi is one slippery fish, and despite constantly finding himself in situations where his extended family wants to kill him a thousand times over, always manages to come out on top. He's basically un-killable, and his Goju-Ryu moveset is the bomb."[72] Peter Austin from WhatCulture named Heihachi the "7th Greatest Tekken Character of All Time".[73]

GameDaily named his hairstyle one of the weirdest in gaming, stating "Heihachi Mishima is a tough old bird, and he's got the wings to show for it."[74] His younger appearance in Tekken Tag Tournament 2 resulted in surprising reactions by critics who mainly pointed his hair.[75][76] Both Kotaku and Game Informer have labelled him as one of the worst parents in video game history because of how he treats his relatives Kazuya and Jin.[77][78] In 2012, he was listed as one of the most "ridiculous" Tekken characters by Game Informer, who said "Now that he's young again, his hair, eyebrows, and moustache all line up in a series of inverted Vs. Does he seriously think that looks cool? Apparently Heihachi's cure for old age couldn't turn back the clock on his dementia".[79] Den of Geek ranked Heihachi as the 9th best fighting game character, adding "The grand dame of the Tekken series, Mr Mishima Senior is one of only a handful of characters to have appeared in each of the main entries in Namco's legendary brawler."[80] Mashable placed Heihachi 7th in their list "17 Video Game Characters With Amazing Facial Hair", adding "His twin peaks of hair aren't losing him points either."[81] FHM placed Heihachi's hairstyle among the "10 wtf hairstyles in videogames no sane man should get", adding "The hairstyle is a futile attempt to look badass when your panot genes get the best of you, and when Rogaine would no longer work."[82]

In a GamesRadar article by Michael Grimm, a fight between Heihachi and M. Bison was written as one of the ones players wanted to see in Street Fighter X Tekken because of their two similarities such as being their franchises' villains and other characteristics.[83] Now Gamer listed Heihachi and Gen as one of the rivalries they want to see in Street Fighter X Tekken.[84] FHM listed Heihachi and M. Bison as one of the "10 Awesome Fantasy Fights" in Street Fighter X Tekken, adding "These dudes fight like a boss. M. Bison with his fancy psychic techniques and megalomaniac tendencies, and Heihachi with his old-man grit, and constant teeth-grinding ruthlessness".[85] PlayStation Official Magazine ranked Heihachi as the "best tag team finisher" in Street Fighter X Tekken, adding "Thanks then, Heihachi, for your mega-satisfying Super Art."[86] In GamesRadar article for Street Fighter X Tekken, they stated "Father of Kazuya, grandfather to Jin, and son of Jinpachi, Heihachi is the cause of much of the pain in the Tekken series."[87] In 2013, Topless Robot ranked Heihachi as "The 2nd Most Diabolical Boss From Classic Fighting Games", adding "How many were sinister enough to toss their own flesh and blood into a volcano? And on multiple occasions?!"[88] In 2014, What Culture ranked him as the 8th greatest character in fighting games, calling him "one of the most iconic and important characters in the Tekken series, and even hardcore fans may have lost track of how many times he has died and come back to life."[89] PlayStation Universe included Heihachi and Kazuya among the top 5 rival pairs in Tekken Tag Tournament 2, commenting "Kaz and Heihachi are powerhouses and, as practitioners of Mishima-style Karate, make for a near-unstoppable Tag Team in the right hands."[90] Shinkan Crossing ranked Heihachi as the "2nd toughest Tekken character" where they commented on his feats and concluded "He gets props for being the only Mishima to not have the devil gene and be just as powerful. What a badass."[91] In 2015, Gamer Headlines named Heihachi the "2nd top over 50 video game character in gaming", stating "Heihachi lands here at number 2 because of just how freakishly powerful he is as well as how resilient he is. Heihachi may have obsessed about getting the Devil-gene for himself but obviously doesn’t need it."[92] WatchMojo ranked Heihachi (alongside Jin) as the "5th best fighting game character", as the "3rd best fighting game boss", and as the "7th top Tekken character", adding "Don’t be fooled by this guy’s age—he’s still one badass fighter. His powerful punches and kicks are always to be feared, and his twin tufts of hair never cease to amaze."[93][94][95] In the official poll by Namco, Heihachi is currently ranked as the 24th most requested Tekken character to be playable in Tekken X Street Fighter, at 6.12% of votes.[96]

See also[edit]


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