- Kizaki has been with him since Hanayama was a child and always shows him boundless loyalty.
- Manga Ethics
Kaoru Hanayama to Bunnoshin's Master. Kaoru Hanayama (花山 薫, Hanayama Kaoru) is a major character from the anime and manga series of Baki the Grappler. He is known as the strongest Yakuza in Japan, and one of the strongest characters from the series. He is the second generation boss of the Hanayama Group. He has scars from multiple wounds on his body, and his full-back tattoo looks like a jigsaw puzzle due to the many scars. Kaoru Hanayama is the 19-year-old leader of the Yakuza. He is a taciturn and proud fighter. His code of honor is to choose not to fall in battle even if it means his death; a family vow which has been held in the long tradition passed from generations. Even after 3 direct strikes from Katsumi Orochi, he still chose not to fall and chose to risk death. Katsumi even admitted that he lost the battle to him despite officially winning the match. Hanayama is also very silent and stoic ironically much like Yuujirou himself as he mostly only listens and only speaks what is necessary when confronting someone, especially during combat. He is looked upon as an older brother figure to Baki Hanma, often appearing to comfort Baki and reassure him when needed. Originally seeking to fight Baki as a way to get Yuujirou's attention, and only after being beaten by him do they become good friends. This is best shown during the manga second series, wherein Hanayama ruthlessly grabs Spec by the face and forces him away from Kozue Matsumoto and Baki, who were having a nice romantic date.
Kizaki has been with him since Hanayama was a child and always shows him boundless loyalty.
Despite his harsh and cold way of being, Baki is not the only person that Hanayama can show his affection and care for. During the Maximum Tournament, he met Chiharu Shiba, whom he began to respect because of his unusual style and insane fighting spirit. Not only does he start to consider him a friend, but he probably began working with him in the gangster sphere (it can be seen in the later parts of the manga). His long-time companion and diplomat is Kizaki, to whom Hanayama usually shows no emotions. However, it can be interpreted that he greatly appreciates his service as they have been accompanying each other for so many years. Kizaki has been with him since Hanayama was a child and always shows him boundless loyalty. Also, Kaoru's act of pouring a drink over Emi Akezawa's grave suggests a feeling of love, but it is not known (the scene was shown only in anime). Hanayama loves and respects his mother very much. She was terminally diseased with cancer, making her a feeble shell of her former self. Hanayama visited her often. He revealed to Baki that she was 35 years old, but looked 90 because of the cancer, and that he was jealous that Baki's mother was still alive and well. Hanayama's attitude to his father isn't very well known since Keizou died when Kaoru was a young boy, so too many of their scenes were not shown in the manga, and Kaoru never talks about his father.
Hanayama is very intelligent, being capable of effectively leading the Yakuza despite his young age, and knows how to effectively use his strength in combat. However, he is still able to be extremely reckless. For example, in the first series, he was attacked by Yuujirou when he was extremely beaten up and tired after his battle with Baki. The "Standing Man" tattoo. Kaoru is incredibly large for his age and very muscular. He has black hair and many scars across his face. Kaoru also has a full back tattoo named the "Standing Man" (侠客立ち, Otokodachi), that is given to each member of the Hanayama family in honor of the man who saved their great ancestor. Kaoru usually wears glasses when he is not fighting and is almost always in his white suit. He also wears a blue undershirt and purple (later white) tie. He had an infamous showdown with the convict Spec, who manages to place a handful of bullets into Hanayama's mouth and slam it shut, causing them to explode his cheeks which creates two large holes on Hanayama's face and exposing a part of his jaw muscles. Although Hanayama won the battle, he wears a facemask for most of the series. His appearance has almost not changed in the five-year gap. As a boy, Hanayama's father was the first head of the Hanayama Group (see: Baki Gaiden: Scarface). Though not an unkind man his father was fully indoctrinated as a Yakuza leader and was fierce and strong but highly honorable earning the respect and recognition of several other Yakuza family's.
In doing so, he caused pressure to build and the arm to explode, impressing his father.
Kizaki, a close friend of Hanayama's father discovered Hanayama's strength witnessing feats of strength the boy demonstrated well beyond that of most trained adults. Kaoru's father, Keizou Hanayama, discovered his son's strength before he died in a gang war. As he was leaving, Hanayama's mother begged him not to leave, but he would not be deterred and smacked her. Angered by the mistreatment of his mother, young Hanayama grasped his father's arm with great force, asking, "Is that all?" His father knew his son possessed the exact same incredible physical strength he did and encouraged the boy to tighten his grip. In doing so, he caused pressure to build and the arm to explode, impressing his father. He left for his fight, confident that his son would be a great successor to the Hanayama group's leadership as he knew he himself would likely die in this gang war. Until the time young Hanayama was ready, Kizaki stewarded the Hanayama group and cared for Kaoru and his mother's well-being.
He helped educate young Hanayama on the ways of Yakuza after his father died. When he finally felt ready to assume leadership of the group, Hanayama was welcomed with open arms by every member. Kizaki being closest to him and, still respectful of Hanayama's father, took to calling him "second" as he was the second generation successor to the Hanayama group. As is the tradition at this point Kaoru is endowed with the same tattoo on his back all male heirs in his family were given of the "Standing Man". The story of the "Standing Man", is that of a lone traveler who was offered shelter by a noble family in feudal Japan. On the same night, a group of assassins is sent to kill every member of the family in a bloody coup; the traveler attempts to flee carrying a large bell on his back, but is cornered by the bandits.
They attack him, stabbing him, cutting him, beating and weighing him, but the man is unmoved and stares at them aggressively. Many moments pass until the leader of the bandits realizes he has been long dead. Yet still, he stood there with the heavy bell on his back giving them the same threatening look, taking it as a sign the man has an incredible strength of spirit the bandits leave their bloody deeds done. The next morning the body of the man is found by the remaining servants of the deceased family still frozen in the same pose. It is then revealed that under the large bell he had been carrying he had hidden Yakichi Hanayama, the youngest heir to the Hanayama clan. As a tribute to this courageous act that spared their family, it is tradition for every male heir to bear the tattoo of the fearless man who saved them and is a symbol of kindness, hope, and great spiritual strength to them all.
It's a symbolic example for them to live by even in the dangerous world of the Yakuza. At age 15, when Kaoru Hanayama receives the tattoo from a traditional tattoo artist named Horitatsu, however, he was unsatisfied with it. As his subordinates attempt to calm down the tattoo artist who is furious about the criticism, Hanayama leaves without them knowing. Kizaki panics and has every available member search for him, finding his whereabouts to be in the territory occupied by the Yakuza group who had killed his father. Fearing for Hanayama's life, they rushed to save him, only to discover upon arrival the badly beaten and bloodied bodies of the rival Yakuza group. Finally, they entered the boss's office to find Hanayama having beaten the boss but now covered from head to foot with scars; the ones on his body caused by blades and the ones on his face by human hands as he strangled the boss of the rival gang. Upon returning to the tattoo artist, he reveals his tattoo as the true "Standing Man", showing that he needed scars to show his strength.
Hanayama fighting Yuri Chakovsky.
In awe of such an incredible act and revelation of truth, the artist bows in acknowledgment that Hanayama was right and possessed an incredible strength. Hanayama represents his own group in the fight against Tommy Carbine who represents the Yajima group. Hanayama allows Tommy to give him a series of intense boxing punches that have no effect at all, and after a while, the gangster performs a devastating blow against an American fighter. Tommy is easily defeated by Hanayama with and Hitoshi Kuriyagawa then asks Hanayama if he will fight Baki Hanma. Hanayama is uninterested at first, until he hears that Baki is the son of Yuujirou Hanma of course, and he then agrees to the request. Hanayama fighting Yuri Chakovsky. When Baki returns from training in the mountains Hanayama injures Yuri Chakovsky, a professional boxer and friendly sparring partner of Baki, on the way to his fight in the ring. Kizaki and other gangsters come with Hanayama to hold Yuri seconds, so that the young gangster can get beat the boxer in peace. During their battle, Yuri bombards Hanayama with his best punches, but the gangster makes it clear that surviving these attacks is not too much of a challenge for him.
Hanayama attacks Yuri and brutally defeats him, first destroying his hand with the famous Vice Grip, and then violently punching his head against the wall, and the boxer loses consciousness even though he has done his best. This lures Baki into coming to Hanayama's Yakuza office where Baki kicks his desk out the window and then proceeds to land a powerful attack on Hanayama. This sends Hanayama into a fit of rage because he has never been brought to his knees before and he destroys his own car with his bare hands to vent his anger. Hanayama during his battle with Baki. Later on, Baki is stalked by Hanayama to a nightclub where the two proceed to fight. They land multiple heavy blows on each other, and Hanayama performs his Vice Grip move upon Baki's arm. However, in the end, Hanayama pronounces Baki the winner because of the fact that Baki hid glass within his cheek to shock him back into consciousness after being knocked out and Hanayama cannot fight any longer as he has no energy left and can barely even stand, leading to Hanayama respecting Baki.
Then Yuujirou Hanma ends up dropping into the nightclub via helicopter and taunts both Baki and Hanayama stating that their fight looks like it's only just begun. Hanayama then stands up and makes a desperate attempt to take on Yuujirou, but is severely beaten, ending up with several broken bones. Baki later visits Hanayama in the hospital after receiving a note which Hanayama wrote with his mouth. The note tells Baki that he wishes to see him grow even stronger than his father Yuujirou, and Baki promises that he will make it his goal. After Baki's desperate pleas for love from his mother Emi Akezawa and is quickly turned down as she has no place in her heart for anyone but Yuujirou. Baki is seen walking the street distraught until he walks straight into some common street thugs, they begin beating him up and he doesn't fight back. Hanayama appears grabbing Maa, one of the thugs, by the head and chucking him away, he then kneels down and places his hand on Baki's shoulder, comforting him without even speaking a single word.