"Yeah, while they go to their parties, I get to stay here and play with balls. I loooove them balls."
Kou Ichijo is a character from Persona 4. He is a second-year student of Class 2-1 from Yasogami High School and is a captain of the basketball team.
- Persona 4 / Golden: Supporting Character; Strength Social Link
Kou has dark blue hair, and gray eyes. At school he wears the standard Yasogami High school uniform. During basketball club he wears the black basketball uniform with the name of the school. On the weekends off, he wears a short sleeved white polo shirt and black pants.
In Persona 4 The Animation he has dark grayish indigo hair with similarly colored eyes. When he is in basketball practice he wears a white v-neck tank top with red lines on the sides and short black pants with yellow lines. In the summer he wears a white shirt with a blue and white striped collar along with brown pants.
With a cheerful and carefree personality, Kou would always attempt to joke around to lift up the mood around his friends. During one of the conversations, Kou also expresses his dislike towards his name, as he believes that the name 'Kou' sounds bland and boring. He has a crush on Chie Satonaka and was shown flustered about it. He hates to lose a basketball game. His favorite restaurant is Chinese Diner Aiya.
When the protagonist decided to join the basketball team, he meets Kou Ichijo, the spirited team leader. Kou was glad to have the protagonist on the team, as the basketball team has very few members to keep it afloat. When the protagonist officially joins, this will unlock the Strength Arcana Social Link.
Kou is frequently seen with Daisuke Nagase, who was childhood friends with him since they were young. Aside from this, he also has a lot of admirers. He could also be seen chatting with other students or on the basketball court.
- Main article: Social Link/Kou Ichijo
By interacting with Daisuke, however, it is revealed that Kou keeps a lot to himself. He is apparently from the House of Ichijo, a distinguished family in Inaba who keeps strictly to age-old traditions and customs. Kou's life at home revolves around tea ceremonies and other traditional activities. The family is led by the grandmother, who decides for the family and is pretty much the defacto head of the House. Because of her strict traditional ways, she frowns upon Kou's participation in basketball, calling the sport "barbaric."
Kou reveals that not all is lost, however. He was actually adopted since his parents did not have an heir to carry on the Ichijo name. But the moment he was adopted, his mother gave birth to a girl. Kou concludes that being the blood relative, the burden of becoming the heir would fall to her, and he is free to do as he pleases. However, as the protagonist interacts with Kou, Kou's feelings become conflicted; he is happy that he does not have to hold the responsibilities as the heir, but at the same time, he felt shunned by his family.
Kou eventually becomes disinterested in basketball and skips practice. The second time he participates in practice, Kou is shown spacing out, without realizing that the practice is over. Worried about Kou, Daisuke proposes a plan to fire up Kou's interest in basketball again, by blackmailing other members to have a match. The protagonist and Daisuke later invite Kou to participate in the match, much to Kou's surprise. Kou and the protagonist's team lost the match, but Kou felt relieved, and thanked Daisuke and the protagonist.
Having his interest back, Kou came to the realization that since his 'mask' is gone, he might as well search for his true parents. Inquiring at the orphanage, Kou receives a letter, which was apparently written by his real parents and addressed to him. In the letter, it reveals that Kou's real parents were long dead from sickness, and the name 'Kou', which was given by his parents actually symbolizes 'healthy', as his real parents wished not for him to necessarily succeed in life, but to have something far more important than fame or fortune: a healthy, strong body so he would not suffer the same fate as them.
After reading the letter, Kou laments that he had expected to receive such results, and says that he may not be able to find his real parents after all. Kou later he found out the signature of the letter was smudged in a hasty fashion, from which he deduced that the letter may not have been written by his real parents, but the orphanage's matron. However, Kou learns that he might not need to find out his true identity after all; he finally acknowledges that it is his bonds with others makes him the 'Kou' he is today. Having his frustration lightened, Kou thanks the protagonist and Daisuke.
By the end of the Social Link, Kou reveals that he asked his parents whether or not they cared for him, or just see him as a substitute. Much to Kou's surprise, his parents revealed that they truly cared for him as a son, and believed that he should pursue what he truly wishes for. Kou eventually decides to study overseas after he graduates instead of pursuing basketball, believing that he should help out the family. Kou thanked the protagonist, and gives him the orphanage letter, remarking that the protagonist should hold on to it for now as a remembrance of Kou's realization, and tells the protagonist that he would reclaim the letter once he could stand on his own feet.
Completing the Strength Arcana Social Link bestows the Ultimate form of the Strength Arcana, Zaou-Gongen.
In the events of the Moon Arcana Social Link, Kou is revealed to harbor romantic interests in Chie Satonaka, and expresses his jealousy of the protagonist of being able to sit beside her in a joking manner. Chie however falsely thinks Kou is one of many guys in love with Yukiko Amagi.
Persona 4 The Animation
Kou and Daisuke meet Yu on April 16 and ask him if he plays basketball until he is interrupted by Chie. He gets timid around her but tells Yu he'll be waiting for him if he changes his mind right before Yu leaves.
On April 19, at basketball practice, Chie brings Yu in as a new member (temporarily) for the basketball club. Kou introduces Yu to the team and Ai but Ai leaves immediately afterwards which leads to most of the other members leaving too. Kou and Yu are left alone in the gym. As the days go by, they practice their game with the few members still around. Under Ai's pressure, Yu asks Kou about his taste in women and he reveals his crush on Chie to Yu. Not much later, a game is set up and Kou confides that it will probably be his last game to Yu. Kou tries his hardest in the game with a team barely scraped together. But even so, Kou tries his hardest against the other team leaving him so focused he that doesn't notice Ai and Chie's fight which Yosuke and Yu are distracted by. Afterward though, Kou decides he is not giving up on basketball.
In Shadow Mitsuo's illusion where Yu starts to lose his friends, Kou is seen with Daisuke, Yukiko, and Chie in the library studying for an exam.
Persona 4 The Golden Animation
In the opening intro, he alongside Daisuke are seen briefly hanging out with Yosuke.
In October, Kou along with Daisuke helps Chie to get Rise away from her fans. As he impersonate as her as a distraction in order to buys some time for Chie and Rise to get to the concert at Junes. After that, when Chie compliment Kou crossdressing as Rise, he was last seen running away in embarrassment.
- Persona 4
- Persona 4 The Animation
- Persona 4 Visualize the Evolution
In Other Languages
|Japanese||一条 康 (Ichijō Kō)|
|Korean||이치죠 코우 (Ichijyo Kou)|
|Traditional Chinese||一條 康 (Yītiáo kāng)|
- Kou's voice actor (Daisuke Ono) is known to work together with Daisuke's (Tomokazu Sugita) as the main male characters in the mega-hit anime series The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (as Itsuki Koizumi and Kyon respectively).
- Kou's younger sister is revealed to be named Sachiko.
- The real life Ichijo family in Japan have an incredibly influential past, serving as one of the Fujiwara Clan's five regent houses.