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I have found that people lie, most often deceiving themselves. Not so the dead... The dead are so very, very loud. And yet, lying is not in their nature. It is so... Humbling - to listen to the dead speak.
- Saburo to JohnnyCyberpunk 2077

Saburo Arasaka (荒坂 三郎), also known as the Emperor, went from being an Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service Pilot to the corporate God of the 21st century. Born in Tokyo, Japan he made the Arasaka Corporation into one of the largest corporations of the Cyberpunk world. Saburo is proud, honorable and, like the true Samurai Shogun he claims to be, he's power hungry.[2]

Overview

It never ceases to amaze me how so much at times depend on an ordinary individual. Life, death... And in between... Glass. That is what we are doing. Making the dividing line thinner and thinner.
- Saburo Arasaka, Cyberpunk 2077

Although he is ancient and physically decrepit, Saburo Arasaka remains the genius he always was in his younger years. Despite his age, Saburo never gave up his control over the Arasaka Corporation. When his eldest son, Kei, became the Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation, Saburo remained the chairman of the board and the true puppeteer behind all the major corporate decisions.[2]

Saburo's private office at the family compound has a terminal interlinked with the R&D computer. From this he can consult the database system or the analysts who worked on it.

Saburo is megalomaniacal and obsessed. He is highly arrogant and considers himself the most adept man that has and will ever exist, and sees it as his duty to elevate Japan to what he believes to be its former glory. He works tirelessly to see this ideal come true. His family believes his dedication to his work is the thing that keeps him alive. Saburo concentrated so hard on building his Empire that he did not even begin having children until he was in his 60s. He firmly believes in the traditional Japanese values and enforces them rigidly at the family compound. He also maintains a classical décor inside the compound, dismissing any non-functional modern appointing.[2]

Saburo plans to have his personality downloaded as an Engram at the moment of his death. The equipment to accomplish this task is always ready twenty-four hours a day at Mikoshi in the Arasaka Headquarters infirmary in Tokyo. A special team is on call everyday to transport him if he becomes ill, or suffers any sort of trauma.

At the age of 158, he still reigned at the top of Arasaka in the year 2077, having built Arasaka into a great empire in his generation. He's proud, honorable, ruthless and more hungry for power than ever.[3]

Biography

1919 - 1945

Saburo Arasaka was born to Sasai and Yui Arasaka in Tokyo, Japan in 1919 - a family that could trace their lineage back to the noble samurai of old. His parents were rich and his father was a shrewd businessman and Arasaka founder. He grew up in the Arasaka family estate located just outside of Tokyo and from a young age was involved in the business his father had founded. In the 1930s, as a young adult he displayed a good work ethic and natural talent needed to be an exceptional manager. This was before his career was interrupted by World War II.[4]

Saburo enlisted as a pilot in the Imperial Japanese Navy, or Nihon Kaigun (日本海軍). He quickly rose through the ranks and by the age of 23 he had already attained the rank of Lieutenant.[4] As a skilled flying ace he had over 20 confirmed kills and was said to have a fierce pride towards his country and undying loyalty to his Emperor.[2]

During a routine bombing run over Guadalcanal in 1942, American Grumman F4F fighters engaged a flight of Japanese G4M "Betty" bombers out of Rabaul Island. The Zero fighters escorting the bombers broke out of formation to engage the attackers, and a pitched air battle followed. While Lt. Saburo was weaving in pursuit of one of the F4F Wildcat fighters, he passed though another American plane's line of fire. Saburo wasn't vulnerable long enough to be shot down, but several bullets smashed through the canopy, shattering his left arm and driving splinters of perspex and metal into his left eye and skull. Barely conscious, he let his fighter plummet towards the ground fifteen thousand feet below. Precious seconds later Saburo struggled back to awareness only to see the ground rushing towards him. Despite the punishing pain and the loss of the use of one arm he pulled back on his stick, leveled his plane and regained control with only a scant 2000 feet to spare. Then, patching himself up as best he could, he began the long haul back to Rabaul, fully believing that he would die somewhere over the 560 miles of ocean he had to cross. He managed to make it to the base despite his injuries.

After delivering his report he passed out and was transported back to Tokyo, where he discovered that due to his injuries he would never be able to fly again and he was also due to be medically discharged. His injuries were so severe that he was permanently blind in his left eye and that his left arm, although not amputated, was damaged beyond use. Saburo lamented over his injuries and wished he had died a dignified death over the skies of Guadalcanal, rather than face the humiliation of a cripple. He was summarily discharged from service and returned to the Arasaka family compound outside of Tokyo, where he spent his days brooding over his loss. Saburo saw how the Empire he defended suffered more and more defeats over the next few years.[4]

On August 15th 1945, the day of the Japanese surrender, as the Emperor addressed the people and made note of their surrender, Saburo was thunderstruck. He was on the verge seppuku in the compound's cherry tree grove. Before the blade was able to puncture his stomach he had a moment of epiphany, and with it came a vision. Right at that moment, Saburo saw the wisdom of his father's actions. As family scion, the fortune would soon be his to control. He envisioned a Japan rising above the humiliation of losing the war, and becoming an economic powerhouse. A Japan in a position of power from which it could dominate the world politically and economically. Saburo drew the half inch of dagger that had penetrated his abdominal muscles before the vision had stayed his hand and returned to the household.

Form the day Saburo nearly took his own life, he refused to speak of his wartime experience.[4] Saburo devoted his complete attention to his work. He began intense studies into the fields of politics, economics and history to become a worthy successor to his father and to ensure that Arasaka would one day rule the world.[2]

1960 - 1990s

Saburo took over the company in 1960 shortly after his father's passing and branched out from the simple manufacturing company that it started as. In 1970, he created the Arasaka Security division of the the family business. Saburo also began shaping the development of the Arasaka Corporation to his own ideals. He was not content with the power that came from purely financial and commercial strength. If his vision of Japan as the world economic superpower was to be realized he would have to exert unseen political control in Japan and across the world. Despite it being a long, arduous task, he believed he was the man to do it. Banking and Security along with Manufacturing were now the three pillars of the Arasaka Corporation.

Being such a dedicated worker, Saburo was late in actually marrying or having children that could continue his legacy after he passed. In 1980, Saburo and his then wife had their first child Kei, a boy Saburo planned on grooming to eventually take over the Corporation. Saburo's first wife had passed away at some point and was remarried two more times after.

In 1990, because of his direction the Arasaka Corporation emerged on the global 500 list. During the 1990s, Saburo kept busy as he was able to foresee the world market Crash of '94 and the subsequent US collapse of 1996, using these events to his advantage. This made the Arasaka Corporation one of the few that benefited from the crash, gaining the number two spot on the global 500. He also became more involved in politics, corrupting the Japanese Government to further benefit his interests. However, many other Japanese corporations didn't agree with Saburo and his ideals, and soon after a group was formed to oppose Saburo. Even with taking a loss against FACS, Saburo still continued to lead a thriving corporation whose influence was immense.

Saburo became a man of the people, as a man who helped the development of Japan. As well as providing thousands of Americans with reliable work, often visiting the people in factories or the streets.[4] He manage to secure much wealth with the Arasaka European Group, when the headquarters was constructed in Paris, France.

Saburo also remarried in the 1990s, to his third wife Michiko Arasaka, while together they had two children, Yorinobu and Hanako. Michiko passed away shortly after having Hanako, leaving Saburo to raise them. Hanako became the "apple of eye" and he wished to protect her from the dangers of the outside world. Yorinobu was put through to the best schools in Tokyo, while Hanako was home-schooled by people Saburo trusted.[2]

2000s

During the time after he sustained injuries, Saburo had undergone numerous surgeries to implant various cybernetics as well as a new eye and right arm for the ones he lost in World War 2. However, by 2020, at 101 years of age, he became confined to a wheelchair in his family's estate just outside of Tokyo. He handed the reins of the company to his eldest son Kei. During Yorinobu's 21st birthday, when Saburo told him everything about the family corporation, Yorinobu disowned his father after being told the truth about the corporation's success. This deeply saddened Saburo - as a result, Hanako was never told this truth and instead was kept inside the family compound.

Saburo still participated in Japanese politics and would soon find a foothold, allowing him to achieve some political influence. Despite Kei becoming the CEO, Saburo still ran the company from behind the scenes, having the final say over everything as his puppet son stands in for him.

At some point in 2020 the Eel, an Arasaka Cargo Submarine, and its crew including Captain Hyung Mitsumoto sunk in the North Pacific. Shintaro Takayama informed Saburo of the loss, and that the sub was carrying "Project Five." Because of the lack of units in the area, Saburo ordered the acquisition of IDA (International Defense Alliance), an independent organization that was then put under the Arasaka subsidiary, Sato Commercial Shipping. A covert IDA team was dispatched to the Bonin trench to bring the sub to the surface, which allowed a few dozen Arasaka ships enough time to reach the sub before any other entity could reach it. The operation was a success, and allowed Saburo to protect his corporate assets.[5]

2022 - 2023

During the Fourth Corporate War, the Arasaka Corporation faced off against Militech, a corporation Saburo grew to hate due to its CEO Donald Lundee reminding him of the American pilot who shot his plane down in the war.[6] However, Saburo gave full control over to his son Kei, as he ran the war effort in Night City. Yorinobu, unbeknownst to his father worked with the Japanese Government to nationalize Arasaka, which soon cut off Saburo from Kei, costing them the war.[7]

In the immediate aftermath of the nuclear bomb detonation in Arasaka Night City Tower, Saburo met with the terrorist behind the bombing: Johnny Silverhand. Silverhand had been captured by Adam Smasher during his escape from the Tower, and was evacuated before the nuke went off. In an attempt for interrogation Saburo had Silverhand's mind copied with Soulkiller, killing him. A system Saburo used to speak with the dead of which he believed were more honest. The copy was later inserted into the Relic and the true identities of the perpetrators of the bombing were covered up.[3]

Saburo later attended a funeral for his son Kei, while mourning his loss he was reunited with Yorinobu. With the aid of Hanako, Saburo and Yorinobu reconciled and the family was brought together again.

2045

After the death of his son, Kei, the Arasaka Corporation became under the nominal control of Saburo once again, although he kept the face of corporation under his eldest daughter Hanako Arasaka. As of the 2040s, there were three major factions struggling to achieve control of the company, hoping that the aging Saburo, at 126, would eventually hand the crown over to them. The factions at hand were: The Kiji 雉 faction led by Hanako (though controlled by Saburo), The Taka 鷹 faction led by Yorinobu, and finally the Hato 鳩 faction centered on Michiko (Kei's daughter and Saburo's granddaughter). Despite speculation over who would reign as the next leader of Arasaka, Saburo was hellbent on remaining in control.[8]

2077

Saburo was still alive in 2077 at the age of 158 and remained in firm control of Arasaka as its CEO. He had been working on a Relic prototype as he took much interest in the project. His son, Yorinobu, stole the Relic from one of his laboratories because of his long-term rebellion against him. Saburo set sail with his daughter Hanako on the Kujira for Night City after realizing his property was stolen. Hanako was the only one who knew of his reasons for leaving Tokyo. During the trip Hanako tried convincing Saburo that she should be the one to speak to her brother or at least accompany him. After declining her she asked what he intended to do, a question Saburo himself did not have an answer to.[9]

Saburo finally arrived at Yorinobu's suite in Konpeki Plaza on the same night that the mercenaries V and Jackie Welles infiltrated the hotel to steal the Relic for Evelyn Parker. With the two thieves looking on in secret from a concealed location, Saburo spoke with his son, but Yorinobu snapped and strangled him to death. In a few short moments, the long life of the man renowned and feared around the world as "the Emperor" ended.[3]

Yorinobu moved quickly to consolidate control of Arasaka, and blamed Saburo's murder on Takemura, Saburo's bodyguard. Word of Saburo's death reached the public within minutes; officially, Arasaka claimed his unexpected demise was attributed to natural causes.[3]

Reign

In the Devil ending, Saburo Arasaka survived in the form of an engram, if Yorinobu is unable to commit suicide, his sister, Hanako, will have his consciousness overwritten by Saburo's, who then lives on to revert all changes by his son while acting CEO. The Arasaka Corporation under the control of Saburo resolves all conflicts with Militech as both corporations work for a lasting peace. President Meyers agrees to meet with Saburo as they secure the future. Saburo and Meyers become allies, with a lasting peace with the New United States. The Relic project becomes a success, with the Arasaka Corporation becoming even more powerful then ever before, both politically and economically.

Downfall

If Yorinobu is successful, Saburo's engram is lost with the destruction of Mikoshi at the hands of Alt Cunningham, whom he becomes incorporated with along with the rest of the digital psyches stored there. His Corporation becomes disorganized and loses much of its political power.

Database Entry (2077)

CEO of the Arasaka Corporation. After elevating his father's Japanese company out of relative obscurity to become a global powerhouse, Saburo is now widely regarded as the founder of the Arasaka empire. This former Japanese Imperial Navy pilot transformed into the ruthless buisnessman who now stands at the helm of the world's largest arms manufacturer. He is a man who, for decades, has been rumored to be able to force even the most cold-blooded assassins to commit suicide at his command, which may say as much about his virtually absolute rule as it does his extraordinarily prolonged lifespan.[3]

Ambitions

I hate America. I will bring them to their knees by supplying them with everything they want, and then strangling them with their own dependency. I will sell them the chain with which they will bind themselves to me.
- Saburo, Cyberpunk 2077

Saburo by 2020 held the unofficial title of the most powerful man on the planet. The Arasaka lineage consisted of noble samurai, and because of this Saburo is incredibly proud and honorable, and after his humiliating defeat in WW2 he vowed to restore his honor by seppuku. His unsuccessful attempt on August 15th 1945, during Emperor Hirohito's surrender speech to the nation, made him realize that Japan would never become the militaristic power it once was, but rather it could evolve into an economical and commercial power that could rule East Asia once again and possibly the world. Saburo began to study to one day take control over his father's company and to use his vast amounts of wealth to catapult the Arasaka Corporation onto the world stage.[2]

Saburo strived for perfection and studied at the top University of Tokyo, Todai, he graduated with expertise in economics, business, politics, and various others. He is one of the most intelligent men on the planet. Saburo is also very nationalistic, having a contemptful view of foreign countries and cultures, rarely setting foot outside of Japan. More specifically, Saburo harbors a deep hatred towards the United States for humiliating his country during the war. Saburo uses three key areas of his company as tools to further his plans: the security division, the bank and the secretive black operations.

Within a month of his father's passing, black operations such as blackmail, bribery, extortion, assassination and abduction were already underway. These black operations usually uncovered compromising material on important figures such as politicians, celebrities and other corporate types, which Saburo uses against them—never for money—but for influence and information. As well as these black operations the company uses its security division to steal information from its own clients, who it had sworn to protect. The corporation has never been caught and the data stolen is not sold on for profit, but rather for Saburo to use the trends in the data to influence business decisions for the most profitable outcome. The bank is primarily used as a bargaining tool against other corporations that may be failing and need a previous load to stay afloat, but it has been known to be used for money laundering between Arasaka and the dummy corporations it owns.[2]

Outfit

RPG
Type Products
Cyberware Basic processor, chipware socket, data-term link, nanosurgeons, basic cyberoptic, Times Square Marquee, basic cyberarm, cyberaudio, phonesplice, scrambler, bug detector. Relies on powered wheelchair.[2]
Armaments None

Gallery

Notes

  • Saburo speaks Japanese no matter the language being spoken, this was a mandate by CDPR that he must be speaking Japanese in every version of the game. Because of this, Saburo is the only main character that doesn't have more than one voice actor attached to him in Cyberpunk 2077.

Trivia

  • Saburo was first shown to be in Cyberpunk 2077 at the Grimes concert at the 2019 Game Awards but his identity was later confirmed.[10]
  • Saburo Arasaka's military fighter pilot career appears to be based on Saburō Sakai, a renowned fighter ace during World War II, and both share an incident where a stray bullet from a fighter engagement had permanently affected the vision of their left eye.

References

  1. Youtube Video
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 MOSS, W. Corporation Report 2020 Volume 1. 1st ed. Berkeley CA: R. Talsorian Games, 1991
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 CD Projekt RED. Cyberpunk 2077. Video Game, Multi-Platform. Poland, CD Projekt S.A., 2020.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Saburo Arasaka A Giant's Life Documentary in Cyberpunk 2077
  5. ERIC HEISSERER, Cyberpunk The Bonin Horse, Atlas Games 1993
  6. Sevile, A. Firestorm Stormfront. 1st ed. Berkeley CA; R.Talsorian Games Inc, 1997.
  7. ACKERMAN GREY, D. Firestorm Shockwave. 1st ed. Berkeley CA; R.Talsorian Games Inc, 1997.
  8. PONDSMITH, M. Cyberpunk 2020 Corebook. 2nd ed., Berkeley, CA, R. Talsorian Games, 1990.
  9. Diary (117-121/77) shard in Cyberpunk 2077
  10. Reddit post
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