Kaoru Hanayama is the 19 year old leader of the Yakuza. He is a very silent and proud fighter. His code of honor is great, as he chooses not to fall in battle even if it means his death; a family vow which has been held in 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 winning the match. He is looked upon as an older brother figure to Baki Hanma, often appearing to comfort Baki and reassure him when needed. His act of pouring a drink over Emi Akezawa's grave suggests a feeling of love, but it is not known.
His mother is terminally diseased with cancer, making her a feeble shell of her former self. Hanayama visits 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.
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 "A Man Standing Up" (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 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. 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.
Baki the GrapplerEdit
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, 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.
Hanayama's father 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 tradition at this point Kaoru is endowed with the same tattoo on his back all male heirs in his family were given of the fearless man, the story of the fearless man, is that of a lone traveler 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 berating 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 is standing 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 Kiichi 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, an 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, he is unsatisfied with it. As his subordinates attempt to calm down the tattoo artist who is furious for 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 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 fearless man", showing that he needed scars to show his strength. 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 represent the Yajima group. Tommy is easily defeated by Hanayama with little effort and Hitoshi Kuriyagawa then asks Hanayama if he will fight Baki. Hanayama is uninterested at first, until he hears that Baki is the son of Yujiro Hanma of course, and he then agrees to the request.
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. 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 punch 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.
Later on Baki is stalked by Hanayama to a night club where the two proceed to fight, landing multiple heavy blows on each other, and Hanayama performs his vice group 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, this leads to Hanayama respecting Baki.
Yujiro 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, to which Hanayama stands up and desperately tries to take on Yujiro, but is severely beaten ending up with several broken bones.
Baki later visits Hanayama in hospital after receiving a note which Hanayama wrote with his mouth, where Hanayama tells Baki that he wishes to see him grow even stronger than his father Yujiro, and Baki promises that he will make it his goal.
After Baki's desperate pleas for love from his mother Emi and is quickly turned down as she has no place in her heart for anyone but Yujiro, 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 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.
Later that night they're sitting together in Baki's house, and Hanyama asks who bit Baki, to which Baki tells him about his strained relations with his mother. Hanayama states he is jealous of Baki, explaining to him that his own mother had cancer and passed away, even though she was actually 35 she appeared as though she was 90 years old. He makes a joke about how thin she got, squeezing his face to be thinner in an attempt to cheer Baki up and says that even if he wished she could bite him, her teeth would've fallen out. He tells Baki that he has to win the fight between himself and his father Yujiro, stating that he still has a chance. Baki then stands up, taking ahold of Hanyama's hand and bows to him, full of emotion.
Hanayama is an immensely powerful gangster who mostly relies on his raw physical power and his grip. His grip is so strong that if he grabs an opponent's arm he can usually cause it to explode from restricting the blood flow like he did with[Yuri Chakovsky. When he was a child, Hanayama could break a bottle, tear a thick magazine, change the shape of the doorknob and bench a bottle cap with his hand. When he grew up, Hanayama learned to tear a chunk from a deck of cards card effortlessly with his fingers.
He is also a street fighter and it is unknown if he has trained in martial art styles. He is shown to be very tough in that when a group of thugs shot at him with guns they left him no lasting damage at all and simply bounced off. He was able to take punches from the convict Spec who had previously caused extensive damage to the Liberty Statue just through the use of his fists. His back muscles are strong enough to withstand Miyamoto's sword attacks. Later on in the series, he was also able to give Yujiro a bloody nose, even though the damage was near insignificant to the latter.
When having a strength test with the character Pickle, Hanayama's strength was compared to that of a Triceratops a dinosaur that can weigh between 6-12 tons. He has also taken on a Great White Shark with his bare hands whilst underwater.