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|“||I trust the hope of the world to you.||”|
–Kazuo Tengan's dying message to Ryota Mitarai, Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak Academy
Kazuo is the leader of the Future Foundation as well as the 1st Division. Despite this, he is nothing more than a figurehead and his vice-leader, Kyosuke Munakata, is the one who holds the "real power."
He is also the former headmaster of Hope's Peak Academy as well as the school's advisor after his retirement.
Kazuo was killed by Kyosuke after being accused of being part of the Remnants of Despair. He is the fourth to be killed overall.
Later it's revealed that Kazuo was the mastermind behind the Final Killing Game after being encouraged by Chisa Yukizome to do so, his reasons being to attempt to persuade Ryota Mitarai into filling the world with hope through a brainwashing video.
Kazuo appeared in the upcoming OVA Super Danganronpa 2.5: Nagito Komaeda and the Destroyer of the World, as part of Nagito Komaeda's world.
Kazuo is an elderly man with silver, upswept hair and orange-brown eyes. He has a mustache and beard, and very sullen face. He also wears glasses, a jacket, with the Future Foundation ID pinned to its lapel, a white dress shirt along with a red tie and a black vest. He wears black pants and brown slippers.
Kazuo is a very peaceful, good-natured man who doesn't want any conflict. He is a pacifist, as he believes that violence is wrong. He laments over exterminating despair and his goal is a peaceful world without strife.
Despite his peaceful demeanor, he can become a skilled and terrifying fighter when needed. According to Kyosuke, he used to be different in the past.
It is revealed that Kazuo is far more sadistic and extreme than originally thought, even eclipsing Kyosuke at his worst. His ultimate goal was to brainwash the entire world to feel hope, and he was willing to kill all his comrades except Ryota (including himself) to achieve this goal.
Skills and Abilities
Kazuo possesses great leadership skills. He is the leader of the Future Foundation and uses his leadership in organization to create peace. His leadership grows as he become older and his experience making him wise and just, as he only sees Kyosuke's way to eliminate despairs is naive.
Using a Chuusen
Kazuo's weapon of choice was a chuusen that seemingly held an infinite number of tiny metal darts that he could fire at will. He is able to put someone as strong as Kyosuke on the defensive using this weapon.
Kazuo was skilled at fighting and all seemed to pretty strong despite his age. He knocked Juzo out with just one elbow, and also sent a member of Ultimate Despair flying through a building.
Prior to the Tragedy
At some point prior to Jin Kirigiri taking over the position, Kazuo was once the headmaster of Hope's Peak Academy. Even after he stepped down, Kazuo served as the advisor to the school. He was opposed to the Izuru Kamukura Project, as he believed hope should come from people acting like humans, not from talents.
Kazuo approached Hajime Hinata, a candidate for the Izuru Kamukura Project, at the park. He sat next to him and said that he actually was against the project and advised Hajime to decline the decision or even to return to his former high school if he didn't want to participate in the project. Kazuo said that he should not fear normalcy.
Kazuo gathered with Jin and Koichi Kizakura in the Principal Office, showing his disappointment as he learned that the Izuru Kamukura Project would not be stopped after Hajime agreed to participate in it.
After the news of The Tragedy of Hope's Peak Academy occurred, Kazuo advised Jin to cover up the incident, knowing the fact that Hope's Peak Academy will end if the news widespread to the public. However, he still left the decision to Jin.
Kazuo and Koichi lay seated in the waiting room of the hallway, Koichi explaining to Kazuo that the situation outside the school is in turmoil, he watched a live news feed on his mobile phone of the actions taking place outside, being the beginning of The Tragedy. Jin felt as if someone was manipulating the entire situation behind the scenes, although deprecated his talents before coming to any conclusions, prompting Kazuo to comfort him.
Kazuo began to suggest that making an exit from the school at this time might be the best option, Jin expressed that Kazuo and Koichi should go, while he stays behind and turns the old school building into a shelter for the Class 78th. Kazuo finds it ironic that the situation at the present time is what brings out Hope's Peak's true purpose, to inspire the world by saving a generation of hope.
Kazuo explained he will take action outside, inquiring as to Koichi's choice, he promptly agrees to go with Kazuo also. Kazuo and Koichi exit the building, pausing at the entrance, they watch on in horror as the Reserve Course students land dead on the ground beneath, having jumped from the building above.
Kazuo is the leader (and possible founder) of Future Foundation, in charge of the 1st Division. Despite this, he is nothing more than a figurehead and his vice-leader, Kyosuke Munakata, is the one who holds the "real power."
As a part of Future Foundation, Kazuo was the one who recruited the survivors of the Killing School Life. He also located and recovered the Remnants of Despair before Makoto Naegi secured and placed them in the Neo World Program.
At the beginning of the episode, Kazuo, along with several Future Foundation members, encountered the Remnants of Despair, Fuyuhiko Kuzuryu with his brainwashed subordinates. He ordered his hitwoman, Peko Pekoyama to attack Kazuo and Kyosuke quickly protected Kazuo from her attack.
As the Chairman of Future Foundation, Kazuo gathered twelve Future Foundation executives to attend Makoto's trial for betraying the organization by protecting the Remnants of Despair in the hidden facility of Future Foundation. Inside the boardroom, Kazuo opened the discussion about Makoto's execution. As they debated, the conversation went far from the topic until Kyosuke entered.
Kyosuke climbed onto the table to demand everyone's attention and walked across it to address Kazuo directly. He attempted to get Kazuo to reconsider his position, reminding him of his "old self" and a time where Kazuo was less indecisive about Ultimate Despair.
Not long after that, Makoto entered the boardroom and was immediately handcuffed by Juzo Sakakura and injured in the process. As the trial was postponed to wait for Makoto's treatment, Kazuo stayed in boardroom until suddenly the building was attacked by an unknown enemy. Kyosuke gathered everyone inside and Daisaku Bandai reported that all exits to the building had been cut off. When everyone panicked, a sleeping gas was thrown inside the room and rendered everyone to sleep.
When he woke up, Kazuo and the others found a Monokuma bracelet had been planted on their wrists. Suddenly, Monokuma, who has been resurrected, appeared on the monitor, announcing that the Final Killing Game featuring Future Foundation members has just started as Chisa's body fell from the ceiling.
After Monokuma announced the rules of the Final Killing Game, Kazuo and the group decided to vote for the attacker. Kazuo pointed to Makoto judging from his motive to confine everyone inside the room. Despite that, he was surprised by Kyosuke's statement that if Makoto wasn't the attacker, they would keep on voting.
After the sleeping gas knocked Kazuo, Ryota and Kyoko out, Kazuo awoke very casually, stretching with a smile as he commented on the trio being lucky that they survived. Kazuo watched as Kyoko walked off to find the person who was killed, Kazuo stating that both he and Ryota would go with her for protection. When Ryota questioned why Kyosuke would go to all these great lengths to kill Makoto, Kazuo responded that Kyosuke, while being a great man, had a strong hope that approached despair. Kazuo watched Ryota rant about trust and also listened to Kyoko explain their situation to Ryota until Makoto's voice filtered through the intercom system. After Makoto told everyone that Great Gozu was killed, Kazuo expressed sorrow, looking down as Makoto continued his speech. After Makoto told his NG Code to everyone, Kazuo looked away as Makoto ended his speech.
Kazuo followed behind Kyoko and Ryota as they walked down the hallways. Ryota questioned why Makoto would tell everyone his NG Code, Kazuo simply saying he believed in everyone. As Kazuo and Ryota continued to talk about Makoto, Kyoko, who was thinking for a moment, quickly ducked as a chair was thrown at her. Kazuo watched in shock as Juzo revealed himself to be the one who threw the chair.
Kazuo stepped in the way and attempted to get him to reconsider his violence. Juzo neglected him, saying that he only obeyed Kyosuke. He threw the chair to Kazuo but missed and hit a pipe, causing it to burst and cloud the hallway with steam. Kazuo was surprised as Juzo rushed forward and tossed his jacket up, using it as a distraction while he got behind Kazuo. From behind, Kazuo was kicked and knocked to the other end of the hallway.
Kazuo's recovery surprised Juzo and immediately threw his chair to him. Kazuo easily deflected it back to Juzo and before he could react, Kazuo unleashed his true power in mastering martial arts. When Juzo held his punch to Kazuo, he showed no fear and asked why the Ultimate Boxer held his punch before he finally knocked him down with one punch landed on Juzo's stomach. Once the fight was over, Kazuo returned to his normal self.
Kazuo, Kyoko, and Ryota tied the unconscious Juzo on the wall using two looses wires. Not long after that, Aoi Asahina and Kyoko came followed by Kyosuke's announcement to perform an immediate execution of the captured Makoto. Kazuo then offered himself to negotiate with Kyosuke while Kyoko, escorted by Ryota, returned to the boardroom.
Upon arriving at the intercom room, Kazuo fired his chusen, an old weapon hidden under his right sleeve, at Kyosuke's sword, which was on Makoto's neck. As he believed that Makoto is the Ultimate Hope and keeping him alive is an important matter, he ordered Hina and Miaya to run with Makoto from the intercom room and stated that he needed to talk to Kyosuke. The fight moved to the hallway and Kazuo managed to take the advantage to start talking to Kyosuke.
Kazuo revealed his dislikeness toward Kyosuke's ideal to sacrifice many as long as it took down all Despairs that spread in the entire world. When he questioned if Chisa's death was also one of the sacrifices, Kyosuke angered and moved forward to slice him. Kazuo surprisingly took the slice with his bare right hand, separating it into two. The two then fell from the connecting hallway.
While Kyosuke managed to land on the ground safely, Kazuo's abdomen was pierced with a piece of rebar, leaving him hanging from the floor. With what little strength he had left, Kazuo stated that he was "unlucky". Kyosuke, who once thought that Kazuo already lost his fangs, changed his mind and wanted to know what Kazuo was thinking about.
Before Kazuo can reply, Kyosuke mocked Kazuo, saying that he used to be stronger. This triggered a flashback to The Tragedy. In the scene, Kazuo saved Kyosuke from a surprise attack from one of the Despairs army. Kazuo took a sword to the shoulder but managed to knock the assailant away. After the confrontation, Kazuo collapsed and Kyosuke carried him back to safety. Kazuo made a quick recovery, appearing to give a speech to the members of the Future Foundation.
Kyosuke ended the flashback by calling Kazuo a coward and asking why he became one. Kazuo claimed that he learned that the way the Future Foundation has been operating will not eliminate despair. Kazuo told Kyosuke that killing all of the Despairs will not bring hope and that he is naive for thinking so.
Kyosuke asked for clarification; Kazuo explained that killing the Despairs will not create hope. He stated that the purpose of the Izuru Kamukura Project was to create hope. Kazuo declared that he won't let that project go to waste. At this, Kyosuke accused Kazuo of being the attacker and one of the Remnants of Despair, likely because of his insistence on keeping Izuru Kamukura alive.
Kyosuke claimed that since Kazuo was one of a few people aware of the existence of the base and was capable of trapping everyone, then that proves that Kazuo is the attacker. However, there is something he doesn't understand: why Kazuo joined the Remnants of Despair.
To this, Kazuo explained that he was not one of the Remnants. However, Kazuo claimed to know the true identity of the attacker stating that the logic behind it was "too simple" for Kyosuke. Kazuo told Kyosuke the identity of the accused attacker and Kyosuke recoiled in shock. Kazuo revealed that his NG Code is to "Answer a Question With a Lie" to confirm his story since the poison has not taken effect.
Kyosuke laughed and claimed that Kazuo is just making things up to cause him to waver. He then charged at Kazuo with his sword. Kazuo pulled the piece of rebar out from his stomach and impales it in Kyosuke's right eye before having his throat slashed by Kyosuke's sword. With his dying breath, Kazuo asked Kyosuke where he thinks he will find his hope.
Kazuo's body is seen by Makoto and Hina after Monomi plugs into the security camera. Before he died, Kazuo wrote his dying message to Makoto, trusted the world's hope to him. Kazuo's death caused Makoto to lose hope until Monaca Towa used Monomi to cheer him up.
Kazuo is seen in a flashback that takes place right after the end of the first game, watching the Makoto and the others getting ready to leave Hope's Peak. In the present, Kyosuke suspects Kazuo being the man behind the killing game because Kazuo is the only one besides Kyosuke that is able to alter the mechanisms of the Future Foundation's building. Later, Ryota's smartphone recieved a message sent by Kazuo himself.
Kazuo appeared in a flashback with Chisa, where she handed him two flash drive at a Future Foundation camp. One has the video of the Student Council Killing Game, and the other has the Suicide Video. Chisa explained to Kazuo that Ryota was the one, who created the techniques used in both videos, and suggested they recruit Ryota into the Future Foundation.
Kazuo's video message to Ryota revealed that he planned the Final Killing Game, and Ryota assumed Kazuo fell into despair, but Makoto later realized that Kazuo planned the Final Killing Game to push Ryota into using the hope brainwashing video to cure the world of Despair with Hope Video. His dying message was meant for the Ultimate Animator, not Makoto as previously thought - in fact, Ryota wasn't even meant to be a participant in the Final Killing Game to begin with.
In the movie theater, Junko taunted Chisa for turning Kazuo and Kyosuke against each other and basically destroying the Future Foundation.
Kazuo returns as a part of Nagito's imagination world.
Hope's Peak Academy's Staff
After Kazuo stepped down from being headmaster of Hope's Peak Academy, he entrusted the school to Jin. Jin later hired Kazuo back as the school's advisor. The two seem to have a mutual respect for each other, both of them disagreeing with the Steering Committee's choices and both of them not liking the Izuru Kamukura project. However, while Kazuo states he would never allow the project to continue, he allows Jin to make the decisions on what to do. Years later, Kazuo would end up betraying Jin post-mortem when he set up the Final Killing Game that nearly led to the death of Jin's daughter.
Reserve Course Students
Kazuo met Hajime as a result of his being a potential candidate for the Kamukura Project. Despite being an advisor to Hope's Peak and meant to have the school's best interest at heart, Kazuo was vocally against what the Project stands for, and pleaded with Hajime to consider his options. He also makes a point to assure Hajime that there is nothing wrong with normalcy, and that he can live on as himself and lead a perfectly fulfilling life.
Future Foundation Members
The vice-leader of the Future Foundation, whom Kazuo worked closely with. Kyosuke's cold attitude and hatred of the Ultimate Despair are very contrasting to Kazuo's peaceful way. However, there was a time when Kazuo actually agreed with Kyosuke, and the two had a mutual respect for one another. Kazuo himself refers to Kyosuke as "an old friend." Both men are shown to be cooperative with one another, and loyal teammates. While Kyosuke was preoccupied with rescuing a child, Kazuo severely injured himself in order to shield him from a surprise attack by a Remnant of Despair, and Kyosuke rushed to defend Kazuo when Peko Pekoyama attempted to attack him.
After that incident, Kazuo began to reevaluate himself and decided that Kyosuke's way of thinking was indeed flawed, and chose to side with ideals similar to Makoto. Kazuo created distance between himself and Kyosuke as a result, and Kyosuke elected to continue running Future Foundation his way. Despite this, Kazuo shows repeated concern as he believes Kyosuke to be walking down the wrong path.
Kazuo has a very keen understanding of Kyosuke, such as his love for Chisa Yukizome. Because of this, he knows that the only way to effectively get through to Kyosuke is to overpower him, and attack him with his own flawed logic (such as asking if Chisa was a good enough "sacrifice" for him.) Kazuo sees Kyosuke's ideals as a dangerous mix of naivety and extremism, but still wants to save him. However, all his attempts to reform Kyosuke failed as Kazuo was eventually killed by him.
However, in actuality, Kazuo is not so different from Kyosuke. Kyosuke believed anyone infected with despair must be killed no matter the cost, while Kazuo thought that stripping people of their own free will was necessary to eliminate despair and use to believe Kyosuke's Ideas how to deal with despair until realizing that the situation will worsen even more. Kazuo also proved he was not above sacrificing others like Kyosuke, as he set up the Final Killing Game and seemed to have no remorse over the fact that at least some of the branch leaders would end up dead as a result.
Ryota was one of the people scouted directly by Kazuo to join Future Foundation after being persuaded by Chisa.
Ryota seemed to see Kazuo as a mentor of sorts, often agreeing with his points of view and asking him questions. He was also one of the only Future Foundation members to remain in the boardroom with Kazuo.
Ryota seemed to enjoy talking with Kazuo, the two having many discussions with each other. Kazuo apparently looked at Ryota as the true hope of the world, as he planned the Final Killing Game to make the brainwashing hope video and he left the hope of the world to Ryota after he died.
Acting as his bodyguard, Great Gozu seems to respect Kazuo's authority over Kyosuke's, and would prefer to take orders from him. After Great Gozu was announced dead, Kazuo seemed to look crestfallen.
Unbeknownst to Gozu, Kazuo set up the killing game that would claim his life as well as the lives of several of his comrades.
Due to Makoto's status as the Ultimate Hope, Kazuo took an interest in him and longed for the opportunity to question him. He was quick to defend Makoto for shielding the Remnants of Despair, both during his trial and the Final Killing Game. However, Kazuo did not mind the idea of Makoto dying if for the sake of hope, which is shown when he included Makoto in the Final Killing Game.
Kazuo appears to be interested in Kyoko, possibly due to her abilities as a detective or her being Jin's daughter, but most likely because of her relationship with Makoto. He accompanies her for a short time during the Final Killing Game, defending her from Juzo and asking Ryota to escort her when the time for him to leave came. Though he had no problem in putting her into the Final Killing Game in order to achieve his goal of brainwashing the world.