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Gouken Sf4charselectgouken
Gouken, as he appears in the Street Fighter IV series.
Birthdate Unknown[1]
Birthplace Chikara flag Japan[2][1]
Height 6' 1" (185 cm)[2][1]
Weight 198½ lbs (90 kg)[2][1]
Eye color Brown
Hair color White (Previously black at a young age)
Fighting style Martial arts rooted in Ansatsuken[2][1]
Likes Dango (Japanese dumpling)[2][1], martial arts, his disciples Ryu and Ken, his master Goutetsu, training
Dislikes Mosquitoes[2][1], Akuma for murdering Goutetsu, Satsui no Hado, Oni
Rival(s) Ryu (Friendly), his brother Akuma, Ken (Friendly)
Special abilities Fishing[2][1]
Moveset Gohadoken, Tatsumaki Gorasen, Senkugoshoha, Kuuchuu Tatsumaki Senpukyaku, Kongoshin, Fudoshin, Forbidden Shoryuken, Shin Shoryuken, Denjin Hadoken
First game Street Fighter IV
English voice actor(s) George Celik (Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie)
Simon Prescott (Street Fighter Alpha: The Animation)
Dave Mallow (Street Fighter Alpha: Generations)
Bern Sundstedt (Street Fighter - Round One: Fight!)
Lee Everest (Street Fighter IV, Street Fighter V)
Japanese voice actor(s) Hideyō Amamoto (Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie)
Ken Yamaguchi (Street Fighter Alpha: The Animation)
Kinryū Arimoto (Street Fighter Alpha: Generations)
Ken'yū Horiuchi (Street Fighter Alpha: Generations) (young)
Tōru Ōkawa (Street Fighter IV, Street Fighter V)
Live action actor(s) Akira Koieyama (Street Fighter: Assassin's Fist)
Shogen (Street Fighter: Assassin's Fist) (young)
"Concentrate not on destroying your foe, but on attaining your own victory."
"Hmm... You shall make an interesting opponent.
(ほぅ 面白い相手と巡り会うたわ Hou Omoshiroi aite to meguriauta wa?)
—Gouken (Street Fighter IV series)

Gouken (剛拳 Gōken?, "Strong Fist") is a playable character in the Street Fighter series. He is Ryu's adoptive father, Ryu and Ken's martial arts master, Dan's former master as well as Akuma's older brother. Gouken's first actual appearance as a playable character was in Street Fighter IV as a boss character. He was an unlockable character in the home console version of the game, and has been immediately playable in subsequent iterations.



Gouken is most often depicted as an elderly yet very well-built man with a white beard and prayer beads around his neck. In his most recent Street Fighter IV appearance, Gouken wears a single sleeved, gray-colored karate gi and sports a long, white braid of hair adorned with a single prayer bead.

Alternate CostumesEdit

Gouken's first alternate costume has his gi top removed; he now sports bandages on his forearms, and a rope on his back, extremely similar to the one found on Akuma's first alternate costume.

Gouken's second alternate costume is an altered gi with a conical hat similar to those once worn by ashigaru, foot soldiers employed by the samurai of feudal Japan.

Gouken's third alternate costume is an outfit worn by the Yamabushi, who are Japanese mountain ascetic monks who followed the Shugendō doctrine.


Gouken's personality is naturally that of the archetypical "master elder", which is common within media related to martial arts; the "elder" personality type is evident in the same type of media (as well as Western media characters such as Pai Mei); despite this, he does have many aspects that do have him stand out as a character.

As stern and serious as he can be, Gouken is nonetheless enthusiastic in the nature of competition, being a spirited and modest good sport at heart. His approach is silent and calm, evocative of "zen" principles, and he often shares insightful (if not also blunt and critical) advice and wisdoms to that effect. For example, he tells Dan that anger will not help him (fearing it would lead him to a dark place), and he informs Dee Jay that if he is silent, he would be surprised at what he learns. Gouken detests Akuma for killing their master, Goutetsu, and embracing the darkness that resides within their arts instead of seeking a more pure form of strength.


While earlier Street Fighter games made references to Ryu and Ken's master, Gouken made his first illustrated appearance in Street Fighter II RYU, Masaomi Kanzaki's manga adaptation of Street Fighter II. Since then, Gouken has appeared in several Street Fighter movies and comics, including UDON's Street Fighter line of comics, Akuma's ending in Street Fighter Alpha, and the Street Fighter Alpha: Generations movie. Before his illustration in Street Fighter Alpha, Gouken's appearance would differ vastly between media.

Gouken himself was based off Sheng Long, a character that originated from the infamous English mistranslation of Ryu's win quote from the early versions of the Street Fighter II series ("You must defeat Sheng Long to stand a chance"), which many speculated was referring to Ryu's master; it was intended to say "you must defeat my Shoryuken to stand a chance". April Fool's jokes created by EGM in 1992 and 1997 actually provided an appearance for Sheng Long, which in turn directly influenced Gouken's current appearance.

Gouken was finally introduced as a playable character in Street Fighter IV in response to fans demanding Sheng-Long. One of his obtainable player titles states "AKA Sheng Long", and one of his win quotes even references the original quote ("You must defeat me to stand a chance").


According to Capcom's official account of Akuma's backstory, the two brothers were once students of Goutetsu, a practitioner of an art that was originally developed with the intention of killing an opponent, the origins of which are rooted back to Japan's feudal age. Goutetsu taught his skills to Gouken and Akuma. Eventually, the two brothers began to differ in the methods and usage of their fighting style.

Akuma became bent on completely mastering the style, and embraced the killing and dark aspect of the art to the point of succumbing to the Satsui no Hado, or "Killing Intent" and wanted to embrace it to his fullest extent to become more powerful. Gouken, on the other hand, developed his own style of the art and wanted to embrace the peaceful and spiritual aspect of the art by removing the Satsui no Hado: turning fatal techniques such as the Hadoken and Shoryuken into tools for self-defense, removing their killing potential. After succumbing to the Satsui no Hado, Akuma fought and murdered Goutetsu for not embracing it to his fullest extent and left behind both his master's dojo and his brother in order to train by himself to grow even more powerful.

During this time period, Gouken founded his own dojo, and took Dan Hibiki as his first pupil. However, Gouken learned that the reason Dan wanted to learn this martial art was for revenge, and Gouken rejected him for his motives, fearing that his anger would lead him down a dark path. Later, Gouken found an abandoned orphan baby, Ryu, and took him under his wing. Ryu was joined by a second student, Ken Masters, who was sent from America by his father, a good friend of Gouken's, in order to learn humility and respect for a bright future. After Gouken began to train the two boys, Akuma made a sudden appearance at Gouken's dojo. There, Akuma challenged Gouken to a fight. Akuma was soundly defeated by his brother, but Gouken spared his life even after Akuma's insistence that Gouken should kill him. After Akuma's arrival and departure, Gouken continued to train the two boys. Eventually, Gouken found his two students adept enough to leave the dojo and travel the world to continue their studies to become better people.

Afterwards, Akuma reappeared at Gouken's dojo and challenged his brother to a rematch. This time, Akuma ended up as the victor, supposedly killing him with the Shun Goku Satsu. However, because Gouken used a technique similar to Gen's and emptied his soul of emotions, he was merely left in a deep coma. Because he was unconscious for an extended period of time, Ryu and Ken believed their master to be dead, and put his body in a graveyard.

Super Street Fighter IVEdit

After awakening two years later, Gouken leaves his dojo and tailed his students, pleased that they have come so far. However, he was not satisfied with just watching them and he decided to enter the new S.I.N. tournament in order to test their strength himself. Gouken successfully finds Ryu after Seth's defeat, and managed to seal the Satsui no Hado so he would never have to suffer with this power again.

Akuma appeared afterwards, furious at Gouken for completing this task; Akuma felt that he would no longer have a chance to kill Ryu in battle. Akuma realizes the power Gouken used to seal it was nothing ordinary, but the Power of Nothingness. The two brothers then face off in another rematch, with control of Ryu's fate as the prize, with Gen witnessing the beginning of the fight in awe. The exact outcome of this fight is unknown, though it is known that both survive and that Ryu does not go to Akuma. Afterwards, Ryu and Ken ask Gouken to stay with them a while, but Gouken tells them that they are both grown men and no longer need a master.[3]

Street Fighter V Edit

Gouken is seen in Ryu's flashback during the tutorial mode along with Ken Masters where he demonstrates his ability by shooting a Denjin Hadoken at Ryu before giving him some advice.

Gameplay/Fighting styleEdit

As the preceding master of the martial art that Ryu and Ken practice and wield in the series, Gouken is nonetheless the originator and peerless practitioner of the toned down assassination martial art taught by Goutetsu. As seen in his moveset, Gouken has mastered the martial art to the point that he has grown to create techniques that better suit his own dynamics and philosophies, one that follows the use of both the Chikara no Hado and the Power of Nothingness for an effective and powerful form of self defense, rather than the violent and destructive form of the martial art that his brother wields with the Satsui no Hado. This is most significant in his repertoire's spelling and dynamics; many of their kanji are those with more benevolent and less wrathful interpretations than ones seen in Akuma's, and they are performed in such ways where they are intended for knockout stopping force than maiming and severe injury.

Gameplay-wise, Gouken's play style is representative of the martial arts concept of katsujinken (lit "fist/sword that gives life"), focusing on reading the opponent, being able to react and counter accordingly to their actions, and to react appropriately to an opponent's openings to unleash powerful attacks to the victory of the battle. Compared in metagame to Ryu and Ken, Gouken's playstyle is rather unorthodox when it comes to Shotokan style characters, lacking punishing anti airs while with the fragility of his brother Akuma, and when compared to him further, lacks in some simplified aspects to pull off the devastation Shotokan characters can perform in combos and juggles. While a character of advanced and tricky disposition, he is nevertheless a powerful adversary in the hands of one who knows and can react quickly to the ins and outs of the game and with tools to immediately turn the tide back to their favor.

Gouken is powerful enough to be capable of performing a Gohadoken with only one hand, is able to perform a similar Ashura Senku move, but with an offensive twist, the Senkugoshoha, has perfected an anti-aerial vertical Tatsumaki Senpukyaku, the Tatsumaki Gorasen, and has a powerful counter move, Kongoshin, that is able to counter nearly any attack with lightning fast oppressive force. Furthermore, he shares the Airborne Tatsumaki Senpukyaku of his students from the Street Fighter II series and the Hyakkishu of his brother with a different variation, and shares his brother's Tenmakujinkyaku. His throw, Ama no Oroshi, is a simple subduing hug before Gouken tosses them into the air, and is useful for starting up aerial juggles.

As the master of the toned down assassination art, Gouken appears to have specialized in the usage of the Shoryuken, to the point that they are only available as Super Combos and Ultra Combos, in the forms of the Forbidden Shoryuken, while his first Ultra Combo is the Shin Shoryuken, and the Hadoken, as using both hands allows him to perform the Denjin Hadoken with a greater deal of power.

As a BossEdit

His boss counterpart in Super Street Fighter IV, nicknamed "Shin Gouken" in the same manner as Shin Akuma, has powered up special moves quite similar to that of playable Gouken's EX moves and sports a light blue-green gi. Gouken's EX Senkugoshoha travels further, faster, and has Super Armor. The Gohadoken projectiles are immediately and fully charged, which means they always land two hits. The Denjin Hadoken is also fully charged upon activation. Gouken's normal counter can react to both high and low hits, eliminating the need to guess.

Other appearancesEdit

Street Fighter II: The Animated MovieEdit

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Street Fighter (TV series)Edit

Gouken also appeared in the Street Fighter episode "The World's Greatest Warrior", with his character design being similar to those in prior Street Fighter manga.

Street Fighter Alpha: The AnimationEdit

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Street Fighter Alpha: GenerationsEdit

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Street Fighter IV: The Ties That BindEdit

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UDON comicsEdit

Gouken's role in the comic is much the same as his official story. He raised Ryu, an orphaned boy, in the ways of his martial art. During his training, Gouken committed himself to teaching Ryu only the non-lethal arts, sparing him from the darkness that would come from teaching him the full range of techniques (the side that embraces the Satsui no Hadō, or "Killing Intent"). He also would train the son of an American businessman, Ken Masters, much in the same way. Gouken maintains a difference in philosophy from his brother, Akuma, who believes that the only true mastery comes from training in all facets of their art. This eventually leads to his death during Ryu's absence from the dojo to attend the first Street Fighter tournament. Akuma challenges Gouken to a mortal battle and Gouken is defeated. For the remainder of the comic series, Ryu dedicates himself to forcing out the negativity that wells up within him and adhering to his master's precepts and teachings of humanity and respect for one's opponent. However, he also yearns to avenge Gouken's death and will seek out Akuma at any cost. This all comes to a head at the conclusion of the series (during the third series of comics, Street Fighter II Turbo) when Ryu is attending M. Bison's Street Fighter tournament. Akuma intervenes before the final battle of the tournament between Ryu and Bison and defeats Bison so he may fight Ryu. The two clash but Akuma still overpowers Ryu. Before he can land the final blow, Gouken's spirit is revived and engages a shocked Akuma. The two warriors battle to an unseen conclusion. Gouken appears near the end in UDON's Street Fighter IV comic. He also appears in Street Fighter Origins: Akuma.

Street Fighter: Assassin's Fist Edit

Gouken appears along with Ryu and Ken in Street Fighter: Assassin's Fist portrayed by Akira Koieyama and Shogen as young Gouken.


  • In Gouken's win quote against the boss form of Oni, he says "Goodbye, brother". This implies that his brother Akuma is gone since he finally became a full demon.
  • The kanji 無 (mu, "negative") on the back of Gouken's costume represents the Buddhist concept of emptiness, and is often associated with Gouken himself.


See: Gouken/Quotes

Stage themeEdit





See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Street Fighter: World Warrior Encyclopedia Hardcover
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6
Street Fighter IV Characters
Original Abel · Akuma · Balrog · Blanka · Chun-Li · C. Viper · Dhalsim · E. Honda · El Fuerte · Guile · Ken · M. Bison · Rufus · Ryu · Sagat · Vega · Zangief
Console Cammy · Dan · Fei Long · Gen · Gouken · Rose · Seth · Sakura
Super Adon · Cody · Dee Jay · Dudley · Guy · Hakan · Ibuki · Juri · Makoto · T. Hawk
Arcade Edition Evil Ryu · Oni · Yang · Yun
Ultra Decapre · Elena · Hugo · Poison · Rolento

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