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“I have a responsibility as a parent and as the chief of police.”
Soichiro wears a pair of rectangular spectacles at most times and is a fairly tall man. His appearance fits that of a middle aged man, and he prefers to dress in formal Western clothing.
Soichiro is a kind man with a strong sense of justice. He cares greatly for his family and the members of the Japanese Task Force. He is a serious and responsible man that gains the respect of many. He has a strong sense of duty, and even after the police stop funding the Kira investigation he continues trying to solve the case with the Task Force.
Throughout the Kira investigation he believes that his son, Light Yagami is innocent. In order to prove it he goes as far as to kidnap Light (who had given up the Death Note and lost his memories of ever using it) and his girlfriend, Misa Amane (who had also given up her Death Note and had no memories of it), and put them in a situation in which if Light were Kira, Light would have no choice but to kill him.
When his daughter Sayu is kidnapped by the Mafia, he becomes conflicted over whether or not he should follow their wishes and trade the Death Note for Sayu. His dilemma comes from having to choose between the duty of an officer, and the duty of a parent. As a police officer and the Chief of the NPA, he believes that handing over the Death Note to the Mafia is wrong, and the Death Note in the hands of the Mafia is too great a risk. However, he ultimately decides that he will make the exchange, not as an officer, but as Sayu Yagami's father.
As work on the Kira case begins, he becomes disappointed with the lack of police cooperation in capturing Kira, eventually joining forces with L to form a special investigative team. When Ryuzaki begins to suspect Light of being Kira, Soichiro is unwilling to believe his son would be capable of such a thing. Though he eventually suffers a stress-related heart attack, he insists on remaining helpful to the team, going as far as breaking into the Sakura TV station using a police bus.
Much later, after Ryuzaki is killed and replaced by Light, he is instrumental in regaining the Death Note, which Mello had pressured them into relinquishing by kidnapping Soichiro's daughter. Using Kira's Death Note, which Misa delivers to him under Light's instruction, Soichiro makes the Shinigami Eye Deal with Ryuk, allowing him to gain the Shinigami Eyes. Using the eyes, he is able to learn Mello's real name, though he is fatally wounded by Jose, one of Mello's gang members, and their bomb. Because Light has given up his Death Note to make his lifespan is visible while keeping one on him to prevent his memories from being erased, Soichiro dies happily believing that Light isn't Kira. The rest of the Task Force later continues to respect his wish to the very end in the pursuit of Kira such as the likes of Shuichi Aizawa, Touta Matsuda, and Hideki Ide.
His death later plays a major role in the Kira's defeat when Light is exposed in front of Near, the SPK, and the Task Force, resulting in Matsuda, who was enraged at the fact that Light was the one who drove his father to death in a cold-blooded fashion, shooting him multiple times to prevent him from using the Death Note.
In other media
Soichiro's role in the films is more or less the same as it is in the manga and anime. However, Death Note: The Last Name departs significantly from the manga in that Soichiro survives. Ryuzaki manages to expose Light as Kira, and Light later dies in Soichiro's arms begging him to believe that he acted as Kira to put justice into effect. A year later, on Light's birthday, Sayu fetches Soichiro from the train station, and he claims to have told her that Light was killed by Kira.
Soichiro's role in the Musical is generally the same as in other adaptations, although the Musical has some changes to the story. After receiving the reports of criminals dying, Soichiro makes the call to bring in L to assist on the case. He is openly disapproving of L's extreme methods. L sacrificing Lind L. Tailor crosses a line for him, which he discusses with Light. When Misa is apprehended, he calls L out on her treatment directly. However, Soichiro comes to realize that Light is Kira. He survives his son and silently mourns for him in the final song.
Takeshi Kaga, who plays the character in the films, reprised his role for the Japanese production.
- “Only those who are ready and willing to sacrifice everything and fight, who are truly committed to stopping this psychopath… are asked to remain. I'll find out who you are when I return at five o'clock from my meeting upstairs.” (Chapter 10)
- “Kira is evil, there’s no denying that. But lately I've been starting to think of it more like this. The real evil is the power to kill people. Someone who finds himself with that power is cursed. No matter how you use it, anything obtained by killing people can never bring true happiness.” (Chapter 22)
- “I'm sorry, Sachiko.” (Chapter 67)
- “Light... I trust you.” (Chapter 72)
- “I...I'm sorry... I couldn't kill him after all.” (Episode 29)
- “I will not succumb to evil.”
- “Light was murdered by Kira…” (L: Change the WorLd, p 185)
- “Ryuzaki… you're back.” (L: Change the WorLd, p 186)