Warning: Spoilers ahead for Netflix's Giri/Haji.
At the beginning of Girl/Haji, we know one fact is certain: Saburo Endo, nephew of a powerful Japanese gangster, is dead in London. The murder weapon for the crime is the ancestral sword of Fukuhara (Masahiro Motoki), the reigning Yazuza gang boss in Tokyo. The last person to have the sword was Yuto Mori (Yôsuke Kubozuka), one of Fukuhara’s underlings and a man who has been presumed dead for a full year. Before the assassination, Fukuhara and Shin Endo (Katsuya Kobayashi), late Saburo’s uncle and the former top Yakuza crime lord, were both supposedly enjoying a lengthy period of peace under a years-old treaty. It’s a murky situation that threatens an international gang war.
The question hanging over Giri/Haji — and the conscience of Yuto’s brother Kenzo Mori (Takehiro Hira) — is why Yuto would kill Saburo in the first place. Thankfully the fifth episode reveals the entire complicated series of events that ended with Saburo’s murder. It’s a twisty tale of betrayal and, shockingly, a baby.
Giri/Haji begins with Kenzo, a Tokyo detective, heading to London to track down his brother. The thriller’s fifth episode finally forces the siblings to talk, thus unraveling Yuto’s many secrets. Yuto asks his brother what he is going to do now that he has found him. Yuto reminds Kenzo that sending him back home to the “authorities” in Tokyo will only lead him to his grave. Yuto tells Kenzo the inevitable bloody punishment he will find in Japan and it ends with Shin Endo slitting Yuto’s throat in front of the leading Yakuza bosses.
“Despite the fact,” Yuto continues, “[Endo] was in on the whole thing.”
Endo sanctioned and plotted the murder of his own nephew.
Kenzo is visibly shocked to hear such a horrific new detail in a story that is already so very bloody. The detective, still reeling, asks his brother if Endo was genuinely in on the assassination of his own family member. “He could only break the peace treaty with just cause,” Yuto explains. Making it seem like one of Fukuhara’s most dubious employees killed Endo's nephew on foreign soil certainly would give the Yakuza leader “just cause.” As we see in the series premiere, Endo quickly uses the cover of retaliation to greatly weaken Fukuhara through a drive by shooting in a Yakuza watering hole. At least three of Fukuhara’s henchmen, if not many more, end up dead.
Endo was once the leading crime lord in all of Tokyo. Now, through the murder of his nephew, he may rise to that hallowed seat once again.
Giri/Haji spends its fourth and fifth episodes explaining why Yuto would even be interested in helping Endo with his bloodthirsty endgame. In the British series’ fourth chapter, we learn Yuto’s full backstory leading up to the day he faked his death. We find out Yuto came into Fukuhara’s employ after committing a crime against Endo. One of Yuto’s first duties was acting as a chauffeur for Fukuhara’s daughter Eiko (Anna Sawai). Yuto and Eiko quickly began hooking up and eventually fell in love. Eiko soon became pregnant, which she and Yuto thought was great news.
Fukuhara, on the other hand, was not enthused to learn his beloved daughter was having a baby with a criminal. The Yakuza boss swore to himself years earlier that Eiko would never marry a gangster after her mother was murdered in a botched attempt to assassinate Fukuhara himself. So Fukuhara put a hit out on Yuto, but he escaped his would-be homicide. In his flight, Yuto stole the ancestral Fukuhara murder sword and one of his boss’ cars. Yuto then faked his death, ensuring he could never show his face in Japan — and therefore be with Eiko and their baby boy, Sora — as long as Fukuhara was in power. Yuto eventually sent Eiko a letter telling her he was alive and working on a scheme to come home to her. Destroying Fukuhara through Endo’s plan was that scheme.
“He took [Sora] from me,” Yuto tells Kenzo. “So I decided to take everything from him.”
So far, Yuto’s vengeance dream is coming to fruition — while the streets of Tokyo and London also run red with the blood of countless people who aren’t Fukuhara. The real mystery is whether Eiko can ever forgive her lover for birthing so much havoc into the world.