|Age||Late 30s to early 40s|
|First Appearance||Onikakushi-hen |
|Image Song||HEAVEN'S Door|
Irie Kyōsuke (入江 京介) is a character in the Higurashi no Naku Koro ni series. He is the head doctor at the Irie Clinic. In his spare time, he coaches Hinamizawa's little league team called the "Hinamizawa Fighters". Although he is cheerful on the outside, he has a not-as-delightful past to go along. Due to his part in the baseball team, many of the children just refer to him as "Kantoku (監督)," which means "manager and/or coach."
Childhood and Family
Irie grew up in poverty but aspired to become a doctor. His neighborhood touted him as "Doctor Kyōsuke-kun," since he played the role of doctor with his childhood friends, he was always elected the class health monitor, and his teachers consulted him on what courses to take to become a doctor. After graduating, Irie applied for a public prestigious medical school in Tōkyō, supposedly the University of Tōkyō, and he was accepted despite not being near the top of the list. His parents threw a huge and expensive party despite the high tuition.
Irie's parents were known by the neighbors to be a "lovely couple." His construction worker father was stern and silent, while his mother was sensitive. Neither attended college. According to Irie, his mother was able to figure out subtle things about his father that he could not. If Irie upset his mother, his father would give him a bonk on the head. Irie had never seen his dad as an emotional kind of person, yet when his parents threw the party for his acceptance into college, he saw his dad break down in heartfelt tears. Overall, his relationship with his parents appears remarkably good.
College and Medical School
When Irie moved into college, he experienced the academic stress of becoming a doctor. He began to want to let the city life take him over, but he prevented himself from succumbing by reading letters from home.
One day, he received a letter that described in the postscript his father's sudden violent outbursts. While he thought this odd, he brushed it off. One winter day, Irie returned to his apartment to find his mother there with her luggage. She had fled there due to the escalating abuse of his father, but she could not return to her own family. Irie planned on going back home to talk to his father about the abuse during the New Year break, but before that, his father was killed in an alleyway after picking a fight with some random street thugs.
As Irie progressed further in his studies, his mother became senile and increasingly criticized her husband. Irie discussed his father's condition with a professor and came to suspect that it was a result of an organic brain syndrome secondary to trauma to his frontal lobes from a blow by a 2x4 during construction. This initiated Irie's interest in psychosurgery. Irie attempted in vain to convince his relatives that his father became violent due to this trauma. He recalls one of his mother's last words being, "Please do not bury me next to that man." Afterwards, he began to study in the field of neurolosurgery, with a concentration on psychosurgery, in order to help others like his father.
Irie began to study neurosurgery under a prominent surgeon. After rapidly gaining experience and carrying out successful lobotomies, he became known as "the young genius" in the psychosurgery community. Despite these successes, there were also a high number of failures which caused the medical community to distrust the practice.
But even after the practice of lobotomies was banned, Irie continued to perform many without prior consent of the patients, believing that they are the only path to fixing mentally ill individuals. He was subsequently banished from the medical academic society.
Irie's medical articles appeared aggressively and uncharacteristically liberal, which along with his experience in the field of psychosurgery, attracted "Tokyo" to offer him to join Takano Miyo's research group.
The Irie Clinic
Although the clinic is in Irie's name, the real one in charge is Takano Miyo. The clinic was set up as a cover for the research of the Hinamizawa Syndrome by "Tokyo," but some of "Tokyo's" higher ups were not confortable in handing the position of Director to a young woman, instead they wanted a young man to represent the faculty.
While Irie understands that he is essentially a figurehead, he takes the research very seriously. Most people in Hinamizawa save the Furudes do not know the clinic's true purpose.
With the role of Director, Irie is supposed to approve of the execution of Emergency Manual #34, which causes the death of all 2000 villagers, however, Irie's true function as the head of the Irie Institute is to take the blame if something were to go wrong, as a scape-goat. Irie knows and accepts this. In worlds where the worst happens, like Tatarigoroshi-hen and Minagoroshi-hen, Irie takes his life by overdosing on sleeping pills, before the government can arrest him.
Irie is a tall young man like Akasaka Mamoru. He wears his long light brown hair parted in the middle, and he has green eyes. He always wears oval/circle shaped glasses, but in the anime and Steam sprites, his frames are rectangular.
When working in the clinic, he wears a black suit vest over a dark gray collared-shirt with yellow tie, black suit pants and black shoes and a white laboratory. On his free days, Irie wears a yellow shirt with sunglasses hanging from its pocket, white pants and blue shoes. His coach uniform is a red-white-yellow colored baseball shirt with a yellow "Hinamizawa" on its left sleeve and the number "1" on its left side, white pants with a black belt and red wristbands.
Irie has what initially appears to be potentially creepy relationship with Satoko. He confesses to Keiichi Tatarigoroshi-hen that he would like to one day marry her. He demands to know why Satoko does not wear the maid headband he bought her in Matsuribayashi-hen which earns him the scolding of Chie Rumiko. He refers to himself as Rika and Satoko's "husband" or "master" (御主人・ごしゅじん・goshujin). Despite these proclivities, Irie knows that Satoko suffers from the Hinamizawa Syndrome and suppresses her symptoms with regular injections.
Though he was once very close to dissecting Satoko alive for the sake of progressing his research, Rika's influence stopped him from doing so, and he now wishes to dedicate his life to developing a true cure, so that Satoko may go back to living a happy life with Satoshi.
Multiple arcs involve Keiichi suspecting that he follows in the footsteps of the boy who disappeared the year before he arrived. He will learn from Irie that he was aware of the stresses Satoshi suffered by the abuses from his aunt and uncle, including their abuse of his sister. Irie claims he tried to help Satoshi direct his attention towards baseball, but Satoshi ultimately quit the team. The final answer arc Matsuribayashi-hen reveals that Irie recognized Satoshi decompensating as he entered the final stages of the Hinamizawa Syndrome. Irie brings him to his clinic and places him in a pharmacological coma in the research facility hidden underneath the clinic. Irie will continue to care for him without revealing the truth of his disappearance. He finally reveals his condition to Shion in Matsuribayashi-hen.
Until the final answer arc of Matsuribayashi-hen, Irie does not suspect Takano's role in the various tragedies in Hinamizawa to the point that in some arcs he "commits suicide" with the kind and eager assistance of the Yamainu prior to her unleashing the Great Hinamizawa Disaster. For many Question Arcs he appears the "dedicated physician" assisted by his equally dedicated, if not a bit creepy, nurse.
Irie understands that Takano may hold a grudge against him, as she was supposed to be the head of the institute, and the clinic was supposed to be named the Takano Clinic, before "Tokyo's" intervention. Takano picked Irie because of his mellow and easy to manipulate personality, as well as because of his illegal and immoral experiments he did on patients many years prior.
Though Takano initially thought of Irie as a useless researcher with no passion for her work, she does eventually praise him for the creation of the cure's prototype, and even acknowledges Irie as her equal.
During the days leading up to the Watanagashi festival, Takano reveals to Irie her backstory, and the reason she wishes to continue Dr. Hifumi's research, implying that Takano may have been willing to open up to Irie, as unlike with Jirō, none of the arcs suggest that Takano ever tries to bring him to her side.
However, Irie is not so innocent. When the Construction Manager is brought to them in the final stages of the Syndrome, Takano gleefully suggests that they may vivisect him to search for the infectious agent. While at first appalled and reluctant, Irie complies. He is aware of Takano's removal of Rika's parents, and her determination to vivisect Satoshi, and then Satoko. Rather than oppose her, Irie convinces her to allow him to try to treat Satoshi and Satoko when Rika agrees to serve as a research subject.
In Matsuribayashi-hen, Rika convinces him of Takano's true intentions, and he finally understands that she must be stopped.
Through all of the arcs the two seem to have a friendly relationship which includes their work together under the direction of Takano. Irie never appears to suspect that Takano arranged for Jirō's murder.
Despite the creepy and comic attentions Irie has for Satoko which sometimes transfers to Rika, the Answer Arcs reveal that Irie wishes to protect Rika and appreciates her willingness to act as a research subject to help her friend Satoko. Nevertheless, Irie does not reveal to her the truth behind the various murders, including her parents. Since for all of the arcs until the final Answer Arc of Matsuribayashi-hen he never understands Takano's true plans, he sadly serves as another eager yet disappointing ally to Rika. In Matsuribayashi-hen, she finally confesses what she knows from her many lives to him which causes him to question Takano.
For all of the arcs until Matsuribayashi-hen, Irie appears a dedicated doctor with a creepy maid fetish and attention to Satoko. Beyond the creepy and comic, none of them know that Irie treats Satoko to manage her Hinamizawa Syndrome. He does recognize Keiichi's symptoms in Tatarigoroshi-hen, but he "commits suicide" soon after. He does not appear to recognize the same in either Rena or Shion. In the Visual Novels in particular, he will serve as a conduit for information for Keiichi that things are not all happy and wonderful in his new home.
In Matsuribayashi-hen he helps them maintain the appearance that Rika remains in her home she shares with Satoko until they spring the trap that she "died." Later, he will explain to Shion that Satoshi is alive, allows her to see him in the research facility underneath the Irie Clinic, and promises to allow her to visit him.
- He is the only member of the Irie Institute not to have a Tokyo sprite.
- This is possibly because the black suit under his lab coat is his army uniform, as it bears a striking resemblance to Takano's "Major" uniform.
- Out of all named characters in Higurashi, Irie holds the highest military rank, a fact that greatly surprises Ōishi. His rank is Lieutenant Colonel (二佐, nisa).
- His hairstyle differs in the different types of media. In the manga, only his fringe is long while in the anime his whole hair has the same length. In Higurashi Daybreak his hair color is changed to blonde from light brown.