|“||Concentrate not on destroying your foe, but on attaining your own victory.||„|
Gouken is a character and a hero in the Street Fighter series. He is Ryu's adoptive father, Ryu and Ken's martial arts master, and 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 is an unlockable character in the home console version of the game.
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.
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 Obi-Wan Kenobi); 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 for taking their martial art down a darker and undesirable path.
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, and the Street Fighter Alpha: Generations movie. Before having a canonical illustration in Street Fighter Alpha, Gouken's appearance would differ vastly between media.
Gouken's special techniques in Street Fighter IV include the Gō Hadōken (剛波動拳, "Strong Surge Fist", spelled with a different kanji from Akuma's version), a variation of the Hadōken projectile techniques which he performs with only one hand, in addition to being able to launch them at an angle and delay their release, similarly to Urien's Metallic Sphere technique in the Street Fighter III series (he can throw two at the same time as an EX Move as well); the Senkugoshoha (閃空剛衝波, "Warping Strong Pierce Wave"), a technique in which Gouken advances (while passing through attacks and fireballs) towards his opponent in a pose similar to Akuma's Ashura Senku pose in Street Fighter EX and attacks with a powerful palm; the Tatsumaki Go Rasen (竜巻剛螺旋?, "Strong Tornado Spiral"), a vertical version of the Tatsumaki Senpukyaku; and the Kuchu Tatsumaki Senpukyaku (空中竜巻旋風脚, "Aerial Tornado Whirlwind Kick"), Ryu and Ken's Aerial Hurricane Kick from Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting.
While Gouken doesn't use the Dragon Punch as a regular special technique, his Super Combo is the Kinjite Shōryūken (禁じ手・昇龍拳?, Forbidden Hand ・ Rising Dragon Fist), while his first Ultra Combo is the Shin Shoryūken (真・昇龍拳?, True Rising Dragon Fist); while the move has featured as Ryu's Super Combo in many games, this particular incarnation is based off one of Ryu's Super Arts from from the Street Fighter III series. On the same note, he also has Ryu's Denjin Hadouken Super Art as a second Ultra Combo in Super Street Fighter IV; much like the original, it can be charged for greater damage and stun, and even provides a wall bounce.
As a Boss 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 Gohadouken projectiles are immediately and fully charged, which means they always land two hits. The Denjin Hadouken is also fully charged upon activation. Gouken's normal counter can react to both high and low hits, eliminating the need to guess.