Ken Ichijoji is a fictional character in Digimon Adventure 02. He used to be the "Digimon Emperor" under the influence of the dark spore. It is later revealed that he was the victim of manipulations by the real antagonist, his possessed victim and his pawn. His digimon partner is Wormmon.
In the Japanese version, he is voiced by Romi Park who also voices Edward Elric for Digimon Adventure 02 along with movies, later voiced by Arthur Lounsbery for Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna.
As a young boy, Ken felt ignored by his parents in favor of his older brother Sam Ichijouji, who was a child prodigy. At times, Ken got along very well his brother and even showed admiration for him, especially when they went out to the balcony to blow bubbles together. However, because of everyone's attention being focused on Sam, he also finds himself jealous of his older brother, sometimes wishing that he was an only child.
One day while with Sam in his room, a Digivice came out of Sam's computer. It was meant for Ken, but neither of them knew this, so Sam picked it up and put it in his drawer, telling Ken not to touch the drawer until he could figure out what it is. When Sam left the room, Ken, in childish curiosity, touched the Digivice and was pulled through Sam's computer into the Digital World. There, he met his Digimon partner, Wormmon, and helped Ryo Akiyama in fighting Millenniummon. However, when Millenniummon was defeated, he forced out pieces of his data in the form of Dark Spores. Ken pushed Ryo out of the way of the incoming Spores, and one of them embedded itself in the back of his neck. Wormmon and Ryo tended to Ken for three weeks until he was well enough to return to the Real World, where he found that it is the same day as he had left; this is likely due to Millenniummon's ability to warp time and space. When Sam came back into his room and found Ken holding the Digivice, he scathingly berated Ken for breaking his trust and proceeded to kick Ken out of the room. As a result, Ken again found himself wishing that Sam "would just disappear".
Tragically, Sam died after being hit by a car shortly after that day. Ken was devastated following the accident, suffering from strong feelings of guilt because he felt that he'd somehow caused Sam's death by his "wish".
Some time later, an e-mail from a mysterious figure (revealed later to be Yukio Oikawa) told him to use the Digivice to escape the guilt and sadness over Sam's death. Ken did this and was transported to the Dark Ocean. There, Ken dipped his Digivice in the ocean, turning it into a dark D-3. Doing so caused the Dark Spore to activate, and Ken began believing that the Digital World is a place for him to shape and command as his own. From there, Ken adopted several aspects of Sam and very rapidly developed into a child prodigy, excelling perfectly at virtually everything that he chooses to pursue, whether it is an intellectual activity or an athletic one, such as chess or judo. He even became the star player of the Tamachi Soccer team, where he broke the record for scoring most goals in a league season with 45. However, as the Dark Spore developed and continued to influence him, Ken became heartless towards society, viewing everyone around him as pathetic insects beneath his notice. It is then that he set his sights on the world which could challenge him, a world that he felt it is his destiny to control: the Digital World.
Ken returns to the Digital World and, through the subtle, unseen manipulations of Arukenimon, assumes the guise of the Digimon Emperor and begins to take over using Dark Rings to enslave Digimon, similar to the Black Gears that Devimon used on the Digimon in File Island. The Dark Rings gives each Digimon glowing red eyes and make those up to and including a certain level completely obedient. Ken often uses these as sport, such as having two of them fight in a Colosseum-style arena, and keeps them locked in a sophisticated system of cages.
Digimon Adventure 02
As the Digimon Emperor, Ken has many conflicts with the new DigiDestined as he plans to bring a new order to the Digital World. Ken's dark Digivice prevents the Digimon from being able to naturally digivolve, but Davis Motomiya's, Cody Hida's, and Yolei Inoue's Digimon are able to use Armor Digivolution to free his Dark Ring-enslaved Digimon. During one battle, they discover that the Control Spires allow the Dark Rings to work and also begin destroying them as well. The new DigiDestined become aware of Ken Ichijouji as they watch a newscast about how he wins a National Computer Programming Contest (the dub states he wins by making a machine that can brush people's teeth for them). The news also mentions many of Ken's previous accomplishments, as well as shows an interview with his proud parents.
Sometime later, Tamachi Elementary School's soccer team, Tamachi FC plays a match against Odaiba Elementary School's team. Though Ken only arrived for the second half, he recognizes the DigiDestined in the bleachers, and Davis on the team. Though he is annoyed by their presence, he keeps up the appearance of a well-mannered genius, even when Davis injures Ken's ankle in an attempt to block him from scoring a goal. While he continues to put on a polite facade and compliments Davis on his power, he retaliates as the Digimon Emperor by threatening to feed the other DigiDestined to Deltamon unless Davis degrades himself. However, the real DigiDestined soon appear, revealing that the Emperor deceived Davis. Ken vows to take over the world, but Davis tackles him in a scuffle.
During the fight, Davis recognizes a familiar injury on the Emperor's leg. Defeated, Ken reveals that he is the Digimon Emperor and flies off. With his identity revealed and his patience for humanity at an end, Ken abandons the Real World to live in the Digital World and assumes the Emperor identity permanently. During that time, he creates Dark Spirals to control Ultimate Level Digimon as well as some Champion Level Digimon like Tai's Greymon, who Ken digivolves into first a berserk SkullGreymon and then into a controllable MetalGreymon (Virus) through the Dark Spiral. His parents, with no knowledge of where he has gone, panic and make various televised pleas to try and search for Ken, but with no success. He also works on a special project, using data he collected from various Digimon to make his ultimate creation: Kimeramon. However, Kimeramon proves to be uncontrollable, though Ken denies this is the case. Eventually, the DigiDestined manage to down Ken's flying base, and Kimeramon is destroyed by Magnamon with the aid of Ken's own partner, Wormmon. Ken refuses to believe that he lost and proclaims he would "reset" the Digital World, thinking it is just a computer program or a video game that could be rewritten.
When the DigiDestined explain to him that it is a real place and that Digimon are living creatures, Ken, realizing the merciless cruelty he inflicted upon innocent lives, sheds the Digimon Emperor persona and collapses to his knees from the shock. He gets a chance to hold Wormmon in his arms before the Digimon dies from expanding his power, causing Ken to remember and relive the grief he experienced after his brother's death. Guilt ridden, Ken tearfully staggers off back to the Real World. By the time he returns home, he had been missing for several months. Ken sleeps for days, in a type of coma, where memories of his brother, the Digivice and his first trip to the Digital World randomly surface in his mind. When he wakes, he develops amnesia and cannot recognize his parents.
In a dazed state, he later travels to the Digital World and wanders aimlessly before finding himself in Primary Village. There, he is forced to remember his malicious actions by the baby Digimon, who angrily recall the abuse he'd inflicted. After crying out apologies in hysterics, realizing how truly sorry he is, Ken is reunited with Leafmon, the baby form of Wormmon reborn. He returns home, finally realizing he has those who love him and that he has a chance to set things right. After that, Ken vows to atone for the horrible deeds he committed as the Emperor. As he does, he learns that he was used by Arukenimon when she takes all data relating to the Control Spires from the boy's computer. With Stingmon, Wormmon's Champion form, he begins the daunting task of destroying the Control Spires that he erected. At first, upon learning that Ken is back and doing good, Davis wants to ask Ken to join the team, but none of the other DigiDestined approve the idea, particularly Cody. They are convinced that he is still evil when Ken saves Cody's life by ordering Stingmon to destroy Thundermon in Primary Village. The DigiDestined believe that Thundermon is a real Digimon, but he is actually created from a Control Spire. Once the DigiDestined learn that in the next battle, they become more understanding. When Ken finds out his fallen base is in danger of exploding, he and Stingmon arrive and try to stop it alone.
However, Davis and ExVeemon refuse to let them sacrifice themselves, and their words of friendship resonate with Ken and Stingmon's hearts. Through this understanding, ExVeemon and Stingmon DNA Digivolve to form Paildramon. After this, Ken becomes a member of the team, but despite joining them, he feels uncomfortable around the others. He is particularly uncomfortable around Cody, who still strongly dislikes him for what he did in the past. However, he still takes part in clean up jobs and other tasks with the other DigiDestined, as well as helps out in all the battles against Arukenimon, Mummymon and BlackWarGreymon. Slowly over time, he begins to integrate with the group and everyone, even Cody, becomes increasingly more accepting of his presence.
Ken's place on the team is unconditionally cemented when he holds a Christmas party and invites everyone over to his home. There, he is able to truly smile and laugh for the first time in a long while. On Christmas Day, as Control Spires and wild Digimon appear in the Real World, Ken is stuck in Tamachi when a Triceramon attacks, but Davis and Veemon arrive to help. During the fight, Paildramon receives the power to evolve to Imperialdramon. Davis and Ken ride on Imperialdramon to destroy Control Spires across Japan, before returning to Odaiba to pick up the other DigiDestined. fterwards, Ken and Wormmon go to Mexico City with Matt and Gabumon to help a Mexican DigiDestined, Rosa and her partner, Gotsumon transport some loose Digimon back to the Digital World. That night, when Ken gets home, he has a dream of his first time in the Digital World and the Dark Spore.
The next day, Daemon and his Daemon Corps begin to appeared in Tokyo, and wreaks havoc while seeking Ken and the Dark Spore. But Arukenimon manages to convince Ken to come with her, using the children she "kidnapped" to motivate him. Once inside the truck, Ken is confronted by Yukio Oikawa, whom he had met at his brother's funeral a few years back. Oikawa reveals the nature of Dark Spore and copies its data into the other children, who had all been taken willingly. Oikawa attempts to hand Ken over to Daemon at Highton View Terrace, but the DigiDestined intervene. When they realize Daemon is too powerful an opponent, Ken uses his dark D-3 to open a gate to the Dark Ocean with the help of the other DigiDestined. After this, Ken finally introduces his stunned parents to Wormmon.
The following day, now aware of what was going on, Ken’s father is happy to help the children look for Oikawa. During the battle against MaloMyotismon, Ken is paralyzed with fear after witnessing MaloMyotismon's cruelty. While he is subjected to MaloMyotismon's illusion, he witnesses his desire is to see himself punished by every Digimon he enslaved for what he did as the Digimon Emperor. When the illusory version of him is deleted, he witnesses an illusionary version of his brother, alive and well. Ken's final epiphany occurs when the illusory "Sam" tells Ken that he can't change the past but can ensure a bright future for himself. Following his "brother's" final words and angry at having been manipulated yet again, Ken releases his guilt, crying out that he isn't the Emperor any more, that he is through with punishing himself and that he paid enough for his crimes. With that, his friends break through to him, encouraging him to break through the illusion and rejoin the final battle against MaloMyotismon. He then helps defeat MaloMyotismon once and for all with the light of his Digivice.
Digimon Adventure 02: Revenge of Diaboromon
In March 25, it is discovered that Diaboromon survived his battle with Omnimon and used the time in between to reproduce as millions of Kuramon. While Taichi "Tai" Kamiya, Yamato "Matt" Ishida, Takeru "T.K." Takaishi and Kari Kamiya go with Omnimon, Angemon and Angewomon to battle Diaboromon online, the others track down the Kuramon who appear in the Real World. Omnimon manages to defeat Diaboromon. However, Diaboromon survives through his numerous Kuramon, which proceed to flood into the Real World. They reconfigure into Armageddemon and easily defeat Omnimon. ExVeemon and Stingmon manage to DNA digivolve into Imperialdramon Fighter Mode but are still defeated. Omnimon then lends them his power, and they are able to change into Imperialdramon Paladin Mode and defeat Armageddemon.
Digimon Adventure tri.
He, Davis, Cody, and Yolei are defeated by Alphamon and went missing.
Ken appeared to have survived and was later believed to have returned to his Digimon Emperor persona. 'Ken' observes an attack by the infected Ogremon on Primary Village and is spotted in the Real World by Maki Himekawa. He later appears again in the Real World to abduct Meicoomon, where the other DigiDestined identify him as Ken, then retreats back into the Digital World. When followed by Leomon, Gomamon, and Palmon, he infects Leomon and sends Imperialdramon to attack the two Rookies. After Imperialdramon Fighter Mode's defeat by Rosemon and Vikemon, he releases Meicoomon and vanishes.
T.K. and Kari attempt to check up on Ken at his home but receive no answer. Later, Himekawa reveals that she is in possession of Ken's D3 Digivice and D-Terminal, which are used by the Digidestined to enter the Digital World after it is rebooted. It is later revealed that the Digimon Emperor was not Ken, but Gennai using Ken's old Digimon Emperor persona as an avatar.
As Daigo reveals that the five were captured after they discovered King Drasil's plan, Dark Gennai appears and starts the facility's self-destruction system, revealing that there is a way to send them to the Real World using the capsules, but there is only one capsule left, thus one of them must stay behind. Daigo decieves Tai into entering the capsule, sending him with the others as he dies from his wounds.
They are then sent to a hospital as mentioned by Izzy while informing Matt by their cellphones.
Three months later since Ordinemon's destruction at the hands of Omnimon Merciful Mode, the four DigiDestined are finally recovered after being hospitalized.