Losing his Son
Yori Nakajima had a son, named RJ. While working at a consulting agency overseas, RJ was killed by someone, although the police were not aware of who it was. They told Nakajima that RJ was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, although Nakajima did not believe them.
Befriending Bucky Barnes
Nakajima and Bucky Barnes were friends, going to the same restaurant in New York City every Wednesday. On one such Wednesday, Nakajima found his neighbour, Unique, putting his trash into Nakajima's trash can. Nakajima started yelling at Unique and demanded to be called "Mr. Nakajima" when Unique referred to him as Yori, before Barnes arrived and interrupted their argument. Nakajima explained the situation to Barnes and attempted to hit Unique, but Barnes stopped him and introduced himself to Unique. Unique explained the origin of his name, saying that it was similar to "Monique" but with an added letter "U" for uniqueness, causing Nakajima to scoff at how absurd his name was and walk away.
Barnes asked Nakajima to get lunch like they normally did, and he begrudgingly accepted when Barnes offered to pay. Nakajima insisted that they do not talk while eating, though he would change his mind on this once they arrived. In the restaurant, Nakajima got a newspaper and read the obituaries, noting that no one listed had passed the age of ninety, which saddened them both.
A waitress named Leah served them their food, commenting on the fact that they had ordered something different than what they normally did. Nakajima suggested that Barnes ask the waitress out, and despite Barnes' disagreement, Nakajima asked Leah to go on a date on Barnes' behalf. Although Barnes was apologetic toward Leah for Nakajima's behavior, Leah agreed to the date. Nakajima then saw a plate of mochi being served which reminded him of his son. When Barnes asked Nakajima what was wrong, he explained the story of his son's murder, unaware that he was sitting next to RJ's killer.
The following day, Barnes went on his date with Leah, but when Leah mentioned Nakajima's son, he ended the date prematurely and went to Nakajima's apartment, intending to reveal the truth to him. Nakajima expressed confusion at his presence and asked how the date went, with Barnes responding saying that it went well. Barnes saw the memorial space created for Nakajima's son, and so explained his presence by saying that he forgot to pay Nakajima back for their lunch, lacking the confidence to reveal the truth to Nakajima.
Learning the Truth
Days later, Bucky Barnes knocked on Nakajima's door again, confusing Nakajima as it was not a Wednesday and it was late at night. Nakajima invited Barnes into his apartment and Barnes told Nakajima that he had something to tell him. Sitting down, Barnes explained the truth of how, as the Winter Soldier, he had killed Nakajima's son, causing tears to well up in Nakajima's eyes as he asked why. Barnes explained that he had no choice in the matter and left the apartment.
Yori Nakajima is a man bitter with old age, upset about young people's culture. He yelled at Unique for not understanding why Unique could not put his trash in Nakajima's trash bin, and demanded that he be called "Mr. Nakajima," assuming that Unique intended to disrespect him. He also makes rash decisions at times, such as deciding to attack Unique and ask Leah on a date on Bucky Barnes' behalf.
He is also in deep mourning of his son. Many years later, he had a memorial space dedicated to his son. Furthermore, he is still surrounded by reminders which constantly make him upset about having lost him.
- Bilingualism: Nakajima is fluent in his native Japanese as well as English.
Behind the Scenes
- The Falcon and The Winter Soldier showrunner Malcolm Spellman stated in an interview with UNILAD that Yori Nakajima embodies all the murders that Bucky Barnes committed as the Winter Soldier so Bucky's arc could be wrapped up in the show: "We wanted to use the old Korean man as the embodiment of all those murders, including the Stark Family, and basically distill all those missions down into one man".
- Despite Spellman's reference to Yori Nakajima as a Korean man, Nakajima is a Japanese surname, and Nakajima himself speaks Japanese when reminiscing about his son's favorite Japanese cuisine. Additionally, the actor who portrays him is also Japanese.