Rise Kujikawa is a former Japanese teen idol hailing from the small town of Inaba. After starring in various films, television series', and extraordinarily popular commercials, she is only just reaching the very heights of stardom when she abruptly chooses to retire as an idol and return to Inaba to attend school and work at her grandmother's tofu shop, Marukyu.
- Age - 15
- Birthday - June 1st, 1995
- Height - 5'2"
- Weight - 90 lb
- Initial Persona - Himiko
- Ultimate Persona - Kanzeon
At the very beginning of Persona 4, an intro cutscene plays that includes a commercial starring Rise in a bikini advertising a drink called Calorie Magic. This is the first time players see Rise, but she doesn't play a role in the story until much later on. Her role in the Investigation Team begins when she abruptly decides to leave her job and live with her grandmother in Inaba. Despite the murders that were occurring in Inaba at the time, Rise insists that she wants to live there to escape the stressful lifestyle of a teen idol. However, it soon becomes apparent that Rise cannot go anywhere without being flocked by fans, as evident by the people constantly gathering outside her grandmother's tofu shop in Marukyu, just to see her.
At this point, the Investigation Team has already figured out that people who appear on television will end up on the Midnight Channel. They realize that Rise might be in danger due to her living in Inaba and having appeared on TV dozens of times. The team decides to stake out the tofu shop in an attempt to catch the culprit. Tohru Adachi joins the team during the mission, but they only succeed in capturing a stalker who denies having anything to do with the case. Adachi isn't convinced and takes him away. Before the team departs, Rise's grandmother informs them that Rise has been away for some time. It is the worst possible news, and when the team tunes in to the Midnight Channel Rise appears.
Rise's dungeon, called Marukyu Striptease, becomes available on June 25th after the player gathers enough information on Rise for Teddie so he can locate her.
Upon confronting Shadow Rise, the Investigation Team discovers the idol's internal plight. She is excessively concerned with her rise in popularity and fears becoming a sex symbol. Rise is also incredibly afraid of losing the real person to the public mask. Like everyone else, she denies her hidden feelings, causing her Shadow to lash out and attack. The Investigation Team thwarts the shadow, giving Rise enough time to accept who she is and to welcome the Persona Himiko into her heart. Upon rescuing her, she takes over the party helper, leaving Teddie to attack on the front lines. She has a lot more potent skills than Teddie, being able to heal in-between floors, increased analysis powers and more useful support.
Rise presents herself throughout the rest of the game as a free-spirited, energetic, and whimsical person. She's highly opinionated, and though she shows blatant signs of immaturity, it's very obvious that her time spent in the limelight has forced her to grow up considerably faster than a normal 15-year old. Almost immediately she shows an interest in beginning a relationship with Yu Narukami, a crush that lasts the entire game. Unsurprisingly, it is possible for the player to choose for Yu to return those feelings, blossoming into genuine love by the end of his time in Inaba.
The social link for Rise Kujikawa is initiated in July after she is rescued from the TV. The social link primarily deals with Rise's insecurities about being a popular teen idol. The earlier segments of the social link focuses on Rise's happiness with finally achieving a normal life outside of the limelight. As a child, Rise was lonely and shy. She was often bullied by classmates because of this, and she didn't have many friends. Additionally, her parents were very strict. When she suddenly won an idol competition, her popularity skyrocketed, but she eventually realized that people only liked her because she was an idol and not for who she really was as a person.
Rise begins to doubt herself, however, when her old manager finds her in Inaba and asks her to return to her former lifestyle. Rise manages to trick her old manager into thinking that the reason for her leave is because she is planning to marry Yu. This event causes Rise to second-guess her decision and ask herself whether or not she actually was happy being famous. Her doubts are only intensified when a former co-worker seemingly replaces her and becomes the center of everybody's attention.
Max Social Link
Rise finally realizes that her previous life was not entirely bad when she receives a letter from a fan. With Yu's help, Rise finally comes to terms with her pop idol self and her real self and realizes that both aspects of her life are important and are what makes her 'Rise Kujikawa.' It is then later revealed in the latter part of the game that Rise has decided to take singing classes in hopes to return to her former lifestyle. Rise is one of the female social links the player can choose to have a romantic relationship with.
After completing her Social Link, the player receives an autographed photograph of Rise as a sign of her unconditional affection, as well as the ability to create Ishtar of the Lovers Arcana in the Velvet Room. Her initial Persona, Himiko, evolves into Kanzeon (and again into Kouzeon in Persona 4 Golden), although unlike other Persona evolutions, these do not affect her abilities and are strictly a symbolic change.
- Rise went through a few physical alterations during the development of the game. At one point she closely resembled Saki Konishi in looks and later Lisa Silverman, a character from Persona 2.
- Rise is voiced by Rie Kugimiya in the Japanese version of the game and Laura Bailey in the English version of the game.