|Special article-specific guidelines.|
Special guidelines apply to this article regarding article structure or writing style. Please read them before editing. Thank you!
| Ken Kaneki|
|Japanese Name||金木 研 （カネキ ケン）|
佐々木 琲世 （ササキ ハイセ）
|Species||Artificial One-eyed ghoul|
|Age||» As Ken Kaneki:|
18 (until Ch. 64)
19 (after Ch. 64)
21 (Tokyo Ghoul:re)
22 (after :re Ch. 31.5)
23 (after :re Ch. 98)
» As Haise Sasaki:
22 (Tokyo Ghoul:re)
23 (after :re Ch. 32)
April 2nd (as Haise Sasaki)
|Height||169 cm (Vol. 1)|
169.5 cm (Vol. 14)
170 cm (Tokyo Ghoul:re)
|Weight||55 kg (Vol. 1)|
58 kg (Vol. 14; Tokyo Ghoul:re)
|Foot Length||25.5 cm|
Kaneki's group - Leader (Formerly)
Aogiri Tree - Executive (anime only; Defected)
Mado Squad (Formerly)
Quinx Squad - Mentor (Formerly)
S3 Squad - Secretary (Formerly)
Goat - Leader
|Occupation||College Student (Formerly)|
Part-Time Waiter (Formerly)
Ghoul Investigator (Formerly)
|Relatives||Ken Kaneki's father †|
Ken Kaneki's mother †
Ken Kaneki's aunt
Ken Kaneki's uncle
Yuuichi Asaoka (Cousin)
|Ward||20th Ward (Currently)|
6th Ward (Formerly)
1st Ward (Formerly)
23rd Ward (Imprisoned, Formerly)
|Rc Level||170 (Human)|
2753 (:re Ch. 2)
|Unique States||Kakuja (Incomplete)|
|Quinque||Yukimura 1/3 (Koukaku, Rate B)|
|Rank||Rank 3 (Tokyo Ghoul Epilogue)|
Rank 1 (:re Ch. 1)
First Class (after :re Ch. 32)
Associate Special Class (after :re Ch. 57)
|Honors||Single White Wing Medal|
Golden Osmanthus Medal
|Manga Debut||Chapter 1|
Tokyo Ghoul Epilogue (As Haise Sasaki)
|Anime Debut||Episode 1|
|Novel Debut||Days: Chapter 1|
|Game Debut||Tokyo Ghoul: Jail|
Yurie Kobori (young)
|English VA||Austin Tindle|
Leah Clark (young)
|Stage Play||Yūki Ogoe|
|Film Actor||Masataka Kubota|
"I’m not the protagonist of a novel or anything. I’m just a college student who likes to read, like you could find anywhere. But... if, for argument’s sake, you were to write a story with me in the lead role, it would certainly be... a tragedy."
Ken Kaneki (金木 研, Kaneki Ken) is the main protagonist of Tokyo Ghoul and Tokyo Ghoul:re. Formerly, he was a human studying Japanese Literature at Kamii University, living a relatively normal life. However, this soon changed after Rize Kamishiro's kakuhou was transplanted into him, transforming him into a one-eyed ghoul. After joining Anteiku as a part-time waiter, he learned how to live as a ghoul and eventually became known as Eyepatch (眼帯, Gantai).
After being captured by Aogiri Tree, he underwent a drastic personality change and after escaping, formed a group with the goal of protecting those precious to him and exterminating individuals threatening his place to belong. His kakuja's distinct appearance earned him the alias Centipede (百足, Mukade).
Two years following his defeat against Kishou Arima, he lived under the identity of Haise Sasaki (佐々木 琲世, Sasaki Haise), an Associate Special Class Ghoul Investigator who formerly served as the mentor of the CCG's Quinx Squad. His memories were initially lost to him, but regained during the Tsukiyama Family Extermination Operation. Six months after the operation, ghouls came to know him by the moniker of the Black Reaper (黒の死神, Kuro no Shinigami).
After defeating Arima, and Eto had unveiled their joint plan to raise a one-eyed ghoul who could stand as the hope for all ghouls, he calls himself the One-Eyed King (隻眼の王, Sekigan no Ō). Kaneki has since then formed the organization he named Goat.
As a child, Kaneki had all the same features he has now as an adult with black hair. As a normal university student, Kaneki was a scrawny young man with little to no athletic background who preferred to read books. In his free time, he wore casual clothes.
At work, he wore the standard Anteiku waiter uniform, consisting of black trousers and a gray waistcoat over a white dress shirt and a brown necktie. Because he could not yet properly control his single kakugan that manifests in his left eye, he wore a medical eye patch to cover it.
His ghoul mask resembles a leather gimp mask with an eye patch. It bears a lipless mouth with large, gnashing teeth, much like a restrained asylum monster. The bolts sticking out of his neck and the fact that he is an artificial ghoul invoke a Frankenstein-like theme.
After being tortured by Yamori, his appearance changed drastically. His hair became completely white and his nails were blackened. He began to favor monochrome clothing and wore a form-fitting black bodysuit with cutouts when going into battle.
In the years since adopting the identity of Haise Sasaki, his hair began to develop black streaks growing out from the crown. He wore the standard business attire of a ghoul investigator, favoring black dress shirts and pinstripe pants with a knee-length white trench coat. He also wears a pair of round eyeglasses when reading. After the events of the Auction Mopping-up Operation, his hair slowly began to revert back to its original color with almost no white remaining.
After the Tsukiyama Family Extermination Operation, his appearance changed drastically again. His hair had completely reverted to its original black color, and he started wearing his glasses at all times. He wore a black version of the Arima Squad uniform, pairing a black dress shirt with black slacks and a long, black trench coat. In contrast, he wore a pair of red gloves that disguised his right hand which is covered in reptilian scales. In his second battle with Arima, Sasaki wore a form-fitting black bodysuit underneath his uniform.
Upon regaining his identity as Ken Kaneki, his hair turned completely white again after having his limbs cut repeatedly by Arima. He again wears the same medical patch over his left eye when going into public, and both of his arms are covered in reptile-like scales. As the One-Eyed King and leader of Goat, Kaneki wears a collared black coat over his new sleeveless battle suit with dark gloves reaching past his elbows.
Kaneki was a shy and reserved person, with Hide being his only close friend. He usually spent most of his time reading books, mostly novels. He was extremely gentle and appeared to be optimistic most of the time. Influenced by his mother and a true testament of modesty, he willingly took blame and punishment from others so that he can be someone who does not hurt people, but rather absorb the torment. However, this lack of assertiveness normally got him bullied and taken advantage of.
However, beneath his altruistic and gentle nature, was an underlying fear of being alone that was aggravated by his mother's death. He despised the idea of solitude; hence he tried to protect those dear to him so he would not have to face his fear of being alone in the world.
This was perhaps his greatest weakness. Since Kaneki was always trying to protect others, he was essentially trying to protect himself from ever being alone again. Therefore, to escape that scenario, he would shoulder the task of protecting others onto himself, without relying on anyone else. This was also why Kaneki rejected the notion of "living," because watching others die reminded him of those lonely days without anyone beside him.
After he was turned into a half-ghoul, he clung to his human side. To keep living in the human world, he began to work at Anteiku and established relationships with the ghouls there. He started to develop an interest in becoming stronger and began reading martial art books so he could protect those closest to him. However, he was still troubled with the fact that he was a half-ghoul and wanted to search for a place where he could belong. As much as he treasured his life, if people close to him were threatened, he would not hesitate to put his life on the line.
After being held captive and undergoing intense torture by the hands of Yamori; Kaneki's personality changed drastically. He trashed his previous ideology of "being hurt rather than hurting others." pledging to crush those who dared threaten his place of belonging. He adopted the habit of cracking his fingers from his torturer, Yamori. In his subconscious, Kaneki ate "Rize," the image of his ghoul self. This displayed that he accepted the "ghoul" within him. Instead of being influenced by it, he appeared to have become the one to surpass it. Kaneki became ruthless and brutal in order to protect his friends, yet he managed to maintain complete composure. He no longer feared his ghoul side and was more violent during battles; such as when he cannibalized Yamori's kagune in order to strengthen himself, and mercilessly broke 103 of Ayato's bones. By embracing his ghoul nature wholeheartedly, Kaneki gave up on being "human."
Kaneki was still capable of showing his gentle nature in front of people he cared about, but instantly turned merciless against his enemies. He yearned for strength and power, therefore becoming more arrogant. His new creed - that as "the strong" he had the right to "devour the weak" - was originally an ideology held by Yamori. Banjou assumed that Kaneki developed some form of mental instability during his torture in the 11th ward, and that this would gradually wear him down.
Whenever he was near starvation and losing control of his kagune (or half-kakuja), he behaved in a way that emulated another's, such as Rize or Yamori. He would speak in a crazed disorganized manner, further implying his mental instability during these periods.
After raiding Kanou's lab and attacking Banjou, Kaneki reverted back to his pre-Aogiri personality. He entered a period of soul-searching. He wished to reclaim his lost "human" side and became uncertain about the path he had taken to become stronger. He started to question and seek answers from individuals such as Uta, Yomo, and Yoshimura in order to understand the incidents that have happened around him since he turned into a ghoul.
While living under his new identity as Haise Sasaki, he was a self-contained and good-natured individual. He was loyal, devoted, and possessed a good work ethic. Sasaki was very cooperative, as he preferred working in a group rather than working alone. He also showed mercy, as he believed that an investigator should not annihilate ghouls unnecessarily. Sasaki enjoyed reading books in his free time and had a habit of using puns, shown by his conversation with Akira Mado in the curry restaurant. He tended to scratch the back of his head when he was thinking hard or feeling uneasy. He still had his old habit of scratching or rubbing his chin whenever he was hiding something or lying from his days as Kaneki.
He showed appropriate respect and great concern for his colleagues, especially his underlings. He complied with orders assigned by his seniors and carried them out without hesitation. However, Sasaki's gentle nature often led his subordinates to constantly disobey him, rendering him ineffective in controlling their actions; he was left to worry about their safety.
In contrast to before his memory loss, Sasaki rejected his ghoul side and was afraid of it. When analyzed by Arima after his capture, Sasaki appeared to retain his introverted nature and lack of assertiveness as Kaneki, along with his yearning for a motherly figure.
However Sasaki was still prone to losing control, as shown when he fought the Serpent, where he also cracked his fingers during the fight, a habit that he had originally developed as Kaneki in the past. Donato noted that Sasaki was curious about his memories, but also afraid of them as he worried he could no longer keep his current life in the CCG should he ever recover his memories. Sasaki feared that relying on his ghoul side would make him disappear. After being rescued from Takizawa by Hinami, Sasaki's perspective on his ghoul nature changed. He concluded that the Kaneki of the past must have been a good person because Hinami cared for him a lot, even though he did not remember. He eventually accepted this ghoul side in order to protect Hinami and Saiko, with the risk of his personality disappearing. He learned about Kaneki who appeared in his subconscious as a mental construct where "Kaneki" admitted that he was also scared and asked Sasaki to not erase him.
After the auction, Sasaki was friendlier towards his ghoul side. However, "Kaneki" said the relationship could not last forever, as they were two beings fighting for one body. Sasaki was told to "not erase him," but misheard it as "disappear." He then remained conflicted about his past, actively searching for information about himself.
During the Tsukiyama Family Extermination Operation, Sasaki recalled a memory of his past as Ken Kaneki where he had been physically abused by his mother. He also realized that he unconsciously wished to die and had been glad to see Arima. However, that failed, so he believed that burying his past was his salvation, so he chose to forget and live as Haise Sasaki. Upon realizing this, Sasaki accepted his past, resolving to stop "dreaming."
After regaining his memories, in sharp contrast to his previously gentle personality, Sasaki became colder and much more violent. He fought with more brutal force and was willing to put Tsukiyama's life at risk, despite already remembering his old acquaintance. He did however ensure that Kanae would rescue Tsukiyama before throwing the ghoul off the building. He displayed his cold nature to Urie when the latter blamed him for Shirazu's death, calmly telling him that it was his fault as he was the one fighting beside Shirazu. He then mourned together with Mutsuki and Saiko, showing that despite his cold demeanor, he still felt sad about Shirazu's death.
Third Cochlea Raid
During the Cochlea attack, Sasaki displays his deep unhappiness for his own existence, constantly engaged in inner monologue. As he rescues Hinami from her cell, he reveals his own motives that have not changed since the Tsukiyama Investigation. That he wanted to "go out in style." Meaning to act as a sacrificial pawn with no care for his own life, Sasaki displays regret when Touka tells him to see her later, stating that it is all so unfair and that Touka is a cruel one.
While being torn apart by Arima, Sasaki gives up on living altogether, stating his task was completed. He is interrupted by a projection of "Hide." who tells him to stop being a fool and to listen for once. Once Sasaki realizes what Hide actually meant back in V14, his hair turns white once more due to the stress of being ripped apart by Arima and rises with a newfound will to live wearing a smile on his face.
Kaneki's mental state undergoes extreme changes over the course of the series. Before his torture, Kaneki would at times refer to his actions as "we" or "us," albeit mostly while in a stressed state. Kaneki personifies his feelings to an extent that they take the form of people existing within his mind. When meeting these mental constructs, Kaneki enters a limbo-like state where he converses with them. Kaneki initially only entered this state when he is under extreme duress or near-death, and later included during calm settings for conversation.
During his torture at the hands of Yamori, this construct takes the form of Rize Kamishiro. She taunts him for his weakness and shows memories from his past with his mother, forcing out his anger towards her for not being able to refuse her sister. Through these memories, she gradually convinces Kaneki to abandon his previous ideology of being the one who gets hurt instead of others. By accepting "Rize," Kaneki embraces a more brutal view of the world and accepts his ghoul powers.
The next time he encounters this alternate self is at V14, after being mortally wounded by Arima. Within his mind, he encounters a child version of himself that he feels the desire to protect. As he comes to accept his failings and similarities to his mother, this self transforms into a version of Kaneki as he existed at the beginning of the series. This more innocent Kaneki accepts him, and thanks him for all that he has done to protect them. The two vanish together, resolving to "sleep" for a while.
In Tokyo Ghoul:re, the mental construct took on the appearance of Kaneki, initially appearing as Yamori's prisoner while donning his kakuja mask. This "Kaneki" torments him, demanding to be accepted and given back his body. Sasaki denied this being, which leads him to moments of instability whenever he uses his ghoul powers. When he is finally forced to accept his past and honor the request to "look" at "Kaneki," the projection appears to him as a white-haired child who he feels the need to protect. In the months following, Sasaki and "Kaneki" regularly converse with each other. Unlike previous constructs, Sasaki often imagines the child in the real world, picturing the child going through normal activities such as reading. Though they have reached an understanding, the child "Kaneki" tells Sasaki that the two of them cannot continue to co-exist and one will eventually vanish.
During Sasaki's fight with Karren, a heavily injured Sasaki once again retreats to his mind. The child then confronts him, taunting Sasaki for not being able to protect himself. Sasaki attacks the child, which prompts him to unsuppress his memories of being abused as Kaneki. As these memories came back to him, the child expressed that Kaneki was trying to die during the events at V14. He also desired to be loved by everyone that knows him, regardless of how his actions may obtain the desired result, be them with good or bad intentions, which the mental child Kaneki perceives as salvation. Sasaki regards himself as a "dream," caused when he began to desire. After Sasaki accepted his past, he resolves to quit "dreaming."
During Sasaki's fight with Arima at Cochlea, the latter savagely beats him to the brink of death. As Sasaki was about to succumb to his injuries and die, his mental construct takes the form of Hide. "Hide" scolds him for his selfish excuses, deducing that Sasaki had heard the sound of the compactor and asked whether he was okay with seeing his friends dying and letting his efforts be in vain. "Hide" encouraged Sasaki to live, reminding that he sacrificed himself with the goal of "living together with him" and that living would allow Sasaki to find a purpose in life. Sasaki's appearance begins to revert back to his post-Aogiri days, with his hair becoming white again.
"Hide's" advice made Sasaki realize that his mental constructs of "Rize" and "Hide" were all just manifestations of his inner desires and thoughts. Sasaki believed that Hide would stop him if he went beyond his own boundaries, causing Sasaki to deduce that once he began to think this way, he began to desire to live again.
- Main article: Ken Kaneki/Synopsis
Kaneki's best friend, who he calls by his nickname, Hide, have been close friends since childhood. Although Kaneki would lack the assertiveness to speak to others, Hide would often speak in his place as his "voice." Kaneki is willing to fight to the death for his friend, and Hide is able to perceive Kaneki's emotions. The strong connection between Kaneki and Hide earns Kaneki the capability to refrain from human meat even when driven by ghoul instincts. He cares for Kaneki immensely, and did not hesitate to help him even after finding out about Kaneki's transformation into a ghoul.
Before his transformation, he was indifferent towards her. After turning to a ghoul, he is beaten up by Touka, who was confused to see a half-ghoul and refused to show any compassion to him, as he was a former human. When Kaneki joined Anteiku, she bossed him around and showed little patience for his mistakes and lack of knowledge of ghoul related affairs, much to his dismay. Because of this, Kaneki thought of her as scary, until Uta shared how hard a worker she was and he began to think of her as less frightening. Their relationship improved after he assisted her in avenging Ryouko's death. She becomes friendlier towards him, though she still maintained her tough attitude towards him. Kaneki in turn views her as someone important to him and tries to put her out of harm's way. He responded aggressively to someone who has hurt her, shown when he broke Ayato's bones for hurting Touka, and held back from killing him because doing so would hurt Touka more.
As Sasaki, he seemed to experience a sense of déjà vu when meeting her and behaved in a distracted fashion. The taste of the coffee she made him brought him to tears, and he thought she was very beautiful.
After regaining his memories, Kaneki met Touka in Cochlea and protected her, Ayato and Yomo from Arima's onslaught. While leaving, Touka told Kaneki that she will meet him later. To this Kaneki remarked internally that she was a cruel one since he planned to sacrifice himself to help them escape Cochlea instead. After his conflict with Arima, he returned and protected Touka and group from Mougan and Kiyoko's onslaught, claiming himself as the One-Eyed King.
When they meet at Anteiku, Kaneki's first impression of Tsukiyama is that he looks like a model. Even though the others try to convince him that Tsukiyama is bad news, Kaneki still thinks that he seems like a person who he can trust. He goes along with him to have coffee, then plays a game of squash with him without realizing that Tsukiyama is priming him as a meal. After Tsukiyama's plot is exposed, he feels betrayed by him and becomes wary of him.
After escaping from the Aogiri hideout, Kaneki accepts him into his group, believing that Tsukiyama would make for a powerful ally. His advanced strength makes him stronger than Tsukiyama, so he uses that to threaten him into knowing his place. He is still aware that Tsukiyama wishes to eat him even if he tries to hide it, but Kaneki never shows concern for his own safety, trusting that his strength will intimidate Tsukiyama and keep him in check. In order to prepare himself for upcoming confrontations, he asks Tsukiyama to help him train and develops a tentatively friendly relationship with him, though he is always careful to maintain his distance. He would later see Tsukiyama as a friend, recognizing the latter's attempt to kill him during the Owl Suppression Operation was Tsukiyama trying to protect him.
In :re as Haise, he meets Tsukiyama in a fragile and sickly state, as he has starved and isolated himself after Kaneki's disappearance. He does not remember him, although meeting him a few times. Later he asks Tsukiyama to tell him everything about his past as he could not stand avoiding "fate" anymore, having figured that he was one of Kaneki's friends. During the Tsukiyama Operation, he was reluctant to fight Tsukiyama and hesitated killing him when his inner "Kaneki" repeatedly yells at him not to do it. Shortly after his reawakening, he stabs Tsukiyama in the chest, in order for him to appear seriously wounded and in danger of dying. When Ui arrives at the scene, he decides to give Shuu a chance to escape or die by hurling him off the building, glancing at Kanae in order for her to go save him. Through this, it can be assumed he still holds some regard for Tsukiyama as an individual, but not enough as to actually care about what happens to him ultimately. It is implied further by Chie Hori that Kaneki does seem to still care about him, as she stated that if he really wanted to kill Tsukiyama, he would have done it already.
Kaneki looks up to Yoshimura, and is grateful to him helping him survive being a ghoul. Yoshimura acts as a mentor to Kaneki. He would often provide Kaneki with information regarding the ghoul world and assists in his development. In turn, Kaneki diligently serves and runs errands for him at Anteiku. He provides advice to Kaneki when the latter faces a crisis, and told Kaneki the truth about the One-Eyed Owl when Kaneki inquired him about it. He believes in Kaneki to the extent that he entrusted Kaneki with saving his daughter. When Kaneki heard that the CCG was going to attack Anteiku he immediately decided to go despite the overwhelming number of CCG forces. Even while he was critically wounded by Amon, Kaneki forced himself to go save the manager.
Four years later, Kaneki still has not forgotten his last meeting and talk with the manager, hinting at the importance Yoshimura held for him as an individual. He even remembers Yoshimura's last wish, even though he sees no reason to fulfill it whatsoever.
Initially, Yomo is distant and indifferent towards him when Kaneki first cooperates with him in a body scavenging mission. However, he grew interested in Kaneki's development after Kaneki's fight with the Doves. He provides guidance to Kaneki, teaching him how to fight and offers him advice in times where he is conflicted. Yomo played a crucial role in Kaneki's decision to return to Anteiku, reassuring the latter of his own strength.
Kaneki has a relationship with Koma as colleagues. Kaneki also feels most relaxed working with Koma than working with any other members from Anteiku.
At the beginning, Nishiki starts enmity toward Kaneki just because he thought that Kaneki was invading his feeding ground, and as the way he shows his strength to weaker ghouls.
After helping him rescue his girlfriend in the Gourmet Arc, he became more like a close friend to Kaneki. When he was taken by Aogiri, Nishiki showed concern for his well-being and wanted to rescue him.
When they met again as enemies in :re, Haise subconsciously recognized him when his mask fell off, triggering an outburst as he temporarily lost control of his kagune, indicating that Nishio was an acquaintance of his former self. Their encounter sparked the mental struggle for dominance between Sasaki and his former self and has caused Sasaki to reflect on his position at the CCG.
Hinami looks up to Kaneki as a big brother. She is aware and interested in his half-human nature as she had few or no interactions with human society. They both share a passion for reading, especially Sen Takatsuki's works, and he often tutors her in new vocabulary to learn. After her mother's death, both Touka and Kaneki have been very protective of her and treat each other like family.
Alongside Banjou and Tsukiyama, she joins Kaneki's group of ghouls. While he often goes on his missions, he still manages to smile and be there for her when he is around, even accompanying her to places such as Sen Takatsuki's book signing.
As Sasaki, he showed concern for Hinami's safety when he learned she was acquainted with his past, and he asked her to leave while she was protecting him to prevent her from being hurt any further by Takizawa. Haise also managed to convince Arima to let her be taken captive instead of eliminated on the spot, showing that he still cares for Hinami. After her capture, he shows her the same kindness he did in the past by bringing her books and asking about her condition. While he tells her that he is not the same man she knew in the past, he admits to himself that he is growing attached to her, which troubles him greatly.
After the Tsukiyama Family Extermination Operation, Sasaki seems to have become distant towards Hinami as he has not visited nor talked to her during the six months since the end of the operation. This leaves Hinami in a depressed state as her execution is coming close. However, this was a ruse as later he betrays the CCG in order to save her.
Banjou considered Kaneki as a close fellow during their attempt to escape the Aogiri hideout. After Kaneki defeats Yamori and makes his resolve to protect everyone, Banjou gratefully, and grasped by Kaneki's strength, decides to become his follower. They become close friends during their time together, often sparring with each other and going together on trips and missions. Kaneki also helps Banjou improve his reading comprehension. When Kaneki decides to return to Anteiku he states that he hopes Banjou will come with him.
Rize was attracted to Kaneki because of his delicious appearance and himself. Both of them shared many interests. After their date, Rize tried to hunt him down, but failed. At the end, she supposedly died and he, heavily injured, was taken to a hospital, where Dr. Kanou decided to transplant her organs into him.
In Kaneki's mind, during his time locked in Yamori's hobby room, she appeared before him. They had a sensitive conversation about his past and personality. He attributes her to his ghoul side, as she was the cause of him. Although she was a figment of Kaneki's imagination, she supported him and strengthened his resolve.
A hallucination of Rize appears to Kaneki earlier in the anime, representing the subconsciousness of Kaneki's ghoul half. She usually haunts Kaneki when he is hungry and needs to eat human meat.
Kaneki was shocked to learn Rize was still alive in Kanou's lab as an experiment during the lab raid. Later, while contemplating his previous ideals, he visits Rize in Yomo's place. Seeing the once strong ghoul in a starving weakened state made him question his own motives for gaining more power.
Their initial meeting left a strong impression on both, and they serve as foils to each other in the story. It was because of Amon's passionate speech that Kaneki first began to realize the futility of the endless cycle of revenge trapping humans and ghouls, and determined that his half-breed nature gave him unique insight into both points of view. He has great respect for Amon, and in their final meeting he asked the investigator to allow him to pass -- something he knew would not happen. Before they fought, he asked for his long-time rival's name and wished for him to survive the battle. Amon shared this sentiment, desperate to learn the story of the strange ghoul that spared his life.
Years after the Owl Suppression Operation, Sasaki, after finding Amon reports about his past self, sees "Kaneki" in his mind weeping because of the belief that he killed Amon. Later, however, they meet again in the CCG Laboratory. Of all the investigators he fought before becoming Sasaki, Kaneki believes Amon to be the only one who actually acknowledged him as a person rather than a ghoul, and was angry at what the CCG had done to the former ghoul investigator.
Yamori saw Kaneki as a good "toy" for his hobby of torturing. He saw him as a weak morally-guided boy and made use of his powerful regenerative ability to satisfy his sadistic pleasures. Ironically, Yamori, who initially believed he had weakened Kaneki, was then overpowered and defeated by him, being the catalyst for his transformation.
Kaneki initially looked up to his mother, believing she was a hard worker who never failed to help others. He always tried to be a kind person like her, even after her death from overwork. After being tortured by Yamori and influenced by Rize's manifestation, Kaneki blamed his mother for choosing to financially support her sister - resulting in her death from overwork. He viewed this action as abandoning him, choosing his aunt rather than himself. Kaneki also saw his mother's actions as those of selfishness and cowardice. He realized that both of them tried to help and protect others just because they both did not want to be alone.
In :re, the truth was that Kaneki's mother had physically abused him. The trauma caused him to warp his memory so he believed her to be nothing but a gentle woman, whom in reality, never did love and he viewed her as a "maggot."
Uta helped him in making his mask. Seeing Kaneki as one of his valued customers, Uta aided Anteiku in rescuing Kaneki from Aogiri Tree. He is fond of Kaneki, and shares both advice and stories of his past with him. Despite Uta's hedonistic nature, along with implications that he enjoyed Kaneki's suffering, he does care about Kaneki. Uta mentions that during their "encounter" in the Auction Raid, he noticed that he has not changed and that he is still a valued customer of his.
During their initial encounter, Kaneki was both frightened by and fascinated by the legendary investigator. He suffered a brutal defeat, resulting in his subsequent capture by the CCG and loss of identity. Arima was given "ownership rights" over him and was allowed to select a new identity.
As Haise Sasaki, they had a close bond as teacher and student. Haise highly respected and admired Arima to the point he felt that it would be impossible for him to ever surpass his teacher. Akira suggested that Arima had a parental love for him, indicating the especially strong bond between them. This was later confirmed, with Sasaki even referring to Arima as his "father" -- the person who saved him and helped him create a new life. They shared a love of reading, resulting in them loaning books between each other. Sasaki also inherited a quinque which Arima used as a teenager, Yukimura 1/3.
Even after regaining his memories and eventually facing Arima in battle, Kaneki still thought of Arima as his father. He mourned the older investigator's death in anguish as Arima died in his arms. Eto later told him that her and Arima had been purposely "raising" Kaneki, in the hopes they would create a ghoul that would be able to kill him, and become the hope for ghouls.
Akira served as his mentor, responsible for training him in the field and helping shape him as an investigator. He has great respect for her, and over the years of working together they have established a strong friendship. When out of the office, he enjoys teasing her with his puns and she responds to them with playful annoyance. However, as his superior she can be harsh to the point of giving him a "Mado Punch" to the stomach to correct his behavior. She warns him that he is too naive, and that his showing mercy towards ghouls will result in his downfall. As her subordinate, he works hard to meet her expectations and describes her as an excellent superior. She is also shown to be someone charged with keeping him under control, as he requests that she be notified prior to using his powers. Because of this, he jokingly refers to her as his "mother," something she does not seem to appreciate much.
After Sasaki left the Q-squad, it is unknown whether he and Akira had kept in touch. He does however, still care for her. While she was recuperating he was deeply hurt to see her in her grave state, and contacted an unknown organization to put her under normal medical care at the risk of revealing their location or ambushed.
Among the Quinx, they have the closest bond and work together on the Torso case after the team becomes splintered. He treats Mutsuki with respect, but also behaves in a somewhat motherly fashion towards him. After Dr. Shiba expressed concern over the young investigator's health, Sasaki made a point to cook him dinner with plenty of meat and lectured him about needing to strengthen his body. In turn, Mutsuki has great admiration for his mentor and is quick to offer praise or reassurances. If the Quinx team is a family, it could be said that Mutsuki is the good child that always respects and listens to Sasaki.
When Mutsuki goes missing, the colder, merciless Sasaki asks Urie to save him, showing that he still cares about him.
During Urie's time as the squad leader, their professional and personal relationship is tense, as Urie is prone to challenging Sasaki's leadership on all fronts. He frequently acts on his own without bothering to consult the rest of the team, leaving Sasaki in the dark about things and deeply frustrated as a result. When the team becomes fractured as a result of Urie's manipulation, Sasaki calls him a brat and swears to teach him a lesson. Even so, he acknowledges that his troublesome subordinate is highly-skilled with exceptional intuition. That he refuses to cooperate with others, and so frequently criticizes him in front of others, is a great source of frustration for Sasaki. After the Auction Raid, their relationship seems to have improved. Urie shows more trust in Sasaki's decisions and even comes to him to train. However, during the Tsukiyama Operation, he was about to tell him off for not being there for Shirazu, only for Sasaki to immediately lash out and turn the blame on him for not being strong enough.
Even after he left the Q-squad, Sasaki still cares for Urie as the latter was the only one he met and personally requests him to save Mutsuki, while showing a kind smile. It is also noted that Urie was the only one of the first Q-squad who Sasaki conversed with before defecting from the CCG.
Like Urie, Shirazu was prone to disregarding orders and doing whatever he wanted. Sasaki was frustrated by this inability to control his team, and confused when Shirazu argued with him before storming out. He remained unaware of Shirazu being poisoned against him, but this did not last long. After saving his team from Serpent, their relationship vastly improved. He recognized Shirazu's ability to consider his surroundings and prioritize his comrades, having faith in his potential as a leader. To this end, he made Shirazu the new squad leader and encouraged him to excel. He also helped Shirazu in dealing with his guilt over killing Nutcracker. After his death, Sasaki mourned him together with his remaining squad mates.
They have a very close, familial sort of relationship. He feels great sympathy for her situation and admits to going easy on her as a result even when her actions cause problems for the team. He acts as a surrogate parent to her, affectionately referred to as "Maman." (French for "mom") They have a warm and intimate bond, as evidenced by her cuddling with him and asking him to clean her ears. Sasaki is protective of her and often tries to keep her out of battles despite their jobs as ghoul investigators. However, he is aware of her destructive power in battle and brings her along on missions where it is needed.
After Sasaki regained his memories and left the Q-squad, their relationship is now implied to be distant. However, it is also implied he still cares for her.
Their professional relationship was strained, with the other investigator not even bothering to hide his disdain for Sasaki. Though well aware of how Shimoguchi looked down on him, Sasaki treated him with politeness and professionalism. Shimoguchi however, did not hesitate to humiliate Sasaki when he got the chance. Sasaki took these actions with minimal response, doing his best to remain professional and courteous. However, when at home he expressed annoyance at the other man and looked forward to the chance to show him up. After Shimoguchi lost his squad however, Sasaki was quick to offer condolences to the man.
It is unknown how Sasaki felt when Shimoguchi died, but it is likely the death of the older investigator did not affect him.
Donato serves as an informant and adviser, offering insight on investigations and personal advice to Sasaki. He uses the investigator's personal name, a sign of the close and cordial relationship between them. Donato even refers to him as his "friend," speaking kindly to him and wishing him well during moments of doubt. Though imprisoned for many years, Donato seems to know many secrets about his past and offers hints about Kaneki's lost memories and possible future.
As Ken Kaneki, Kaneki does not know of Juuzou. Juuzou however, apparently knew by instinct that the Eyepatch ghoul was the same person as Kaneki even though by that time Kaneki's hair had already turned white, along with the fact that he was donning his mask and Juuzou was observing him on ground running whilst on top of an Aogiri building. This is evidenced by when Juuzou sees him and attempts to remember his name (failing to do so though, as he only remembers that the name starts with a "K") while dragging Yamori's body around.
As ghoul investigators, both of them are considered unusual in their own ways, and became friendly through prior collaborations. Juuzou considers him as a friend, referring to him by his first name, and is still aware of Sasaki's true identity, as he repaid the money stolen from Kaneki's wallet long ago. Sasaki always prepares for meetings with Juuzou by hiding treats in his pockets, letting the other man frisk him as a greeting.
They had a hostile relationship in the past due to Kurona and Nashiro's devotion to Kanou, and had clashed on several occasions. However, they formed a team after Rushima's Operation, with Kurona following Kaneki as her leader. Kaneki did show a certain amount of affection for Kurona while they were infiltrating one of CCG's labs to save Akira.
Takizawa learns about Sasaki through Kanou and Eto, as he is "modeled" after him. As a result of being modeled after a mere test subject, which Kanou refers to as his masterpiece, he wishes to surpass Sasaki, still possessing feelings of inferiority as he did with Akira, who was ranked first, and him second. Takizawa is also aware of Sasaki's true self, even calling him by name when he hesitates. He does however, show Sasaki a little bit of acknowledgement as a leader, even stating Sasaki is a better leader than his own boss. He appears to be willing to cooperate with Kaneki as seen with his affiliation to Goat.
Koori and Sasaki appear to have a professional relationship, knowing each other from their days in S3 squad. Ui however secretly distrusts Sasaki and is wary of both his mental state and his abilities as a ghoul.
In Tokyo Ghoul: Jail, Kaneki encounters Rio as he is searching for the ghoul called Jail, who Kaneki is also searching for. The two meet while Rio is following a lead on Jail, believing the area Kaneki is in to be his turf. Rio comes across Kaneki while he is devouring powerful ghouls in order to become stronger. Seeing that they share a common goal, Kaneki and Rio work together to find Jail. It is through Kaneki that Rio is also introduced to Anteiku.
Sasaki and Hairu used to be in the 0 Squad under Arima together. They get along as co-workers, but Sasaki did not like her violent methods on handling ghouls.
Even before becoming a ghoul, Kaneki admires Sen Takatsuki greatly, as she is his favorite horror novelist and relates himself to her works, unaware of her true identity. As Haise Sasaki, he still considers her his favorite author, but speculates she is a woman filled with despair and hatred towards the world and has completely abandoned hope long ago.
After regaining his memories, he becomes one of the few aware of her true identity and considers her as an enemy that needs to be eliminated, and seriously wounds her during the Tsukiyama Family Extermination Operation. In the following months, he is pursuing and investigating her to bring her down. They share a cordial relationship, even after he arrested her, and gave him information about V, even suggesting that he record Furuta's conversation with her and later requesting that Sasaki should kill the One-Eyed King.
After meeting with Eto in Cochlea, She told Sasaki that both she and Arima had been raising him in hopes they could create a ghoul strong enough to kill Kishou Arima.
They share a casual and relaxed partnership after a six month time skip, as seen when he entrusted Furuta to search for Takatsuki's house, praising his skill in organizing documents, and later requested him to play the "good cop" role. Sasaki often chimes in Furuta's joke about his boss and seems to not mind. It is unknown what he thinks of Furuta having discovered his involvement with the accident that caused him to become a ghoul or his affiliation with V or the Clowns.
After speaking to Furuta when the two both take their mantles as "Kings," Kaneki seems to have deduced more about Furuta, even concluding it was most likely beneficial for Furuta to hold power. He does however, not want him to continue having it once things have settled.
As Investigators they were not seen interacting much except for a recollection where Sasaki questioned Hirako about who Arima truly was as a person. Hirako declined to answer.
After Kaneki falsified his killing of Arima, Hirako confronted him and revealed he knew that the young Ghoul had recovered his memories but he informs him that in accordance with Arima's last wishes he and Squad Zero will aid him in escaping the Cochlea and inciting a revolution. Kaneki seems to respect Hirako as he calls him a friend during the meeting before Goat's founding.
Powers and Abilities
Ghoul Physiology: After inheriting Rize Kamishiro's kakuhou, Kaneki has displayed an unique healing factor, as well as the rinkaku kagune and increased physical power. Due to the hybrid vigor, Kaneki's abilities are said to be more potent than that of a natural born ghoul.
- Rinkaku Kagune: Kaneki initially displayed his kagune in his fight against Koutarou Amon, possessing three tentacles and having little control over them. After his torture, Kaneki was able to produce four tentacles in his battle with Yakumo Oomori, which are capable of pinning down and overwhelming an incomplete kakuja. During the raid on Kanou's lab, Kaneki's kagune further developed into six tentacles, albeit in an unstable mental state, and while he fought Kishou Arima, Kaneki was able to manifest eight tentacles which are able to be shaped into small hands, which have an enormous range and destructive force enough to damage V14's pillars. As Haise Sasaki, he is able to control and manipulate the shape of his kagune at will, and command the tentacles to process different tasks at once. He is also noted to have a better control over his kagune than natural born ghouls. In his fight with Karren von Rosewald and Eto Yoshimura, Sasaki was able to shape his kagune into more intricate forms, and his kagune is greatly larger, with the potency of neutralizing Owl's kakuja. After devouring Eto's kakuja, his kagune is able to form multiple eyes and mouths.
- Rinkaku Kakuja: After constant cannibalization, Kaneki has developed into an incomplete kakuja. In this form, Kaneki was able to easily overwhelm Yukinori Shinohara, who wielded Arata armor, and to fight on par with Koutarou Amon while the latter was armed with Arata proto, as well as injure him by ripping his arm off. While using his kakuja, Kaneki goes into a mindless state, losing all aspects of his personality. In his last confrontation with Arima Kishou, Sasaki's kakuja was capable of completely destroying IXA, while maintaining his personality and sanity. Kaneki's first kakuja takes the form of two large tentacles resembling centipedes and a beak-like structure on his head. His second kakuja forms a carapace covering on his whole face, and a kagune-like claw where his hand is. His third kakuja encases his upper half and forms a koukaku-like blade.
- Superhuman Strength: As Banjou paid a visit to Anteiku, Kaneki accidentally knocked him unconscious with an elbow kick. Kaneki was able to rip a lamp post from asphalt and strike one of the Bin Brothers with it. When fighting Ayato Kirishima, Kaneki forcibly smashed Ayato through multiple floors of the 11th ward building. During his sparring sessions with Banjou, Kaneki threw the ghoul around without much effort.
- Superhuman Agility: While he engaged Yukinori Shinohara in a fight, Kaneki was traveling at immense speed, quick enough for Shinohara not being able to track his location. He was also capable of evading Narukami's condensed projectiles, while assaulting Arima. In his fight with Karren, Sasaki was able to maneuver and dodge her rapid kagune attacks, swiftly approaching her from behind towards the end of the motion. Sasaki has also shown the ability to parry Arima's numerous Owl attacks while facing him in Cochlea. On his way to meet with Takizawa, Ayato and Kurona for their raid on a lab, Kaneki was pursued by V agents, Dodging their attacks with extreme ease and swiftness while making his escape at the same time.
- Superhuman Endurance: As Hide was repelled by Nishiki, Kaneki was able to endure multiple blows from the ghoul even in his weakened starving state. When he was fighting Shachi, Kaneki maintained consciousness after being smashed through the floor and walls of Kanou's building. After being pierced through the abdomen by Amon, Kaneki was still able to survive and recover from his injuries. During his encounter with Arima at V14, Kaneki continued fighting despite his critical head injures, which would be fatal even to a ghoul. As Sasaki, he survived being pierced by Serpent's kagune, and eventually overpowered the ghoul despite being grievously wounded. Sasaki overpowered Karren von Rosewald and Eto with a severed hand, gradually using his kagune as replacement. He seemed unfazed when Kishou Arima stabbed him multiple times through the abdomen, as he also took countless severe cuts to his body with Owl and was still able keep fighting.
- Superhuman Regeneration: During his torture at the hands of Yakumo Oomori, he continously regenerated his fingers and toes for ten days. He easily recuperated from the injuries inflicted by Shachi, and recovered from a hole he received upon fighting Amon. He survives his fight with Arima, and heals his injuries, albeit with the cost of losing his memory. In :re, he recovers from being consecutively pierced by Nishiki's kagune, as well as surviving an attack from Takizawa. In his final battle with Arima, he had rapidly regenerated his many fatal wounds whilst fighting the investigator.
- Kagune Manipulation: After his confrontation with Eto, Sasaki is able to manifest his kagune as the form of his hand, controlling it willingly. During his fight with Arima, Kaneki was using his kagune as replacements for his arms and legs in order to recover more quickly to counter the investigator. He also can create complex structures involving traps and nets, and command his kagune to speak as well.
- Immense Pain Tolerance: Kaneki possesses great tolerance to pain, evident during his fight with Naki when he twists and breaks his own leg in order to land a kick.
- Yukimura 1/3: A B-rate koukaku quinque passed down from Arima to Sasaki, having a considerably long blade which can easily slice through objects.
Keen Intellect: When facing adversaries, Kaneki often used his intellect and careful planning to quickly and efficiently take out his foe. Kaneki comprehends Takatsuki's in-depth work, as well as understand martial arts moves and styles just by reading it in a book.
- Kaneki (金木) means "golden tree" and Ken (研) means "to grind/polish" or "study."
- Sasaki (佐々木) means "wren" and Haise (琲世) means "halsband world." The name was created using the kanji from "coffee" and "world."
- Kaneki has a habit of touching his chin with his left hand when he is hiding something. This habit appears to be subconscious, as he still does it even after his memory loss.
- In the first character popularity poll, Kaneki was ranked first. In the latest, he was second while Haise Sasaki came third.
- Kaneki shares the same birthday with Kishou Arima.
- Kaneki likes reading, beautiful language, intellectual women, and hamburgers.
- Beginning with the Aogiri arc, Kaneki has been repeatedly associated with the number "12" in panels. This is a reference to the tarot card The Hanged Man (XII).
- His quinque, Yukimura 1/3, has been used by both Kishou Arima, as a teenager, and Take Hirako, when he was partnered with Arima.
- Kaneki compares himself to Gregor Samsa, the unfortunate protagonist of Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis. In the sequel, he briefly discusses Kafka's A Crossbreed with Arima -- another story with strong parallels to his situation.
- The sudden color changes in Kaneki's hair are caused by the suppression of his Rc cell activity which has caused temporary melanin production that causes his hair color to change. 
- His surname is a reference to novelist Osamu Dazai, who was born in Kanagi (金木) and most famous for his novel No Longer Human. When they meet at the book signing, Eto briefly discusses this with him.
- The relationship between Sasaki and his mental projection of "Kaneki" is akin to his relationship with his projection of "Rize" in the past as Kaneki. "Rize" would often tempt Kaneki to give in to his ghoul self, while "Kaneki" tried to have Sasaki accept him. Both projections represent the ghoul side of himself.
- Both Kaneki and Yamori went through similar torture methods and were both completely changed from their previous selves. Yamori turned into psychotic killer who killed more for fun than to eat, while Kaneki became cold and ruthless, but retained his desire to protect his friends.
- In Tokyo Ghoul Trump, Kaneki and Sasaki are each featured as the "Ace of Hearts" and Kaneki is also featured on the "Queen of Hearts" card alongside Rize. In a redistributed version, he is also featured as a "White Joker."
- In Root A, according to Sui Ishida's rough drafts, Tatara insisted that Kaneki eat Taguchi to prove his loyalty to Aogiri Tree. However, Noro ate her before Kaneki and Tatara had finished arguing. This scene was cut out from the finalized work.
- Because of Tooru Mutsuki, Ishida has stated that he often forgets over which eye he needs to put the eyepatch on Kaneki.
- To himself: "I'm not the protagonist of a novel or anything. I’m just a college student who likes to read, like you could find anywhere. But... if, for argument’s sake, you were to write a story with me in the lead role, it would certainly be... a tragedy."
- To Touka (desperately clinging to his human self): "Why... Why am I doing this? I-I was wrong to eat that meat after all. That was what I thought, and I desperately looked for another way. Even so, this is not what I want. This is not the way! H-Human meat... there is no way I can eat it. How can I possibly eat it, because, I'm human! I'm different from you monsters!"
- To himself: "In exchange for the pleasure of living as a person that ghouls can have... we receive this instead. We're overwhelmed by our appetites. I understand the feeling of sinking into pleasure. In some ways, it's only natural that... some ghouls like Rize-san exist. However... I'm not going to lose sight of myself. That's my way of fighting."
- To Nishiki (about human and ghoul relations): "I know... there are ghouls who only see humans as targets to be preyed upon - and on the other hand, there are humans who have decided that ghouls are only inhuman monsters... But I don't think either of those are correct. I think what's necessary is the 'right distance.' Instead of mutually tramping on each others' existence we should just respect each other a little more."
- To Rize (in his hallucination): "I won't let that happen. Not just Aogiri, anyone who dares to take away my place to be. I won’t forgive anyone who threatens the peace in my life. It’s just like hand-picking coffee beans. For the sake of a good cup of coffee, we pluck out the ones that are trash."
- To himself (while cannibalizing Kanou's failed experiments): "In this world, the strong devour the weak. Who are the strong? I am. I fucking am!"
- To himself: "Mother, mother, heey~ I'm distorted. Me? Me? Mememe. Because I'm going to protect everyone..."
- To himself in a lucid state in Root A: "M-my fingers... on the plier... C-centipedes... i-in my ears... [laughs] A thousand minus... A-A thousand minus... s-seven... seven is what...?"
Tokyo Ghoul: Days
- To Hide: "Cain used to be seen as evil, you know. Well, I mean, he can be understood as being 'evil' now, too. But if you just think about Cain, you can kind of see that he had to do what he did to be able to carry on, I think. It would've been unbearable for him, you know?"
- To himself (internally): "I want to be a bridge, telling ghouls how people feel and letting people know what ghouls think and feel. Because there's nothing but hatred between the two groups now, but if each had an understanding of the other, I think that could change. Even if my presence is unwanted, I still want to be involved with both humans and ghouls."
- To Touka: "Fiction books give the reader a chance to step away from their own reality and into the shoes of the characters, and they show you a world that isn't the one you already know. And sometimes the story's not so different from you own, and it lets you get closer to your own feelings. So when you close a book you've just finished reading and return to reality, all the pain and sadness you couldn't put into words before are still there on those pages. And that can be comforting."
- To himself (internally): "Sometimes you're confronted with the ugly parts of yourself that you don't want to see, but books can also tell you a lot about the things you didn't notice when you're just trying to get through somehow."
- To Haise (in a dream): "That excellence right now is a nuisance. That's right. Donato has to keep proving himself. He wants to prove just how valuable he is. Isn't that the case with you as well? Because you are the same as Donato. All you're doing is indulging in this twisted self-value that you have to yourself. And if you don't, you won't last. Eventually, you will break and become useless. Once that happens, you'll break and become discarded. Right, Haise?"
- To himself: "I... might die today. No... to be correct... it's either I die, or I disappear. There's only two options. The power I need to deal with him... is way too much... if I have to resort to him... I will... disappear."
- To Akira: "Why, why are you hiding it?! Is... Is it because I'm the Eyepatch ghoul? Is it because I was the one who killed Amon Koutarou? The fear of waking up and knowing nothing. Do you know what that's like? How I can only cling onto what's given to me... How I don't even know my own parents... Where did I even come from...? I... I... Who am I? I'm not Haise!! I am... I am..."
- To Urie: "All losses in this world are due to a lack of ability. If you want to curse something, curse your own weakness."
- To Hide in his thoughts: "...Hide. I... just like you, I want to give my life for someone else (I want to die in style)."
- To Hide (in his mind): "Hide... You know... I... I'm so lonely without you..."
- To himself (accepting himself): "Black and blue, turning and over-turning the things I'd chosen countless times, forever repeating the same actions... Ungainly. Awkward. Indecisive. Weak. Endlessly useless. That is what I am."
- To himself: "At Death's door, I finally stumbled upon the twisted truth. Rize, Hide, it was always all inside me, after all. They were nothing but an extension of myself. The people I want to meet. The things I want to be told. 'Hide'll stop me for sure.' As soon as I began to think that somewhere inside me, I myself began wishing for it. Wishing that I'd live."
- To Kiyoko and Mougan: "I am the One-Eyed King."
- To the ghouls: "I will carry on the last wish of the previous King, and create a world where ghouls and humans can understand each other."
- To the ghouls: "'Ghouls are to be exterminated.' 'In order to live, we must kill and eat humans.' The reason our mutually destructive relationship has never changed is because we have never, together, made an attempt to [make] even the smallest step forward. Ghouls and humans can understand each other... The fact that I, who was once a human, stand here before you is proof enough."