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Katsuya Jōnouchi (城之内 克也 Jōnouchi Katsuya?) is a fictional character and the deuteragonist in the manga and anime series Yu-Gi-Oh! He is known as Joseph "Joey" Wheeler in the English-language anime and video games.

The pronunciations from the first characters of "Yūgi" and "Jōnouchi" form the word "Yūjō" (友情), which means "friend" or "fellowship". The Yu-Gi-Oh! game card, called "Yu-Jo Friendship" (the Japanese card is "友情 Yu-Jō") is named after the word and the relationship between the characters, especially Jōnouchi and Yūgi.[2]

Concept & Creation

Jonouchi's character design was overseen by Kazuki Takahashi. In the first seven volumes of the original manga, Jōnouchi's hairstyle changes drastically. Originally featuring two large fringes in front of his ears, the hairstyle changes to a sporadically arranged natural hairstyle. Jōnouchi's first color appearance depicts him with medium brown hair and black eyes. Subsequent appearances lighten the hair color to dirty blond and blond. His eyes are portrayed as hazel.

In the first series anime, Jōnouchi's hairstyle does not change, and the sporadic hairstyle colored in a bright blond style is used. His eyes are brown. In the second series anime he has dirty blond hair in the sporadic hairstyle and dark brown eyes. His usual outfit from the second series anime consists of a long green open jacket with a raised collar, a white T-shirt underneath and blue jeans. He often carries a KaibaCorp Duel Disk on his left hand.

Naming & Romanization

In the Japanese version of the anime, Jōnouchi's surname is romanized as "Jyonouchi" [1] (As seen on the card Yu-Jyo), while in the English manga, it is almost always romanized as "Jonouchi." It was seen once as "Jônouchi." The uncut anime DVDs also romanize his name as "Jonouchi" (in the Uncut DVDs, he refers to himself as "Katsuya Joey." This is most likely a mistake). Katsuya Jono-Uchi is seen in the French, Dutch, and Italian versions of the manga, while Jonouchi is used in the English, German, Swedish, Spanish, and Norwegian versions. The Indonesian version uses Jounouchi.

Jonouchi's kanji is incorrectly stated on one of Toei's webpages (as 城ノ内克也 [2] when it is 城之内 克也).

When Jonouchi's first name was supposed to be revealed in Weekly Shonen Jump in 1998, the author of Yu-Gi-Oh!, Kazuki Takahashi, mistakenly wrote "Tomoya" instead of "Katsuya". The error was fixed in the graphic novels. The author admitted the error on the front page in Yu-Gi-Oh! Volume 7.[3]

Character biography

16-year old Jōnouchi, who is in class 1-B at Domino High School, is a hothead and his mouth gets him in trouble often. Jonouchi starts out as a street thug and hangs in Hirutani's gang for long periods of time when he is in middle school. He also used to be a bully for young Yugi. He becomes best friends with Yūgi Mutō, who melts his tough-guy exterior to reveal his true nature. Jonouchi's friendship with Yugi is a key element of the series as a whole and Yugi has credited his friendship with Jōnouchi as one of the main factors that allowed Yugi to become stronger throughout the series. His other two good friends are Hiroto Honda (Tristan Taylor) and Anzu Mazaki (Téa Gardner). In the first series anime, Miho Nosaka is also one of Jōnouchi's friends.


Jonouchi from the first series anime

In the manga, Jōnouchi is poor, due to his father's gambling addictions and alcoholism. Jōnouchi goes to great lengths to repay his father's debts, such as working at multiple jobs (he was the "lone paperboy" in middle school, meaning that he was one of the few that were permitted to work while going to school) and going on the "Get the Million" game show. Many of his Duel Monsters cards contain a gambling theme, and on occasion, his strong luck helps him win in the end.

Jōnouchi's skill at Duel Monsters is somewhat near as good as that of Yugi's, but he still duels as part of a tag team on occasions and he strives to improve his skill. This is a frequent subplot throughout the series, although it was muted somewhat in the English anime, and also he uses many warrior type monsters.


Jonouchi (Joey) in the second series anime

Jonouchi has a sister named Shizuka Kawai (Serenity Wheeler in the English anime; Shizuka Jōnouchi in the first series Yu-Gi-Oh! anime). In the Japanese versions of Yu-Gi-Oh!, Shizuka's surname is her mother's maiden name while Jōnouchi's is his father's surname. Their parents divorced when Jonouchi was 10. Shizuka was brought away by her mother while Jōnouchi lived with his father. In the manga and the Duel Monsters anime, Shizuka started to go blind, so Jōnouchi entered the Duelist Kingdom tournament to finance her eye surgery. Jōnouchi would come second to Yugi in the event, although Yugi gives him the money to finance the surgery. In the first series anime, Shizuka is chronically ill and in the hospital. Therefore Jōnouchi ensures that she gets the best care in the hospital.


In the original Japanese versions of Yu-Gi-Oh!, Jōnouchi does not use honorifics, which means he has a "rude" speech pattern. When talking to people he doesn't like, Jonouchi uses the word "teme" (a rude form of "you" in Japanese, often translated as "you bastard") instead of his normal "omae" (a form of "you" that in context is used between friends, but can imply that the person being spoken to has a lower status than the speaker does if used incorrectly), especially to Seto Kaiba, who does not think highly of Jōnouchi (Seto calls Joey a "dueling monkey"). The speech pattern translates into the English anime's Joey Wheeler having a Brooklyn accent.

Yu-Gi-Oh! GX

Jōnouchi never appears in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, although he has been mentioned: in the first season he is seen in flashbacks to Battle City, and early in the third season Maximillion Pegasus says to Aster Phoenix that Jōnouchi is the third best duelist in the world, the first being Yugi Mutou and the second being Seto Kaiba.

In episode 179, he is seen in a poster with Yugi, Anzu, and Honda.

Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's

In the English-language 4Kids dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's , a character named Jesse Wheeler, is said to be Joey Wheeler's cousin. In the original Japanese version, however, the character was unnamed.[4]


Throughout the majority of the series, Jonouchi's deck is mainly composed of Warrior-type monsters. At first it is composed solely of monsters, but after he trains with Sugoroku Mutou, he adds more cards to it. His signature monsters are associated with fire, such as Red-Eyes Black Dragon, and Flame Swordsman. During Battle City his Time Wizard becomes central to his deck that evolves to become slightly more luck based with cards like Skull Dice (a Trap Card that takes away an opponent's monster's ATK points) and Graceful Dice (A Spell Card that increases one of Joey's monster's ATK points). Such cards help in balancing his lack of access to stronger cards, quite possibly owing to not having much spending money due to his debt-paying commitments as well as being a relative newcomer to Duel Monsters. After Battle City, Jonouchi maintains his Warrior strategy, powering them up with a variety of Spell and Trap cards, which can be quite useful when Kaiba uses his Crush Card against him. He wins the Jinzo card, which nullifys all Trap cards on the field, from Esper Roba, and it becomes another of his signature cards, as does Scapegoat (a Spell card that protects Joey's Life Points from direct attack) and Kunai with Chain. Other notable cards in his deck include Gearfried the Iron Knight, Alligator's Sword, Panther Warrior and Swordsman of Landstar.


  1. "Dwayne Tan." Beauty World The Musical. Accessed July 17, 2008.
  2. Cullen, Lisa Takeuchi. "Kazuki Takahashi, Yu-Gi-Oh! creator." Time for Kids. November 8, 2002. Retrieved on September 23, 2009.
  3. Takahashi, Kazuki. Yu-Gi-Oh! Volume 7. Viz Media. 1.
  4. "Bloom of the Black Rose." Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's. 4Kids Entertainment.

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