Light Yagami
Light Yagami
Kanji 夜神月
Rōmaji Yagami Raito
Race Human
Gender Male
Birthday 02/28/1986
Height 179 cm
Weight 54 kg
Eye Color Brown
Hair Color Brown
Occupations Detective
Affiliations Japanese Taskforce
Relatives Soichiro Yagami (Father)
Light Novel L: Change the WorLd (mentioned)
Manga Death Note Volume #1: Chapter #1
Anime Death Note #1
Film Death Note
Game Death Note: Kira Game
Japanese Mamoru Miyano
English Brad Swaile
Live Action Tatsuya Fujiwara

Light Yagami is an attractive and highly intelligent young man who hides a vicious distaste for the world around him. His life is forever changed the day he finds the Death Note outside of his high school.


The son of a police chief, Light Yagami grows up utterly disenchanted with the world and the horrific crimes its inhabitants commit. One day he comes across a notebook with Death Note written on the cover which to have the ability to kill anyone whose name is written in the book. At first he is horrified when he confirms the book's powers, but then decides to use the book for what he considers to be the greater good: he attempts to use it to kill off all of the world's criminals.


Light was created by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata for the manga series Death Note. Ohba said that Light's last name was actually suggested by his editor, but he was glad that it gained a deeper significance after the Yellow Box Warehouse scene. According to Obata, he had not trouble coming up with a design for Light. He was created as a "brilliant honors student whose a little out there". Apparently, it was also difficult for him to think of what a "fashionable" guy like Light would wear, so he had to consult fashion magazines for help.

In the anime, he was voiced by Mamoru Miyano in the Japanese language track, and Brad Swaile in the English dub. In the live-action movies, he was portrayed by Tatsuya Fujiware.

Character Evolution

In the beginning of Death Note, Light truly seemed like an idealist who was simply going too far with his methods, working under the mantra "the ends justify the means". However, as the series continued he became more ruthless and calculating, eventually forgetting his own inherent values.

Obata also said that, as he continued to draw the series, he began to "remove unnecessary lines" from Light's design, thus simplifying it, and he also felt that he became more adept at drawing Light.


Light's personality is at best cocky and arrogant. He believes himself to be the best and these beliefs are only reinforced throughout the series. At the start of the series Light is a humble, reasonable and intelligent young man. Confident in his abilities with a strong sense of justice. Upon coming into contact with the Death Note, Light's strong sense of justice is unearthed as he develops a God complex and starts his escapade to rid the world of evil. But the introduction of L begins to reveal Light's competitive side. His hunger to defeat L consumed him and this is where he began to lose the better parts of his personality. His confrontation with L showed his brilliance and cunning as well as the arrogance he held. The constant strain pushed his psyche to great limits and contorted his mind thus changing his persona entirely. Light then became two people. There was the brilliant super sleuth with a heart of gold and there was the brilliant mastermind who manipulated many seeking to move closer towards his goal. Both men used their intelligence to advance towards their respective goals, yet only one succeeded.

Major Story Arcs

Finding the Death Note

Light was simply an ordinary student, albeit one with strong opinions about the world. However, when he found the Death Note on the ground, he began to use it as a tool to rid the world of criminals. His first target was Takuo Shibuimaru, used as a test subject. After that, he wrote hundreds of names before Ryuk the Shinigami appeared. He continued to write names, but had to step up his game when he learned that the great detective L was tracking him.

Then, he discovered that the FBI agent Raye Penber was following him, along with a team of other agents, and cunningly found a way to dispose of them. However, Raye's fiancée, Naomi Misora suspected something was amiss, and went to tell the Task Force. Still, Light was able to trick her into revealing her name, and forced her to commit suicide without anyone being able to find her body.

The Second Kira

After Naomi Misora's disappearance, L became suspicious of Light and infiltrated his college, prompting Light to become more defensive and paranoid. However, during this period a set of four tapes was sent to a director named Demegawa from Sakura TV, a channel that was thriving on the sensationalism caused by Kira. The tapes were sent by a second Kira, as evidenced by their sloppiness.

The police attempted to halt the showing of the tapes, since they marked out the killing of various people, but were killed once they arrived at the Sakura TV building, revealing that the Second Kira had Shinigami Eyes.

Other Media

Live-action Movies

Light was included as a protagonist in two Death Note movies. His background was also changed: instead of a high school student, he was a first year law student. His ultimate fate and the way he finds the Death Note was also changed.

  • Death Note (2006)
  • Death Note: The Last Name (2006)

Video games

Light has appeared in several video games based on the series, as well as the Shonen Jump crossover games.

  • Jump Super Stars (2006)
  • Jump Ultimate Stars (2006)
  • Death Note Kira Game (2007)
  • Death Note L o Tsugumono (2007)