Karate Joe
カラテ家 Karateka
Karate Joe 3DS
Artwork from Rhythm Heaven Megamix
Gender Male
Appearances Rhythm Tengoku,
Rhythm Heaven,
Rhythm Heaven Fever,
Rhythm Heaven Megamix

Karate Joe (カラテ家 Karateka?) is the first character to appear in the Rhythm Heaven franchise in a Rhythm Game, and one of the only characters to appear in every game since Rhythm Tengoku. He is successing his father in karate.


Karate Joe is characterized by his pale white skin, big nose, and balding head. He wears a black belt karate suit that matches the color of his skin. He wears no shoes. He is described as very expressive and fearless. He is often shown eating a lot of food between training sessions (usually in the OK epilogue). Occasionally, his father would cook dinner, and Karate Joe would lie that he likes it. One of The Dazzles (the one with glasses) appears to find him attractive, as seen in the epilogue of Karate Man 2.


As a child, Karate Joe dreamed of being a soccer player, but his father wouldn't allow it, instead forcing him to master karate before leaving the house. Karate Joe still lives in the basement. At some point in his training, he started practicing a kicking move involving a bomb within a barrel (supposedly the bombs are used to help face his fears). Later, when he was nearing the height of his mastery, he began training a combo move involving punching a mess of pots and uppercutting a barrel.

Rhythm Tengoku

Karate Joe first appeared in Rhythm Tengoku in the first rhythm game, Karate Man. Here he must punch the incoming objects in rhythm. This game involves the Flow Meter, also known as the Flow Gauge, which determines if he can punch hard objects such as rocks and bombs, which depends on how well the player is doing in the game. in Remix 8, this meter disappears, and Karate Joe is enveloped in shadow. He can now punch rocks without needing to fill the meter. At the end, he returns to normal, making a "weird" face.

Rhythm Tengoku (Arcade)

Karate Joe reappears in the arcade version of the game, with the same appearences, in addition to Karate Man Tempo Up!, which is a modified version of the original minigame. Here, he is wearing boxing gloves and black boxing shorts, and is training for a boxing match.

Rhythm Heaven

Karate Joe appears in many games in Rhythm Heaven, first appearing in Karate Man, notably being the last Rhythm Game before the credits. The Flow Meter is now gone, and Karate Joe's training includes punching barrels and kicking the bomb within. In Remix 6, he can be seen with hair and kicking soccer balls in place of bombs. He later makes a cameo in Blue Birds 2, where he is seen in one of the memories, training while the birds spy on him from a bush.

Rhythm Heaven Fever

In Rhythm Heaven Fever, he first appears, as with the other games, in Karate Man, again being the last Rhythm Game before the credits. This time, the kicks are gone, and Karate Joe instead has to do a Combo move. In Remix 9 he is acompanied by a cat.

Rhythm Heaven Megamix

In Rhythm Heaven Megamix, Karate Joe appears in Karate Man, Karate Man Returns!, Karate Man Kicks! and Karate Man Combos!, all of which have the same story as their original appearances (with the exception of the Flow Meter not being included). In Karate Man Senior, he makes a cameo in the epilogue.




Artwork & Other


  • Karate Joe has appeared as a playable character in every game in the series.
  • Karate Joe makes a cameo in the Rhythm Heaven game Blue Birds 2. He can be seen in one of the memories of the birds, in the middle of training as the birds spy on him from a bush.
  • In the last section with Karate Joe in Remix 7 of Rhythm Heaven Fever, he is seen sitting on his side on the floor watching a small television that displays an image of Karate Man from Rhythm Tengoku.
  • Some details in the Rhythm Item for Karate Man Returns! are ommited in some regions, namely the detail about Karate Joe still living in his basement is ommited in the original Japanese and Korean versions, while the French version adds the detail that he is 55 years old and still living in the basement.
  • The location of Karate Joe's training in not clear. Usually it is depicted as a featureless monochrome void during gameplay, while certain epilogues show specific locations, such as:
  • Karate Joe makes a minor appearance as a trophy in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and a spirit in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. His spirit battle takes place on the Suzaku Castle stage in Omega form while he is represented by a white Ryu, favoring powered-up smash attacks.
  • He also made a cameo during a Young Cricket and Master Mantis preview for WarioWare Gold.

In Other Languages

Language Name Meaning
JP Japanese カラテ家 Karateka
US English (US) Karate Joe
UK English (UK) Karate Joe
FR French Le karatéka Karateka
ES Spanish Kárate Killo Karate Killo
D German Karate Kurt Karate Kurt
IT Italian Karate Ka Karateka
KR Korean 격투가 The Fighter

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS also provides a Russian name: Каратист (Karatist). He is also called Karate Joe in Dutch and Portuguese.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.