Bentley-san, though the bamboo forest is dense, water flows through it without effort.
― Rioichi Cooper[src]
Rioichi Cooper was a member of the Cooper Clan who lived in Feudal Japan during the 16th and 17th century. He was the developer of the Ninja Spire Jump and the Leaping Dragon technique, both of which were utilized highly during his thieving career. Likewise, Rioichi was a master chef who invented sushi and owned a renowned sushi restaurant in Japan. He was the first ancestor encountered by the Cooper Gang in Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time.
He was voiced by Steve Blum.
Becoming a Sushi ChefEdit
When he was a young man, Rioichi went on a fishing trip one day and caught a giant, ferocious great white shark. He was about to kill the shark as it pleaded for its life. But then Rioichi noticed a mysterious birth-mark that resembled the symbol of the Cooper Clan on the shark's chest. Believing it to be a sign, Rioichi spared the shark's life, and in return, the shark swore his loyalty to Rioichi, serving as his mount at war. They were victorious together and were graciously rewarded by the Emperor. But as years passed, the shark grew too old to fight anymore. Sensing that his end is nigh, and knowing of Rioichi's dreams to begin his own sushi house, the shark asked Rioichi to honorably end his life and use his body to start his sushi restaurant. At the shark's funeral it was a bittersweet end; Rioichi wept for his closest friend, but he also produced the finest, sweetest, most succulent great white shark sashimi. It was a big hit which led to Rioichi building his famous sushi house. This shop also provided the perfect cover for his thieving exploits.
Writing in the Thievius RaccoonusEditWhile sneaking into the thickly fortified castles of Feudal Japan, Rioichi developed the Ninja Spire Jump. He also developed a technique that allowed him to jump large distances between spires, which he named the Leaping Dragon.
Some time during his life, Rioichi visited the Cooper Vault on Kaine Island and added his knowledge to that of his ancestors. In addition to leaving his weapons and armor in his section of the Vault, he also built an obstacle course which required one to use the Ninja Spire Jump to navigate through several swords that thrust out of the walls.
Imprisonment and aftermathEdit
When the Shogun's sushi was poisoned, Rioichi was framed for the crime and was imprisoned in a modern-security jail. He later found out that it was a high-ranking military commander named El Jefe who had framed and jailed him. Rioichi was soon freed by Sly Cooper and learned that Sly was his descendant. He immediately believed it since it didn't seem too surprising, telling Sly it was because of his current ordeal. Afterwards, Sly introduced him to the Cooper Gang, who helped him reclaim his restaurant. Rioichi joins the gang to help them take down El Jefe, helping them steal a Madame Geisha outfit for Murray and making tainted sushi rolls to make El Jefe's guards go to sleep. During the team's assault on El Jefe's fortress, El Jefe attacked Rioichi and stole his cane, so he could give it to his boss, Le Paradox.
Later, Rioichi was brought to present-day Paris by Bentley and Murray to help the ancestors retrieve their canes from Le Paradox's blimp. Rioichi retrieved his cane first, and then retrieved Bob Cooper's, calling it an honor to help his ancestor. Once he completed the task, Rioichi returned to his time period, bidding everyone farewell.
After the Le Paradox incident, Rioichi continued to refine his master ninja techniques, as well as his sushi. While his thefts were never detected, his sushi restaurant's reputation was restored and became recognized as the finest in Japan.
As a ninja with great wisdom and discipline, Rioichi was calm and very respectful towards others such as Sly and the gang, using honorifics when addressing them and speaking in a riddle-like fashion with Japanese proverbs.
He was very open minded, especially after the events involving El Jefe's takeover. When Rioichi first met Sly and was told that Sly was his descendant from the future, he immediately believed him. He extended this side to his other relatives as well, as when asked to retrieve Bob's cane, he expressed that he was honored to help his "most-hairy ancestor" and showed him respect. He was also very calm even in the strangest situations and stated that he was a ninja, and so never alarmed. Just like Sly, Rioichi was quite cocky, which led Bentley to believe he was the one Sly got it from. 
Rioichi's original technique was the Ninja Spire Jump which allowed him to land on narrow spires as light as a feather; giving him the ability to infiltrate the heavily fortified castles and temples of Feudal Japan with ease. Some time later, he created an extension to this technique called the Leaping Dragon. By channeling his focus toward a target while on a spire, Rioichi was able to jump great distances.
Rioichi was also skilled with his twin bamboo canes and used them for different methods of attack. One such attack consisted of Rioichi using his canes to shoot a barrage of blue shuriken in front of him. Another similar attack consisted of him charging his canes, which he then slams them down to release a shockwave.
After many years of training, Rioichi had gained an unrivaled knowledge and mastery of Ninjutsu, the traditional Japanese technique of espionage, characterized by stealthy movement and camouflage. This allowed him to sprint without alerting anyone nearby.
In addition to his thieving skills, Rioichi was also a master chef, himself being the creator of sushi. His restaurant was often considered the finest in Japan.
- Rioichi's coloration in Thieves in Time is reminiscent to that of Japanese raccoon dogs.
- Rioichi's signature color is brown.
- Rioichi was named after the localization producer of Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus, Ryoichi Hasegawa.
- An early design of Rioichi's cane in Thieves in Time had two bandages, one on the pole and one on the hook. In the finalized version, it had only the pole bandage.
- Rioichi has shown signs of being extremely in touch with his spiritual side. This is shown when the player is idle from the controller. Rioichi will begin meditating and then float above the ground.
- While unselected at the Japanese hideout, Rioichi can be seen trying to catch a fly with chopsticks. This is a reference to The Karate Kid, where the protagonist's Japanese teacher, Mr. Miyagi, tries to catch a fly for good luck, though constantly fails.
- According to a wanted post near the Japan Hideout, Rioichi has been wanted for 1,000,000,000 (one billion) yen.
- He is the only Cooper ancestor in Thieves in Time that does not encounter Inspector Carmelita Fox in the main storyline.
- Much like Sir Galleth Cooper, Rioichi owns a sword but does not use it in combat. Unlike Sir Galleth, Rioichi does not use his sword for any of his techniques; the only time he is seen using his sword is for collecting Spiky Wall Climbers during the job "Spiked Sushi".
- While Rioichi invented sushi within the Sly Cooper series, the actual inventor of modern nigiri-style sushi was Hanaya Yohei.
- Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus
- "Tide of Terror" (cutscene)
- Fully restored Thievius Raccoonus cutscene
- Sly 2: Band of Thieves
- Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves
- Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time