When I began doing research on Hakan, I wasn’t expecting to find anything with him being a character who only appeared in one game (not counting G’s ending in Street Fighter V). He was revealed by Capcom to be a devoted family man and genuinely good guy who was something of a joke. His story wasn’t serious at all, and he was shown to be on good terms with everyone who wasn’t trying to hurt people.
Then I found the clues that told me otherwise, and my heart sank.
This theory is going to be very difficult to read, and I considered if I should even write it at all. However, with what little we have to go on regarding Hakan, I have to present the evidence that’s there to support the conclusion that Hakan is not the good guy he presents himself to be.
We’ll start with looking at Hakan’s design. He is a man with turquoise hair and a turquoise mustache. According to Fandom, “[t]he appearance of Hakan’s hair is a pun, as he is Turkish (the Japanese word for Turkey is “Toruko”), his hair resembles stone (the Japanese word for stone is “Ishi”), and his hair color is turquoise (the Japanese word for turquoise is “Toruko Ishi” and, worldwide, the color turquoise is associated with Turkish people).” You can also see that he wears a belt with a lion’s head as a buckle.
Hakan’s hair will play a major role in this theory, but for now, let’s focus on the symbolism for the belt and what it tells about Hakan’s personality. The Turkish word for lion is “aslan”, and according to Wikipedia, the term was used as both a title for a number of Seljuq and Ottoman rulers as well as as a name. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_depictions_of_lions#Islamic_traditions
For those who are heavy readers of fantasy novels, you will also recognize “Aslan” as the name given to the most important character in C.S. Lewis’s”The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aslan
Aslan the lion is a deity in the novel (and its sequels) who, as admitted by the author, is a representation of Jesus Christ. As Lewis wrote, Aslan “is an invention giving an imaginary answer to the question, “What might Christ become like if there really were a world like Narnia and He chose to be incarnate and die and rise again in that world as He actually has done in ours?” He would later write in a letter, “Since Narnia is a world of Talking Beasts, I thought He [Christ] would become a Talking Beast there, as He became a man here. I pictured Him becoming a lion there because (a) the lion is supposed to be the king of beasts; (b) Christ is called “The Lion of Judah” in the Bible; (c) I’d been having strange dreams about lions when I began writing the work.”
You could argue that the lion on Hakan’s belt has nothing to do with Aslan in the book and that this is all mere coincidence, but there are two things you need to keep in mind. First, I’ve shown before that Capcom’s developers were inspired by fantasy novels, as was the case of Vega, who is known as Balrog in Japan. In my theory on him, I stated that he was inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien’s Balrogs from the Lord of the Rings series. https://manestreet.home.blog/2019/04/17/is-vega-a-vampire/
As such, it’s more than coincidental that they would take inspiration from other works and adapt them to the game. In fact, it was outright stated this is what they did. Luke Plunkett wrote an article for Kotaku in 2018 on the designers of Street Fighter II literally ripping scenes from the 1975 Charles Bronson movie “Hard Times” and putting them into the game as stages. https://kotaku.com/street-fighter-ii-sure-looks-inspired-by-this-1975-char-1823876973
This adaptation continues to this day. For example, Rose’s design was based off of Lisa Lisa from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure and the actress Monica Belluci, Rufus’s design was inspired by Bob from the Tekken series, etc. “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe,” being one of the most popular fantasy novels of all time, would be ripe for adaptation and design choices.
The second thing to keep in mind is the connotations that having the belt would have. In Middle Eastern cultures, the lion is a symbol of royalty, and since I’ve established the connections with Aslan as a form of Jesus, we can also say that by definition, Hakan sees himself as some sort of king. He technically is the “King of Oil” in Turkey, but there’s more to it than that: his name even means “king” in Turkish.
It’s from here that things are going to get more disturbing, so if you’re sensitive, now is the time to stop reading.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Hakan’s name is “king” in Turkish, and his wife’s name, Melike, means “queen” in Turkish. Melike is actually a common name for women in Turkey, and on its own, doesn’t mean much else. However, when you look up the etymology of the name, you begin to see a dark pattern approaching. Melike is a derivative of the name Moloch, and Moloch is the name of a Canaanite god of the Bible who was associated with something terrifying: child sacrifice.
Looking at Hakan’s fighting style and the evidence I have both in-game and from the real world, this seems to be Hakan’s modus operandi. So why would Hakan be sacrificing children in the first place? It’s because of the thing Hakan is most famous for: his oil.
Turning humans into oil isn’t as far-fetched as you’d hope to believe. The key chemical here is glycerol, and while it’s mostly naturally produced from soybeans and palm trees, it’s also found in the fat of humans. In the 16th and 17th centuries, human fat was prized for its supposed medicinal properties, used as treatment for everything from sprains to rheumatism. An excerpt of the book “Fat: A Cultural History of the Stuff of Life” was reprinted for The Atlantic in May of 2019, and you can find more details about why fat was prized here: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2019/05/human-fat-was-once-medicine-black-market/590164/
In more modern times, corpses weren’t used for medicine: they were turned into soap. In Germany during World War II, rumors were spread that the Nazis were using the corpses of Jewish people for soap manufacturing. It turned out this was true, but not in the quantities that the rumors had suggested. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soap_made_from_human_corpses
The idea that a human can be turned into a product for consumers is unsettling, but, as was the case in the 16th and 17th centuries, if there is demand then someone is going to create a supply. In Hakan’s case, it’s using the fat of children to meet demand, and more than likely it’s the fat of his own children he’s using. In other words, every time he “oils up”, he is using oil made from his own children.
And, unfortunately, I can prove this with one otherwise insignificant detail – his hair.
As stated previously, the appearance of Hakan’s hair is a Japanese pun for turquoise, and again the word for turquoise in Japanese is “Toruko Ishi.” Ishi means stone in Japanese, and in my research, I found an identical design to Hakan’s hair in the real world: the Omphalos of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.
Historians believe that the Omphalos was used to mark the place where Byzantine emperors were crowned during their coronation. This ties in to Hakan’s royalty theme. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omphalion
However, more so, it’s the origin of the word “omphalos” that really brings to light Hakan’s intentions. In Greek mythology, the god Cronus (a.k.a. Saturn) defeated his father, Uranus, and became ruler of the universe. However, both his mother Gaia and Uranus told him he was destined to be overthrown by his own children. Cronus’s wife, Rhea, gave birth to several children: Demeter, Hestia, Hera, Hades, Poseidon and Zeus, all but the last eaten alive by Cronus to prevent them from usurping him. To prevent Zeus from being eaten, Rhea hid the child away, and instead presented Cronus with a large stone wrapped in straddling clothes. Thinking it was Zeus, Cronus swallowed the stone whole. This stone was given the name “Omphalos” (meaning navel – it’s likely this was a reference to the stomach and the fact it was inside Cronus’s), and the ancient Greeks created their own omphalos stones with different designs in reference to this story.
Hakan isn’t the only one with an Omphalos design. His daughters also have it. https://game.capcom.com/cfn/sfv/column/132426
As the character guide says, “The number of blocks (…?) on their heads corresponds to their birth order.” So, the oldest one has one block, the second oldest has two, and so forth. There’s something else very curious the character guide says: “Apparently, their unique hairstyle is just super-curly hair. They’re a bit concerned about it…” The way this is worded is telling. First off, the word “apparently” is thrown in, casting a shadow over the idea that the daughters’ hair is “just super-curly” (for the record, when I use the word “apparently”, it’s intentionally placed to cast some doubt to a sentence; in other words, I don’t know 100%, but this is what the evidence is telling me). Second, the phrase, “They’re a bit concerned about it” tells me that there’s something about their hair that they feel the need to stress over.
Based on everything I’ve written, this leads me to believe that each daughter’s hairstyle was not only forced on them by their parents, but symbolizes the order they’re supposed to be sacrificed. Moreso, each daughter is named after a type of oil: Abla (apricot), Susam (sesame), Hurmas (date), Tereyaği (butter), Kanola (canola), Zeytin (olive), and Ayçiçeği (sunflower). In addition, Abla’s name in Japanese directly translates to “big sister” ( アブラ; the addition of the kanji メ changes it to “apricot”). Since her name is “big sister”, this tells us that Hakan and Melike were planning on having more kids after her. All of this tells me that each of the children are not just going to be sacrificed, but they’ll be used either as the primary ingredient of the oil they’re named after or used as an ingredient they’re named after as Hakan’s recipe calls for it (a little apricot oil, a little olive oil…).
Going back to their hair, the reason Hakan’s hair is the way it is becomes apparent: the blocks in his hair represent the children he sacrificed to make his oil. He wears it that way out of respect for the children, his children, he had already killed. Abla wasn’t the first child they had: she was the first of the next batch.
If that sounds off, remember that Hakan is explicitly stated to be a loving family man, and so it explains why he treats his children so well even if they’re going to be sacrificed – he does love his children, much like a humane farmer loves their animals and makes sure they’re happy and well-fed before they’re slaughtered. Also, the reverence of the children he killed and the way he treats the ones who are still alive tells me something else: he doesn’t really want to kill them.
There are two reasons he does. The first, his oil tastes better. There’s a reason he’s the Oil King of Turkey – people want HIS product, and there’s a huge demand for it. The second is closer to home, and is the reason he killed his children in the first place – his wife. As Melike’s entry on Fandom states, “Hakan is very nice with their daughters and often spoils them by giving them anything they ask for, upsetting Melike as she doesn’t approve pampering them. Hakan never goes against his wife however, as it is said that she can be very scary when angry.” In other words, it isn’t Hakan calling the shots: it’s Melike. She’s the one who told him to kill the kids in the first place. https://streetfighter.fandom.com/wiki/Hakan%27s_family
In other words, Hakan is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Originally, Melike, in a fit of jealous anger, told him to kill one of their kids. Hakan complied, and as a means of disposing the child’s corpse, rendered the corpse into oil. Hakan, at first stricken with a guilty conscience, was shocked when the demand for his oil grew. Having committed murder, but realizing that the oil made from his children sold better than the product he already had, Hakan bargained with himself – he would be a great dad to his children until the time he would have to kill again. Eventually, Hakan and his wife would need to replenish their “stock”, so the wife agreed to have more kids. Now, Hakan is in a spiral, and he has to take great pains to make sure no one knows that something wrong is going on.
It explains his paranoia in his Street Fighter IV intro, attacking a man with a shopping list, believing him to be a spy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3V2OVL7YOM
It explains why each of Hakan’s children are dressed the exact same way – white dresses with turquoise necklaces.
It even explains why Hakan has white eyes – Bison is the only other character with white eyes, and it’s probably because he kills people and threw away the good part of his soul. Hakan and Bison have done almost the exact same thing!
Hakan’s only relief through it all is getting away from his family and company and going into the Street Fighter 4 tournament; as he states, it’s his dream. He wants to create the perfect oil, one that doesn’t use his children as ingredients. He’s very friendly with Edmund Honda, except when it comes to which fighting style is better – oil wrestling or sumo. Of course, Hakan would think his style was better even if his oil wasn’t made of his kids. The idea that it is, though, makes us look at his cockiness in a new light. His kids are, in a way, helping him fight, so he’s far more sensitive about it (he has to stay positive with Honda, though; he doesn’t want or need his friend finding out about his horrifying secret). He’s in a sense wearing his children into battle, much like you see in this picture (and notice Melike’s lukewarm reaction to Hakan playing with their kids):
Lastly, there’s one more thing to address. In Japanese, the kanji for ishi/stone, is 石. The same kanji is also used in the word “sekken” – 石鹸. “Sekken” means soap. Whether its oil or soap, it always seems bad people slip away from justice, doesn’t it?
…Actually, no. Hakan’s final destiny was already determined by Rose in Super Street Fighter IV. Here’s her win quote to him:
“I see lots of warm friends in your future.”
Very warm friends.