Josuke is a young man afflicted with retrograde amnesia, lacking any memories prior to being discovered by Yasuho Hirose near the Wall Eyes in Morioh Town. He dedicates himself to discovering his former identity and those originally associated with him.
Josuke's original identity was that of Josefumi Kujo (空条 仗世文 Kūjō Josefumi), and became his current self after fusing with part of Yoshikage Kira (吉良 吉影 Kira Yoshikage)'s body. Josuke is a Stand User and retains an upgraded version of his original identity's Soft & Wet.
Josuke is a young, physically fit man of above-average height. Josuke has a diastema between his upper incisors and a star-shaped birthmark on his left shoulder. He has two sets of irises, four testicles, and two tongues, all joined as one, differing in texture and color. After consuming a vial of Locacaca 6251, multiple patches of skin on Josuke's upper body and face turned to stone, with one that gradually covers more and more of his left eye. The rock covering his left eye later comes off after being attacked by Obladi Oblada.
He wears a tasseled "Dixie cup" sailor cap (in multiple illustrations, it is adorned with the same palm insignia as Jotaro Kujo's hat). He wears a sailor suit, cut with a wide neck and above the navel (exposing his birthmark in latter depictions), a neckerchief with a button resembling a slotted screw head, large emblems of an anchor on his right side and a compass rose on his left, fitted pants with a belt, and a pair of high-top athletic shoes (which he mentions to have cost him 7,980 yen). His underwear reads "JOJO" around the waist.
Josuke Higashikata is a quirky amnesiac determined to learn his true identity and his past.
Josuke is afflicted by extensive retrograde amnesia, lacking memory of himself or events prior to meeting Yasuho Hirose, but retaining various degrees of knowledge. As such, Josuke is driven to discover who he was by investigating the circumstances of his presence in the beach prior to having been saved by Yasuho. That goal occupies nearly all of his activities, and no action on his part is made without attempting to reach the truth. That drive is sufficiently strong that he was willing to interrupt a rare moment with his love interest Yasuho to investigate Karera Sakunami. After learning about his past identity, Josuke set for himself the new goal of retrieving the Locacaca branch and using the fruit to heal Holy Joestar-Kira. He still demonstrates the same steadfastness in investigating the fruit and the whereabouts of the Locacaca Organization, with the addition of deferring more to Rai Mamezuku's opinions, deeming the plant appraiser's expertise about the fruit worth listening to. His determination to reach his goals is best illustrated when he willingly steps into a rain made deadly by Satoru Akefu's Stand, letting his body be pierced by raindrops, including his head, just to reach the hospital.
Josuke seems to have retained certain traits from both of his original identities. At times he displays strong emotions like Josefumi while also being able to analyze situations and strategize like Yoshikage. However, Josuke ultimately considers himself separate from both, being neither Kira or Josefumi as he doesn't have memories from either man nor did anyone from Josefumi's past look for him. It causes him to question what he really is and consider his identity to be nebulous. Nonetheless, he felt a strong sadness when he first saw Holy Joestar-Kira, meaning he has also retained subconscious memories strong enough to still feel attachment to her.
While Josuke can be violent at times, he also has a degree of restraint toward enemies he doesn't need to kill. On multiple occasions he has asked members of the Higashikata family for permission before pursuing an enemy that relates to them, and he even kept his promise to not harm Jobin while trying to get information about the Locacaca out of him. However, Josuke is willing to defend himself and the people he knows from anyone who wishes to harm them. Unlike his counterpart Jotaro, Josuke isn't disturbed at the idea of hitting women and readily knocked out Kei when she attacked him. Josuke is not afraid to threaten to kill, and he indeed killed Tamaki Damo in cold-blood in retaliation for threatening his adoptive family, though his main goal of discovering his identity means that killing his aggressors is counterproductive. That killing intent is easily triggered when someone hurts Yasuho. Josuke has also proven to be proficient at manipulating people, notably Jobin with whom he would adopt a more nonchalant persona to seem harmless. Apart from that, Josuke approaches his task calmly and methodically.
Josuke is relatively polite and has been shown to strongly value familial relationships. Being amnesiac, Josuke places a great emphasis on one's family and legacy, wishing to learn his own past. The fact that no one came looking for him while hospitalized deeply unnerves him, to the point he can shed tears at the thought, and Josuke honors Norisuke Higashikata's adoption of him, considering himself a part of the Higashikatas. When Karera rejects her own parents, Josuke comments that they would never get along. He's not only willing to defend his adoptive family, but he strongly desires to cure Holy of her illness despite not having any memories of her. However, Josuke continues to suspect members of the Higashikata family of working against him. Josuke cares for Yasuho on a stronger level than even his family, and any threat to her well-being greatly angers him. In fact, during his battle with Yotsuyu Josuke is shown to possess a similar type of willpower to Johnny Joestar's "dark determination." However, when it comes to his goals, Josuke is straight to the point and hardly tolerates any circling around the subject. For instance, he didn't hesitate to directly ask Norisuke if he killed Yoshikage Kira, forcing the latter to explain his motives.
Despite all this, Josuke also has a certain number of humorous quirks. He seems to be totally oblivious when it comes to mundane things while at the same time retaining in-depth knowledge of animal and plant species. Josuke prefers sleeping underneath a whole mattress rather than the bed sheets for "increased compression." He also regularly spills food he enjoys. During his earlier interactions with Yasuho, Josuke would pry on her breast size offhandedly, measuring it by sight (a trait that he probably gained from Yoshikage, as Holy was shown to possess a similar skill). Josuke has also demonstrated a more childish side, implanting his hair into Joshu and Hato Higashikata for fun. Whenever the mood is right, Josuke seems to have fun declaring his victory. He notably consciously poses after outsmarting the population of Shakedown Road and also smugly claimed his win against Jobin in a stag beetle fight.
- Main article: Soft & Wet
Its primary ability ("Plunder") is to steal some aspect or property of a target; to be contained in one or more small soap bubbles (bearing the image of his birthmark), which may be returned or transferred to other objects. This ability has been used both offensively and strategically. Soft & Wet also demonstrates above-average strength and the capacity for rapid melee attack common to humanoid Stands.
During his fight with Yotsuyu Yagiyama, Josuke decides to "use [his] soap bubbles for offense rather than defense..." Soft & Wet is shown to be able to surround and contain objects by creating a soap bubble and punching it into said object. The bubble bursts but then reforms around the target; Josuke is then able to make the bubble and object inside float anywhere he wants to, just like his regular soap bubbles.
By combining strikes with his bubbles, he is able to "inject" one of his soap bubbles into the flesh of his opponents, causing superficial damage when he pops them. The explosive property of the bubbles was first demonstrated against the A. Phex Brothers and described by them as being very similar to Kira's ability.
- Sight: Josuke possesses exceptional sight, being capable of accurately describing the dimensions of organic objects such as humans and trees from afar (a trait shared with Holy Joestar-Kira). Moreover he seems to have a wide field of view, spotting movement at his feet's level despite looking away.
- Hand-to-hand combat: Josuke demonstrates a natural affinity towards hand to hand combat, having fluidly blocked and struck an opponent in one swift motion, augmenting the damage his blow causes with the powers of his Stand. He is also capable of displaying high reflexes and fast reaction speed common of experienced fighters.
- Intelligence: Josuke is an extremely proficient tactician in a fight. He is able to use his Stand to various effects and predict his opponents next moves easily. Josuke is a methodical individual, having quickly deduced Born This Way's powers via simple experimentation, as well as taking advantage of Les Feuilles's characteristics despite seeing them in action only recently. Out of combat, Josuke is thorough in his investigation, being careful about covering his tracks. He has also displayed proficient skill in mathematics, having easily solved a trigonometry problem given to him by Joshu.
Josuke's first contact is with Yasuho Hirose, his discoverer. He lives in the Higashikata family household after tentative adoption by Norisuke Higashikata IV.
- Yasuho Hirose: Josuke holds Yasuho in special regard, as the first person he has ever met or known. Yasuho's casually considerate nature with Josuke in the first instance is to have naturally built with his trust. Yasuho in return is able to appreciate his innocence and empathize with his sadness over having no family. They seemingly hold romantic feelings for one another, and the proof of their romantic progression can be seen during the Love Love Deluxe arc where, after meeting up, the two begin holding hands and look like they are on a date. Yasuho helps him gather information on his identity and Josuke in turn protects her, becoming enraged when someone tries to harm her in any way. She is the only person Josuke whole-heartedly trusts.
Josuke was adopted into the Higashikata household, thus bearing their family name "Higashikata". At first suspicious of them as a whole, their quirky demeanor and subsequent reveals about their motives made him open up toward them, and Josuke wishes to honor the family's kindness, making efforts not to antagonize them, at least openly.
- Norisuke Higashikata IV: Josuke's adoptive father. Mutually suspicious; Josuke's natural curiosity as to his origins and Norisuke's intentions carries him beyond the boundaries set for him by the Higashikata patriarch as condition to his residence at the family home, which Norisuke appears to have offered under ulterior motives. He reveals that he knows Josuke has some link to Yoshikage Kira who had information on how to cure the family and for that reason adopted Josuke in hopes of acquiring that information. Norisuke later reveals himself as an ally, and the two hold a mutual trust for one another. Norisuke still places his family above all else, but seems to have grown to care for Josuke as family and even a possible surrogate son (one main example being when Damo tortures Norisuke to get information about Josefumi and Kira from him. While he knows Josuke is somehow involved, he does not rat on him until Damo threatens to kill his family. Even during this, Norisuke breaks down crying and sincerely apologizes to Josuke for not being able to protect him, showing the depth of his care).
- Daiya Higashikata: Josuke's adoptive younger sister. After engaging Josuke with her Stand, Daiya expresses arousal for him, which Josuke acknowledges to an extent while in a state of diminished responsibility. Upon her defeat, he extends his friendship in recognition of the personal virtues she expressed during their engagement, with Daiya pledging a degree of assistance in his inquiries. Daiya is constantly clinging to Josuke and he partially returns her affection, at the very least considering her a friend and watching out for her well-being.
- Joshu Higashikata: Josuke's adoptive brother. Emotionally immature and unstable, Joshu perceives the sight of the newly-conscious Josuke lying nude on the ground next to Yasuho as an insult, becoming enraged and attacking Josuke with lethal force before he is subdued. Joshu retains a powerful sense of insult at Josuke's interruption in his relationship with Yasuho and his family. Paired by Norisuke while travelling to school together, Josuke exerts an arms-length reception of Joshu, who persistently curses and discriminates against him.
- Jobin Higashikata: Josuke's adoptive older brother. Although they seem to have a cordial relationship, Josuke and Jobin are technically enemies and recognize each others as threats. Josuke was first interested in Jobin because of his mysterious relationship with the Locacaca. He prepared to fight him, but settled for tricking him into revealing himself in several gambles about beetle fights. During these gamble, Josuke faked a more friendly and smug demeanor, ultimately leading Jobin to suspect foul play.
- Tsurugi Higashikata: Josuke's adoptive nephew. Tsurugi initially tried to kill Josuke because Yotsuyu promised him a cure for his rock disease if he helped him. Despite this, Josuke doesn't seem to wish harm on Tsurugi partially understanding Tsurugi's fear of his disease. He has manipulated information on Tsurugi's father Jobin out of Tsurugi by urgency and mentioning his father hiding secrets that could cure him. Josuke is willing to use Tsurugi but seems to still care for his safety as he was worried when he was attacked by Aisho and went to him to make sure he was ok, showing the two are at least on amiable terms.
- Hato Higashikata: Josuke's adoptive older sister. The two initially do not have much interaction, especially since Josuke is mainly focused on finding more about his past. Despite this, the two seem to get along fine as she was worried when Josuke was trying to use a razor and told Joshu to teach him how to use it properly. When Damo is attacking the family, Hato initially can't believe it and when he attacks both her and Josuke, Josuke uses his bubbles to protect her, implying he cares for her as a friend. The two even worked well together fighting and defeating Damo.
- Rai Mamezuku: An ally due to his connection with Norisuke along with being the plant appraiser that could tell where the branch of the Locacaca fruit tree is, he becomes Josuke's ally when enemies begin to try to capture him due to his abilities and seeks Josuke's protection. While the two are not on friendly terms, they get along well enough.
- Karera Sakunami: Josuke initially didn't recognize Karera at first, however she insisted that she knew him before. Karera refers to him by the mysterious name "Setchan" and leaves before Josuke can obtain more information on his identity. Obtaining her name using Soft & Wet, Josuke lies to her about Yasuho in a failed attempt to retrieve more information. After showing Josuke an old picture on her cellphone of her, Kira and a mysterious other boy she reveals that Josuke's identity is that of Josefumi Kujo - the other boy in the photo. Rebuked by her manners and her willingness to let go of her past, he comments that they will never get along.
- Josefumi Kujo: Josuke discovered that he is Josefumi Kujo with part of the deceased Yoshikage Kira's corpse fused to his body. He seemed to have a friendly relationship with Karera Sakunami, as Kira, Josefumi and Karera appeared in a photo together. Josuke seems to retain certain traits from his previous identity as Josefumi, particularly his feelings and emotions along with a similar feeling of loneliness stemming from abandonment issues. Josuke wonders why no one from his previous identity's past is searching for him, leading him to regard his existence as nebulous.
- Yoshikage Kira: The other half of Josuke's body. On the verge of death, Josefumi fed Kira a Locacaca, resulting in parts of Kira's body being fused to Josefumi's. He and Yasuho went to his apartment to find clues on Josuke's identity but initially found nothing as Sasame confirmed he was not Kira. The two also found his body buried. Despite seeming to have hit a road bump, Kei later confirms Josuke is a combination of Kira and another person (later revealed to be Josefumi). Josuke seems to get his trademark outfit and part of his stand abilities from Kira, along with possibly some of his personality traits such as his shrewd manipulative intelligent mind, his drive to succeed in his goals, and loyalty to friends and family. After his encounter with Tamaki Damo, Josuke comes to terms with Josefumi as his previous identity and half of his body being that of Kira's. He inherits his motivation to acquire the Locacaca to save Holy Joestar-Kira, identifying her as his mother.
- Kei Nijimura: Initially he did not interact with her. However, when she learned he was trying to investigate Holy and her connection to Yoshikage Kira, Kei intervened using her stand Born this Way and nearly killing him in the process. When he defeated her with help from Paisley Park, she confessed she was Kira's sister and was only working for the Higashikatas (whom she hated) to investigate what happened to her brother and reveals herself as an ally. She has him promise not to see Holy Joestar-Kira which he agrees to, upon seeing her break down and cry and not wanting to hurt her or Holy. The two seem to be on better terms.
- Holy Joestar-Kira: When he discovered she was Kira's mother, he tried to investigate her but was stopped by Kei who had him promise not to bother her. Despite this, upon hearing about her condition from Yasuho he felt partially sorry for her and realizes she did not come to pick up her son because of her dementia. He also learns of her connection to the Higashikatas, making him more suspicious of them. When he later visited her, Josuke soon found out that her condition worsened, as she ate some of her fingers before the hospital had to restrain her. Recognizing her as his mother, even after accepting Josefumi as his previous identity, Josuke becomes intent on completing Yoshikage's mission and curing Holy's illness with the locacaca.
- Ojiro Sasame: Ojiro was struck with misfortune from both of Josuke's former identities, particularly with Kira who had supposedly convinced him to eat his own fingers while drunk. Ojiro would later attack Josuke, thinking he was Kira and would later be taken out.
- Yotsuyu Yagiyama: As a member of the Locacaca Organization, Yotsuyu was an enemy of Josuke's and both of his former identities. After a confrontation, Yotsuyu ended up being unintentionally killed by Josuke, due to his Rock Human biology.
- Tamaki Damo: Damo was originally unaware of Josuke's identity and presumed him to be a freeloader at the Higashikata household. He came to the Higashikata estate in search of Josefumi. Upon discovering Josuke is Josefumi, Damo saw him as an enemy but marveled at the miraculous new potential for the Locacaca. Josuke treated Damo as a dangerous enemy and made sure to kill him, even after he pleaded to help save his mother.
- Dolomite: Dolomite is an assassin hired Jobin to kill Josuke. Using his Stand powers, Dolomite infects several people, before possessing Josuke himself. Dolomite attempted to make Josuke drown himself before being stopped by Yasuho.
- The Head Doctor: Operating as the head of Morioh's TG University Hospitial and the secret mastermind of the handling of fruit smuggling in the town, he holds a decent amount of control. Pursuing him activates his Wonder of U, which causes Josuke and his allies along with the Higashikata Family much torment. It is revealed that The Head Doctor is not Satoru Akefu but actually the illusive Tooru, who has stolen the former doctor's identity and given it to the aged appearence of his stand. Tooru has deep connections with Josuke because as The Head Doctor he forces Holy Joestar-Kira, Josuke's mother through his former identity as Kira, to undergo experiments with locacaca. Tooru is also deeply connected to Josuke's allies, having kept tabs on Yasuho Hirose since she was young after she used her stand to identify Satoru Akefu for Tooru and later dating her. Tooru heavily impacted Rai's life as well because Wonder of U and a rock insect played part in his father and mother's deaths as well as his own decades later.
- The Suke in his name may also be pronounced as Jo.
- When he is given the name "Josuke Higashikata", his name is written in a different kanji (定助 instead of 仗助) than that of the Part 4 protagonist's (of note is that this name is pronounced the same as Norisuke IV's birth name).
- The brand of his hat is "SBR" (a reference to the Steel Ball Run race).
- Josuke was originally going to have the Stand ability to attach screws to something, but Araki changed his mind and gave that to Joshu.
- Foreign fans often refer to him as Jo2uke, Jo8uke, Josuk8, or Gappy (in reference to the distinct gap in his teeth) to avoid confusion with the other Josuke.
- Josuke's voice actor in the Bandai Namco video games, Mitsuaki Madono, also voices Rubber Soul in the 1999 fighting game JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Heritage for the Future.
- After Josuke undergoes Equivalent Exchange from the 6251, the rock over his left eye is very similar to the appearance of Baoh's left eye, also covered by stone. Additionally, the rock on Josuke's chest may be in reference to Jotaro Kujo, as it bears a resemblance to the chain Jotaro wears on his jacket.