The Like a Dragon games have usually had one or two things to collect in each game, although they tended to do something for you, like the various keys that led to lockers with items inside. Like a Dragon: Ishin has a collectible to get in the game, too, which are called Memoirs.
How to Unlock Memoirs in Like a Dragon: Ishin
You won’t be able to start collecting Memoirs until you reach Chapter 5 of the main story. It is then that you will gain access to Substory 70 - The Captain and the Curious (this Substory is new to this version of the game). This Substory begins at the restaurant just north of Umai Udon, where you should see a bunch of people sitting there, having drinks. Approach them to begin the quest, which is mostly talking, until you eventually have to fight someone. After defeating this enemy, the person who started the Substory will ask a favor of you. He wants you to find some Memoirs that will give him more of an understanding of Japan, giving you your first one.
These Memoirs are found as little shiny spots on the ground, similar to the Prize Tickets used in the Lottery minigame. However, there might be some prerequisites in order to get them to spawn. Some are available right away, as soon as you finish the above Substory, while others might be locked to just advancing the main story. The more annoying ones, though, are tied to completing specific Substories, or maxing out the specific Bonds, either from shopkeepers or Substories. So, if you go to one of the locations below and don’t see the Memoir, then do one of the things listed above to try and get it to spawn.
These Memoirs are important, as if you want to do all of the Substories, you will need to collect most of them. After getting enough of them (around 80% or so), you will be able to unlock Substory 71, and doing that Substory will unlock Substory 38. Upon collecting more Memoirs, you will eventually unlock Substory 72.
Letter from a Tavernkeeper in Uraga Memoir
You will find this Memoir in Fushimi, by the docks. Specifically, it’s on the southern end of the Fushimi Ichibangai. If you remember where you did Substory 42 - Invasion of the Black Ships?, then it will be right next to where you triggered it. In fact, you will need to finish that Substory before it will spawn.
Musings of an Official in Uraga Memoir
You will find this Memoir in Mukurogai. It will be on the bottom floor of the area, on the eastern side. Locate the Cannon Coaching NPC and look for a shiny on the dock right next to him to find this Memoir.
Treatise in Defense of Ii Naosuke Memoir
This is a bit of a tricky Memoir to get, since you need to collect a lot of the other Memoirs above. Once you get to 80% for the collection rate (check the Bakumatsu Archives option in your menu), you should go on over to Satow and go through all of the ones you’ve collected. Upon doing that, exit Fushimi (try going to your second home) and return, where you should see that Satow is gone from his usual spot. This will trigger Substory 71 - Diplomacy in Darkness, so complete it. After doing that, head on over to Kiyomizu Temple, or the road leading to it, and go to the locked gate at the end. You should see the shiny spot on the ground just before the gate, which is the Memoir.
Diary of a Housewife Memoir
For this Memoir, you will need to go to Mibu. Along the main path, starting in Chapter 4 and after finish Substory 61 - Hope Blossoms Again, you will gain access to Substory 64 - Mama Ryoma. Do this Substory and after completing it, you will find the Memoir just northeast of the palanquin.
Final Statement on the Sonno Joui Memoir
You will find this Memoir in Mukurogai. Look on the bottom floor of the area, right next to the northern gate that leads to Rakugai. It will be right inside the gate portion, so it’s pretty easy to spot. If it’s not there, then you likely need to max out the bond for the Trash Dealer NPC first.
An Assassin’s Plot Memoir
This is another Memoir to be found in Mukurogai, on the first floor of the area. It is found on the eastern side of the place, near the Jizo Statue and Enchanted Blacksmith. Note that you need to have complete Substory 33 - Night of the Living Rumor first, before the Memoir will spawn.
Excerpt from a History Textbook Memoir
For this Memoir, take a trip to Rakugai. Specifically, go to where the Shady/Creepy Bars are located in Umekojicho. Just north of the Shady Bar is a little alley that leads to North Umekojicho. You will find the Memoir in that little alley. Note that is where you will find Substory 21 - Sonno Joui, which will actually need to be completed before you can find the Memoir.
Reflections of a Satsuma Samurai Memoir
Make your way to Rakugai and find the well in that area, which is just southwest of the Arms Dealer. Just north of the well, there is a shack-looking structure, where you can start the Substory 27 - The Mysterious Merchant. Do that Substory, then max out the bond with that NPC. After doing that, you should see the shiny on the ground in front of the shack, which is the Memoir.
Regarding the Incident on the 18th Memoir
Journey to Rakunai, with the easiest option to take the palanquin. As soon as you gain control from the palanquin, look for the huge gate to the west of the NPC. Note that if you’ve advanced the story enough, this will show up as the Kyo-Satsuma Consulate. Just left of the huge gate is a torch and on the ground next to it is the Memoir.
Diatribe of a Raid Survivor
This is another Memoir found in Fushimi. To start, head to the main shrine in the northeastern corner of Fushimi. From there, head west, along the upper path, and you should eventually see a shiny object on the ground, right before you can head south in between two buildings (one of which has The Junk Boy Substory/NPC). If you’ve progressed the main story beyond Chapter 9, you should see the Matsunoi izakaya there; the Memoir is right in front of it.
Gossip from a Seafaring Warrior Memoir
You won’t be able to get this Memoir until you have progressed the main story to Chapter 13 or beyond. Once you do, head to the Teradaya inn in Fushimi and go to the second floor. At the top of the stairs, look to your north and go to the end of the hallway to see the shiny spot on the ground.
Observations of a Hatamoto Memoir
You will find this one in Rakugai, although it’s unclear if you need to actually do anything to get it to appear. It will be found in front of the Gambling Den, just a little left of the front entrance.
Abandoned Journal of a Shinsengumi Trooper Memoir
You will be able to pick up this Memoir in Mibu, which is the location of the Shinsengumi Barracks. In fact, once you arrive at the entrance to the barracks, look to the right of it to see the sparkly spot on the ground. There doesn’t seem to be any prerequisites for this Memoir, though.
Thoughts on the Wolves Memoir
You might have trouble finding this Memoir, as it can be a bit elusive. It is located close to the entrance of the Teradaya inn in Fushimi, on the ground in front of the building that is next to the inn. It appears to be story locked, though, with it not appearing until Chapter 9 or 10. It also seems like it only appears at night, as that is when it was picked up for us. While you do get a chance to choose the time of day when sleeping during a few story chapters, you don’t get free reign until after completing the main story, so it might be better to wait until then.
Observations of a Mimawarigumi Trooper Memoir
Head to Rakunai for this Memoir, where you will want to travel to the Sushi Zanmai restaurant. This is just east of the palanquin for Rakunai. There is a little path just west of the restaurant, which takes you to a dead end north. At the beginning of the path will be the Memoir.
Divine Punishment Rendered Once More! Memoir
Look in Rakunai for this Memoir, specifically, on the Shijo Bridge. In particular, you want to be on the northern side of the bridge, more towards the western side. There doesn’t seem to be any requirements for this one.
An Account from Tosa Memoir
You will find this Memoir in Rakunai, in the Kawaramachi area of the sector. Specifically, look in the northwest corner of the place, but you will need to complete Substory 5 - Talkin’ Tosa first. If you haven’t completed that Substory yet, you can do it pretty quickly and as soon as it’s over, the Memoir will spawn where the NPC was standing.
Musings of a Man Who Crossed the Sea Memoir
You will be returning to Rakugai for this Memoir. Head on over to the Shikokuya inn, which is found just north of the fast travel spot you unlock on the Kamo River. You will find the Memoir on the ground in front of the Shikokuya inn, although you will need to complete Substory 03 - Who’s Entertaining Who? first, which is found in the same spot.
The Extraordinary Voyage of Nakahama Manjiro Memoir
This is another Memoir tied to completing a Substory. Make sure you do Substory 11 - Global Fraud first, as this won’t appear until that has been finished. After doing it, head to Teramachi, in the Rakunai area. This area is split into three parts and you want the L-shaped section on the western end. It will be where you started the Global Fraud Substory and the Memoir will be on the ground right where the NPC was standing.
Regarding a Certain Merchant Memoir
This is another Memoir to be found in Rakugai. If you look at your map of Rakugai, there is a section called East Umekojicho, and you should see a green building called Unyuan there. Just west of it will be some men in the corner, so interact with them to gain access to Unyuan, which is a training ground for the Gunman style. You only need access to the building, so leave when you can and look right in front of the entrance of Unyuan to find the shiny Memoir on the ground.
Journal from an Edo Rowhouse: Morning Memoir
You won’t find this one in any of the main areas, as it might be a little hidden. You will need to journey to your second house, the one unlocked as part of Another Life. The Memoir will be on the ground in the outside section, right next to the doghouse and chicken coop.
Journal from an Edo Rowhouse: Noon Memoir
This one will be located in Fushimi, right next to the Umai Udon shop. Note that this was found in Chapter 8, and the Udon Shop owner’s bond was maxed, so if you can’t find it there, then you need to progress the story or max his bond first.
Journal from an Edo Rowhouse: Night Memoir
You will be able to find this Memoir in Gion. The easiest way to get this one is to simply take the palanquin to Gion, then look just south of where the palanquin is located, to find it on the ground.
Notes from a Spy Memoir
This Memoir can be found in Gion, near the Kasuga restaurant. Right in front of the entrance, in the corner there, is where it will be located. Note that this one seems to be tied to story progression, as it wasn’t there in Chapter 8, but was found there in Chapter 10. If you can’t find it at either time, then it might be tied to the time of the day.