Even more exciting than a new Shenmue game, Sega Saturn mascot Segata Sanshiro -- previously thought dead after saving Sega's executives from a missile attack -- reappeared alongside Yu Suzuki at Sunsoft/DeNA/Sega's press conference for mobile/browser-based Shenmue City last night.

Of course, we knew he wasn't really dead, as he did some promotions for Sega's Rambo arcade game a couple years ago, and one of his commercials made an appearance on the Tonight Show last year. Still, it's nice to see Sega hadn't forgotten the actor who played Sanshiro, Hiroshi Fujioka.

So, what did the Judo master have to say at last night's press event for the social game? Well, apparently he "rambled about martial arts for like 10 minutes." Suzuki revealed that the Sanshiro actor will play Ryo's dad in Shenmue City, as " he wanted an actual fighter for the role".

In Shenmue City, which is a sidestory based on the series' first chapter in Yokosuka, players take on the role of a student in the Hazuki dojo, working with the protagonist of the franchise's previous games, Ryo. Gamers can train in Kung Fu, manage a dojo, and fight other players.

The social game will be playable later this year on DeNA's Japanese mobile social games service Mobagetown (as well as Yahoo Japan's PC version of the service), and will feature a free-to-play business model. There's no word on whether this will ever release in North America.

[Via @sprsk, Andriasang]