Little of Hou Zan's past is revealed during the course of Dark Dawn. However, it is known that he lived in Belinsk for at least part of the occupation. After ten years of Sanan occupation, however, the beastmen executed a successful revolt, forcing Hou Zan and other Sanans to flee for their lives. However, Ryu Kou's sister Hou Ju, would be captured by Morgal forces, and was held prisoner by Volechek, Morgal's king. Hou Zan and Ryu Kou attempted to infiltrate Belinsk Castle but were unsuccessful, but they were allowed to escape with ease.
Hou Zan and Ryu Kou would make it to the safety of the nomadic village of Te Rya in the glacial midst of the Khiren Mountains. In exchange for safe haven, the duo offered to act as guards at the gates. When Matthew's group of Adepts encounter them for the first time, Ryu Kou thinks of them as enemies. Hou Zan subdues him with a decisive punch to the stomach, and warmly welcomes Matthew's group into the village. After noticing Matthew's group wandering around town, however, Hou Zan encourages them to leave by revealing a pathway to Morgal via the Teppe Ruins. They would come to trust the Adepts after the group returns some belongings of Hou Ju to Ryu Kou. After this, Ryu Kou and Hou Zan eventually climb back down into Morgal by scaling the sheer mountain face.
At some point, Hou Zan and Ryu Kou would meet up with Sveta, a beastman who had offered her assistance to them. She instructs the two to meet Matthew's party at Talon Peak, and gives the Sanans the Slap Glove the Adepts would need for their quest for a Mountain Roc feather. Upon meeting with the Adepts, Hou Zan and Ryu Kou team up with them, presenting the Slap Glove in exchange for assistance in rescuing Hou Ju. After gaining the feather, the group is confronted by Blados and Chalis, who sic the Mountain Roc on the group. Hou Zan and Ryu Kou take cover while the Adepts successfully defeat the monstrous bird in battle. Afterwards, Ryu Kou would take a Magma Orb, which was, according to Blados and Chalis, necessary for breaking into Belinsk's fortress, despite warnings from the Adepts, who had been informed of a deadly machine located deep within the ruins. More reluctantly, Hou Zan would take a Magma Shard and the Slap Glove from Matthew.
The two men made their way back to Belinsk, and were able to sneak into the Belinsk Ruins via a secret entrance. As the two men proceeded, they suddenly found that their exit had been cutoff. The two are forced deep into the dungeon, where they meet with Matthew's party, which now includes Sveta. The party agree to put their differences aside for a time, so that Hou Ju can be rescued. Eventually, the group ends up at the Alchemy Dynamo, where they are confronted by Blados, Chalis and Arcanus. While, Blados and Chalis attack the Adepts, Hou Zan is knocked unconscious. Arcanus uses this opportunity to manipulate Ryu Kou into activating the Alchemy Dynamo, claiming Hou Ju would be killed if he didn't. When Hou Zan awakens, he realizes what has happened, and attempts to attack Arcanus, though he escapes. The group leaves the dungeon themselves, and travels to Belinsk's castle to rescue Hou Ju. Amazingly, Hou Ju is voluntarily released by Volechek. At the same time, Kraden appears, and encourages the Sanans to flee Belinsk, as a terrible catastrophe would soon take place.
The Grave Eclipse
Hou Zan, Ryu Kou, and Hou Ju would flee Belinsk on a ship that had been conveniently sent by Sana. During the Grave Eclipse, a result of Ryu Kou's actions at the ruins, the group would somehow end up far to the north, where the ship was wrecked, and most of its crew killed. Hou Zan, Ryu Kou, and Hou Ju would take shelter in a a small outpost, with Hou Zan using his martial arts skills to kill any approaching monsters. However, he only wounds the last one, and is injured. When Matthew's party finds the group, Hou Zan is close to death. Hou Zan leaves the two young Sanans in Matthew's care before dying. He is buried just outside the outpost, with Hou Ju's Echo Gem serving as a grave marker.