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Shinobu Wakamiya
Shinobu Wakamiya
Name Shinobu Wakamiya
Kanji 若宮詩暢
Rōmaji Wakamiya Shinobu
Characteristics
Race Human
Gender Female
Age 16-18
Birthday April 22
Hair Color Dark Bluish Black
Eye Color Amethyst
Blood Type O
Personal Status
Status Alive
Karuta
Level Queen of Karuta, Class A
Group Tsuzaku High School Karuta Club
First Appearance
Anime Debut Episode 13
Portrayal
Japanese Voice Mihoko Nakamichi
Image Gallery

Shinobu Wakamiya (若宮詩暢 Wakamiya Shinobu) is the reigning Karuta Queen. She is also the youngest Queen in karuta history.

Appearance

Shinobu

Shinobu reaching for a card

Shinobu has blue eyes and a dark blue wavy, messy hair. On her left eye she has a beauty mark. She also looks beautifully slim, with full eyes that are accentuated by their upturned corners. Her characteristics are fox-like as she carefully exudes a calm exterior as she plays her "silent karuta" but has almost volatile, contradictory emotions inside. Her face, whether chubby or slim, is shown to have a very sharp defined quality meaning that she is a person who is more prone to speak with their body language rather words.

Marumaru1

Chubby Shinobu vs. Yumi Yamamoto.

Her first appearance was in her uniform upon meeting Chihaya at the Omi Jingu. Later, she has been described as someone who is cute but having the fashion sense of a rock in episode 14. She appeared with her shirt tucked-in with the design of "Snowmaru" which no other character than Chihaya seems to know of. She is shown to have grown fat in her match with Yumi Yamamoto. By the next Omi Jingu tournament the following year, she became slim again.

Personality

It appeared when she was playing with Chihaya Ayase that her opponents are vigorous and determined at first but later give up. She would feel like she was simply playing karuta alone.

Shinobu is said to win karuta with her signature smile. However, she showed a furious and determined face during a match against Chihaya. Shinobu stated that she won't let Chihaya take a single card from her in their next match.

She is rather a quiet person and she sometimes show her soft side. When Arata was disqualified she begged the Seniors to let him play again, when he refused to play again, Shinobu was angered at this saying she doesn't want to win unfairly. 

Shinobu is an eccentric like the Meijin of karuta, Hisashi Suo. This was noted by Arata when she came all the way from Kyoto to Tokyo to actually see the annual Birdman rally but not see a karuta tournament happening. Her eccentricity is also noted by Chihaya on several occasions in the first TV series: first is her adoration of rare merchandise like her Snowmaru T-shirt that she really seems to like this affection for merchandise is so obsessive at times that she apparently ate more than 20 icecreams to get some unique tokens to get a Snowmaru box of assortments that made her look chubby in the finals of Queen title without her being aware also of her drastic weight gain.  

Due to her difficult childhood of enforced distancing from people she counts the karuta cards as her friends, even apologising to them internally if she manages to lose them to an opponent. Shinobu is a vulpine character as in she shows all placidity externally but can be a whirlwind of storms inside. Her volatile nature, however, at times becomes apparent especially when Arata, Chihaya or Hisashi are around as she finds them challenging and has used the word "irritation" to describe Suo.  

Recently Shinobu is trying to assert her independence. Unfortunately, the restrictive upbringing she received from her family (particularly from her grandmother) affects her in other aspects of her life as well. She has no work experience whatsoever, and any prospect she finds will be filtered by her grandmother before she can apply.  

History

Chihayafuru-kid-shinobu-300x220
When Shinobu's parents divorced, she and her mother went to her grandmothers house. They seem to have been a traditionally rich family with her grandmother being a stern matriarch. She must learn a useful skill in order to live there so she tried out many things such as ballet and Japanese calligraphy yet failed at the end. Later on, her mothers friend noticed that she enjoys playing cards. Eventually, she found a set of karuta cards and fell in love with them as she was captivated by its elaborate pictures. At her school, her classmates found her deep love for karuta creepy so they hid her cards all over their classroom. She obstinately searched for each card until she retrieved all of them.[1]

Her grandmother brought her to Myojo Society and asked Ise to teach her then when she heard the sound of people playing, she runs towards the room. She butted in the middle of the game and asked the players to let her play. She absorbed everything at an incredible speed like a sponge but she still remained too kind as when she played against a friend, she would lose on purpose.[2] She was usually paired with a girl her age who just joined which also became her friend. She always went easy on her by letting her closely win the match and her friend thought they were rivals.[3]  Afterwards, Ise instructed Shinobu to play with a player older than her named Ryuusei and she showed a spectacular performance. She was kept away from children her age to prevent her from learning to go easy on opponents for they believe that the more alone she is, the stronger she will become.[4]  Consequently, her friend was accompanied by her mother in order to bid farewell to Shinobu and while they were leaving, Shinobu was seen crying while calling her.[5]

Shinobu advanced to Class A when she was on 4th grade[6] at the age of 10 when she won a Class B tournament and this marked the birth of the youngest Class A player ever. After that win, she also received dan 4. Her win was quite a big deal that there was even a note about her in the newspaper.[7] She was practicing karuta at Myojo Society until sixth grade as she stopped coming.[8] Shinobu became the karuta queen when she was only 15 years old thus making her the youngest queen in history. She defeated Yumi Yamamoto just one year after she won the queen title.[9]

Shinobu is currently attending at Tsusaki Private High School in Kyoto[10] which is a school for high class young ladies.[11] Her school apparently doesnt have a karuta club.[12]

Synopsis

Karuta

Karuta Style

Official Matches Record

Official Matches Record
Tournament Opponent Result Score Differential Notable Points
National High School Class A Championship (1st round) Nayuta Amakasu
(Hokuo Academy)
Win +24
National High School Class A Championship (2nd round) Chihaya Ayase
(Mizusawa High School)
Win +20
National High School Class A Championship (Finals) Akito Sudo
(Hokuo Academy)
Win +12
56th Queen Title Match
Series (match no. 1)
Yumi Yamamoto
(Dan 6, Suihoku Society)
Win +5
56th Queen Title Match
Series (match no. 2)
Yumi Yamamoto
(Dan 6, Suihoku Society)
Win +13
National High School Class A Championship (1st round) Unknown Win +25
National High School Class A Championship (2nd round) Unknown Win +23
National High School Class A Championship (Quarterfinals) Chihaya Ayase
(Mizusawa High School)
Win +23
National High School Class A Championship (Semi-finals) Megumu Osaka
(First Akashi Girls High School)
Win +14
National High School Class A Championship (Finals) Arata Wataya
(Fujioka East High School)
Lose -2
57th Queen Title Match
Series (match no. 1)
Inokuma Haruka
(Dan 6)
Win +1
57th Queen Title Match
Series (match no. 2)
Inokuma Haruka
(Dan 6)
Lose -4
57th Queen Title Match
Series (match no. 3)
Inokuma Haruka
(Dan 6)
Win +4
National High School Class A Championship (1st round) - Win by default -
National High School Class A Championship (2nd round) Unknown Win +23
National High School Class A Championship (3rd round) Tamaru Midori
(Mizusawa High School)
Win +21
National High School Class A Championship (Quarterfinals) Chihaya Ayase
(Mizusawa High School)
Win +7
National High School Class A Championship (Semi-finals) Rion Yamashiro
(Fujisaki High School)
Win +9
National High School Class A Championship (Finals) Arata Wataya
(Fujioka East High School)
Lose -1

Relationships

Chihaya Ayase

Shinobu-Wakamiya

Shinobu during match against Chihaya

It would seem that at first Chihaya was just any other opponent that Shinobu has played with. First looking so pumped to play against the Queen only to be overwhelmed and give up in the middle, however that was not the case for Chihaya. Chihaya piqued the Queen's curiosity by getting back into the game. They only have fought against each other once and have things in common. For instance, Shinobu was able to recognize the "Daddy Bear" logo on Chihaya's t-shirt and had an accidental outburst about it. Chihaya then notices Shinobu's "Snowmaru" shirt as both are momentarily distracted by each other's shirts. Shinobu has called Chihaya a rival, and can talk to her without being mean or sarcastic.[13]

Akito Sudo

Little is known on how exactly they met, but they do seem to recognize each other and probably had more than one conversation. Sudo dislikes the fact she is the Queen because she reportedly "shoved it in his face".

Arata Wataya

Arata and Shinobu know each other very well. Shinobu has never beaten Arata. He is the reason that she never won a school level competition while in grade school, despite being in class A since the 4th grade. Shinobu only started winning school level competitions after Arata stopped playing karuta. After Arata returned to playing karuta, they met in the Class A finals for the high school karuta competition. During the match, Arata used his knowledge of Shinobu's personality to exert psychological pressure on her. Ultimately maintaining his winning streak against her by winning the finals of the Class A competition, thus handing the Queen her first loss in a very long time.

Chihayafuru 13

Shinobu appears behind Arata.

Generally, Shinobu and Arata seem to know each other very well, with Shinobu able to convince Arata to not drop out of the individual competitions following an incident during the team competitions. Shinobu also attended the group level finals to watch Chihaya and her team compete in Arata's place when Arata was not allowed from doing so by the competition organizers as punishment. Arata also did not hesitate to publicly touch Shinobu to check her temperature following their finals match.

Trivia

  • The name "Shinobu" in Japanese literally means "endurance".
  • Shinobu is left handed. Chihaya was so engrossed in her first match with the Queen that she didn't even realize this.
  • Shinobu became Queen after defeating Yumi Yamamoto. Yumi later returns, but Shinobu defeats her easily, even after gaining weight.
  • She started playing karuta after her grandmother saw her playing around with the cards she had found in a box and sent her to the nearby karuta society so that she could learn how to play it.
  • In episode 22 of Chihayafuru season 2, she commented on Chihaya's t-shirt, saying it was lame. Chihaya heard the c​omment and showed off her undershirt - a Mommy Bear Tank Top - thus making Shinobu jealous.
  • Her mother's name is Shiho.
  • Her grandmother is a politician, one of Kyoto's city councillors.[14]
  • She attends Tsusaki High School (津咲高校 Tsusaki Kōkō), a highly prestigious all-girls' school.[15]

Quotes

  • (To Suo) “5 consecutive titles... You seem to have all the confidence in the world, but Suo-san... what is it that supports you?” [16]
  • (To Suo) Liar. If it were true, then... where does that strength of yours come from? After all, youre... not a god.[17]
  • (To Suo) What is it, Suo-san? If youre sure that what you have to say is worthy of my time and your enduring my hanging up on you 3 times, then fine, Ill hear you out.” [18]
  • (To herself) Honestly, if I lose the Queen Title Match, I will have nothing left...” [19]
  • (To herself) Mother doesnt really feel like family to me anyway... the karuta cards feel more like family to me. The karuta cards are... my only family.” [20]
  • (To herself, referring to her kimono) Heavy... having to swing in this, will I even be able to take cards? Its a lot heavier than last year. But... grandmother chose it for me...” [21]
  • (To herself, referring to Inokumas card arrangement) The card arrangement that makes taking cards difficult? Really? The handling might be rough, but I simply need to go and take the monk with all Ive got, is all!” [22]
  • (To herself) Somehow, this is so irritating. Way too many people are obsessed over the 'Chiha' card for my taste...” [23]
  • (To herself) What is going to happen, eh? There is no way that these dear cards wont choose... me.” [24]
  • (To herself, referring to Inokuma) Normally, her formation is difficult to handle... but interesting... because I can clearly see... how exactly Im connected to the cards. Shes interesting... and strong. And its fun. [25]
  • (To Chihaya) Huh? Rivals? Rivals? Dont you think calling me your rival is undertaking too much when you couldnt even overcome the eastern qualifiers?” [26]
  • (To Chihaya, referring to Snowmaru dorayaki) I want them! And Im gonna eat them now!” [27]
  • (To herself) There was no warmth in grandmothers words... and... nor there was disappointment. Nothing... there was nothing.” [28]
  • (To herself) This is strange.  Somethings wrong. Wrong... Ise-sensei, youre a liar. If Im standing alone because my strength is really so overwhelming... then shouldnt I be... the strongest right now?” [29]
  • (To herself) I... love my grandmother... far more... than I always thought... but even if so... even if so...” [30]
  • (To announcer) Announcer-san, we hear it repeated often, dont we... phrases like, It was only possible for me to win because of the support of those I have by my side... I did, but it was nothing more than just words appropriate for the occasion back then. But this year... those words gained some meaning behind them, so I can honestly say that it was the support of those by my side that helped me win... Im now looking forward to the next years queen title matches. [31]
  • (To herself) Gentle, clean, sharp and precise. When I manage to take a card in the way that meets these conditions, then and only then am I allowed to send a card. This is the rule I set for myself when practicing alone. [32]
  • (To the karuta cards) I sincerely apologize. Have you sirs and ladies restored your exalted spirits?” [33]
  • (To co-worker) Speedy? I daresay my abilities are not lacking when it comes to precision and speed.” [34]
  • (To herself) I wont borrow anyones help. I will live... on my own with the things I like.” [35]
  • (To her grandmother) Karuta... I want to make living with karuta, and I cant! But I also cant with anything else. Ill become like my mother. Just a useless burden, living off her grandmother! Its frustrating! And scary! But I still cant! I dont love anything other than karuta, and karuta is all Im good at!” [36]
  • (To her grandmother) I... wont lose even to meijin Suo! Im the strongest player in Japan regardless of gender!” [37]
  • (To Suo) Please do not misunderstand, meijin. I only made up my mind to finally accept the request when I learned that you would be participating in this program as well, Suo-san. Nothing can be as reassuring as working together with the meijin.” [38]
  • (To announcer) It is my dream to always live alongside these little ones... these cards.[39]
  • (To Arata) Who was it who claimed that he is the best high school player, huh? After acting all high and mighty you went and did what exactly Arata? Ill crush her.” [40]
  • (To Chihaya) Oh dear, Im so scared, so scared. Im up against the last person I wanted to end up in a match with. That rumored female player at whose hands Wataya Arata suffered defeat.” [41]
  • (To herself) I dont know what kind of unsightly game you played against her, Arata, but I will be sure to avenge you.” [42]
  • (To herself, referring to Chihaya) Im going to avenge Arata... No, wait. Why do I need to avenge him in the first place? Whether Arata wins or loses, it shouldnt be of any concern to me... I just want to see for myself... if it really is possible for you to be stronger than Arata...” [43]
  • (To Myojo Society players when she was young) Yes, I do. This is a game where you need to find half of the ladies and monks fast and first! So let me play. Let me play, too.” [44]
  • (To herself) Ever since we were little, I could never win against Arata, no matter how many times we played each other. For as long as I myself cant win against him... I wont forgive some random girl making him lose. My only friend losing to some random girl...” [45]
  • (To herself) Those priding themselves on their exceptional hearing are scary, oh so scary.” [46]
  • (To Chihaya) Be sure to make good on your promise this time.” [47]
  • (To Arata) What a surprise, I must say. I never imagined that you would actually make a team and take part in the team competition, Arata. Its because you went and did something so pointless that you ended up losing to Chihaya, despite being stronger than myself. What happened to you? What meaning is there in having a team?” [48]
  • (To herself) Arata is not the same as always. But it doesnt matter. Last year I lost to Arata, and since then... No. For some reason Ive been losing to Arata ever since becoming Class A, and every time I recall it, it pisses me off endlessly.” [49]
  • (To herself) Whats with you, Arata? Dont tell me you... youve been poisoned with the concept of a team that incurably?” [50]
  • (To herself, referring to Arata) I... have no team. I have no one on my side either. And my only friend is... an enemy. The worst kind of enemy.” [51]
  • (To herself) How laughable. I went as far as skipping the birdman rally yesterday just to crash Suo-sans TV program, and even donned a kimono today for the individual tournament, only to lose to Arata again... I got carried away and am now stuck feeling like a total idiot... Theres no way I can change. Im alone, after all.” [52]
  • (To Ise) Ise-sensei. I will take you up on your offer to visit the Myojo Society. I still lack too many things, which is why I have to change. There is a karuta nut working her way up from the bottom to get me, and Im scared.[53]

References

  1. Episode 24
  2. Chapter 167 p. 15-17
  3. Episode 22
  4. Episode 18
  5. Episode 22
  6. Episode 14
  7. Chapter 126 p. 17-18
  8. Episode 24
  9. Episode 22
  10. Chapter 123
  11. Chapter 147 p. 7
  12. Episode 24
  13. Chapter 126
  14. Chapter 126
  15. Chapter 148
  16. Chapter 109 p. 3
  17. Chapter 109 p. 4
  18. Chapter 120 p. 5
  19. Chapter 123 p. 8
  20. Chapter 123 p. 25
  21. Chapter 124 p. 16
  22. Chapter 125 p. 20-21
  23. Chapter 125 p. 24
  24. Chapter 125 p. 25-26
  25. Chapter 126 p. 7
  26. Chapter 126 p. 12
  27. Chapter 126 p. 12
  28. Chapter 126 p. 18-19
  29. Chapter 126 p. 29-32
  30. Chapter 127 p. 23
  31. Chapter 131 p. 27-28
  32. Chapter 147 p. 10
  33. Chapter 147 p. 11
  34. Chapter 153 p. 1-2
  35. Chapter 153 p. 3
  36. Chapter 153 p. 24-26
  37. Chapter 153 p. 28
  38. Chapter 155 p. 2
  39. Chapter 161 p. 10
  40. Chapter 166 p. 20
  41. Chapter 166 p. 30
  42. Chapter 166 p. 32
  43. Chapter 167 p. 2-3
  44. Chapter 167 p. 16
  45. Chapter 167 p. 24-25
  46. Chapter 168 p. 19
  47. Chapter 168 p. 32
  48. Chapter 170 p. 13-14
  49. Chapter 171 p. 2
  50. Chapter 171 p. 25
  51. Chapter 172 p. 31-32
  52. Chapter 173 p. 7-8
  53. Chapter 173 p. 33

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