172 cm (5'7.7")
Mizusawa High School Karuta Club
Taichi Mashima is an all-around student, as he is gifted in both studies and sports. He is one of Chihaya Ayase's childhood friends. His mother is very strict with him, telling him he should stick to activities he can win at. He is part of the Shiranami Karuta Society and is the former president of the Mizusawa Karuta Club.
Taichi has messy light brown hair and hazel eyes. He wears his school uniform which consists of a simple white button up shirt, a plaid tie, a brown jacket with the school crest, a black belt, grey dress pants and brown school shoes. When Taichi was younger, his hair was shorter and neater. He is considered handsome. He is also popular with girls.
Taichi is smart, hard-working and athletic. During his younger years, he was cocky at times but he was also a bit of a coward. His mother has only allowed him to enter in competitions that he can win at. If he loses, he will be scolded by her, but despite this fact he is easy-going and fairly modest.
However, Taichi is somewhat easily disheartened: he considers giving up karuta early on in the series after becoming convinced that he could spend his entire life on the game without ever becoming better than Arata. His confidence builds, however, with his continued participation in the world of karuta, and it is shown that it is his own perception of his skill in karuta that is holding him back.
Taichi's maturity and loyalty are valuable assets to his friends, and he is adept - after a few initial stumbles - at saying to his teammates exactly what they need to hear in moments of stress. He is the "voice of reason" in whatever group he is in, and a wise and kind leader who is not averse to doling out some tough love (particularly with respect to Chihaya).
His memory is also remarkable: he can recite the Hyakunin Isshu without visual aid, and randomize verses without doubling up.
Chihaya is Taichi's childhood friend. He has feelings for Chihaya, telling himself he is in love with her. They started the Mizusawa karuta club together.
In the past, it was shown that Taichi had feelings for Chihaya during grade school by often teasing her and getting jealous whenever she was with Arata. He has nurtured those feelings until recently, when he finally confessed his love to Chihaya. Unfortunately, she did not respond to his confession, which discouraged him. He left the karuta club because of this.
Taichi and Arata were childhood friends. At first, he didn't like Arata because he memorized the poems in his first try, also he challenged Arata again in a karuta competion and took his glasses to stop him from winning against him. But Chihaya took Arata's place and defeated Taichi. After he admitted that he took his glasses, they went to look for Chihaya. Soon after he began getting interested in karuta and his dream was to become a meijin. They also teamed up with Chihaya in another karuta competition, but lost. Since Arata was sick, he lent his hat to him.
Reiko Mashima is Taichi's mom. Ever since elementary school, she has been very strict and stern, telling Taichi "you can only join competitions you'll win". Currently, Mrs. Mashima is against Taichi playing karuta, saying it's a waste of time and effort. If Taichi does not stay the top student, she will prohibit him from playing karuta.
Taichi had a girlfriend in the beginning of the series, but her name is not known. She called him 'Ta-kun'. Yet, he has feelings for Chihaya despite this relationship. In Episode 17/Chapter 29 he breaks up with her later, over the phone, in a short, dry exchange. He told Chihaya in episode 1 that he was only dating her because she liked him.
Taichi met Rieko at a match where the Oe Traditional Clothing Shop was providing the Mizusawa team with hakamas. She seems to think that Taichi is 'very cute' and always rushes around him to fix his hakama.
He's the current reigning Meijin and also Taichi's cram school's teacher. While everyone in the Karuta world seems to have a scorn toward Suo for his Karuta style calling it 'nasty' and 'sick', Taichi doesn't. On the contrary, he seems to like it by saying that he 'can't help but finding that style fascinating'. They had a rocky start because Taichi claimed that Chihaya was his girlfriend and asked Suo to stop his advances on her, much to Suo's dismay, who used to say he's not obliged to do anything to Taichi because he hates him. Taichi always came prepared with sweets to bribe him with, though, and confessed his lie about Chihaya and cleared the air between them. Suo showed on more than one occasion that he's interested in Taichi's Karuta, interestingly enough calling him a 'nasty player'. Later on when he found out Taichi quit Karuta he told him that he admires him, for even though he doesn't like Karuta he still tried his absolute best in it, and admitted to not liking Karuta either. Suo and Taichi are last seen practicing Karuta together.
Taichi used to go to the same grade school as Chihaya and was the smartest in their class. He used to tease Chihaya which led her to attack him. They were good friends, but when Arata arrived, he was embarrassed that he wasn't the only one to memorize the 100 poems. He tried to get Chihaya's attention and threatened to not be her friend anymore if she stands by Arata's side. Because of this, everyone ignored her the next day for associating with Arata.He later challenged Arata to the karuta competition they were having at their school. On the day of the competition, his mother was there holding a camera to film him during the match as she believed he would win as usual and tried to encourage him to win. Taichi won all his matches and made it to the final against Arata. In order to win, and not get scolded, he cheats by giving Arata a shaken soda to spray him, in order to make him wash his face and take off his glasses. He steals Arata's glasses while he is washing his face and Arata only catches his small figure. Chihaya and Arata start searching for them, but they don't find the glasses for Arata's match. During the match, Taichi is beating Arata as he switches the cards, but is then interrupted by Chihaya saying that she'll replace Arata in the match. He is eventually defeated by Chihaya and all three of them win an award. Even so, he still gets yelled by his mother and his mother tells him never to participate in a competition that he cannot win at.
After the competition, Chihaya is out looking for Arata's glasses. While she is away, he admits to Arata that he was the one that stole the glasses and hands them to Arata. They later go out to look and call out to Chihaya to tell her that they found them. Chihaya hears them on top of a tree and jumps down on top of them and laughs.
Since then, Taichi along with Chihaya and Arata became good friends and referred to each other in first name basis. They even began to join a Competitive Karuta Club with their teacher being Harada Sensei and participated in a group competition. The three of them then went their own ways in middle school with Taichi going to far away middle school that most students found difficult to be accepted into.
Karuta StyleTaichi's initial style of karuta is all brain, with little body. He makes great use of his mind in karuta matches, reasoning out probabilities and strategies completely in his head, and takes great pride in the fact that he makes few, if any, faults. He considers practicing his swing in front of others "embarrassing", which disadvantages him in the more physical aspect of karuta. However, spurred on by his desire to compete on par with Arata and Chihaya, he vastly improves in the later part of the manga. He has been called a "monster" once he has self-confidence (by Sakurazawa-sensei, coach of Fujisaki High), and it has been noted by Hyoro that Taichi becomes stronger when Chihaya is not around (Chapter 94).
- Taichi is good at all subjects.
- When Taichi was 13, he was jealous of Arata because Chihaya was bonding with him.
- Taichi made flash cards to help him memorize the 100 poems.
- Taichi has recited the 100 poems in random order during a practice karuta match as the reader for it.
- Rika once asked him if he was a narcissist.
- Taichi somewhat dreams of becoming a doctor one day, but isn't sure yet.
- Taichi is more focused on being someone who doesn't run away rather than being in class A.
- Taichi once thought that karuta is scary while watching Chihaya play against Yumi Yamamoto, an ex-queen.
- Taichi put Arata in charge of taking care of Chihaya after she fainted in episode 13.
- Harada calls him "eyelashes" (まつげくん matsuge-kun) because of his long eyelashes, though the English subtitles always seem to mistake this for "eyebrows".
- Many girls in the anime think Taichi is cute, even Kanade's mother.
- Taichi's favorite poem from the Hyakkunin Isshu is Poem #16: "Note that though we may be apart, if I am to hear that you pine for me as the Inaba mountain pines, I shall return to you. "
- In chapter 119, he lied about Chihaya being his girlfriend to Suo (the Meijin), but told him the truth in chapter 122.
- (To himself, about love) "You aren't happy even if you're with them. It makes me nervous. Nothing happened like I thought it would. It isn't fun. But I still want to be with them."
- (To Sumire)"It doesn't seem right to let a girl choose me. I would rather choose the girl I devote myself to."
- (To himself) "If Arata were here... If Chihaya were to practice with Arata instead of me, would she become a better player?"
- (To Tsutomu) "I don't have any talent for karuta either. It's tough, but I still play! I keep losing, but I still play! Because when I win, I feel happy!"
- (To Tsutomu) "Instead of a karuta genius, I would rather have our new member be someone who puts in effort on the tatami."
- (To Nishida) "Chihaya never gave up on karuta. Why don't you see for yourself how strong someone can be when they put in the effort? Or are you scared of losing?"
- (To Chihaya) "As long as you have a smile on your face, karuta will always be fun. That's the truth, Captain!"
- (to himself) "Chihaya...we'll have plenty of chances to try to become Master and Queen, but we only get to play as a team during our three years in high school."
- (To Suo) "Do not break with words someone you could not break with your play!"
- (To Sumire) "I myself have been wondering since I was a kid why was I given this name... My mother does seem like someone who would choose something unconventional and posh for a name, and yet..."
- (To himself) "I wonder if I managed to get stronger?"
- (To Chihaya) "I've always, always wanted to become a person who is not a coward."
- (To Chihaya) "Are you under the impression that I'm made of stone?"
- (To himself) "Those encouraging words and those days we spent together turned into a curse, and I can't leave it like that. I can't keep living like that."
- ↑ Chihayafuru Manga - Chapter 137.