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Voiced by: Asami SetoThe protagonist of the series. After discovering her potential and love for karuta by the New Transfer Student Arata, she becomes dedicated to the sport and starts a karuta club with her Childhood Friend Taichi in their first year of high school. Starts off as a B-Class karuta player before moving to A-Class at the beginning of the series, she aspires to one day become the Queen of Karuta.
- Big Sister Worship: Chitose Ayase is the prettiest girl in the world, and don't you dare tell her younger sister Chihaya otherwise.
- Book Dumb: Chihaya notes herself that she is ranked twelfth from the bottom of her class. Nevertheless, she has a remarkable talent for karuta.
- Boyish Short Hair: Had short hair in her childhood, emphasising her tomboy nature.
- Cheerful Child: Was optimistic and cheerful as a kid, and is still very much so in her teens.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Frequently nicknamed "beauty in vain", Chihaya's behaviour comes off as very absent-minded and bizarre at times.
- Determinator: Has strong willpower, especially when it comes to karuta. This includes continuing to participate in both the team and individual national tournaments in season 2 after injuring her finger.
- "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: Sings the ending theme for both anime seasons.
- Dude Magnet: Subverted. Most guys usually come flocking to her when they hear about the model Chitose Ayase's pretty younger sister and are in awe of her looks, but are then driven off by her personality. Lampshaded in the episode 16 when the male members of the club decide which one of their female collegues they'd rather have as a girlfriend. When Nishida and Komano declare Chihaya 'out of question' Taichi is upset... but after they present their arguments (Chihaya being Married to the Job and a maniac about karuta) he sees no option but to admit they're right and gives off his vote to Kana-chan too.
- Genki Girl: A cute and very enthusiastic and energetic girl.
- The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: While Chitose is the "beautiful" sister (as she does modelling), Chihaya is the "smart" sister (Book Dumbness aside, she has her talent for karuta to back her up).
- Hot-Blooded: She is very dedicated to playing karuta and will make very sure that everyone around her knows it.
- Nice Girl: Although she can be rash and tiring to deal with, she's always trying to think of others and encourage them.
- The Nicknamer: Is the one who gives Nishida the nickname "Nikuman-kun" (Porky in the Crunchyroll English subtitles), and also calls Rion "Yama-chan" when she forgets her name.
- Love Epiphany: In the last episode of the second series, she realizes that she loves Arata.
- Oblivious to Love: She has no idea that Taichi likes her, and the thought of herself liking him or Arata never occurs to her. She averts this when she has a Love Epiphany about her feelings for Arata.
- The Pollyanna: Very optimistic, especially as a child. She always believes in the best of people, in cases of Taichi and her own sister usually incorrectly.
- Protagonist Title: Sort of. Chihayafuru is similar to the pillow word chihayaburu, which contains her name and is the way the poem of one of the karuta cards starts.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Chihaya is tomboyish, hot-blooded, optimistic and a mostly nice girl, whereas her sister Chitose is girly, more cynical and can come off as a jerk at times.
- Super Senses: Her hearing is very sensitive, which is what helps her with her karuta game style. Komano comes to the conclusion that she has 20 one-syllable karuta cards instead of the standard seven, meaning she hears so well she can identify many two-or-more-syllable cards just by the first syllable.
- Sweet Tooth: It's a ritual for her to stuff herself with chocolate after a match.
- Tomboy: Athletic, very Hot-Blooded when it comes to karuta, and not particularly graceful in anything she does. Her profile as a child describes her to have a boyish figure and have never worn a skirt before.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: The sporty and hot-blooded tomboy to the likes of the lady-like Kanade and model, girly Chitose.
- Tomboyish Ponytail: Downplayed. She regularly wears her long hair in a ponytail when playing karuta or doing other physical activities where her hot-bloodedness comes into play, but usually wears her hair down otherwise.
- The Unfavorite: Subverted as her parents seem to come off as uncaring toward her at first when they seem to have endless picture albums of her older sister and her modeling career, but it turns out that they're overjoyed at the fact they can collect newspaper clippings of both their daughters and have begun taking pictures/articles of her karta tournaments — Chihaya's only just started. They seem to zig-zag about this afterward. For example, they ignore her when she wins her first karuta tournament (which is probably her first big success) in favor of Chitose's photo-shoot, but the mother is the one who takes Chihaya hakama-shopping for her tournaments despite the costs.
- Unskilled, but Strong: She's incredibly fast, but has no technique. In episode 17, both Tsutomu and Kanade point out her weaknesses, which actually pulls her out of her Heroic B.S.O.D. after Harada-sensei points out to her the problem of relying over much on speed. In episode 18, it's all but spelled out to her why her over reliance on her speed and sharp ears isn't the best way to play.
Taichi MashimaChildhood Friend of his crush Chihaya and (begrudgingly) Arata, he reunites with the former when he starts attending her high school. Has also played karuta since he was a kid and is B-Class when the series begins, determined to become A-Class. A skilled player who is noted to be unfortunately prone to bad luck.
- Abusive Mom: His mother a bit of an Education Mama, for any competition. She even goes as far to say that if he can't come out in first place, he shouldn't even bother competing.
- The B Grade: Is in the B-class in the karuta rankings. He tries to get promoted to Class A and is noted to be good enough to be in it, but others observe that he tends to lose due to bad luck. He finally gets the promotion when he wins the Class B final in the national tournament in chapter 89.
- Bishounen: A slender pretty-boy that many girls find attractive.
- Born Unlucky: Air conditioner breaks down in a sweltering hot hall? It's the one cooling him down. Tight match down to the last 2 cards? His card never gets called. Exhausted after grinding out a victory against one of the best players in the West in the Yoshino Cup semifinal? His next opponent had a full rest thanks to a bye.
- Bratty Half-Pint: Was a mean kid who wasn't ashamed for his bullying of Arata.
- Cannot Spit It Out: Passes on any opportunities to confess his feelings to Chihaya, either because he can't bring himself to or he thinks she should be more concerned with something else at the time.
- Club President: After the karuta club is officially recognized, he becomes the president since Chihaya isn't allowed to.
- Crazy Jealous Guy: He's less a Jerk Ass about it as a teenager, but his jealousy of Chihaya being close to Arata is still hinted at in his visible discomfort with their interactions (for example almost refusing to give Arata's contact details to Chihaya even though the two clearly miss each other to some extent).
- Dirty Coward: The glasses incident, where he hid Arata's glasses so he had a better chance of beating him and only came clean about it after the match (and only to Arata — he begs him to not tell Chihaya). He eventually redeems himself.
- Dogged Nice Guy: Is supportive in many ways of Chihaya as they grow up, but she interprets such actions as a sign of friendship rather than love. In childhood times he might be dogged too, but is anything but 'nice'.
- Freudian Excuse: Young Taichi is such a sore loser and will engage any underhanded trick to win because his Abusive Mom will chew him out if he ever loses a competition.
- Green-Eyed Monster: His resentment and jealousy of Arata sometimes gets the better of him, such as the time he stole his glasses before their karuta match as kids so he had a better chance of winning. In the present day, he acknowledges that, unlike Chihaya, he doesn't want to team up with him again in a karuta tournament (like they did as kids) and sees him as an enemy.
- In-Series Nickname: Gets called "Matsuge-kun" (Eyelashes) by Dr. Harada.
- Jack-of-All-Trades: Kanade calls him a jack of all trades but master of none.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Can be harsh and questionable, especially towards Chihaya, but is concerned for everyone's wellbeing in the end.
- Kids Are Cruel: Was one of the kids who bullied Arata for essentially petty reasons back when they were young, even going as far as to steal his glasses before their karuta match so he'd have a better chance of winning. He was also willing to ignore Chihaya just for being friends with Arata.
- The Lancer: Definitely acts as a clear foil to Chihaya on the karuta team and is the second-in-command whom she can rely on.
- Patient Childhood Love Interest: Known and liked Chihaya since childhood, but is in no rush to confess to her nor get her to take romantic interest in him.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Collected and wise (blue) vs the hot-blooded and rash Chihaya (red). Compared to the calm and intellectual prodigy Arata (blue), however, Taichi (red) is more emotional and a bit more hot-tempered (also a case of Colour-Coded for Your Convenience).
- She's All Grown Up: When reuniting in high school, Chihaya notes that Taichi got taller. Nothing comes out of it though, with Taichi snarking that he (172 cm) isn't that much taller than her (167 cm).
- Team Dad: Takes the role of president of the karuta club and helps look after everyone, especially during their team matches when things get mentally tough.
- Tsundere: Can be a little rude to Chihaya but also shows his soft side towards her.
- Weak, but Skilled: Not that weak, as Taichi is pretty athletic and doesn't come off than less physically capable than the other players, but the balance certainly leans this way, especially compared to the likes of Chihaya. Taichi is well aware than his physical skills don't match his thinking abilities, too.
- Your Cheating Heart: It's easy to forget since she hardly shows up, but Taichi has a girlfriend for the most of the first season despite still harbouring feelings for Chihaya. He eventually breaks up with her... in the middle of a Rousing Speech to the club, no less."Let's do our bes—(phone rings) Yeah? Yeah... okay let's break up *click* —Let's each do our best!"
Voiced by: Yoshimasa Hosoya, Yuka Terasaki (young)Transfers to Chihaya and Taichi's elementary school and gets picked on nearly right away. The grandson of the eternal master Hajime Wataya, he is a karuta prodigy and was the one who got Chihaya and eventually Taichi hooked on the game. He moved back to Fukui and continued to play until he was promoted to A-Class at the same time his sick grandfather passed away. He stopped playing ever since... until he suddenly runs into Chihaya and Taichi again.
- All of the Other Reindeer: Was picked on in elementary school, mostly because of his Fukui dialect.
- Always Someone Better: Due to his amazing karuta skills, many players in his age group are bothered by any inferiority they feel towards him and are determined to surpass/beat him — this includes Taichi, Nishida, Hyoro/Retro, and even Shinobu. Looks like everyone close to him in age and who knows him well, with the exception of Chihaya, has a sizable 'Arata complex' in the karuta field.
- Because You Were Nice to Me: His friendship with Chihaya began when she was the only kid in the class to take genuine interest in him and not ostracise him.
- Bishounen: Typical slim pretty-boy seen in most josei works.
- Blind Without 'Em: Can't see clearly without his glasses, which especially shows when he's playing karuta without them and is unable to differentiate between the cards.
- Brutal Honesty: He generally peaks without thinking and is very straight forward, especially towards Taichi and Chihaya.
- Guilt Complex: Agonizes internally over things that he's done or thought.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: After his grandfather passed away, he had been too guilt-ridden to play karuta again, since his grandfather died of a relapse while Arata left his side to play in a karuta tournament. An unexpected reunion with Chihaya and Taichi helps bring him out of it.
- Hidden Depths: He can be surprisingly tough despite his meekness, like a Beware the Nice Ones moment where he punched his classmate for saying something rude about his grandfather.
- Icy Blue Eyes: Magnificent grey (manga)/blue (anime) eyes that are gentle and meek yet can pierce right through you, especially when playing karuta.
- Karmic Nod: Accepts his punishment when he is caught playing for another high school team. However Shinobu, determined to play him, succeeds in appealing for him.
- Luminescent Blush: Is easily embarrassed in socially awkward situations, leading to a lot of blushing.
- New Transfer Student: Transfers to Chihaya and Taichi's class in elementary school from Fukui. His dialect, lack of wealth and his talent for karuta makes him a target of bullying though.
- Nice Guy: He's had a few mean moments like when he kicks the karuta cards during his Heroic B.S.O.D., but overall he embodies niceness.
- Photographic Memory: Memorized 200 addresses easily for his paper route when he was a kid.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Calm and intellectual prodigy (blue), while Taichi is more emotional and a bit more hot-tempered (red).
Voiced by: Ai KayanoThe first member Chihaya and Taichi recruit into the karuta club. Is passionate about traditional clothing (her family runs a kimono/hakama shop) and classical poetry, which is what motivated her to join the club in the first place.
- Buxom Is Better: Taichi lampshades that Komano and Nishida only want to date Kanade more than Chihaya because she has a large chest. That aside, she is also a Nice Girl and is shown as getting approval as the most attractive dating candidate from all of the club members (quite begrudgingly from Taichi's side).
- The Chick: Her love of the hundred poems is what draws her to the karuta club in the first place, and she seems to read the others' feelings pretty well.
- Foil: The newbie and lady-like Kanade helps emphasises Chihaya's more rough nature and her experience in karuta, and in team matches both of them often manage to win. When she's become more experienced in karuta, Kanade then becomes acquainted with Sumire who is new, a little childish, obsessed with finding a boyfriend and is (seemingly) shallow at first.
- Gainaxing: Although animated fine normally, her chest bounces a lot in episode 17 during the relay race. Cheers from the male crowd are extra loud when it's her turn to run.
- Girlish Pigtails: Wears two short pigtails, emphasising her young appearance and sweet nature. Funnily enough, she's probably the most mature person on the team.
- In-Series Nickname:
- Serious Business:
- Takes traditional Japanese clothing very seriously, to the point where she joins the club on the condition that they start wearing hakamas. She gets it from her mom.
- She treats the actual hundred poems with absolute admiration and care. She takes it as a personal affront to be berated on her card arrangement by Nishida when he doesn't know any more about the cards than how he arranges them for ease of play compared to her, who knows them all by heart.
- Shipper on Deck: She's very supportive of the prospect of Taichi and Chihaya being together, even despite having sympathy for Sumire and realizing that Chihaya likes Arata.
- Silk Hiding Steel: Lady-like and takes traditional clothing and poetry seriously, but is a force to reckon with in karuta matches when she's in her zone.
- Team Mom: Has motherly moments with almost everyone on Mizusawa. Provides encouragement and scolding when necessary.
- Weak, but Skilled: She isn't the quickest to react in a karuta game, but she eventually devises a personalized playing styles that utilizes her strengths. She can tell apart the cards with a certainty, to the point where multi-syllabic cards that start similarly are two totally different cards to her. Her arrangement of cards on her side of the field (by season instead of by sound) probably also confuses the heck out of her opponents, although it hasn't been mentioned as a competitive advantage. This helps her to close the gap against ranked players in such a short amount of time.
- Yamato Nadeshiko: Her goal. In fact she is one, but she sets the bar higher, requiring wearing traditional clothes and mastering classical poetry for the ideal.
Voiced by: Tsubasa YonagaThe second member recruited into the karuta club. A top student who, prior to joining, dedicates all his time to studying since he feels that's all he can do.
- Graceful Loser: Takes his loss well enough after his match to Kanade and is supportive of her win.
- Hard Work Hardly Works: His initial opinion is that all the effort he puts into studying doesn't pay off well, due to not being able to surpass Taichi in grades.
- In-Series Nickname: Tsukue-kun (tsukue = "desk" in Japanese), or Desktomu as per Crunchyroll subtitles. This is because at school he's always studying at his desk even during breaks... until he gets asked to join the karuta club.
- Opaque Nerd Glasses: His eyes cannot be seen behind his glasses.
- Self-Deprecation: He looks down on himself a lot, both in studies and karuta.
- The Smart Guy: He takes very dedicated analysis of every match that the team members play and writes up their stats accordingly. He helps to deduce a lot of the other players weaknesses that way.
- The Strategist: He is able to use even the most minute details about a player to determine their strengths and weaknesses, and he advises his team accordingly.
- Weak, but Skilled: Not very fast nor aggressive in karuta, yet he keeps track of his games with everyone and figures where their strengths and his are. This style of play helps him go from total noob to Rank B in two years!
Voiced by: Tooru NaraThe third member to join the karuta club. Chihaya and Taichi first met him as kids in a karuta tournament. He was also Arata's rival at the time, but turned to tennis after losing a tournament final to him. Has joined the tennis club when Chihaya first tries to recruit him, but he's shown to not have lost his skills nor passion for karuta.
- Big Eater: In episode 11 of Season 2, he orders several dishes of curry rice to quell his frustrations. Chihaya did not think she would find him in the cafeteria as he had consumed three bento boxes before then.
- Big Fun: Chubby, quite athletic (he's initially in the tennis club), skilled and experienced at karuta, and is supportive and friendly to his teammates.
- The Big Guy: One of the most experienced members on the team as well as the guy to go to for information on matches and competitors.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Introduced as a minor character who defeated Chihaya in the team karuta tournament for grade-schoolers. They meet again as first-years in high school and he becomes a crucial member of the karuta club.
- Embarrassing Nickname: He doesn't like the nickname he got from Chihaya, Nikuman-kun/Porky, and appreciates that Taichi avoids using it unlike the rest of the original members of the club. Overhearing this, Chihaya starts calling him Nishida-kun in an attempt to be nicer, but Nishida gets crept out and just tells her to be herself, so the nickname still stands.
- Eyes Always Shut: His eyes are never opened.
- Friendly Rival: He and Taichi consider themselves rivals due to their close karuta skills, but they are teammates that get along.
- Hidden Depths: You wouldn't take that mean, chubby kid met in grade school tournament seriously, but after years he proves himself as a decent player, valuable team member and, despite his appearance, a guy athletic enough to win a relay race for his team.
- Hot-Blooded: Loud and passionate about karuta.
- In-Series Nickname: Gets the nickname Nikuman-kun (nikuman = Japanese steamed pork buns which he loves to eat), or Porky as per Crunchyroll translations.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Can be rude but gets along with everyone and is a valuable teammate.
- The Rival: Sees himself as a rival to Taichi since they first met in an elementary school karuta match and are close in skill. This gets amplified when they play in the Class B final for the chance to get promoted to Class A — Nishida wins, but by the luck-of-the-draw. He is actually more than a threat to him.
Voiced by: Megumi HanA freshman who joins the Karuta club in order to get close to Taichi.
- Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: Occasionally acts as the straight man to the wise guy Akihiro, such as when he keeps asking her to take photos of him at the tournament and she snarks at how hammy he's beind.
- Brutal Honesty: She makes no secret of the fact that she isn't interested in karuta and only joined because of Taichi, and is generally pretty straight-forward (much to Kanade's horror).
- Foil: The karuta noobie and childish girly-girl to both the experienced and tomboy Chihaya and the (slightly more) experienced and mature Kanade.
- Girlish Pigtails: One of the younger members and wears her hair in pigtails.
- Hidden Depths: She's less shallow than she initially appears and is capable of understanding beauty of the Hundred Poems actually quicker than most of her teammates.
- Love Freak: After getting dumped, she becomes determined to find a boyfriend. She sets her sights on Taichi and has been obsessed with winning his affections ever since.
- Sempai Kouhai: The underclassmen who joins the older and original club members as a first-year.
- Smitten Teenage Girl: She joins the club to meet Taichi.
- Thinks Like a Romance Novel: She views herself as the "main character" of a shoujo series due to her slightly above average looks, plus having a beautiful rival to defeat for her love interest's affections. Just as well, she first becomes interested in joining the karuta club because the one-hundred poems are a collection of love poems.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Thinks she's the main character of a Shoujo series.
Voiced by: Miyu IrinoAnother freshman and new member of the Karuta club. Somewhat experienced in karuta to some degree, since back in his hometown Hokkaido he played Shimonoku (second verse) karuta.
- Big Brother Worship: The object of his three younger brother's absolute admiration, as they consider him to be one of the best at karuta.
- Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: Occasionally acts as the wise guy to the straight man Sumire, such as when he keeps asking her to take photos of him at the tournament and she snarks at how hammy he's beind.
- Eyes Always Shut: Usually has his eyes closed and gets them nicknamed as "fox-eyes". When he does open them, he instinctively licks his lips which creeps people out.
- Glory Hound: Obsessed with being the "hero" and always asks to compete in the team matches. This trait makes him try harder to improve... and occasionally, cheat.
- Suicidal Overconfidence: He's sure of winning a game in the tournament despite not winning any during the practice, to the point of trying to swindle with a list of his team players' names. Given the chance, he loses. Several matches later he tries this trick a second time... in the finals.
Voiced by: Takashi OoharaA cocky Class-A karuta player who is in charge of his karuta team prior to leaving. Noted to be a sadist in the way he plays.
- Bishounen: Not as much as Taichi or Arata, but he's quite attractive compared to majority of the male cast.
- Breaking Speech: Fond of bringing down his opponents psychologically.
- The Bus Came Back: After leaving the high school karuta team, he returns as the guest card reader in the Tokyo finals and comes to support his team in the national tournament.
- Eyes Always Shut: Eyes are never opened.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Has a honorable side as a karuta player, but still remains rather petty and ill-tempered.
- Lean and Mean: A tall lanky guy and is pretty brutal both in and out of the game, getting the nickname "sadist".
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Prone to silly arguments to a degree with rival Chihaya.
- Put on a Bus: Graduates from the high school by the time Season 2 starts, which means he's not gonna take part in the high school tournament.
- Unknown Rival: Is treated as a nobody by Shinobu, even though she's obviously mocking him.
Voiced by: Kazuya NakaiA B-Class karuta player whom Chihaya, Taichi and Arata encountered as kids when they first joined the Shiranami karuta society. Helps his team using his Hyotarot (or Retarot) cards.
- Accidental Misnaming: Chihaya and Taichi accidentally called him Hyoro-kun when they first met him. The name's been stuck ever since.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Introduced as a minor fellow grade-schooler in the Shiranami karuta society whose team gets smashed by Arata, Taichi and Chihaya (mostly thanks to the former). Comes up again as a formidable opponent in the high school tournament and regularly appears from then on.
- Eyes Always Shut: Eyes are always closed.
- Gonk: Lanky and unattractive unlike majority of the characters.
- Hidden Depths: Hyoro is not just a Gonk-looking annoyance, but also a determined karuta player to a degree of being Taichi's counterpart to a sense.
- Official Couple: Dates Nikuman's sister, much to the latter's horror.
- In-Series Nickname: "Hyoro" (roughly, "Lanky"). Crunchyroll's subtitles change it to "Retro" for the sole reason of making the "Hyotarot/Retarot" pun more palpable to an English-speaking audience.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Acts all condescending and rude to his opponents, but also has a sense of pride. This is seen in the second high school tournament final between Hokou and Misuzawa where he wants his team to face their opponents properly instead of trying to take it easy, wanting to prove how strong they are.
- Psychic Powers: Uses special tarot cards called "Retrot" to predict certain things, such as the order of their opposing team's lineup for team matches. Just how does Retrot exacly work is unknown though.
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Has a rather hilariously petty rivalry with Taichi and always acts in his face.
Voiced by: Takako HondaA Class-A player who becomes the ace after Sudo leaves.
- Butt Monkey: Despite being an A-Class player, he's gotten beaten pretty badly at times, most notably his loss to the Queen, Shinobu, by 24 cards.
- Keet: A young-looking and enthusiastic boy.
- Older Than He Looks: A year older than the protagonists, but looks more like a middle school kid.
- Smug Snake: Surprisingly, despite him appearing chill in the first season, he's a lot more condescending and sneaky in the second season.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: In the first season he looks like he's just easy-going and you can feel bad for him when he's being creamed by Shinobu. In the second season he comes off as rather cheap and unsympathetic when he berates Hyoro for wanting to give the best shot.
- The Worf Effect: An A-Class player introduced to be defeated first by (then B-Class) Nishida, then sometime later by the Queen... by 24 cards.
Dr. Hidehara HaradaThe head of Shiranami Society and is also a doctor. He's Chihaya and Taichi's karuta mentor who always looks out for them and offers them advice.
Voiced by: Unshou Ishizuka
- Alliterative Name: Hidehara Harada.
- Cool Old Guy: He's old but still a very competent A-Class karuta player.
- Cool Teacher: Chihaya and Taichi's karuta mentor whom they look up to very much due to his approachable nature and good advice.
Hiroshi TsuboguchiHiroshi Tsuboguchi is karuta Class A player, and the ace player of Shiranami Karuta Society.
Midori SakurazawaThe coach of the Fujisaki Karuta club. She played for the title of Queen five times, though she never won.
- Buxom Is Better: Emuro definitely thinks her large chest contributes to her attractiveness.
- Cool Big Sis: Although appearing stern at first, she's very encouraging and supportive to her club when they need it, such as comforting Rion when feels down after losing to Chihaya. She also helps Chihaya out, helping her get in to watch the Class A final, sending her a DVD of the final and sharing her thoughts with her when asked about it.
- Hot Teacher: As Emuro's perverted side points out, she's a very good-looking teacher.
- Iron Lady: Most of the other coaches are a bit scared of her unbreakable attitude.
- Older Than She Looks: She looks like an obviously mature lady, but, seriously, 39 years old?
- Stern Teacher: Her training style emphasizes the sports aspect of competitive karuta, so she puts her students through Training from Hell to increase their stamina.
Ryoga EmuroThe captain of the Fujisaki team and an A Class player. Serious-looking and even perceived by Taichi as similar to Arata, but his personality is in reality quite different. A third year student.
- Covert Pervert: Well, not exactly covert (his whole school knows the fact), but to the strangers he looks like a calm, serious type, so it comes off as a surprise that he's really perverted.
- Has a Type: And the type has big boobs. Eromu has hots for Sakurazawa-sensei, takes an interest in Kana and regrets deeply that he can't play against her "lovely jugs". And the reason of his lack of interest in Rion? Oh come on, she has breasts of an infant.
- Hot for Teacher: Has the hots for his karuta coach Sakurazawa.
- In-Series Nickname: Eromu, since it sounds like "erotic", befitting his perverted nature.
- Stoic Glasses: Wears glasses and looks serious and calm during his matches.
Makoto YamaiAnother Class A player, a third-year and a very self-aware Bishounen.
- Bishounen: A pretty-boy.
- Chick Magnet: Most of his female club-mates, with the exception of Rion, seem to have a crush on him.
- Dude Looks Like a Lady: Komano mistakes him for a girl at first due to his chin-length bob and pretty face.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Acts rude especially towards Rion, but is also caring.
- Loving Bully: Likes Rion but would rather continue insulting her than actually be nice most of the time. His popularity has apparently caused all of the female members of the club to follow the "bullying" part of the example. Poor Rion.
- Shadow Archetype: Of Taichi. Both have a Bishounen appearance and popularity. Makoto's exaggerated Tsundere behavior, Jerk Ass-ness with flashes of Alpha Bitch mentality and tendency to throw tantrums when he doesn't get his way, fit Taichi's early characterization and show how the latter would be if he hasn't matured. Also, Makoto has even more prominent eyelashes than Taichi.
- Smug Snake: The cockiest of the club members. And while he does beat Tsutomu (a two classes lower ranked player) in the finals, it doesn't seem he made a big impression in the individual tournament.
- Tsundere: Goes out of his way to show his disapproval for his crush Rion, but also worries a lot about her.
Rion YamashiroA second year student and the granddaughter of Certified Karuta reader Kyouko.
- Not So Stoic: Usually emotionless, but is visibly upset after she loses to Chihaya in the national tournament team final.
- Oblivious to Love: Doesn't seem to notice Makoto's crush on her. Or care about it.
- Shadow Archetype: Of Chihaya, playing style-wise. She basically has Chihaya's talent and good game sense, but a lack of stamina and psychical strength makes her weaker.
- The Stoic: Rarely shows her emotions.
Other prominent karuta players
Shinobu WakamiyaThe current and youngest Queen of Karuta.
- Adorkable: Despite being a beautiful, aloof epitome of Lady of War in karuta for most of the time, Shinobu's love for Snowmaru, her fashion senses and tendency to make weird facial expressions at times (probably most notably during her first on-screen encounter with Arata) make her cross into this territory.
- Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Beautiful, distant and known as the Queen… ninety percent of the time.
- Always Someone Better: As the current and very dominant queen, many of the A-Class players feel threatened by her and can't quite keep up. This especially applies to Chihaya, who is determined to become Queen and is overwhelmed by the differences in their skills.
- Intelligence Equals Isolation: Her karuta mentors noticed during her childhood that she was starting to unconsciously go easy on kids her age in matches so that she could make friends — they promptly made her play against older players, where she dominated much more but resulted in her not being able to interact with the other kids. This has affected her view on team play now, as she find the team matches to be childish and only played by people who "don't love karuta".
- Beauty Mark: Has a beauty mark below her left eye.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: The current Queen, and has an obsession with Snomaru apparel.
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Treats important matches with fellow A-Class players Sudo and Yumi Yamamoto like her usual Curb-Stomp Battle matches. Taken to ridiculous level in the second case, because Yamamoto is the former Queen, whom Shinobu was playing previously exactly at the occasion of taking the title from her.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Outside of karuta, her fashion sense and obsession with Snomaru is bizarre and she is socially awkward.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: All of her Karuta battles have been one-way traffics, with the exception of Arata who's obviously a lot more difficult opponent than the others.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: After several episodes of talking about group tournament with contempt, she eventually (under Arata's influence) decides to watch the finals.
- Distaff Counterpart: To Arata in a sense. Explored; they turn out to have had a karuta history together (and Arata used to always win against her).
- Formerly Fat: After gaining a lot of weight by the time she had her Queen Qualifier match, goes back to her original weight. Chihaya reveals that the Snomaru ice treats she loved went out of production.
- Formerly Fit: When she shows up in the Queen Qualifier, she's shown to have gained a lot of weight, much to everyone's shock. This initially affects her game play, where her movements have slowed down because she hasn't grown accustomed to moving quickly in her new body physique.
- Icy Blue Eyes: Magnificent dark blue eyes that emphasise her icey nature and graceful karuta style.
- Kansai Regional Accent: Has a Kyoto accent, making her appear more dignified.
- Loners Are Freaks: Her classmates isolated her due to her freaky karuta skills and obsession.
- Perpetual Smiler: Is always smiling, as part of her polite nature.
- Politeness Judo: Due to her "Kyoto's women's temper", her politeness helps her get her way.
- Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Pale skin and black hair, making her karuta style appear all the more graceful.
- Shameless Fanservice Girl: She seems to share Haruhi Suzumiya's views about changing in front of boys ie. does not care. Of course, being Shinobu, she wears a Snowmaru underwear more fitting for a 6-year-old.
- Slasher Smile: Gives a rather bloodthirsty smile when she's really excited.
- Smug Smiler: Her smiles tend to be condescending due to her status as the undefeatable Queen.
- Smug Super: As the Queen of Karuta, she goes on and on berating team tournaments, karuta societies and basically almost everyone whose level or potential in the game she sees as inferior.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: Tends to appear or disappear suddenly a few times because she's so quiet.
- Stealth Insult: With 'Kyoto's woman's temper' at play, she's prone to sneakily talking down others, especially towards people engaged in team tournaments.
- Worthy Opponent: Played with. Takes an interest in Chihaya despite only losing five cards to her since Chihaya is one of the only opponents she's faced who never gives up in the middle of the game until Shinobu had won the match. Also definitely considers Arata to be a worthy opponent since he also dominates his karuta matches.
Yumi YamamotoThe former Queen of Karuta after losing to Shinobu.
- Affectionate Nickname: Known as Yuumin by everyone in her karuta society, who continuously support her in her quest to being Queen (Nishida even goes as far as to cheer for her instead of Chihaya in their match).
- Alliterative Name: Yumi Yamamoto.
- Always Someone Better: The former Queen who lost to Shinobu a year later, and has been chasing her for the title ever since. They have a rematch in the next Queen Match, which she still loses.
- Determinator: Known to not back down in her matches.
- Hard Work Hardly Works: Feels that her hard work in karuta doesn't end up paying off, unlike the likes of Shinobu and Chihaya to some degree who seems to be effortlessly talented.
- Manipulative Bitch: Her style contains shaking her opponents' rhythm and morale by questioning every close call in taking cards.
- Office Lady: Works as an office lady, which makes her older than the likes of Shinobu and Chihaya and also possibly affects the amount of time she can dedicate to practising karuta unlike her younger peers.
- The Resenter: Toward Shinobu and Chihaya, who, in her mind, represent a certain type of person: a lively, beautiful and talented high-school girl, who would take everything from her effortlessly. Note that Yumi herself is a rather plain young woman (no Generic Cuteness here) with the probably not very fulfilling job of an Office Lady, whose Hard Work Hardly Works in the karuta field, so it's kind of understandable.
Hisashi SuouA college student and the current Master of karuta. He's been holding this title 4 years in a row.
- Bishounen: Tall, slim and good-looking.
- Unkempt Beauty: Unshaven, but still attractive,
- Book Dumb: He's the king of Karuta, but he's stuck for eight years in college (to the point, where all the karuta officials beg him to graduate already) and he doesn't come off as an intellectual type in general.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: Is yet to leave university but is later revealed that he's a Tokyo University student, meaning he must had been smart enough to get into the university and is probably just slack.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Played with. We first encounter him as an incredibly strong karuta player, who's holding the Meijin title for several years... and sometime later we can have a glimpse of his personality.
- Man Child: Gives off that impression that he acts nowhere near his age when he's not in a karuta badass mode. He even (at age of about 26) picks a childish crush on a schoolgirl Chihaya.
- Spear Counterpart: Comparable to Chihaya, in terms of their aggresive and Super Senses karuta style and their slacking school work.
- Super Senses: His hearing ability is so remarkable that he can catch the sound before it barely leaves the reader's lips. While there are 7 one-syllable karuta cards for most people, he claims to have 28.
- The Unfavorite: In karuta environment. At least in the eyes of the officials, who consider him a bad role model and generally can't stand him to the point of willing to bend tournament's rules for Arata, so he has a bigger chance to replace Suou someday.
Megumu OhsakaA student at the First Akashi's Girls High School.
- Cute Clumsy Girl: As Sumire notes in hier observations, she's cute yet a total klutz outside of karuta.
- Deadpan Snarker: Remains stoic when snarking at her fanclub.
- Martial Arts Headband: Wears the traditional hachimaki headband with words of encouragement on the inside, as it was a gift from her teammates. She has likewise made some for them, so they all wear them in their matches.
- Meganekko: A cute clumsy girls who also wears glasses.
Voiced by: Aya EndoChihaya's older sister who also models.
- Big Sister Bully: Prone to saying mean things to Chihaya. Not that Chihaya notices.
- Bratty Teenage Daughter: A teen/young adult who is obsessed with her career and not as grateful to her parents as Chihaya is.
- The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: The "beautiful", model sister to the "smart" (karuta-wise) tomboy younger sister Chihaya.
- Jerkass: Pretty rude to Chihaya at times, usually by talking down on karuta.
- Pet the Dog: In one omake, she bought a new coat for herself with both her and Chihaya's New Year's money (while convincing Chihaya that kids over 10 can no longer get it); however she soon gives it to Chihaya after Chihaya says Chitose's prettier than other models even when without brand name clothing.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: The fashionable supermodel and rising celebrity to the tomboy and rash Chihaya.
Yukari NishidaYuusei's elder sister.
- Bros Before Hoes: Averted, she cheers on Hokuo, her boyfriend Hyoro's team, over Mizusawa.
- Eyes Always Shut: Like her brother, her eyes are never opened.