The list of characters appearing in Saki Shinohayu -dawn of age-, set as far as fifteen years prior to the main series.
- "If I enter this tournament... Mom might come find me... she might come back!!"
The first viewpoint character of Shinohayu. Her goal is to play mahjong and make waves, hoping one day this will catch the attention of her mother Nana, who disappeared one day.
- Alliterative Name
- Animal Motifs: Birds, especially the sparrow that is the namesake of Mahjong. (Contrast: Kuro.)
- Crash-Into Hello: With Hayari on the day of the Matsue children's tournament.
- Determinator: Has some indications of this. When Kousuke sells her mahjong set save for one tile she held onto, she sets out to create 135 replica tiles out of paper. And then she runs twelve-and-a-half kilometers just to make it to the Matsue tourney. She also plays every game of mahjong with the intent of winning, no matter how far behind she is.
- Foil: Like Saki, she sees mahjong as a way to reunite with someone she cares about, hoping that it will bring her together with her mother in the same way that Saki hopes to reconcile with her sister. While it has yet to be seen whether Shino will learn that her reunion with her mother is less likely than she expects, she enjoys mahjong in contrast to Kanna hating it despite her competitive attitude, while Saki, who doesn't like Mahjong, initially upsets Nodoka who does enjoy mahjong, with her play style.
- Graceful Loser: She gets third place in the Matsue Children's tournament (next to Kanna and Hayari), which she believes is not enough to get in the news and attract her mother's attention, but nevertheless she enjoys the game.
- Little Miss Bad Ass: At 12 years old, she goes to the Nationals of the Elementary School Tournament and makes it all the way to the Finals.
- Missing Mom: One day, when she was just in 4th grade, her mother simply disappeared the day after their first mahjong game together.
- Nephewism: She currently lives under the care of her uncle in Shimane.
- New Transfer Student: After the disappearance of her mom, she moved to Shimane to live with her uncle, where she meets Kanna and Hayari.
- Supreme Chef: It must be seen to be believed — and she has been one since, at the very least, 4th grade.
- Wham Line: After a happy game of mahjong with her mother and uncle, she narrates..."The next day, my mom disappeared."
- What the Hell, Hero?: After she finds out that her uncle sold her mahjong set, she's very unhappy with him.
- Zettai Ryouiki: Not always, but often.
- "Don't you know? A lot of first-class athletes don't like their own sport. Their competitive spirit comes before their personal feelings. And I'm the same way."
The second viewpoint character and member of the mahjong club at Shino's new school in Shimane. Serious and no-nonsense regarding mahjong, she is driven by an all-consuming desire to get back at Hayari for soundly defeating her at her very first mahjong tournament.
- The Ace: Back in grade-school, Kanna was the star of her school — beautiful, smart, athletic and sociable. Then came Hayari.
- Broken Ace: She's fairly talented for a relative newcomer, but is quite bitter and abrasive at first.
- Arch-Enemy: She was obsessed with taking down Hayari to an extent that exceeds any of the other players' attitudes toward their rival, to the point of doodling and writing insults on pictures of her, and turning off the TV whenever she is on-air. Thus the irony when, as shown on several promotional materials, she (and Shino) wind up at the same high-school team as Hayari. Eventually she mellowed up to her.
- Berserk Button: At first, Hayarin seemed to be a walking one for Kanna since she lost to her, until character development kicked in and eventually she mellowed up to her. Another are people who play mahjong for fun.
- Break the Haughty: Her loss to Hayari shattered any delusion of her invincibility, causing her to dedicate herself to defeating her. This is taken even further when she also loses to one of her friends at mahjong, despite said friend being similarly inexperienced.
- Brutal Honesty: This exchange when Kanna recruits her friends to form a mahjong club with the goal of defeating Hayari. It also to some extent counts as a Blunt "Yes", as while Kanna's answer is "no", she says it with the same straightforwardness and lack of tact that comes with a typical Blunt "Yes".Kyouka: "Are we supposed to beat (Hayari), too?"
Kanna: "Nah. You're just here to be my sparring partners."
Kyouka: "Can't you at least try to show some tact?"
- Cluster F-Bomb: Drops one after her defeat against Hayari."I don't need your sympathy! Mahjong is an illogical trash! Argh! Screw this crap! To hell with everything!"
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Has this reaction after being defeated by Hayari.
- Exact Eavesdropping: After storming out of the multipurpose room after losing to Kyouka, she returns, but overhears her friends complaining about how much she has changed since losing to Hayari.
- Hates the Job, Loves the Limelight: The main reason she hated Hayari is because she's in the spotlight, while Kanna is not (yet). It had little to do with mahjong, no matter what she says to the contrary.
- Hidden Depths: She comes off as arrogant and overly competitive at first glance, but her POV chapters show that she is often lonely, feels empty despite winning, and actually knows remorse for her poor social skills.
- Hidden Heart of Gold: It's revealed in her third POV chapter that part of the reason why she initially didn't want to include Shino in her club was out of a desire for none of her friends to feel as though they're left out.
- Insufferable Genius: She's quite talented at almost everything she tries, and does quite well at Mahjong at first, before meeting Hayari.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She's incredibly cold and condescending toward Shino in their first meeting, but as her POV chapters show, it's pretty obvious that much of her attitude stems from the shock of losing to Hayari, and that deep down she is not such a bad girl after all.
- Lightning Bruiser: Her style of mahjong revolves around calling tiles to speed up her hand and win with a variety of yaku leading to high point totals.
- No Social Skills: After angrily lashing out at her friends, she ends up looking up how to apologize online.
- Not So Different: The start of her POV chapters has her reminiscing that, in hindsight, she and Hayari may have more in common than she would like to admit, both being nigh-invincible girls on their respective fields of expertise.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: As she's usually grumpy and abrasive, when she smiles and politely declines Kyouka's offer to hang out together, the latter notices that Kanna's more troubled by the others not showing up in the multipurpose room than she lets on.
- Parental Neglect: Her parents are never explicitly shown, thus Kanna is free to bring her friends on a whim. This may explain her socially stunted personality.
- Perpetual Frowner: She's almost constantly frowning, except for a somewhat smug and vain grin when she thinks Shino's asking who she is.
- Serious Business: Granted, mahjong is already one throughout the series, but she pushes it Up to Eleven. She claims she doesn't see find mahjong fun at all. As such, she doesn't play anyone that she believes is of no use for raising herself up the pro ladder.
- Sore Loser: To say that she took her first loss to Hayari hard is still putting it lightly. She's not happy about losing the second time, although Shino suggests that she actually enjoyed it. She even gets upset after losing against one of her comparatively inexperienced friends in mahjong.
- Tempting Fate: She believes she's the only fourth-grade at the Matsue children's tournament, only to see Hayari soon afterward. She dismisses her as an airhead, and then gets floored.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Following her first loss to Hayari, her friends began complaining (behind her back) about how much Kanna has changed for the worse. She stopped inviting her friends to her house, became more unfriendly, and consumed herself with a single-minded desire to get back at Hayari. Fortunately...
- Took a Level in Kindness: ...She gradually takes some of this, too. Over time she learns to regret some of her more unpleasant actions immediately following her first loss to Hayari. By the time of her second loss she has already transformed from being completely self-absorbed and viewing others as means to an end to wanting to include others and even learning to apologize for her outbursts.
- Tsundere: Has some indications of being this, as she appears concerned about Shino after she runs into Hayari and blushes as she denies being friends with her. Arguably she is also this towards mahjong in general — despite openly claiming to hate it, the very fact that she still trains hard indicates that her loss to Hayari actually helped reignite her competitive spirit.
- Unknown Rival: To Hayarin, at least at first, as Hayarin merely acts puzzled when seeing Kanna's hostile behavior toward her.
- Victory Is Boring: She feels this way since, before getting into mahjong, no one could seriously compete with her at games.
The fourth viewpoint character and a sixth-grader from Shichirui Elementary School, who plays against Shino in her second competitive year (together with Kanna and Kyouka).
- Can't Catch Up: She started playing mahjong later than Shino and her friends, and only gained the motivation to better her game after losing to Shino during the prefectural qualifiers. When Shino, Kanna, and Kyouka come visit the next year however, she soon discovers that all of them (even Kyouka, who's well behind Shino and Kanna in skill) are still better than her.
- This has changed once the main characters entered middle school. Yue busted out Kanna in the city tournament vanguard hanchan.
- Mega Twintails: Of the Hatsune Miku type.
- Otaku: Freely admits to being one, and laments that her mom and dad moving to the countryside made keeping up with the trends in Akihabara impossible.
- Out of Focus: Compared to the other main/viewpoint characters whose viewpoint's solely revolved around them, the last half of chapters in her arc focused on the final of the Matsue Children's Tournament of which she was viewing with the audience, giving focus back to Shino, Kanna, Kayari, and Kyouka.
One of Kanna's friends from the mahjong club, and the fifth viewpoint character.
- Beginner's Luck: Not to the level of Kaori, but in a practice match with Kanna (who has never lost a game to anyone except Hayari, and managed to make it to the finals of the mahjong tournament) she gets a San'ankou when she thought it was a Toi Toi, winning the game. Kanna doesn't take it well.
- Brutal Honesty: Returns the favor to Kanna by saying, with a cheeky grin, that she didn't go to the tournament because she assumed that Kanna wouldn't want Kyouka to see her disgraced and defeated.
- I Lied: It turns out she did watch several hands during the finals.
- Confusion Fu: It is noted that because of how Kyouka plays (gathering pairs and triples) it is hard to determine which tiles she will win off of.
- Took A Level In Bad Ass: She made it to the Finals of the Elementary School tournament during her 6th year of Elementary school; she claims this is because Kanna drilled her so hard.
Shino's uncle and caretaker after the disappearance of her mother.
- Embarrassing Nickname: "Richardson." He'd rather not be reminded of his time in that band.
- Fantasy-Forbidding Father: He believes mahjong will only serve to remind Shino of her Missing Mom. However, seeing her enjoying herself at the tournament results in him changing his mind.
- Oh, Crap!: After seeing that Shino has run off.
- Parental Substitute: To Shino, after her mother, his older sister, disappears.
- Parental Substitutes As People: He admits that he's been busy with his job and looking for his sister that he didn't pay much attention to Shino, and then tells her that he'll support what she wants to do from here on out.
- "I like that look you've got. That sparkling look on your face, when you're playing mahjong."
Shino's mother, who disappeared one day while she was young.
- Missing Mom: She disappears without any explanation, causing Shino to compete in mahjong tournaments in the hopes of getting into the papers, causing her mother to notice her and come back.
An Idol Singer and mahjong player, who is implied to be a large influence on Hayari Mizuhara.
- Big Damn Heroes: Saves Hayari from a man who was about to attack her for calling him out on his behavior.
- Cool Big Sis: Appears to play this role to Hayari.
- Died Standing Up: The narration text at the end of a chapter indicates that this is what happened to her, at the end of her final live concert.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: Gives a final live concert, even as she's dying of cancer.
- Girlish Pigtails: As an Idol Singer.
- Hair Decs: Two hair pins, which she later gives to Hayari.
- Idol Singer: Much like Hayari eventually becomes, but Hayari initially finds this side of her personality obnoxious.
- Ill Girl: She mentions that she has cancer, and is hospitalized in Hayari's second POV chapter.
- Red Baron: "The Tile Girl"
- Revealing Skill: By using the same magic trick with a mahjong tile, she causes Hayari to realize that she's the same person she met while in the hospital.
- Secretly Dying: Her condition is significantly worse than Hayari expects, as it ultimately claims her life, although she does her best to downplay it.
- Tearful Smile: She could only muster one at the end of Chapter 11 when Hayari innocently asks her if she's dying of her illness.
- Verbal Tic: "Mafufu", prompting Hayari's grandmother to suggest "Hayaya" based on her name.
- Wham Line: After giving Hayari her hairpins.Mafuka: I'm getting moved to a hospital in Tokyo, so, you won't be able to see me for a while. Consider it a keepsake.
- Worf Had the Flu: Hayari overhears two men vaguely talking about how Mafuka isn't up to her usual self in terms of mahjong, which is her first hint that something's wrong.