Character tropes for Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu. Beware of unmarked spoilers.
Note: Please be careful of tense when editing. A lot of the plot is in the past.
An ex-con who is inspired by seeing Yakumo the 8th perform at his prison, and becomes his apprentice as soon as he leaves jail. He has a similar rakugo style to Sukeroku.
- Babies Ever After: In addition to his not-blood-related son, he and Konatsu conceive a daughter together.
- Friend to All Children: The guy really has a way with kids, who love him as much as he loves them. Especially evident when playing with his own or doing rakugo for a kindergarten class.
- Cute Little Fangs: Exaggerated with his smile of shark-like pointy teeth which is endearing rather than scary.
- Expository Hairstyle Change: He goes from having a head full of hair to having it down to a crew cut as he makes progress as a rakugo artist. It remains that way for the rest of his life as we see it.
- Genki Guy: Always overflowing with enthusiasm and energy.
- Give the Baby a Father: Volunteers to become the adoptive father of Konatsu's baby, whose father remains unknown until season 2.
- Happily Married: Gets married to Konatsu after he offers to help raise her son. Although not clear if she has romantic feelings for him at first, the two become genuinely happy with each other.
- Heroes Want Redheads: The second protagonist of the series who helps revive rakugo, and eventually pursues Konatsu who has a head full of rich red hair.
- Idiot Hero: A kind person who always tries to help people, but he's not the brightest bulb on the tree and tends not to look before he leaps.
- The Klutz: Becomes clumsy when nervous.
- Legacy Character: He is the man who carries both the Yakumo and Sukeroku styles; he's the 9th Yakumo, and technically, the 3rd Sukeroku.
- Motor Mouth: Talks a mile a minute, and his storytelling style is very garrulous.
- Nice Guy: Don't let that criminal record fool you. He's a sweet guy, especially toward Konatsu.
- Rank Up: Gradually moves up in ranking as a rakugo artist. He becomes the 9th Yakumo by the end of the story.
- Reformed Criminal: After taking the fall for his crime boss and serving the time, he leaves that life behind for rakugo. In the second season his criminal past comes back to haunt his career.
- Stage Name: Given the stage name Yotaro by Yakumo 8th.
- Tattooed Crook: Has a huge tattoo of a carp on his back from when he was a gang member, which becomes a big stigma for him when people start gossiping about his past. Eventually he decides to embrace it by getting it completed.
A rakugo master who was originally a dancer, but ruined his leg in an accident so he has to use a cane. This damaged leg also made his mother give him to Yakumo the 7th, but did not stop him from anything else.
His rakugo style was flawless in execution but had no feeling...at least initially.
- Affectionate Nickname: Was affectionately called "Bon" (young master) by Sukeroku and "Kiku" by his master. Love interest Miyokichi too called him Kiku-san.
- Ambiguously Bi: He's seen being romantically linked to multiple girls, including Miyokichi. However, his mannerisms, his looks, and his obviously very strong attraction and connection to Sukeroku suggest he may also like men (or Sukeroku, at least), as well as specifically Japanese-coded romantic symbolism (such as raising his pinky finger when talking about him); the series is never outright explicit about the nature of his feelings, leaving one to speculate at best. Their behavior while living together resembled one of a beleaguered wife (Kiku) sustaining her womanizing husband (Sukeroku).
- Bishōnen: Unlike the manly Sukeroku, young Kikuhiko was elegantly androgynous and thus attractive to ladies. It didn't help that he had to wear a waiter's outfit while working at a restaurant, or that he played a role in Benten Kozo where a man disguised as a woman. Even as an old man he's still very pretty.
- Chaste Hero: Even while ladies try to woo him, he's clueless.
- Character Development: Initially prickly and cold to everyone (and Vitriolic Best Buds with Shin), but eventually opens up.
- Defrosting Ice King: Aloof to a fault at first, he loosens up as part of the Character Development.
- Died Happily Ever After: When he finally passes on, he's able to meet up with Shin and Miyokichi and performs a rakugo sequence for his grandson. Though it could all be symbolic, he's ultimately able to pass on with no regrets and has a good sendoff.
- Dragged into Drag: In a play the rakugo team perform, he plays a man who's disguised as a woman, to the delight of Miyokichi.
- Grumpy Old Man: In the story's present day, he's an old man and not usually in a good mood.
- He-Man Woman Hater: Due to being a Chaste Hero, his view of women has never really been positive (for example he shows great distaste when it's first mentioned in the series that Konatsu wants to be a rakugo artist).
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: For majority of his rakugo training and early rakugo career, he was constantly with Sukeroku both at work and in their spare time. For all the vices he had about him, Kiku really did treasure his company and was very close to him.
- Icy Grey Eyes: He has grey eyes, emphasizing his cold personality.
- I Love You Because I Can't Control You: Miyo is initially attracted to him because he showed no interest in her.
- It's All My Fault: Blames himself for the death of Sukeroku and Miyokichi as both fell out of the window, but it all happened after Miyokichi stabbed Sukeroku (her lingering feelings for Kikuhiko might have been involved)...
- Legacy Character: Gains the name "Yakumo Yurakutei".
- My Greatest Failure: Even years after it happened, he still considers the deaths of Sukeroku and Miyokichi one of the worst things he's ever done.
- Near-Death Experience: On stage, he has a vision of the ghost of Miyokichi and subsequently has a heart attack. He survives this however.
- Not So Stoic: While he's a stiff old man, Yotaro, Konatsu and later Shinnosuke demonstrate that the old coot is not made of iron.
- Parental Abandonment: Was willingly given away by his mother to Yakumo the 7th to train in rakugo since he could no longer dance.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The sensitive to Sukeroku's manly. Sukeroku, while poor (due to wasting it on drinks, cigarettes and cab fees), mooches off Kikuhiko and wants to woo ladies while Kikuhiko works for both of them and doesn't woo ladies.
- Silver Fox: He aged pretty decently, only getting a few wrinkles here and there, and is still doing his suggestive rakugo routines in his old age.
- Survivor Guilt: He survived the messy incident involving him, Sukeroku and Miyokichi, but their deaths continue to haunt him.
- The Resenter: Resented Sukeroku for being more talented than him at rakugo.
- Unreliable Narrator: Withholds information that becomes known to the audience as the show progresses.
Sukeroku's tomboyish daughter. She does not have the smoothest relationship with Yakumo and idolises her father's rakugo, but cannot pursue it due to her gender.
- Adorkable: Whenever Rakugo is involved, especially her father's Sukeroku style. This is implied to be one of the reasons she accepts Yotaro into the Yakumo apprenticeship, and eventually falls in love with him, as he too adores Sukeroku.
- Child of Two Worlds: She's the consummate Rakugo daughter, having been raised by both Yakumo and Sukeroku.
- Daddy's Girl: For both Sukeroku and Yakumo, the latter, much to her chagrin.
- Dark and Troubled Past: She witnessed her parents' death but doesn't remember what exactly had happened, and with good reason... The truth is Konatsu was the cause of their death as she unknowingly pushed her mother out of the window and Sukeroku died trying to save her, with Kiku just barely managing to catch Konatsu from falling as well. She nevertheless is still bothered by their deaths (Sukeroku's especially) which greatly affected her life with Kiku.
- Happily Married: Gets married to Yotaro after he offers to help raise her son. Although not clear if she has romantic feelings for him at first, the two become genuinely happy with each other.
- Has Two Mommies: Fathers, in her case. For a little while anyway, after Kiku came along, he hung around with her and Sukeroku and helped take care of her. After Sukeroku died, she was raised by Yakumo and Matsuda.
- Like Mother, Like Daughter: Just like Miyokichi, she couldn't help falling in love with Yakumo (or so the series implies), despite her prickly relationship with him.
- Likes Older Men: She fell for Yotaro's boss and Kiku possibly at one point, both men that have large age gaps with her.
- Self-Made Orphan: When her father was wounded by her mother, she accidentally killed her mother by pushing her out the window and her father too, indirectly, when he tried unsuccessfully to save her.
- Passing the Torch: She is finally accepted as one of Kiku's rakugo apprentices after episode 22.
- Parental Abandonment: Both her parents died when she was still a child.
- Precocious Crush: She is implied to have had one on Kiku growing up. She says that the feeling faded at some point, but her feelings for Kiku do have a part in her complicated relationship with him.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Surrounded by a lot of dodgy men yet eventually marries the kind-hearted Yotaro.
- Tomboy: She gets introduced as a tomboyish girl, with traits including smoking and a feisty personality. A special chapter of her growing up under Kiku's care shows she frequently got into fights and wanted to join the yakuza.
- Tsundere: Most obvious in episode 1, where she throws her fan at Yotaro after he gives her praise that reminds her of her father.
A poor boy/man who was almost always in Japanese-style clothes. Died in an accident, which causes Konatsu and Yakumo the 8th to be on bad terms.
He was committed to things if they interested him and it could easily be felt in the way he told his rakugo, as he was animated and never hesitant.
- The Ace: Although being a bit rough technique-wise, he was an instant hit at rakugo due to his charisma and ability to entertain people.
- The Alcoholic: He really liked booze, and was frequently seen drunk.
- Affectionate Nickname: Got called "Hatsuta" by his master and Shin-san by Kiku.
- Barred from the Afterlife: When Kiku runs into him after his death, Shin is found to be stuck in purgatory because he hasn't got money for crossing the river Sanzu that you receive for living a full life.
- Doomed by Canon: Episode 1 frequently mentions the deceased Sukeroku's legacy and how Konatsu resents Kiku for supposedly killing him, so when the flashback begins it's already know he died eventually.
- The Casanova: Had enough charm to land at least one lady, and must have wooed a lot more before Konatsu was conceived.
- Female Gaze: It's a bit more subtle than the norm, but he was frequently a victim of scenes done as female fanservice.
- Legacy Character: Could have inherited the legacy of the name "Yakumo" but did not. Although it turns out that Sukeroku was a legacy name as well.
- Manly Tears: A rather manly guy but nevertheless is shown to cry during emotional moments.
- Perma-Stubble: Sports the unshaven look, which emphasises his manliness compared to Kikuhiko's Bishōnen status.
- Pretty Freeloaders: Once Kikuhiko rented himself a small flat, Sukeroku would often invite ladies over and drink booze in there.
- Posthumous Character: He's seen haunting Yakumo in the present.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The manly to Kikuhiko's sensitive. Sukeroku, while poor (due to wasting it on drinks, cigarettes and cab fees), mooches off Kikuhiko and wants to woo ladies while Kikuhiko works for both of them and doesn't woo ladies.
A former Geisha who Yakumo the 7th and Hatsutaro met in Manchuria during the war. She came to Japan to see the opening of a new theatre, and tried to charm Kikuhiko but to no avail.
- Adaptational Jerkass: In some regards. For example, in the anime, Miyokichi left halfway into Shin's final rakugo performance, but she stayed the whole time in the manga.
- Barred from the Afterlife: Just like Sukeroku, she can't cross the Sanzu because she doesn't have the fee for it. They're still working off the payment by the time Kiku dies.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Easily jealous when Kiku is focused on something else other than her (namely, rakugo) and tries to gets his attention.
- Doomed by Canon: If it wasn't obvious from conversations mentioning her in episode 1, she dies.
- Driven to Suicide: Or something like that... No one really knows if she tried to kill Sukeroku and herself (or Kiku and herself), but in the end they both died falling out of the window. Shin implies in the afterlife that she had tried to threaten him with a knife, as she was known to do that before in a dramatic manner whenever they fought, but that she may have accidentally stumbled and stabbed Shin in the gut.
- Murder-Suicide: Double suicide with Sukeroku or Kiku appeared to be her intention in the fake story at least, but her death ended up taking a different turn.
- The Mistress: Was Yakumo the 7th's mistress while they were in Manchuria.
- Not Good with Rejection: When Kiku broke up with her, she became angry and declared that she'll see him in hell for breaking up with her. Also in episode 11, she was willing to perform a Murder-Suicide with Kiku in response to him not giving into her advances.
- Single-Target Sexuality: It's suggested that even after she ran off with Sukeroku and had a daughter with him, she's still very Kiku-sexual.
A man with a bowl cut who was the master to Kikuhiko and Hatsutaro.
- Doomed by Canon: Yakumo the 8th having his name only means he died and passed it on.
- Legacy Character: Passes his legacy on to Kiku.
- My Greatest Failure: He reveals to Kiku that he forced his dad to name him Yakumo, ostracizing the Sukeroku that eventually taught Rakugo to a young Shin. He considers this the greatest disgrace in his career and personal life.
A man who lived nearby to Yakumo the 7th as well as being that Yakumo's retainer, eventually carrying over to Yakumo the 8th. He seems to be close to the Yakumos in a butler-like way.
- The Ferryman: When Kiku dies, he's the one that rows him over to the afterlife. He fainted while taking care of Kiku on his deathbed, and is shown later to have lived to the ripe age of 95
- Old Retainer: Has faithfully served two Yakumo masters even into his old age. He served three Yakumo and two Sukeroku.
- Papa Wolf: Matsuda regards Konatsu as a daughter. His instinct on learning she's pregnant is to find out who the father is so he can shake the guy down and force him to take responsibility.
- Secret Keeper: Keeps various Yurakutei secrets under wraps.
- Intrepid Reporter: Fond of writing about people and is very nosy when getting information. It's because he's intrepid that he's so knowledgeable on rakugo, to the point where he can dig up Sukeroku's last Shibahama performance as a recording through his contacts.
A nosy reporter who pokes into people's lives occasionally for the sake of rakugo coverage.
- Intrepid Reporter: A nosy reporter, to the point where he sticks his face on to the glass to listen to a conversation between Higuchi and Yakumo 8th. Also involved in the "Yotaro used to be in a gang" scandal.
A Kyoto-style rakugoka who tried to become an apprentice of Yakumo 8th's and failed, leading to him doing TV work alongside his rakugo. Becomes Yotaro's friend prior to season 2.
Konatsu's child, although the identity of his biological father can only be speculated at best. Grows up to love rakugo thanks to his dad Yotaro and his grandfather figure Yakumo.
- Bishounen: As a grown up, he's slim and has a pretty face, not unlike Yakumo in his youth. He was also a gorgeous and popular boy as a child.
- Cheerful Child: Downplayed, but he's usually seen as a happy child.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Related to his parenthood. Kiku meets with the Yakuza boss, disclosing a favor between them. Initially, it's implied that it was related to the boss being Shinnosuke's progenitor and ceding parenthood to Yotaro, but it's later implied that the favor consisted of the boss adjudicating himself with the parenthood for Kiku's sake, as Shinnosuke is implied to be Kiku's child.
- Happily Adopted: No matter what parentage he has, he ends up loving being raised by Yotaro and comes to see him as his father for all intents and purposes.
- Innocent Prodigy: Picks up rakugo skills pretty easily thanks to Yotaro and Yakumo's influence, but his emotional maturity still matches his age. This comes to the fore when he's performing Jugem. Lampshaded by his adoptive dad.
- Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: The entire drama of his sub arc is his paternal lineage, believed to be the Yakuza boss as stated by Konatsu but ultimately implied to be Kiku.
- Shared Family Quirks: When Shin is shown as an adult, he's inherited his mother's smoking habits.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: As an adult, Shinnosuke is much more stoic and aloof than when he was as a child. His younger sister Koyuki, on the other hand, is very energetic and friendly; this further implies that he is indeed Kiku's child.
Real name unknown. A gangster who took care of Yotaro when he was younger.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Whether he's called "Mr. Boss Man" (Yakumo) or simply "boss" (Yotaro), his actual name hasn't been revealed.