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Chihayafuru Wiki

Shinobu Wakamiya (若宮 詩暢 Wakamiya Shinobu) is the primary antagonist of the Chihayafuru series. She is the reigning Karuta Queen and the youngest Queen in Karuta history.



Shinobu's full body

Shinobu is a very beautiful and slim teenage girl with messy and wavy shoulder-length dark blue hair, full blue eyes that are accentuated by their upturned corners and a beauty mark under her left eye, in which her characteristics are fox-like as she carefully exudes a calm exterior when she plays her "silent karuta", but she 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.

Her first appearance was in her uniform upon meeting Chihaya Ayase at the Omi Jingu. Later, she has been described as someone who is cute but having the fashion sense of a rock as she appeared with her shirt tucked-in with the design of "Snowmaru" which no other character than Chihaya seems to know of in Episode 14.


A chubby Shinobu vs. Yumi Yamamoto

She is shown to have grown fat in her match with Yumi Yamamoto, but she became slim again by the next Omi Jingu tournament the following year.


Shinobu is rather a quiet person who sometimes show her soft side and it appeared when Shinobu was playing with Chihaya Ayase that her opponents are vigorous and determined at first, but she later gives up as 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 where Shinobu stated that she won't let Chihaya take a single card from her in their next match.

When Arata Wataya 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 ice creams 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 apologizing to them internally if she manages to lose them to an opponent. She also has difficulty in relating with other people her age. Chihaya and Arata can be considered her friends, though she she has never called them friends outright, nor has she treated them conventionally as such.  

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. On top of that, she has no useful skills besides karuta, so any work she finds will not last long.



Shinobu as a child

When Shinobu's parents divorced, she and Shiho Wakamiya (Shinobu's mother) went to her grandmothers house where 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]

At the age of 6, her grandmother brought her to Myojo Society and asked Daijiro 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 man than her named Ryusei and she showed a spectacular performance. She was kept away from children her age to prevent her from going easy on opponents for they believe that the more alone she was, the stronger she would 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 as 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] (a school for high class young ladies [11]), but they apparently don't have a karuta club [12].


Chihaya Ayase[]


Shinobu during her 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]

Akihito 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.

Shinobu was 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.

When Chihaya defeated Arata in the team matches in Omi Jingu, Shinobu "avenged" him by defeating her in the individuals matches.

Hisashi Suo[]

Hisashi is the current reigning Meijin, or Master, of competitive karuta. Shinobu and Suo can't really be called friends; he tends to call her often because he wants to have a match against her, while she likes to ride in his tricycle sidecar.

Daijiro Ise[]

The president of Kyoto Myojo Karuta Society, where Shinobu used to play karuta. He used to train her, but his training left an abiding anger in her, and stunted her capacity to relate to others of her age.



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) Akihito 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)
Haruka Inokuma
(Dan 6)
Win +1
57th Queen Title Match
Series (match no. 2)
Haruka Inokuma
(Dan 6)
Lose -4
57th Queen Title Match
Series (match no. 3)
Haruka Inokuma
(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) Midori Tamaru
(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


  • (To Hisashi Suo) "5 consecutive titles... You seem to have all the confidence in the world, but Suo-san... what is it that supports you?" [14]
  • (To Suo) Liar. If it were true, then... where does that strength of yours come from? After all, you're... not a god." [15]
  • (To Suo) What is it, Suo-san? If you're sure that what you have to say is worthy of my time and your enduring my hanging up on you 3 times, then fine, I'll hear you out." [16]
  • (To herself) Honestly, if I lose the Queen Title Match, I will have nothing left..." [17]
  • (To herself) Mother doesn't really feel like family to me anyway... the karuta cards feel more like family to me. The karuta cards are... my only family." [18]
  • (To herself, referring to her kimono) Heavy... having to swing in this, will I even be able to take cards? It's a lot heavier than last year. But... grandmother chose it for me...” [19]
  • (To herself, referring to Haruka Inokuma) 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 I've got, is all!” [20]
  • (To herself) Somehow, this is so irritating. Way too many people are obsessed over the card for my taste...” [21]
  • (To herself) What is going to happen, eh? There is no way that these dear cards won't choose... me.” [22]
  • (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. [23]
  • (To Chihaya Ayase) “Huh? Rivals? Rivals? Don't you think calling me your rival is undertaking too much when you couldn't even overcome the eastern qualifiers?” [24]
  • (To Chihaya, referring to Snowmaru dorayaki) “I want them! And I'm gonna eat them now!” [25]
  • (To herself) “There was no warmth in grandmother's words... and... nor there was disappointment. Nothing... there was nothing. [26]
  • (To herself) “This is strange. Something's wrong. Wrong... Ise-sensei, you're a liar. If I'm standing alone because my strength is really so overwhelming... then shouldn't I be... the strongest right now? [27]
  • (To herself) “I... love my grandmother... far more... than I always thought... but even if so... even if so.. [28]
  • (To the announcer) Announcer-san, we hear it repeated often, don't 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... I'm now looking forward to the next year. [29]
  • 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. [30]
  • (To the karuta cards) I sincerely apologize. Have you sirs and ladies restored your exalted spirits? [31]
  • (To co-worker) Speedy? I daresay my abilities are not lacking when it comes to precision and speed. [32]
  • (To herself) I won't borrow anyone's help. I will live... on my own with the things I like. [33]
  • (To her grandmother) Karuta... I want to make living with karuta, and I can't! But I also can't with anything else. I'll become like my mother. Just a useless burden, living off her grandmother! It's frustrating! And scary! But I still can't love anything other than karuta, and karuta is all I'm good at! [34]
  • (To her grandmother) I... won't lose even to meijin Suo! I'm the strongest player in Japan regardless of gender! [35]
  • (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. [36]
  • (To announcer) It is my dream to always live alongside these little ones... these cards. [37]
  • (To Arata Wataya) 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? I'll crush her. [38]
  • (To Chihaya) Oh dear, I'm so scared, so scared. I'm 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. [39]
  • (To herself) I don't know what kind of unsightly game you played against her, Arata, but I will be sure to avenge you. [40]
  • (To herself, referring to Chihaya) I'm going to avenge Arata... No, wait. Why do I need to avenge him in the first place? Whether Arata wins or loses, it shouldn't 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... [41]
  • (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. [42]
  • (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 can't win against him... I won't forgive some random girl making him lose. My only friend losing to some random girl... [43]
  • (To herself) Those priding themselves on their exceptional hearing are scary, oh so scary. [44]
  • (To Chihaya) Be sure to make good on your promise this time. [45]
  • (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. It's 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? [46]
  • (To herself) Arata is not the same as always. But it doesn't matter. Last year I lost to Arata, and since then... No. For some reason I've been losing to Arata ever since becoming Class A, and every time I recall it, it pisses me off endlessly. [47]
  • (To herself) What's with you, Arata? Don't tell me you... you've been poisoned with the concept of a that incurably? [48]
  • (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. [49]
  • (To herself) How laughable. I went as far as skipping the birdman rally yesterday just to crash Suo-san's 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... There's no way I can change. I'm alone, after all.[50]
  • (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 I'm scared. [51]
  • (To herself) If only someone had appeared and showed me... the beautiful mountain that's standing up ahead![52]
  • (To the interviewer) Se wo hayami... it says, no matter how far apart we may be from one another, no matter how many setbacks we may face, no matter how many times we may fail... our paths will cross again, as time goes on.[53]


  • The name Shinobu means "poetry, poem" (詩) (shi) and "stretch" (暢) (nobu).
    • Although Shinobu made her first appearance in Chapter 21, her full name wasn't revealed until Chapter 24.
  • Shinobu's surname Wakamiya means "young, immature" (若) (waka) and "temple, shrine, palace" (宮) (miya).



Shinobu reaching for a card with her left hand

  • Shinobu is a left-handed person, which makes Chihaya Ayase so engrossed in her first match with the Queen that she didn't even realize this.
  • Shinobu became Queen after defeating Yumi Yamamoto.
    • However, Yumi later returns, but Shinobu defeats her easily even after gaining weight.
  • Shinobu 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.
    • Shinobu's grandmother is a politician, one of Kyoto's city Councillors [54].
  • In Season 2 Episode 22, Shinobu commented on Chihaya's t-shirt, saying it was lame.
    • Chihaya heard the comment and showed off her undershirt - a Mommy Bear Tank Top - thus making Shinobu jealous.
  • Shinobu attends Tsusaki High School (津咲高校 Tsusaki Kōkō), a highly prestigious all-girls' school[55].