Chihayafuru Wiki
Chihayafuru Wiki

Youko Kuzuryu (九頭竜 葉子 Kuzuryū Yōko) is one of the seven professional karuta readers who is the rarest to make an appearance since she has not read in any tournament for ten years.



Not much is revealed about Youko so far except she is known only by her reputation.


After graduating high school, Youko found a job at a telegram company and started playing karuta. She also began the process of arranged marriage at this time. Youko was sensitive to the cold and uncomfortable in the light clothing necessary to play karuta; Kyoko Yamashiro recommended that she become a reader to participate in the game while wearing warm clothing. Kyoko also declared "I love your reading". These words motivated Youko as she pursued this path for the next forty years, even though nobody else ever praised her "odd", "hard to understand" reading. Youko got married, had a daughter and continued to work as well as be a reader.

Ten years before the present day, Youko was about to leave for a karuta match reading when her husband had a stroke. She dedicated himself to his rehabilitation and could not leave his side long enough to read at any more tournaments. Her husband expressed exhaustion at Youko's sarcastic demeanor, so she changed in that respect also. Formally quitting, Youko was surprised when Hisashi Suo came to record her reading. By this time, Youko's daughter had been married over ten years and had a child of her own. In the tenth year, Youko's husband finally passed away.

In the present day, as Youko reads for the third queen match between Shinobu Wakamiya and Chihaya Ayase, she is at least 68 years old.


Karuta Style[]


Hisashi Suo[]

Suo is the current reigning Meijin where he said he has a voice sample of Youko's reading.


  • The name Youko means "leaf" (葉) (you) and "child" (子) (ko).
  • Youko's surname Kuzuryuu means "nine-headed dragon" (九頭龍).
    • Kuzuryuu (lit. nine-headed dragon) itself is a deity that appears in folklore and legends in various parts of Japan.
      • Kuzuryuu comes comes from Kuzuryuu Shrine (九頭龍神社) or Hakone Shrine (箱根神社) located on Hakone, Ashigarashimo District, Kanagawa Prefecture.