- List of The Story of Saiunkoku characters
The Hong clan
The Hong clan is the second most powerful clan in the fictional country of Saiunkoku.[n 1] The clan's specialties are growing tangerines and creating special "seven-colored" ink. Their clan seal bears the emblems of a paulownia, bamboo, phoenix, and kirin.
Shūrei Hong (紅 秀麗 Hong Shūrei ) is the daughter and only child of Shōka Hong. She is sixteen years old when the story begins. As a descendant of the direct line, she has the title hime, which means 'Princess' or 'Lady'. Despite the high social status of her family, Shūrei grew up in relatively impoverished circumstances. Her father's job brought little income, and much of the wealth of their family home was given to the needy during the devastating war for the imperial succession eight years ago. Without domestic servants, Shūrei became adept at household chores such as needlework, cooking and cleaning, traits unusual in a lady of her theoretical rank. She has also held a number of odd jobs to earn money, such as professional erhu player, accountant at Kōchō's brothel in the Red Light District, and teacher at the local temple.
In the anime adaptation, she is voiced by Hōko Kuwashima.
(Seien Shi)Seiran Si
Seiran Si (茈 静蘭 Si Seiran ) is the sole remaining retainer in the personal household of Shōka Hong, who took him in thirteen years ago. Since then, Seiran has repaid that kindness by protecting Shōka's family, performing repairs on the house, and taking small outside jobs to earn money. He is a very skilled fighter and swordsman, and despite his amiable disposition, can be ruthless to those who endanger those he loves. He has known Shūrei since her childhood and is very protective of her, but prefers to watch and help from the shadows.he is also the exiled prince and Ryuki's second older brother.
He is voiced by Hikaru Midorikawa.
Shōka Hong (紅 邵可 Hong Shōka ) is Shūrei's father, Seiran's adoptive father and the oldest son of the Hong clan. After declining the clan leadership, he was expelled from the main estates. He then moved to the capital where his younger brother, Reishin, got him a respectable but low-paying job as the custodian of the Imperial Archives. After Seien was exiled from the palace, Ryūki often visited Shōka when he was young because Shōka was one of the few people who was kind to him.
On the surface, Shōka simply seems to be a gentle librarian who brews awful tea; his inability to do anything in the kitchen without causing major destruction to the house is a source of endless frustration for Shūrei. Despite his mild-mannered exterior, Shōka is also a deadly assassin known as The Black Wolf, though the latter identity is secret from everyone, including Shūrei, except for Advisor Sho, Shusui, and Reishin. In the service of the previous Emperor, he once led the Wolves of the Wind, a group of expert assassins, but has since disbanded them. Shōka first met his wife when sent to kill her, but fell in love with her instead; he was also assigned to secretly protect Seien in exile.
In the anime adaptation, he is voiced by Shūichi Ikeda.
Shokun was the mother of Shūrei, adoptive mother of Seiran, and wife of Shōka. She was known as a legendary beauty with a kind heart to match. She taught Shūrei how to make steamed buns, discovering Shūrei was a much better cook than she was; how to pick tangerines from the trees, and how to behave like a lady. She also gave the name 'Seiran' to the boy she and Shōka found lying in the snow when the family traveled to Kiyō. The name meant 'Silent Orchid', and was given because the boy that they found never said a word and was presumed to be a mute. She grew very close to both Shūrei and Seiran, and encouraged Seiran to smile all the time to make Shūrei happy.
Shokun is later revealed as the Rose Princess (薔薇姫 Bara-Hime) of the Hyō family. She had the ability to cure any illness and many men sought her hand in marriage. Her beauty even mesmerized the leader of the Hyō family, Riō, who locked her from the world. She was considered a threat by the previous Emperor and was targeted for assassination by a woman called The Black Wolf, who failed and died in the attempt. The Emperor appointed a new Black Wolf, nicknamed Kaito: Shōka Hong, whose first meeting with the Rose Princess made him fall madly in love, abandon his mission, and carry her away. After some time and difficulty, she returned his feelings. Later, she lost her powers of healing but retained the power to make one wish come true, which she used to make Shūrei healthier at the cost of her own life.
In the anime adaptation, she is voiced by Mie Sonozaki .
Kōyū Ri (李 絳攸 Ri Kōyū ) holds the rank of Vice-Secretary of the Department of Civil Administration, serving beneath Reishin Hong, who is also his foster father.
As the series begins, Kōyū is assigned directly to the Emperor, a position that infuriates him because the wandering Emperor never carries out his duties and can rarely even be found. After agreeing to be tutored by Kōyū and assuming a more active role in government, Ryūki offers Kōyū an Iris flower as sign of trust. Kōyū openly accepts the flower as a token of loyalty and his belief in Ryūki as a worthy Emperor.
Despite his reputation as a genius, Kōyū is notorious for having no sense of direction, constantly getting lost in the Imperial Palace in as little as thirty steps, and unable to get anywhere without the assistance of others. He has a close relationship with Shūei Ran, though he loudly denies being the latter's friend. He loses his temper with very little prodding (often from Shūei, who constantly eggs him on) and gets tongue-tied speaking in official functions with large crowds.
In the 13th novel, Kōyū is imprisoned under accusation of abusing his powers as Vice Chamberlain of the Department of Civil Administration (because Reishin never did any work). He loses this position but remains an official.
In the anime adaptation, he is voiced by Nobuyuki Hiyama.
Reishin Hong (紅 黎深 Hong Reishin ) is in charge of the Department of Civil Administration, which makes him Kōyū's bureaucratic superior as well as adoptive father. He finished second in the Imperial Exams, earning the title of Bougen. He is a good friend of his fellow official Kijin Kou, many of whose strange masks he makes despite being one of the few people who can withstand the sight of Kijin's bare face. Kijin describes him as being crafty and coldhearted, but Reishin usually seems very cheerful, easy-going, and even childish.
He often engages in devious and secretive behavior, especially regarding his family. He is the only member of the Hong clan who knows that Shōka is The Black Wolf. After Shōka left the main estates nearly fifteen years ago, Reishin became the head of the Hong clan, but most outsiders have been led to believe that the clan leadership belongs to Kurō Hong, their youngest brother. Despite Shōka's public estrangment from their clan, in private Reishin remains very respectful to his older brother, whom he has been trying to protect since learning Seiran's previous identity as the exiled prince Seien.
Reishin is overprotective of Shūrei, although he has gone to great lengths to keep her from learning about their kinship for fear that she might blame him for supplanting her father. He is reluctant to let her marry anyone else, and has even said that he wished he could marry her himself until Shōka pointed out that Reishin is already married. He secretly sponsors Shūrei to take the Official Exams; afterward, he is accused of manipulating the results and is sentenced to house arrest, outraging the Hong clan into a work stoppage that shuts down half of Saiunkoku. The charges are dropped after the arrest of the real criminal, who started the rumors and was involved in illegal activities. In the manga some of Reishin's hidden past was revealed, that to him his brother Shōka and his niece Shūrei mean everything to him in this world.
The books mention that Reishin plays the biwa, as do his brothers. In the 13th novel, Reishin is finally exposed to Shūrei as her uncle from her investigations on Kōyū's behalf; stripped from his position as the Chamberlain of the Department of Civil Administration, Reishin plans to return to Hong province.
In the anime adaptation, he is voiced by Mitsuaki Madono.
Hong Yuri-hime (百合姫) is Reishin's wife. She has only appeared in the gaiden and the 13th novel, which have not been animated. Her age lies somewhere in the five-year gap between Shōka and Reishin.
Her mother was Gyokukan, the paternal great-aunt of Shōka, Reishin, and Kurō. Gyokukan had been a celebrated beauty in the imperial capital, but returned to Hong province where Yuri-hime was disguised for many years as a servant boy named Yuzuriha. Reishin knew that Yuri-hime was really a girl and fell in love with her while they were both children; he continued to treat her rudely, but she was the only person he allowed to touch and cut his hair.
When Reishin decided to leave Hong province to follow Shōka and take the Imperial Exams, Yuri-hime was the only person he took with him. After bringing Kōyū into their family, she warned the boy from trying to escape, supposedly because the Hong manor was haunted. To make him believe this, she arranged for the furniture to be rearranged all the time so that he would always become lost, which eventually resulted in his lacking any sense of direction.
Yuri-hime had been intended as Shōka's bride, but Shōka showed no interest in her and broke off the engagement. She won the interest of Kijin Kou by being one of the few people who didn't faint on seeing his real face, which made him like her and ask her out on a date (via message to Reishin); at first she was uninterested, but Reishin persuaded her to go and then spied on them with the reluctant Yūshun Tei.
Kōyū wanted Yuri-hime to marry Reishin and become his mother; in turn, she was very fond of Kōyū and thought of him as her own child. Kurō, whom she had helped to raise from childhood, sent her a letter encouraging her to marry Reishin, but the letter became blurred and Yuri-hime mistook the message as 'please find Reishin a bride', so she joined Kogarou to find an ideal wife for him. Reishin ransomed Yuri-hime from Kogarou and registered her as his wife while she was only half-conscious.
Afterward, she often traveled away from their home to perform Reishin's duties as head of the Hong clan. Kōyū thought that Yuri-hime was an ideal partner for Reishin but that Reishin was not an ideal partner for her (since Reishin rarely shows his likes and dislikes), and he worried that Yuri-hime was unhappy. In response, Yuri-hime said that she was happy and would never leave them. Reishin has told her that she is the only person for whom he will play the biwa, and that since they already had a son (Kōyū), they needn't have more children.
Unknown to most, she is the younger half-sister of the previous Emperor, Shi Senka, thus the title 'hime' or princess. She bears a strong resemblance to both Senka and Ryūki, which confused Seiran when he first met her a long time ago in the Hong residence. Her mother, Gyokukan, took Yuri-hime away to Hong province to avoid the traditional fate of the princesses of the Shi family, who were traditionally sent away to the Hyō clan. Gyokukan was later assassinated by Shōka on his first mission. Before Yuri-hime married Reishin, she managed to slip into the Palace and meet Senka, who expected her to kill him. When she didn't, Senka asked her to stay in the Inner Palace and care for Ryūki, but at that moment Reishin burst in and dragged Yuri-hime back home.
She does not appear in the story until the 13th novel, when the news of Kōyū's imprisonment makes her return to Kiyo and meet Shūrei and Ensei. She later reveals her identity to Shūrei as her aunt when visiting Kōyū in jail. She plays biwa to Kōyū, dissolving the trance cast by the Hyō clan. After her husband and child are stripped from their positions, many officials from the Hong clan decide to withdraw in sympathy. Reishin wants to return to Hong province, but to his dismay, Yuri-hime decides to remain in Kiyou with her son.
Kurō Hong (紅 玖琅 Hong Kurō ), the youngest brother of Shōka and Reishin, acts as the proxy head of the Hong clan and many outsiders believe him to be the true leader. A man of traditions and family loyalty, Kurō urged their father to pass over Shōka (whom he viewed as useless) in favor of Reishin as the next clan leader. This did not prevent Kurō from avenging his despised brother's honor some years later, when Shokun's death stunned Shōka too much to notice when his servants stole all of his valuables. The proxy head issued orders to find the thieves and show them the tortures of Hell. Their severed ears and eyes were sent to their families to warn them against any such future behavior towards a member of the Hong family.
Unbeknownst to Shūrei, Kurō comes to the capital to extend the full protection of the Hong clan when she embarks on the path to become an Imperial official. When Reishin is accused of manipulating the exam results on her behalf, Kurō protests by ordering the Hong work stoppage that brings half of the country to a halt. Kurō also intervenes on Shūrei's behalf when she is appointed as the co-governor of Sa province; the travel pass for the journey bears the clan crest of Kijin Kou, as the minister who issues the pass, but in the special "seven-colored" ink that can only be made by the Hong clan and marks her as a person of importance to them.
Kurō intends Shūrei and Kōyū to marry one another to lead the clan in the future. Despite his apparently rigid and formal attitude, he cares greatly for the well-being of his family. He respects his sister-in-law, Yuri-hime, who helped raise him and had considered that Kurō would have been more suitable to the life of an imperial administrator rather than Reishin.
In the anime adaptation, he is voiced by Ryōtarō Okiayu.
The Shi clan
The imperial clan of Saiunkoku.
Shi Ryūki (紫 劉輝) is the reigning emperor of Saiunkoku, Ryūki Shi is nineteen years old when the story begins. As the youngest of the previous Emperor's six sons, each from a different mother, he had been an unlikely candidate to ascend to the throne. In childhood, Ryūki was badly treated by his mother and most of his half-brothers, who would beat him and lock him in a storage house for days in a row . Seien was the only member of the family who showed kindness to him. Ryūki often took refuge in the garden or the imperial archives; in the latter location, he first encountered Shōka Hong, who tutored the young prince and encouraged War General Sou-Taifu to teach him swordsmanship.
Ryūki ultimately rose to the throne due to his father's dying wish, after Seien was exiled for treason and the other four princes killed each other over the succession. Secretly hoping for many years that Seien would return and take his place as Emperor, Ryūki avoided any involvement in politics or government, wandering the palace for hours so no one would be able to find him. He even spread rumours that he preferred the company of men to fuel speculation he could not produce an heir.
His avoidance of responsibility comes to an end when he meets Shūrei, who tells him of her dreams of making a better life for the nation's people. Charmed by her earnest and nurturing personality, he decides to undertake the task of becoming a respectable Emperor. After she returns home, he passes a law allowing women to take the official exams, which brings Shūrei back to the palace and enables her to pursue her dreams.
Ryūki's devotion to Shūrei reveals a capacity for subterfuge and cunning that may have helped him survive the fight for the succession. He initially pretends ignorance of government in order to study in her company. Although he has a very real fear of darkness and solitude because of his childhood experiences, he also uses that fear as an excuse to sleep in her room at the palace. When someone tries to poison Shūrei, Ryūki conceals the plot from her and even takes the poison in her place, as part of his plan to identify the culprit.
Ryūki's romantic pursuit of Shūrei has been complicated by his lack of experience in courting women, as well as Shūrei's initial belief that he was homosexual and therefore more interested in Seiran. Even after discovering Seiran's true identity, Ryūki harbors some jealousy that Seiran spends more time with Shūrei and is a closer confidant of hers. After she leaves the palace, Ryūki sends her many absurd gifts such as boiled eggs, blocks of ice, and even a straw voodoo doll. Before sending Shūrei to Sa province as co-governor, Ryūki privately tells her that she is the only woman he wants to marry. In the anime television series, Ryūki is voiced by Tomokazu Seki
Senka Shi(紫戩華),The previous Emperor of Saiunkoku, and father to Ryūki, Seiran, and the other four princes. During his lifetime, he loved only one woman but was unable to marry her. For political reasons, he ended up with six simultaneous concubines, each of whom bore him a son but whom he never visited again. The Sixth Consort was especially bitter about this abandonment and took out her anger on her son, Ryūki.
Senka fell sick in his youth, causing chaos in the royal court, and died almost a decade later. During his reign, he used the Wolves of the Wind to assassinate some of the lesser noble clans for their misdeeds, but allowed the families of the Eight Colored Clans to remain unpunished for much worse crimes. He also came up with the Official Exam system to minimize the nobles' political influence and admit other social classes to participate in the government. For that reason, he was deeply disliked by the survivors of the minor noble families, but also highly respected and feared.
Three men accompanied Senka from the start of his coronation: Yosei Sho-Taishi (Advisor Sho), Sou-Taifu, and Enjun Sa-Taiho, all of whom bore the title of 'Choutei Sanshi' (three royal advisors) and later serve Ryūki as his designated successor.
The novels reveal that Senka died from protecting his second son, Seien, from a deadly curse sent by the Hyō clan and Lady Suzuran. Before his illness, he entrusted both Ryūki and Seien to Shōka's protection.
The Four Shi Princes
Sons of Senka, the previous Emperor of Saiunkoku. They were born from four different mothers and competed fiercely against each other, agreeing only in wanting to eliminate Seien (the most talented of all six princes) and bully Ryūki (though they didn't dare touch him whenever Seien was around). After Seien's exile and their father's grave illness, the brothers' fight for the throne caused civil war in Saiunkoku, ending only with Advisor Sho's intervention. The four princes were executed and some of their followers were exiled. Ironically, it was their bullied youngest brother, Ryūki, who survived them all and was crowned as Emperor.
The Ran clan
The most powerful clan in Saiunkoku, directly below that of the royal family. Their clan seal is described as "Twin Dragon Lotus Spring"[双龍蓮泉]. The specialty of the clan is producing salt from the water margins of Ran province. The Shiba are their main clan of retainers.
Ran Shūei (藍 楸瑛) , Seiyū - Toshiyuki Morikawa
The fourth oldest of the five sons of the Ran family, Shūei Ran is the General of the Shaorin army. He has legendary fighting skills thanks to his training by the Shiba clan, retainers of the Ran clan who excel in swordsmanship; the only opponents who can beat him at full strength are Koku-Daishogun and Haku-Daishogun. He recognizes Seiran's past identity from his swordfighting techniques, and the novels call him and Seiran the greatest military officials of Ryūki's reign as Emperor.
Near the beginning of Ryūki's reign, Shūei briefly worked as a civil official until being disappointed that the new Emperor wasn't interested in politics and kept disappearing. Switching from the civil service to the military, Shūei joined the Left Uringun army and rose to the position of Shogun.
Usually calm himself, Shūei likes to tease others, and claims to be Kōyū Ri's best friend though Kōyū keeps denying it. Shūei enjoys provoking Kōyū by mentioning the latter's woman-hating ideals and lack of direction. Unlike Kōyū, Shūei often mentions how nice it is to spend time with women; he was surrounded by a horde of women after winning the fighting tournament, and often flirts and sleeps around with the palace ladies. He does this in the hope of attracting the attention of Shusui, who has been irritated by his behavior into saying that he treats the Imperial Harem like the Red Light District (where Shūei is a regular visitor of Kochō). When Shusui helped him once in the past, it was love at first sight for him, but Shusui does not even remember the meeting. Seiran calls him 'saifu #1' (wallet #1) since he pays for the ingredients every time he dines at Shūrei's house.
Shūei and Kōyū met during the Imperial Exams, in which Shūei took the second highest honor as Bōugen (the same title that his younger brother later earned). The two men become reacquainted after being assigned by his superior (Koku-Daishogun) as respectively the personal guard and advisor to Ryūki—who is nowhere to be found, leaving Shūei and Kōyū in the library for a month of boredom.
In the novel and drama CD, Shūei's brother(s) Setsuna Ran sent him to Kiyou as a child to assist one of the princes (later identified as Prince Seien). He encountered the young prince under attack in an alley and tried to help him, but Shūei's swordfighting skills weren't strong enough to defeat the assassins, and Seien told him that he was weak and useless. Seien even defeated Shūei in a sword battle in front of Setsuna Ran and Emperor Senka. Humiliated, Shūei retreated back to Ran province and trained hard with his childhood best friend Jin Shiba. However, by the time Shūei returned to the capital, the prince who mocked him had been banished for treason; his elder brothers ordered him to track down Prince Seien's whereabouts, but he was unable to do so.
Along with Kōyū, Shūei receives and accepts a flower (a purple iris which he later engraves on his sword) from Ryūki, a symbol of steadfast trust that establishes the young emperor's reign with the support of the top two rising officials of the palace. Over time, Shūei's loyalties become increasingly torn between the emperor and the Ran clan, causing him to return the iris sword to Ryūki and retire to Ran province. After being banished by the Ran clan, he returns to Ryūki, convinced that the Emperor accepts his responsibilities and wants Shūei's support for his own merits, not just for his family connections.
Ran Ryūren (藍 龍蓮) , Seiyū - Hidenobu Kiuchi
He is eighteen years old when the story begins. Although the youngest of the five Ran brothers, he has been marked as the genius of their generation by the name "Ryūren", which he received at age four and is only bestowed by the clan on members of great talent
A lover of art and nature, Ryūren is also highly skilled in martial arts. His genius is matched only by his eccentricity. He plays the bamboo flute in a cacophonic style at all hours of day and night that can alter people's mental health and cause birds to fall from the sky. (In the novels, Ryūren is actually very good at playing other musical instruments, so it surprised his brothers that he chose to play the flute instead.) He also favors strange, flashy clothing that may include vegetables as fashion accessories, and his nickname for Shūei is "Silly Older Brother #4". He vexes Shūrei by asking her to cook random food items at whim and by offering her a position as his personal cook.
He earned the nickname ‘Ryuuteki tobaku-shi’ (龍笛賭博師/dragon flute gambling master) while wandering the countryside and playing cards, which his family allowed on the condition that Ryūren would take one of the top three places in the Official Exams. When he comes to the Imperial capital just before the exams, his dorm becomes known as the "Cursed 13th Building" because instead of studying Ryūren prefers to play his flute, driving other examinees insane. Seven officials resign from the Examination Board after having incomprehensible conversations with him. The only person who can cope with his behavior is Shūrei, whom he promptly dubs his "Soul Friend #1". Eigetsu becomes his "Soul Friend #2", and Yogetsu is eventually counted as "Soul Friend #2.5".
Ryūren takes the Official Exams with Shūrei and Eigetsu and passes with the second highest score, taking the "Bougen" spot, but then skips out on the Shinshi Ceremony that inducts the examinees as new officials. He claims that the wind called to him to start a new voyage, i.e. resume wandering because he has now fulfilled his promise to excel in the exams.
When Ryūren wanders back to the capital, Ryūki gives him the important task of delivering the governor's seal to Shūrei and Eigetsu in Sa province. Shūrei tells Ryūren to stay clear of their dangerous political situation, but Ryūren says that the danger is why he wanted to stay involved, and that his "Soul Friends" are the only people who he'll let take advantage of him.
Ryūren claims to have no interest in becoming an Imperial official or the head of the Ran clan. However, in season 2, Kurō Hong seriously weighs a proposal from the Ran clan to marry Ryūren to Shūrei.
The three oldest Ran brothers live in the water stronghold of Ran province and act as a single entity to lead the Ran clan. Ryūki refers to them as the 'sleeping dragons'.
Episode 23 of Season 2 reveals them as triplets. They bear the collective name "Setsuna"(雪那) but also have individual names: 'Yuki' (snow), 'Tsuki' (moon), and 'Hana' (flower). In Saiunkoku, multiple births were usually seen as bad luck, causing such infants to be killed at birth, but their father spared their lives and raised them to become indistinguishable from one another. They were taught by Shōka Hong in their childhood and grew close to him, but they still don't get along with Reishin.
Fourteen years before the story begins, the triplets lived in the capital and served as a government official (in their collective identity of "Setsuna Ran"). After Emperor Senka became ill and the succession dispute fell into chaos, the triplets returned to their home and never returned.
When their youngest brother was given the name Ryūren at the age of four, the triplets took it upon themselves to let him grow without the influence of other clans. They assumed the leadership of the Ran clan, causing a stir in the country because for the first time more than one person was appointed as head of one of the Eight Honorable Clans. They sent Shūei to the capital as a young boy, and later allowed Ryūren to wander across the country on the condition that he would take one of the top three places in the Imperial Exams.
Only the oldest triplet, Yuki, is married; although his wife can recognize him, even she can't tell the other two apart. At the end of season 2, they banish Shūei for successfully identifying them individually, because there was a bet. The bet was that if Shūei could tell the difference between the Setsuna than they would disown Shūei which allowed Shūei to return to the emperor`s side.
Gyokuka(玉華),The wife of Yuki Ran. She has a very cheerful, rational mindset. She loves the outdoors and is a great cook.
She first came to the Ran household as a potential concubine for the previous head of the Ran clan, and was excited by the prospect of becoming stepmother of the five Ran brothers. Although not a legendary beauty, she charmed Shūei, but Gyokuka was oblivious to him and fell for Yuki instead, despite the latter's very cold and cynical attitude. Her marriage to the oldest triplet devastated Shūei, causing him to flee from Ran province.
Ran Jyūsan-hime (藍 十三姬) , Seiyū - Megumi Toyoguchi
Jyūsan-hime is the half-sister of the five Ran brothers. She was raised by her mother's family, the Shiba clan, who trained her as both a fighter and as a princess. The literal meaning of her name is "Thirteenth Princess", although she also had the childhood nickname "Hotaru" (firefly).
Setsuna Ran sends Jyūsan-hime to the imperial capital as a potential bride for either Ryūki or Seiran. Because she looks very similar to Shūrei, the two women exchange places to avert an assassination plot from a rogue member of the Shiba clan. After Shusui resigns from the palace, Jyūsan-hime succeeds her as chief lady-in-waiting and is likely to become Ryūki's consort if Shūrei continues to reject his proposal of marriage.
The Kou clan
Kou Kijin (黄 奇人) , Seiyū - Kazuhiro Nakata
The Chief Minister of the Department of Treasury and Taxation is generally called Kijin (奇人 eccentric) Kou; almost no one knows his original personal name, Hōju (凤珠). Many people consider him mysterious and eccentric, especially for his unusual appearance. He leaves his hair loosely flowing instead of binding it up according to custom, and is almost never seen without one of the masks from his wide collection. These masks usually conceal his entire face, although they have a lower panel that can open to uncover his mouth when he eats or drinks in public. (Though in the manga, in chapter 13, he doesn't wear the mask). Many of the masks were made by Reishin Hong, who is one of his few close friends and with whom he often enjoys meaningless arguments.He was dumpped by his wife so he wears a mask to hide his beatuy.
In his official capacity, Kijin tends to be very strict, but he is gracious to Shūrei when she begins to work for him. Although she is disguised as a man, he already knows that she is Reishin's niece but does not identify her to the rest of his department, and he comforts her when she is upset by a violent thunderstorm. When she falls ill, he brings flowers to her: tsubaki (camellias) in the anime, orchids in the novel. He also teases Reishin into a rage by claiming he is thinking about marrying her.
Although his masks are widely assumed to conceal a deformed or hideous appearance, in fact they conceal a face of such dazzling beauty that it can drive people insane. The masks also muffle the true sound of his voice, which is as silky and beautiful as his hair. When he took the imperial examinations as a young man, his otherworldly beauty caused the exam for that year to go down in legend as the "The Nightmare Exam" by mesmerizing everyone else in the hall so much that thirty officials had to be sacked and only two other candidates, Reishin and Yushin, passed the exams at all; he won third place, receiving the title of Tanka.
After proposing to the woman he loved, he received the rejection message "I can't stand beside someone with a face like yours." However, the message had really been sent by Reishin, who loved the same woman and eventually married her. On Reishin's wedding night, Houju changed his name to Kijin (which everyone else already called him, as a nickname meaning "weirdo") and began to wear masks, which he has continued to do by official sanction.
During Reishin Hong's trial for malfeasance, Kijin removes his mask in front of the court to confront a corrupt official, who nearly loses his mind as a result; the other officials are warned to look away but some of them forget to plug their ears, causing them to faint or go into hysterics.
The Heki Clan
Heki Hakumei (碧 珀明) , Seiyū - Atsushi Kisaichi
Passed fourth in the Official Examinations and the one who helped Eigetsu and Shūrei during their harsh training. He admires Kōyū and claims proudly that he even wants to be exactly like him, unaware that his idol has a hair-trigger temper and is unable to find his way over even short distances. Hakumei helped Shūrei identify the forgeries during the counterfeiting incident.
Heki Karin (碧 歌梨) , Seiyū - Yoko Somi
Elder sister of Hakumei and mother of Banri Heki. Her pseudonym is Yukoku Heki. Hakumei stated that their clan protects Yukoku because she may be the next clan leader. She is known by her pseudonym to be the best artist of Ryuki's reign. She is very beautiful but treats most men very rudely, tending to sometimes be quite violet.
Heki Banri (碧 万里) , Seiyū - Ai Horanai
Son of Karin and Hakumei's nephew. He was used during the counterfeiting case by making forgeries of paintings and made him carve counterfeit coins.
The Sa clan
Enjun Sa (Sa-Taiho)
Sa Enjun (茶 鴛洵) , Seiyū - Naoki Bandō
As one of the three Grand Officials of the Palace, Sa Enjun has the title of Taiho. He also has a long history of frustrated ambition, especially since the Sa clan has the least respect among the Eight Colored Clans. He never manages to surpass Advisor Sho, his longtime friend and fellow Grand Official.
Most of Enjun's family lives in Sa province, including his wife and granddaughter. Enjun maintains a small household for himself in the imperial capital; after the orphaned young girl Kōrin collapsed in front of his residence eight years ago, he took her in and found her a position in the palace as a lady-in-waiting.
Enjun offers his granddaughter, Shunki, as a prospective bride for Ryūki; when she is rejected, Enjun plots to overthrow Ryūki and replace him with Seiran as a puppet emperor, knowing Seiran is really the exiled Imperial Prince Seien. Unfortunately, Seiran is unwilling to cooperate, leading to a confrontation in which Seiran fatally wounds Enjun with a thrown dagger just before being knocked unconscious. Enjun's dying moments are tended by Advisor Sho, who discovered the conspiracy. Advisor Sho becomes guardian of Enjun's ashes and seals his friend Enjun's sprit inside the Sa clan signet.
Enjun's actions are eventually revealed as a deliberate campaign to destroy the corrupt and power-hungry members of his own family, whose infighting killed his only son nine years ago. His treason further undermines the prestige and power of the Sa clan, and also encourages the emperor to move against its seat of power in Sa province.
Sa Kōrin (香鈴) , Seiyū - Eri Sendai
Introduced as Shūrei's young lady-in-waiting at the palace, Kōrin retains a deep loyalty to her adoptive father, Enjun Sa. After Ryūki rejects Enjun's granddaughter as an imperial consort while apparently favoring Shūrei, Kōrin tries to poison both Shūrei (to avenge the insult to the Sa clan) and herself (to protect Enjun).
Upon Enjun's death, she is sent to live with his widow Eiki in Sa province. She returns to the capital with Ensei to deliver information about the developing crisis there.
While traveling back to Sa province with Ensei, Seiran, and the two newly-appointed co-governors Eigetsu and Shūrei, Kōrin is mistaken for Shūrei and thus kidnapped and imprisoned with Eigetsu. When her captors Meisho and Sōjun start to doubt her identity, she convinces them that she is indeed Shūrei by accepting their challenge to re-write the poem which made the poet Mei Senshi famous. Kōrin and Eigetsu later escape to Kinka with the help of Sōjun's youngest brother, Kokujun.
Reunited with Ensei, Seiran, and Shūrei in Kinka, Kōrin shows some signs of romantic feelings for Eigetsu, although her manner towards him is a mixture of concern, annoyance, and often exasperation, exacerbated by Yōgetsu.
When Eigetsu's bond to Yōgetsu weakens, he leaves Kōrin by telling her that he loves her and finally kisses her. They reunite after Yōgetsu voluntarily enters a state of hibernation in order for Eigetsu to be with her. After that, she decides to stay in Sa province serving Eigetsu.
Hyō Eiki (縹 英姫) , Seiyū - Mami Horikoshi
As Enjun's consort, Eiki remained in Sa province to act on his behalf as clan head while he carried out his duties as Taiho in the imperial capital. Much of their long marriage was spent separated in this fashion. After Enjun's death, his ambitious younger brother Chuusho imprisons her and Shunki.
Eiki was born to the Hyō clan, the mysterious shadow lineage of Saiunkoku. As such, she would not have normally married outside her family, but she fell in love with Enjun and pursued him until he gave in. She retained some of the supernatural powers of the Hyō women, such as the precognition which turned her against Advisor Sho because she always knew that he would be involved in Enjun's death. She also sealed off the powers and voice of their granddaughter Shunki during the girl's childhood.
Sa Shunki (茶 春姫) , Seiyū - Rumi Shishido
The granddaughter of Enjun (Sa-Taihō), her father and mother were murdered nine years ago by her cousin, Sakujun Sa, though that fact is unknown to her. Her ability to speak was sealed by her grandmother, Eiki, when she was a child, and so she communicates primarily through writing.
Because she is of the main Sa line of descent through Enjun, she is a threat to Chūshō and other branch family members during their power struggle. For her own protection, she is hidden away and watched over by Shōrin and Yōshun, under orders from Ensei Rou.
Later, she uses her strange power to rescue Kokujun together with Shūrei. When Kokujun accepts the burden of leading the Sa clan, she vows to be always by his side.
Sa Chūshō (茶 仲障) , Seiyū - Masami Iwasaki
After Enjun's death, his younger brother Chuusho seizes power in Sa province by imprisoning Eiki and the acting imperial governor. Disregarding the cost and chaos involved, he orders a search for the seals of the previous governor and orders the Satsujinzoku to intercept the new co-governors, Shūrei Hong and Eigetsu Tou. He plans to force the Hong clan into an alliance by marrying Shūrei to one of his grandsons, whom he views as pawns for his ambition.
Sa Sōjun (茶 草洵) , Seiyū - Junichi Suwabe
Sōjun Sa is the eldest grandson of Chuusho and matches him in blind ambition. He works with the Satsujinzoku to kidnap Eigetsu Tou and Kōrin (whom they had mistaken for Shūrei); believing that the group is under his grandfather's control, he attempts to shift their allegiance of their leader, Meishō, and gain their support for himself.
Sōjun is eventually killed by Sakujun, his next youngest brother, although he blames their third brother Kokujun for it.
Sakujun Sa (Senya Rin)
Sa Sakujun (茶 朔洵) , Seiyū - Takehito Koyasu
The middle grandson, Sakujun finds the world very boring and seeks to amuse himself without regard for morals. To relieve his boredom, Sakujun became involved with the Murderous Blades, when he was a teenager. Fourteen years ago, he found and recognized the young Prince Seien (later Seiran) collapsed in the snow and brought him into the gang. Nine years ago, when his Great-Uncle Enjun Sa tried to rein in Sakujun's behavior from a distance, Sakujun retaliated by assassinating Enjun's son and daughter-in-law, the parents of Shunki.
When his grandfather Chūshō orders him to marry Shūrei for political gain. Sakujun has the Murderous Blades massacre the Rin household, assuming the identity of Senya Rin and personally escorting Shūrei to Kinka. Although she is twelve years younger than he is, he becomes sufficiently intrigued by her to attempt to seduce her. He arranges the murder of his older brother, Sōjun, in order to maneuver himself to become the strongest candidate for leadership of the Sa Clan and thus the natural choice for a strategic marriage to Shūrei. To his surprise, he finds himself falling in love with Shūrei, who refuses to return his affections.
Sakujun eventually allows Shūrei to poison him without her knowledge in testing whether she loves him or not. He is later assumed to be dead, although his body is never found. In the second series, he makes a dreamlike appearance to one of the characters (presumably as a spirit).
Sa Kokujun (茶 克洵) , Seiyū - Kousuke Toriumi
The youngest of the three brothers. He is kind, but is considered the weakest because of it. He reminds Lady Eiki and Sakujun of the young Enjun.
Kokujun is fond of his cousin Shunki, and he releases Seiran and Ensei from confinement so they can rescue her. Ensei lectures him harshly instead, encouraging Kokujun to take action himself by safely bringing Eigetsu and Kōrin to Kinka, concealing his knowledge that Kōrin is not really the female co-governor.
When the ring of the Sa clan is recovered, Kokujun takes on the leadership of the Sa clan with Shunki's support. He is close friends with Ryūren Ran also the same age as him and admires him very much.
The Hyō clan
Although not one of the fabled Eight Colored Clans of Saiunkoku, the Hyō clan nevertheless holds an important position. It was founded by the first Emperor's sister, Sou Youki, and the daughters of the imperial Shi clan are still routinely sent to them to be trained as priestesses or married. Otherwise, the Hyō clan almost never marries outside itself although there have been a few rare exceptions such as Eiki Hyō, who chose to marry Enjun Sa.
Many members of the Hyō clan have supernatural powers, especially the women. Their founder sealed off 108 spirits into a mirror by playing the erhu; after Shōka Hong frees the spirits by deliberately shattering the mirror, Shusui is able to pacify them by playing the erhu herself.
Riō Hyō, Sr.
Hyō Riō (縹 璃櫻) , Seiyū - Toshihiko Seki
He is the head of the Hyō clan and maintains a youthful appearance, despite being about eighty years old. He accuses Shōka of stealing Shokun and Shusui from him, and is eager to meet Shūrei because she looks like his lost Bara-hime.
Riō Hyō, Jr.
Riō (璃櫻) , Seiyū - Yuki Kaida
Riō's son has exactly the same name (both pronunciation and kanji) as his father. First seen during the plague in Sa province, he follows his father's orders and goes on missions for him. Ryūki often confides his feelings for Shūrei to him. Riō currently works in Kiyō as the Head of Sentoshō (Department of the Cave of Immortals).
Hyō Ruka (縹 瑠花) , Seiyū - Kyōko Hikami
The older sister of Riō (senior). The head of the psychics in the Hyō clan. She is just as obsessed with him as he is with Bara-hime, so that she even wants to take over Shūrei's body so her brother will finally look at her in that way. Unlike her brother, her physical appearance reflects her true age, although in the anime she projects the apparition of a younger woman when speaking to others. Her son Ren is the real mastermind of Jyasenkyō, which started the problems in Sa province during Shūrei and Eigetsu's time as governor.
Hyō Shusui (珠翠) , Seiyū - Akemi Okamura
She is Shūrei's main lady-in-waiting. Her beauty is said by Ryūki to be comparable only to Kochō, the famous courtesan in the Red Light District. She loves the smell of sandalwood, and kept as a prized possession a fan which was made of sandalwood which was given to Shūei afterwards. She was the heiress of the head of the psychics in the Hyō clan. She is deeply attached to Shōka, although he doesn't return her feelings, and is the only person who says that his tea is delicious. She is terrible at embroidery (which Ryūki likes to tease her about); when she attempts to make a sunflower-like floral pattern, Shōka mistakes it for a lion. Shusui appears kind and caring to Shūrei and Ryūki, although Ryūren is suspicious of her swift agility in dealing with Kōrin's clumsiness.
She is actually from the Hyō clan. When Shōka took Shokun away from the clan, he also brought Shusui, whom he adopted and sent to the palace. Sa-Taihō believes that she is an assassin loyal to him, but she is actually a double agent under the orders of Advisor Sho, known as the Black Wolf and leader of an order of assassins known Wolves of the Wind which is loyal to the Emperor.
In the second season of the anime, Shusui starts to hear sounds in her head; fearing to fall back into the control of the Hyō clan, she attempts suicide. When she passes out in Shūei's arms, she breaks his heart by calling out Shōka's name instead. He later uses Shōka's name to snap her out of a hypnotic trance. Afterward, she insists on remaining in Ran province to face the Hyō clan, leaving her position as head lady-in-waiting of the Imperial Harem. She is deemed officially missing (though the Emperor knows where she is) and her position has been filled by Jyuusan-hime Ran.In the 16th novel, she was trapped in ‘The prison of time’ and was rescued by Shūei later
The mother of Rio (junior).
Inhabitants and officials of the Imperial capital, Kiyō
Yūshun Tei (Jun Yu)
Voiced by: Kanna Nobutoshi
One of Shūrei's and Eigetsu's assistant officials. First seen in Sa province, but permanently moves to the capital with his appointment as Prime Minister.
He is a mild-mannered man in his late thirties, and walks with a cane. In the anime, Ryou Anjuu says that Yūshun is from a very noble family that even surpasses the power of both the Ran and Hong clans. Despite his gentle exterior, Yūshun is considered to be dangerous and very powerful. Yūshun is an effective politician who can accurately predict the current situation, and can be so persuasive in debate that the Merchant Alliance was reluctant to even enter negotiations with him.
During Ensei's term as governor of Sa province, Yūshun serves as his assistant. When Ensei resigns the position and leaves, Yūshun remains there as the temporary governor, performing his duties while voluntarily being imprisoned in a tower to protect him from the Sa clan. Yūshun loses his official status and is left in a dangerous position when Shūrei and Eigetsu are appointed as co-governors of Sa province, but Ensei assures them that Yūshun will be entirely safe, even from Sakujun Sa.
Yūshun first appears in the 28th episode of the anime's first season as an official sent from Koren to help Shūrei and Eigetsu, who had just arrived in Kinka. Under the alias of Official Yū Jun, he readily gives advice to the young co-governors. Only Ensei knows his identity, and the two men work closely together to support Shūrei and Eigetsu. Yūshun orders the military forces throughout the province to quell the riots instigated by Chuusho Sa, and to capture the corrupt members of the Sa clan. When Shūrei and Eigetsu find out that "his" tower has burned down, he reveals his real identity as Yūshun Tei and says that he was rescued by Ensei's master, who extracted him from the locked tower and left him on the streets of Kinka, where he revived the next day.
Yūshun is a very good friend of Kijin and Reishin, who both took the official exams with him. In the trio, he is older by a few years. He passed first in the Exams (with the title Jogen), with Reishin passing second (Bogen) and Kijin third (Tanka). A side story of the manga shows that he first met Shūrei during her childhood, when she gave him some of her homemade buns.
In the novels, he was in love with Rin Sai, Sho Sai's twin sister, even before Rin proposed to him, but he never thought that he had a chance because of the age gap. He kept rejecting her proposal year after year because he didn't want her to get involved in the Sa conflict. This made him very depressed, and also caused much drama for Ensei and Sai Sho. When Sa province is finally under control, he accepts Rin's proposal in the Autumn Festival and they are married. They are referred to as newlyweds in episode 38 of the first season anime.
Ryūki promotes Yūshun to Prime Minister, giving him a feathered fan as a sign of office. Yūshun's political actions disturb the noble families enough to potentially endanger his life; despite his protests that he does not need protection, Seiran is assigned as his personal guard.
Yosei Sho (Sho-Taihō)
Seiyū - Kōji Ishii
As one of the three Grand Officials of the Palace, he is generally referred to as "Advisor Sho" or "Sho-Taishi"; Taishi (太師) is his title, not his name. Sho-Taishi's personal name is revealed as Yosei by Eiki Hyō (Sa) in episode 36. He is close friends with his fellow Grand Officials, Sa-Taiho and Sou-Taifu, all of whom also served Ryūki's father, the previous Emperor.
Advisor Sho does not serve the country for its own sake. He is only loyal to a worthy Emperor, whose life he will do his best to protect. During the battle for the imperial succession eight years ago, he refused to support any one of the battling princes, and since then he has done the bare minimum to ensure the country's survival while waiting for a worthy ruler to appear.
When he realises that Ryūki has the right potential, he makes sure that no one threatens Ryūki's place on the throne. He persuades Shūrei to come to the palace as a temporary Imperial consort, which motivates Ryūki to become worthy and exposes Enjun Sa-Taiho's assassination plot. Although saddened by Enjun's death, he considers it necessary. Advisor Sho also controls the Black Wolf and the Wolves of the Wind, but after he endangers the lives of Shūrei and Seiran, Shōka stops obeying his orders and vows to kill him someday.
When comforting the last moments of his friend Enjun, Advisor Sho takes on the supernatural appearance of a young man surrounded by a white aura. Later, he is able to summon Enjun's spirit. In fact, he is the Sage of Shi (Purple), one of the immortal Eight Sages who served the first Emperor.
Shungai Sō (Sō-Taifū)
Seiyū - Mitsuru Ogata
Taifū-Sō (宋太傅) is one of the three Grand Officials of the Palace and a war hero. Taifu is his title, not his name, which is Sō Shungai (宋 凱隼). He is a peerless warrior and served the previous Emperor with great devotion. He is great friends with Advisor Sho, and has taught swordsmanship to both Ryūki and Seien (Seiran).
He knows of the actual existence of the Eight Sages, and is often aware of Advisor Sho's plans.
Kochō (蝴蝶) , Seiyū - Kaori Yamagata
Kochō is the mistress of Kougaro, the most prestigious pleasure house in the red-light district. She is fond of Shūrei, who worked as her accountant for many years. Not only is she one of the most sought-after courtesans, she is also the underground boss in charge of the region. She bestows Shūrei with a makeup set, with the lesson to use it for strength and support.
Seiyū - Masataka Sawade
An old doctor who works in the Imperial Palace. At one point he is seen treating Ryūki. When Shūrei asks the Palace's doctors to help treat the plague in Sa province, Dr. Tō convinces the other doctors to join Shūrei's cause and learn surgery.
Suou (Tan-tan) Shin
Shin Suou (榛 蘇芳) , Seiyū - Anri Katsu
Works in the Inspector General. From the middle-high class, he proposes to Shūrei under his father's orders despite his lack of personal interest in her. When he first appears, he is bearing many tanuki-themed accessories including a golden statue, causing Seiran to nickname him 'Tan-tan'.
He does not like putting effort into anything and thus is both intrigued and annoyed by Shūrei's continual determination to do her best. However, Tan-tan can clearly perceive a situation's complete context or a person's true character, and he tries to lessen Shūrei's naiveté by showing her the evils of the world.
Seiran considers Tan-tan to be a practical influence on Shūrei and is unusually willing to engage him in conversation. Nevertheless, Seiran also likes to pelt Suou with bamboo shoots and make him pay for random purchases, calling him 'saifu #2' (wallet #2, after Shuuei as #1)
Tan-tan is roped into the counterfeit paintings investigation by Shūrei and ends up arresting his father, who was used in a larger plot. He saves Shūrei from being fired when Riku Seiga steals her research proposal. Since then, Tan-tan has followed Shūrei and re-entered the Inspector General as her assistant.
Riku Seiga (陸 清雅) , Seiyū - Shotaro Morikubo
Ou Ki (旺 季) , Seiyū - Hiroshi Yanaka
Ryo Anju (凌 晏樹) , Seiyū - Isshin Chiba
Sa Province inhabitants and officials
Rō Ensei (浪 燕青) , Seiyū - Kentarou Itou
Ensei makes his first appearance as a half-starved man lying in front of Shūrei's estate. Seiran somewhat dislikes him because of their shared past in the Satsujinzoku gang in Sa province, when Ensei earned the nickname of "Little Staff King" for his prowess in using a pole or staff as a weapon, although Ensei's true specialty is close-range unarmed combat. He has a cross-shaped scar under his left eye and initially sports a bushy beard which irritates Shūrei and makes many people describe him as a bear, which finally convinces him to shave it off and remain clean-shaven.
Ensei was formerly the governor of Sa province. Before his term, officials in Sa province were often assassinated or bribed, reducing the quality of candidates willing to accept those positions. In an unprecedented move, Enjun Sa-Taiho announced that whoever could turn the tables on an assassin would be made provincial governor. Ensei was appointed as temporary governor at age 17 and was able to competently foil assassination attempts as well as maintain order.
The death of Enjun, Ensei's primary political backer, reduces the acceptance of Ensei as the legitimate governor. To ward off political upheaval, Ensei leaves to determine the new Emperor's political personality and to request replacement by a new governor. On his journey, he is targeted by thieves and assassins because of the high bounty placed on his head by the Sa family.
After Shūrei's term as governor of Sa province is suspended, Ensei continues to help her out because he admires her. Though he does not intend to let Shūrei know about his feelings towards her.
Tō Eigetsu/Yōgetsu (杜 影月/阳月) , Seiyū - Daisuke Namikawa
Eigetsu is a shy, intelligent thirteen-year-old boy. He was born in Seika village, Koku province, but the rest of the village was wiped out by plague; he was raised by a doctor, Doshuu, who found him as a child on the brink of death. After Eigetsu passed the Provincial Exams at the age of twelve, their entire community contributed money to send him to take the Imperial Exams. He turns up in Kougaro, Kochō's pleasure house, with no memory of how he got there and without his valuable Exam Token.
Eigetsu does not like to consume alcohol or even smell it, because it literally turns him into another person: Yougetsu, who is brash, arrogant, and an excellent fighter. When Eigetsu first arrives in the capital, Yougetsu takes over; after winning a drinking contest in the Red Light District, he beats up three gang members, steals their money, and spends most of it on premium sake.
Yougetsu is also very intelligent, in a calculating and strategic way; although he often refers to Eigetsu as a dim-witted fool, he also looks out for him. Thinking that Eigetsu might lose the Exam Token in all the commotion, he gives it for safekeeping to the sake merchant and tells him to deliver it with the expensive sake to the best brothel in the city. Before passing out, Yougetsu also tells Shūei Ran to take him to the same destination, which is how Eigetsu ended up in Kogaro.
Eigetsu befriends Shūrei and becomes the youngest person in history to win the position of Jougen (top score for the year), beating the previous record set by Kōyū Ri. Initially, he is deluged by proposals by ambitious officials who want him to marry their daughters, but he refuses them all and they turn against him as he starts his career, assigning him petty duties like shining their shoes and then "accidentally" kicking him.
When Ryūki appoints him and Shūrei as the new governors of Sa province, Eigetsu is again the youngest person to ever win that position, as well as one of the first set of co-governors to share such an office. When they enter the province, Eigetsu is captured by the Satsujinzoku along with Kōrin, who is pretending to be Shūrei. Eventually they are saved by Seiran, Ensei, and Ryūren (as well as Yougetsu) and finally reunite with Shūrei in the provincial capital.
The anime's second season reveals that Yougetsu is actually another one of the Eight Sages, Byakuya (the Sage of Haku/white). When Doshuu found Eigetsu, Yougetsu saved the child's life by strengthening his dying soul and granting him twenty more years of life, but after that, Eigetsu himself would die and Yougetsu would live on in his body. Later, Doshū became gravely ill, so that Eigetsu willingly surrendered ten of those years to Yougetsu in order to extend his foster-father's life.
When Eigetsu has only one month left to live, Sa province is plagued by an epidemic which he recognizes as the same disease that wiped out his native village. He tells Kōrin about his imminent fate and confessed his feelings to her, then sets out by himself to the affected area in the hope of directly helping some people before his death. But when Eigetsu's life is due to end, Yougetsu decides to go into a deep sleep to let Eigetsu keep living.
Though Eigetsu has a great part in handling the unrest in Sa province, his actions are considered reckless by the central government. He is demoted and is made the assistant to Yū Kai, the new governor of Sa province and the former governor of Koku province. But instead of a punishment, this is like promising him a prosperous future as an official in years to come.
The Governor of Koku province and a renowned ladies' man. He is said to be the oldest man to ever hold the position of governor in Saiunkoku. He asked the previous Emperor to appoint him as the governors of both Koku and Sa provinces, but was refused because of his old age. Kai was the guardian of Eigetsu when he applied for the ministerial exams, and passed Shin Ka's medical documents on to Shūrei.
When Shūrei and Eigetsu are appointed as the co-governors of Sa province, they ask Kai to succeed them as governor in the event of their deaths. When they are dismissed from those positions, he does succeed them and gives up Koku province to govern Sa province and become Eigetsu's mentor.
Meishō (瞑祥) Seiyū - Kōichi Nagano
Meishō is the leader of the Satsujinzoku, the Killing-Blade Outlaws, which is supported by Sakujun Sa. He takes advantage of the instability of Sa Province and gains control of certain major cities, working with Chūshō Sa and the Sa clan. Though he works with them, Meishō conceals Sakujun's involvement, allowing Sōjun to believe that the Satsujinzoku answers to Chūshō.
Meishō has a past with both Seiran and Ensei, but does not know that both of them were involved in wiping out the Satsujinzoku over a decade ago. In the end, he loses his life to Seiran in battle.
Shōrin and Yōshun
Seiyū - Noriaki Sugiyama and Kahoru Sasajima
Shōrin is the leader of a group in Sa province called the Condors. He and his younger brother Yōshun are entrusted by Ensei to look after Shunki.
His father incurred a great debt of gratitude from Shōka Hong in their past. Though only thirteen, Shōrin is quite skilled as a tracker, with acrobatic skills and good endurance. At Shunki's request, he takes her to Kinka in order to help Kokujun.
Sai Shō (柴 彰) , Seiyū - Susumu Chiba
Shō is the head of the merchant guild in Kinka, second largest city in Sa province. He decides to help the new governors of Sa, Shūrei and Eigetsu, in exchange for peace within the province. He is the younger twin of Rin Sai.
Though his father is the head of the military of Kinka, he and his sister opt for the merchant life instead. He repeatedly promotes the idea of using eight-tenths of his power to help, saving two-tenths for emergencies.
Sai Shin (柴 進) , Seiyū - Jin Nishimura
The military commander of the city of Kinka in Sa Province, Shin is mistaken by Shūrei for the head of the merchant guild when they first meet. He is the father of the twins Sho and Rin Sai, and was angered when the two chose to pursue the merchant's path.
Sai Rin (柴 凛) Seiyū - Yōko Sasaki
Rin is Sho's twin sister, and renowned as the "manliest woman in Sa province." When first encountered, she is the head of the Merchant Guild in Koren. After her term of guild leadership expires, she becomes an inventor. When Shūrei calls doctors to treat the disease in Sa province, Rin designs a smooth knife suited to surgical operations; Rin later designs a centrifuge-like device to separate out sand from adulterated salt.
She fell in love with Yūshun Tei when he was still Ensei's assistant and repeatedly proposed to Yūshun on the Autumn Festival (an event similar to Valentine's Day, when girls give handmade gifts to someone they like). For years, Yūshun had always rejected her.
When the Sa conflict ends, Rin announces her last attempt to propose to Yūshun: if he rejected her again, she would give up and wish for his happiness when he returned to Shi province. When Rin approaches Yūshun, he seems to be asleep, so Rin just gives her gift, wishes for his happiness, and turns to leave—but suddenly Yūshun grabs her wrist. They are described as newlyweds when they go to Shi province for the New Year's celebrations.
Dōshu (堂主) , Seiyū - Kōji Yusa
A kind doctor who found and saved Eigetsu in Koku Province, later becoming his adopted father and mentor. His real name is Ka Shin(華真), revealed in episode 6 of the second season. It was thanks to his previous research that the epidemic in season 2 was solved. He treated both Eigetsu and Yougetsu as his beloved children, even though Yogetsu was much, much older than Ka Shin and therefore very irritated by this. He taught Eigetsu to smile and live life to the fullest, and also passed on his medical knowledge to Shūrei before he died.
Seiyū - Aruno Tahara
Dr. Shikō Yō took care of Shūrei when she was young and sickly. He is a renowned doctor who lives outside the capital, but his old friend Advisor Sho calls him to the capital to consult about the plague in Sa province. Dr. Yō teaches the imperial doctors how to surgically remove the worms that cause the disease. Later, he is revealed as another of the Eight Sages (the Sage of Ko/Yellow). Like Advisor Sho, he looks much younger in his sage form.
Shiba Jin (司馬迅) , Seiyū - Masaya Onosaka
Also known as Shun (隼). He was a prisoner on death row for patricide and is Jyusan-hime's ex-fiance. Jin is one of the many assassins sent after her and Shūrei Hong after he was released from prison and being pardoned by the three oldest Ran brothers.
He was a childhood friend of Shūei Ran and Jyūsan-hime Ran (it is revealed he was the one who gave her the nickname "Hotaru"). He is from the Shiba clan, a subsidiary clan of the Ran clan. He met Jyūsan-hime when he was 11 years old, shortly after Jyūsan-hime's mother was murdered by his own father, he had been sent to the house to kill her but could not bring himself to do so. The 3 year old Jyūsan-hime sat by her mother's corpse and stared at Jin for three days and nights. He cut out his eye when Jyūsan-hime said he can come closer to her when he gives her his eyes.
- ^ In the original Japanese series, the Hong clan's name is pronounced and written Kō, using the Chinese-based on'yomi reading of the kanji. In the North American Region 1 DVDs, Geneon changed the clan's name to "Hong," the Mandarin Chinese reading of the same character, to avoid confusion with the other Kō clan. Funimation retained this name change when they picked up the series after Geneon's closure, for both re-releases and future releases of volumes in the series.
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