Hikaru no Go Wiki
Fujiwara no Sai
Kanji 藤原佐為
Rōmaji Fujiwara no Sai
Gender Male
Age 1000+ (deceased)
Occupation Go Player
Affiliation Japan
Go Level Outstanding
Rivals/Friends Koyo Toya
Manga Debut Game 1
Anime Debut Episode 1
Japanese Voice Actor Susumu Chiba
English Voice Actor Brad Swaide

Fujiwara no Sai (藤原佐為, Fujiwara no Sai) is the spirit of a deceased Go prodigy from the Heian period and one of those who are the closest to playing a Hand of God who first resided in Honinbou Shuusaku's body and played through him, giving him fame where he then later resided in Hikaru Shindo's body.


In the anime

Sai's spirit is represented as a tall and a very beautiful man with very long, black-purple hair that is tied with a white ribbon, purple eyes and purple lipstick.

He wears the equivalent of casual clothes for a courtier from the Japanese Heian period, consisting of a tate-eboshi hat, and a karaginu set, consisting of a red-purple kimono and white over-robe. He has red earring in his ears. The fan he carries seems to be a maiougi (a Japanese dance fan). Lots of people think he's a girl.


Sai is an extremely emotional person, who often acts childish and has great mood swings. While playing a game, Sai's behavior changes completely as he controls himself and his emotions to play to the best of his ability. There are some times, though, when he can be quite cheerful when it is not a serious game.

While being first-rate in skill, he doesn't treat others badly as if they were beneath him, even when they can not hear his praise towards them. His feelings towards Go are nothing short of obsessive.


He was born at some time during the Heian Period (794 AD through 1185 AD) in Japan.

Though little is known about his childhood, it is inferred that Sai was a prodigy at Go and eventually obtained the seat in the Royal Court, being one of two Go Instructors to the Emperor at that time.

Nearing the end of his short life, the other instructor decided there should only be one teacher, challenging Sai to a game which decided who would keep their position. Both players were evenly matched, and in the midst of playing, Sai noticed that his opponent had cheated by placing an extra stone in his captured pile. Sai was nearly about to point out the cheating but the other player pushed the same claim on Sai, who now was being wrongly accused of cheating. After both instructors were told to continue on by the Emperor himself, Sai lost due to not playing with a clear mind after being accused and the other player having the advantage, and therefore was banished from the capital with his reputation tarnished. Filled with despair, he committed suicide by drowning himself in a nearby river two days later after he left. Unable to find peace, his soul was trapped within a Goban.

Hundreds years later, as the ghost, he met Kuwabara Torajirou, after Sai was released from the board. It is said that Torajirou was already a fine Go player, and after seeing Sai's genius, Kuwabara became a medium and let Sai play Go in his place. He quickly made Torajirou a one of the top players and achieved the Honinbou Title. However, Torajirou ended up dying young at age 33 due to helping the sick in the cholera epidemic in 1862; Sai was confined in the old Goban again as a bloodstain (which was from the then ill Torajirou).

Being sealed in the board once again, he waited well over a hundred years until Hikaru found Torajiro's Goban in his grandfathers shed.


Beginning Arc[]

Sai is first seen—or rather, heard—when Hikaru touches his grandfather's 'cursed goban'. His appearance gives Hikaru a shock, causing him to fall down and faint to Akari's surprise. He initially seems to be a serious and effeminate person, an impression soon proven wrong: during a history test that Hikaru has to sit through, Sai continuously fails to stop himself from calling out.

After explaining while he was trapped in the board Sai reveals his desire to achieve the Hand of God. When Hikaru tells Sai his desire to not play Go, Sai's intense feelings of sadness overwhelm him, causing Hikaru to run off, vomiting. After another few "vomit", Hikaru reluctantly agrees to play Go.

After school, Hikaru travels to a Go Salon, where other people who want to play hang out. There they met Akira Toya for the first time, a prodigy at Go though it was not known at the time, and played a game. Though technically losing, Akira can tell that Hikaru's strength (who was actually Sai) was beyond anything he had ever seen from someone in the 6th grade, a strength only found in the top player in Japan, Akira's father, Touya Meijin.

The Next Day Hikaru and Sai attending a Go Class while Hikaru doesn't understand anything due to being a beginner.

Middle School Tournament Arc[]

It is with this event that Hikaru begins down the path of Go with Sai on his side. At first Hikaru tries to play in the Go tournament by himself, but loses his 1st game. In the 2nd game he finally lets Sai take over, and in the finals Sai defeats the Kaio player.

Akira intentionally begs for the third position simply so he could play Sai. Sai begins the match against Akira, and realizes that he has gotten stronger. Halfway through the match, Hikaru wonders how much he has improved in skill and takes over in the middle of the match, only to be easily crushed and resign. This marks a turning point in the story, as Hikaru gradually depends on Sai less and focuses on improving his own skills.

Internet Go Arc[]

In the summer holiday, Hikaru decide to let Sai play Go with an online based game Internet Go which allowing them to play anonymously. Hikaru use "Sai" as a nickname in the game. Sai win every game by the help of Hikaru to operate the computer. Sai manage to develop a new play style and win every games. Sai's nickname become well known among the internet Go players as the strongest player. Sai's identity remain unknown and start to become common interest among the players who turn out to be pro and veteran Go players around the world.

The commotion catches Akira's attention, and after playing an online game with Sai, he experiences deja vu as the game mirrors one of his previous matches with Hikaru. Akira skips his first match of the Go professional exam in order to play an internet game against Sai, who easily wins.

Insei Arc[]

Sai personally tutors Hikaru when he is an insei, and they play practice games every day.

Pro Exam Arc[]

Sai observes and comments on Hikaru's games during the pro exam.

Sai Vs Meijin Arc[]

Hikaru is set to face Toya Meijin in his first match, but Sai wishes to play. Hikaru decides to let Sai play, but only if he plays as though he had a 15 point handicap in order to make his style unrecognizably aggressive and reckless. Sai makes many overplays such as attacking too early, stretching his groups too thin, and leaving a group wide open for an attack. However, this is all a trap to lure in the opponent. Despite this, Toya avoids his strategy and wins.

Hikaru arranges a match a week in advance for Sai to battle against Toya in Internet Go. Sai and Toya face each other in the closest thing to a game of the century. Huge numbers of go players are watching this, amazed by the superb play on both sides. Toya almost gains the advantage, but Sai finds a great move to erase the enemy territory. Toya works out that even with best play, he would lose by half a point, and had no doubt that Sai would play the best moves. Toya thus resigns.

Sai Disappearance Arc[]

Sai finally realizes why he was brought back through Hikaru, finding his time on this world is about to end. This is evidenced as Sai's bloodstains on the Go board are starting to disappear. As Hikaru and Sai return home and play one last game, Sai says goodbye and finally vanishes.


Sai's disappearance leaves a lasting legacy on the world. Hikaru refuses to accept the truth about Sai and begins a quest to find him. He decides to not play Go anymore in hopes that Sai will return. Hikaru starts a match with Isumi, and realizes that Sai lives on in his Go.

During the Hokuto Cup, Ko Yongha unintentionally insults Sai, which is the main motivation for Hikaru to defeat him. After his match with Yongha, Hikaru states that he plays Go to link the far past (Sai), with the far future. The manga ends with Sai appearing to yet another person.


Sai's Go is complicated and on a very high level. His style of playing is quite old-fashioned, playing the same as during Honinbou Shuusaku's era, his already staggering strength only becoming stronger after learning modern Go. It has been said many times that Sai's ability to read in a game is well beyond what is normal even in pro standards.

Being one of the closest people to the 'Hand of God', Sai has the skill to not only completely overwhelm most pro players, but to sometimes win an already considered lost game.

After having over a lifetime of experience, one could say that he is one of the best go players of all time and had grown much more stronger after learning Modern Joseki.


Honinbo Shuusaku[]

Sai met Shuusaku in his early childhood by the name of Torajiro in around 19th century. Shuusaku let Sai play Go through his body and later become most revered Go player in history.

Hikaru Shindo[]

Ever since Sai entered his life, Hikaru has a passion for Go. The two seem to have a caring relationship. For example when Sai disappeared this sent Hikaru on a quest to find his friend. His disappearance almost made Hikaru stop playing Go completely.

Koyo Toya[]

Sai respect Koyo for his path to achieve the Hand of God same as himself.


  • Because of Sai's feminine features, long hair and his extremely emotional behavior, he is often mistaken for a female.
    • These characteristics would actually be regarded as signs of intelligence and wisdom during his time.
  • There is a rumor that the reason why Sai's lips are purplish-blue is due to the nature of his suicide.
  • Sai looks to be in his mid to late twenties.

Rival galleries[]

Touya Meijin
Koya Toyo meijin
Sai rival2
Sai's rival in Shusaka's time
Sai rival
Sai's rival in Shusaka's time
Sai rival3
Second instructor of the Heian periodSecond instructor of the Heian period