Hikaru Shindo (進藤ヒカル Shindō Hikaru) is the main protagonist of Hikaru no Go, first a sixth grader uninterested in Go, then an Insei and finally a 1 Dan Professional. His passion in Go was sparked thanks to a chance meeting with the ghost, and mentor Fujiwara no Sai.
Hikaru is average-sized young man with green eyes. He has short black hair with blonde bangs. He is often portrayed wearing clothing having the numeral "5"; this is a pun on the Japanese word for five: 五, which is pronounced go. As a child he tended to dress in sportier, casual clothes, but as he got older he began to wear slightly more formal attire.
Hikaru originally starts off as being a short-tempered kid who doesn't really care about anything. He tends to blurt out his thoughts for example, when he told the mistake to one of the children during their game when Sai point it out.
Hikaru tends to be emotional and tends to get easily annoyed when things does not goes as planned. He would also raise his voice at Akari for distracting his focus when he's lost.
As he advanced in Go, he became more mature and serious. He is seen to be quite emotional sometimes and has a decent amount of rivalry in him, mostly towards Akira. However, in Akira's case, even being much older, he still acts like a kid, often picking fights with him over trivial things.
As a kid, Hikaru was a normal boy who never cared about his studies or anything else. It appears that he was friends with Akari Fujisaki since they were little.
Hikaru first went to his grandfather's house and went up to his attic where he and Akari find a bloodstained goban. There, he meets a spirit named Sai and he passes out shortly after. Upon meeting him, Sai explaines his past: that he served the Emperor as Go instructor during The Heian Period state. He was happy to play Go every day. There was another Go Instructor who challenged Sai and told the Emperor that he only needed one instructor. Who will keep their position, was decided during a game which Sai noticed that his opponent slipped a white stone from his bowl among his prisoners. When Sai was about to protest The Instructor accused Sai of placing a black stone among his prisoners but Sai protested he was the one who did that but the Emperor tells them to be silent and stated he does not want to hear anything disgraceful happening in his presence and ordered them to continue the game.
This resulted in Sai unable to maintain his composure and resulted him losing the game. Sai was banished from the capital unable to do anything else for living. Three days later Sai commited suicide by casting himself into a river. Sai wasn't able to find peace and his soul was trapped in Go Board. One day Sai heard a child's voice met a young boy named Torajiro who eventually became known Honinbo Shusaku. Torajiro accepted Sai's request to let him play go whenever he wanted, however Torajiro's passing away resulted in Sai once again being sealed in the Go Board.
After that Sai then asks Hikaru if he wants to play Go but Hikaru refuses at the time because he has no interest in the game. Hikaru eventually gives in to Sai's request after Sai's sadness and scream cause him to vomit and sets out for the nearest Go Salon. Hikaru and Sai arrive at the Go Salon where he meets Akira Toya and asks him to play, unaware of how strong he is. Akira agrees to play him. Through Hikaru, Sai beats Akira leaving the young prodigy devastated. Seemingly unaware of Akira's torment Hikaru then receives a flyer about a Youth Go Tournament from the cashier where many kids will play. Hikaru and Sai race home.
The Next Day Hikaru attends a Go class learning how to play but, Hikaru has no idea what the Go teacher was talking about, but Sai points out that Hikaru is still a beginner in the game. The Go teacher Shirakawa asks if Hikaru ever played and then shows him Ladder, a type of Go Strategy. Sai wonders how strong Shirakawa is. Hikaru tells Sai that he is Professional Go Player and that he can make a living by just playing go. When a person name Akota bullies a player who is weaker than him Sai does not like it and asks Hikaru to switch with Akota's opponent so he can teach him a lesson. However Hikaru instead places a bowl of go-stones on Akota's head and shakes off his wig which results in Shirakawa telling Hikaru to leave which upsets Sai.
Hikaru recalls the flyer he received from the Go Salon Cashier and goes there. Hikaru sees kids playing Go who are even younger than him and is amazed by the intensity and Sai who is awed, points out that his devotion to Go is 1000 years old, and yet all of these kids have the same passion. While Hikaru is wandering around, Sai notices a shape that would leave the opponent dead there and points that best move is 1-2. Hikaru then blurts out what Sai pointed out and a go professional notices him and takes him away for Kibitzing. Later Hikaru is scolded for his action and later let go after that. Hikaru then bumps into Koyo Toya and tells him to be careful, Sai felt an intense aura in Koyo and believes he might be closest to the divine move.
Soon after that Hikaru and Sai begin to argue, Hikaru blaming Sai for what happened, and Sai pointing out that it's Hikaru's fault as he was the one to blurt it aloud. Later Akira arrives to find Hikaru. Hikaru was surprised to see Akira and asks him what he is doing, then asks if Akira is playing in the tournament. Akira then asks if Hikaru is, Hikaru tells him that he just went to watch.
Akira checks Hikaru's hand and notices that Hikaru finger nail isn't worn out from pickup stones, showing that Hikaru is a beginner and remembers Ms. Ichikawa statement about Hikaru never playing a game before. Akira then asks Hikaru if he has plans to become a pro, Hikaru laughs at him being a pro and had never even thought about it and asks Akira if he is planning become a pro and he replies that he is. Hikaru asks if that is what Akira wants to do and asks how much money a professional go player makes. Akira answers and states that a pro would earn 120 Million Yen if he earns all titles. Hikaru is astonished at how much he can make by playing go and earning a title and asks Sai if he is good enough to earn the Meijin title, however Sai disapproves of playing go for money.
Hikaru states it wouldn't be bad to go pro and win a title or two. Akira is enraged by Hikaru's words and tells him that he has insulted every Professional out there. Akira tells Hikaru that he doesn't realize how difficult it is to become a pro and tells him that a person must persevere and make sacrifices and most people despair and still weren't good enough and that he met many kind players like that starting with his Father. Akira told Hikaru that he works hard, perseveres and makes sacrifices as well since he was only two years old he spends everyday playing go hours and hours and did his best and kept playing. Akira expresses his frustrations why he had lost to someone like Hikaru who holds his stone as a beginner and concludes that he underestimated him because he thought he was a beginner. Akira then challenges Hikaru to a game, however, Hikaru hesitates as he already spent his time the tournament, however, Sai angrily states that they barely spent time at the tournament it was Hikaru's fault and tells him to accept it.
Akira then drags Hikaru to the train station. Hikaru wonders why Akira is so angry at him, he states he was just joking. Sai, however, doubts Hikaru and asks if he was really joking. Hikaru expresses frustration, why can't people take a joke. Hikaru asks Sai why he beat Akira by 2 points and knows that it isn't easier to be a pro. Sai told Hikaru he wasn't intending to win and it was just a teaching game, explains that the teacher guides the player to make correct move and must refrain from overwhelming their opponent and that he would never go all out against a child. Hikaru considers this not surprising and that Sai is better than Akira since he is just kid the same age as him, but Sai tells him that Akira does not possess the behavior of a child, and while Akira needs time to grow Sai feels that the move that Akira made was superb and feels that Akira is baring his fangs at him, but agreed that Akira is still a child and was no match for him.
Upon returning to the Go Salon, Sai and Akira begin playing the game which became intense but Sai, however, overwhelms him and the game endes with Akira resigning much to Hikaru surprise since it half what they did before. Hikaru attempts to cheer Akira up but he doesn't hear anything that he says and Hikaru leaves the Go Salon. While walking home, Hikaru asks Sai why he played so hard on Akira, Sai answers that Akira did not give him the luxury to go easy on him.
The next day Hikaru thinks about Akira later goes to the Go Salon. Sai asks if they going to play go however he decides not to go in which upsets Sai on why they came all the way here. However Hikaru is dragged by Ogata who saw Hikaru at Youth Tournament at Go Association and drags him into the Salon where Hikaru meets Akira's Father Koyo Toya who was interested in Hikaru because he couldn't believe that his son would lose to someone of his own age and wants to know how good Hikaru is. Hikaru is hesitant but Sai asks him to play the match because he has played many strong players and that the man shares the same fire. Hikaru heeds Sai request and plays. While playing he felt an immense intensity which causes Hikaru to make a move by his own accord which results in Hikaru running out the Go Salon.
Later Hikaru accuses Sai of taking control of his body. Sai points out Hikaru made that move on his own accord and he didn't place the stone where Sai told him to, though Hikaru doesn't believe him. Hikaru, later meets Akari by coincidence and she invites Hikaru to go to the Haze Middle School Festival with her, though Hikaru refuses. When Akari leaves, Sai suggests that Hikaru should go.
Go Middle School Tournament Arc
Hikaru gets into a spat with the shogi captain Tetsuo Kaga when he demonstrates a disrespect for Go and Akira. They begin a game of Go, which leads to a board wide capturing race that puts a very large group in danger. Hikaru makes a fatal mistake in the match, causing his entire group to be captured. Despite this Sai is able to salvage the game, only losing by half a point.
Amazed by his skill, Kaga has Hikaru (illegally) join him and Tsutsui in a middle school Go tournament, representing Haze Middle School. Hikaru plays without Sai's help and loses his 1st game. In his 2nd game, Sai steps in and helps him win. They go on to face Kaio Middle School in the finals and win. Despite this they are disqualified for having an ineligible player.
The next year, Hikaru joins the Haze Go Club. Hikaru knows they need a third member in order to be able to compete as a team, and tries to convince Yuki Mitani to join. However, he soon discovers Yuki's cheating habits. Dake, a skilled player cheats against Yuki to teach him a lesson. Hikaru later challenges Dake to a match to win back the ten thousand yen.
When the tournament arrives, Hikaru learns that Akira intentionally begged for the third position so he could play Sai. Sai begins the match against Akira, but halfway through the match, Hikaru begins to wonder how much he has improved in skill. As a result, he takes over in the middle of the match, but is defeated easily, as Akira is far beyond his skill level. Disgusted, Akira decides to forget all about Hikaru and leaves. The rest of the Haze Go Club loses as well.
Internet Go Arc
Hikaru goes to the Professionals Go Match with Kimihiro but leaves due to finding it too boring. He later finds a Display about playing Go Online and Discovers he doesn't need to reveal his identity after watching a Player resign due making a simple mistake where he saw a message berating for resigning and begins learning how play Go online.
During summer vacation, Hikaru lets Sai plays Go over the internet. Unbeknownst to him, Sai becomes a sensational topic among Go players who played or saw him on the internet Go. Due to all the talk, Akira has a chance to play Sai on the internet and finds him similar to the first time he played Hikaru. He is challenged to a Match which he accepts and Sai beats him. Sai notes that Akira has gotten stronger and Hikaru also got stronger too from watching all his matches on the Internet
Later Hikaru later goes to the internet cafe to let Sai play Go where Akira confronts Hikaru thinking he was Sai. After a confrontation, Hikaru tells Akira that if he keeps chasing his illusion, he might one day be the one to surpass him. He decides to stop playing Go on the Internet after learning that people are attempting to find out who Sai is. After he discovers Akira is already a Go pro from Kishimoto and so he will not be able to reach him in his position right now, Hikaru decides to become an Insei, which is a step to help to become a professional player.
Hikaru and his mother go to the Go Association for Hikaru to take the exam to become an Insei. After the Insei instructor asks Hikaru if it's true that he does not have a teacher- Hikaru answers yes: although he has Sai as his teacher, who that follows him around like a Dog. Sai feels offended by his comment. The Insei Instructor was shocked when he learnes that Hikaru played all three games at the same time and was able to play so well at his first try, enabling Hikaru to pass the Insei Test.
After Hikaru takes a look around, he takes a look at a group of Insei who are studying a game. Waya, a insei, notices Hikaru watching and asks him if he passed the Insei Test.
Pro Exam Arc
As the professional exam begins, Hikaru is very calm, cool, and collected for this, having gained experience in the team battles with Waya and Isumi. He begins a winning streak, which is broken when he gets a stomachache and has his 1st loss to a minor player named Ooshima. During the lunch break of his match with Tsubaki, Hikaru learns that many players have struggled with education and occupation when trying to take the professional exam.
On the 12th day, Hikaru is to face against an undefeated Isumi. Isumi begins to dominate the match until he accidentally makes a bad move while under pressure, but illegally changes it before passing the turn. Hikaru is conflicted as to whether to ignore the rules violation and lose the match or call Isumi out and get an automatic win. He does the latter, causing him to resign. Both are guilty about their respective decisions during that game. Due to this distraction, Hikaru has his second loss to Fukui, but afterwards calms down and makes a comeback.
On the 17th day, Hikaru has his third loss to Honda, although it was a very close match and Honda did not feel like it was a real victory. At this point Hikaru gains attention as one of the 5 forerunners for passing the pro exam, alongside Ochi, Waya, Isumi, and Honda.
On the 26th day, Hikaru and Waya are to face off with only one match remaining after they finish in the professional exam. Waya puts Hikaru in a difficult situation, in which many of the latter's pieces die and he has a slim chance of winning the match. However, Hikaru is able to make his pieces connect and live after very deep thinking. Hikaru is able to defeat Waya.
Hikaru finds out that Ochi has been studying under Akira in preparation for the upcoming match. On the final day, Hikaru faces off against Ochi, who initiates a technique influenced by Akira. Hikaru uses a similar tactic with his game against Suyong, but Ochi sees right through this and manages to block Hikaru. After a fierce battle, HIkaru barely manages to win and pass the pro exam alongside Ochi and Waya.
Sai vs Meijin Arc
Hikaru is set to face Toya Meijin in the Shinshodan series, but Sai wishes to play. Not wanting to get unwanted attention, 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, risky, and overreaching. Sai plays a complicated game with many traps, yet Toya sees right through this. After Hikaru resigns, Toya requests to play him again in the future without any handicap.
After learning of Toya Meijin's collapse from a heart attack, Hikaru visits him in the hospital. Hikaru arranges a match a week in advance for Sai to battle against Toya in Internet Go. If Sai loses, then he will reveal his identity, while Toya agrees to retire from Go if he loses.
Sai and Toya begin what is perhaps the game of the century. Huge numbers of go players are watching this, amazed by the superb play on both sides. Toya gains the advantage, but Sai finds a great move to erase the enemy territory with a stone that cannot be captured. During the endgame, Toya works out that even with best play, he would lose by half a point, and knows that Sai would play the best moves. So Toya resigns, shocking everyone.
Sai Disappearance Arc
Sai finally realizes why he was brought back through Hikaru, finding his time on this world is about to end. Hikaru is surprised to see that Sai's bloodstains on the Go board are starting to disappear. As Hikaru and Sai return home and play one last game, Sai finally vanishes.
Hikaru stops playing Go because he wishes Sai would come back. Shindo travels around to places that are Shusaku Torajiro is related, hoping to find Sai but to no avail. Desperate, he then hopes that if he stops playing, Sai might come back to play for him and loses his motivation to play Go.
Chinese Go Association Arc
When Isumi returns from his trip to China and learns that Hikaru hasn't been playing his go matches from Waya, he later goes to Hikaru's house and tries to force Hikaru's hand to play Go with him in order for him truly determine who would win the Match they had during the Pro Exam. While playing, Hikaru regains his passion after realizing Sai exists in his 'Go' after he made a move that Sai would have played. Shortly afterward Hikaru rushes to Go Association and meets Akira, who he tells that he will catch up to him.
Shindo makes his comeback wins but gets stuck in beginner 1-dan status because of his previous forfeited/no show games. He also buys a symbolic hand fan that looks similar to the one Sai held.
During a lunch break for a match with Akira, Akira tells him that there was another person in Hikaru, the one he felt when playing him the first time they met. Hikaru felt pleased that someone 'recognizes' Sai, not as 'him' but as Sai. Before leaving, Hikaru tells Akira that some day he might tell him the whole story. Akira chases him and Hikaru tells him off that it's some day in a far future, not the present.
Hikaru later visits the Go Salon Akira frequents and they get into arguments a lot, resulting in Hikaru leaving. The people there seems to be used to their behavior.
Hokuto Cup Arc
As the highest ranking under-18 pro, Akira qualifies for the tournament, but Hikaru has to compete in a tournament to become one of the three Japanese competitors. After Hikaru discovers that Akira doesn't need to participate in the selection match, he decides not to visit the Go Salon they meet frequently until he passes the selection matches and declares that he will achieve the Divine Move. Waya and Ochi also enter the qualifying matches. He defeats Kiyoharu Yashiro, a player from the Kansai Ki-in. Hikaru, along with Akira and Kiyoharu Yashiro, are selected to represent Japan.
Hikaru insists on playing first board against Korea due to a misunderstanding with Ko Yongha, Korea's first board. Yongha later chooses not to correct the misunderstanding but instead chooses to anger Hikaru further and wants to see how Hikaru would think of him as a person who insulted Shusaku. As Sai was possessing Shusaku once, Hikaru could not stand him insulting Shusaku.
In the match against China, Hikaru plays Second board against Wang Shizhen. The match intensifies into a massive Ko battle, but Hikaru and Team Japan lose in the end.
In the final game of the series, Hikaru finally plays as first board against Korea's Yongha. After a long and epic game, Hikaru barely loses by only half a point. Japan comes in last, behind Korea and China. But the Japanese team impressed professionals from China and Korea because they did much better than what was expected. Ko Yongha asks Hikaru for his reason for playing Go. With tears in his eyes, he answers "To link the far past, with the far future". The hidden meaning of this line is the relationships between Sai, Shusaku, and Hikaru. However, no one understands the context of this line besides Hikaru.
Hikaru has two defining traits when it comes to Go.
One, is his ability to read further and faster than most players. Because he was mentored by Sai, Hikaru can sometimes think like one of the best players in history, often surprising people with a well placed move. This is shown when he supposedly makes a "dumb" play only for it to become a brilliant trap for his opponent against Murakami and Suyong.
Another natural talent he seems to have is his ability to remember the steps of the moves of a game exceptionally well. This was first noticed by Sai which lead him to realize Hikaru's potential in learning and playing Go.
He also seems to have some gut instincts when playing, often being able to play very fast and make solid moves. According to many skilled professional Go players and rivals, Hikaru's talent seems to have no limit. Hikaru has shown himself to be able to make good solid moves even when playing fast, where he is already thinking about his next move while his opponent does.
He also seems to prefer playing fast paced games over slow ones. As seen as when he met opponents that take a long time playing during his insei times, he complained him being slow in his mind and felt comfortable with Fuku's speed in playing.
Ever since Sai entered his life, Hikaru has developed a passion for Go. The two seem to have a caring relationship though they tend to argue sometime.
When Sai disappeared this sent Hikaru on a quest to find his friend as Hikaru presume that he ran off and tried to find him at Go Association then at Hiroshima where Shusaku was Born but to no avail, he then goes to Go Association and later takes look at Shusaku game record which was Sai's play through Shusaku Hikaru was amazed by Sai's Skills which cause him to regret not let Sai play Go whenever he wants and blame himself for not realize how skill Sai was sooner because when he met Sai he doesn't know much about Go while Shusaku was skilled enough to recognize Sai's strength cause him become extremely depressed and stop playing Go for awhile.
Sai's disappearance almost made Hikaru stop playing Go completely. Hikaru hopes that Sai would come back and that he would let Sai play go whenever he wants but to no avail. However, When Isumi came to Hikaru and make him play against him Hikaru saw Sai hand point out a move that he would play which made Hikaru Realize that Sai now live in his go made him resolve to achieve Sai's goal to attain the Hand of God.
Shindo thinks of Akira as a rival throughout the series, but seem ready to defend each other's abilites to other Go Players. Shindo and Akira have been shown squabbling over Go when playing in a Go salon. They seem to be close friends and rivals.
The two have a close childhood friendship, although Hikaru often yells or hurts her feelings when he is playing Go and messes up.
Hikaru and Waya have a close friendship. This is shown when Waya becomes concerned about Hikaru and vice versa.
The two first met when Yuki was cheating at a Go Salon. After Yuki was dragged (literally) by Hikaru to the Go Club he became apart of it. The two's relationship became strained after Hikaru announced that he would be a pro before they grew close again.
Hikaru played Yashiro for the selection for the Hokuto Cup. Although Yashiro lost to Hikaru, he showed great skills and was challenged by Ochi afterward to prove who deserved the last position for participating the Hokuto Cup. Yashiro won and earn his position for the Hokuto cup along side Akira and Hikaru. Hikaru and Yashiro later stayed over at Akira's to train for the Hokuto Cup.
|Akira Toya||Win by 2 Point Play (Play Through by Sai)|
|Akira Toya||Win by Resigned (Play Through by Sai)|
|Tetsuo Kaga||Lose by One Point (Play Through by Sai) due to mistake|
|Kawahagi Third Member||Lost by Resigning|
|Kaio Third Member||Win (Play Through by Sai)|
|Dake||Win (Play Through by Sai)|
|Middle School Student||Win|
|Unnamed Insei Opponent||Lose|
|Unnamed Insei Opponent||Won|
|Imanishi||Won due to mistake|
- The name Hikaru is written in katakana (ヒカル), which has no special meaning. However, when written in kanji (光 or 輝), it could possibly mean:
- 光 - "light".
- 輝 - "brightness, radiance, shine, sparkle, gleam, twinkle".
- Hikaru's surname Shindo means "advance, make progress" (進) (shin) and "wisteria" (藤) (to/do).
- Hikaru's shoes just happen to be modeled after Takeshi Obata's favorite sneakers.
|Main Character||Hikaru Shindo • Fujiwara no Sai • Akira Toya • Koyo Toya|
|Other Character||Akari Fujisaki • Kimihiro Tsutsui • Tetsuo Kaga • Yuki Mitani • Kumiko Tsuda • Natsume • Masako Kaneko • Hitoshi Koike • Seiji Ogata • Kaoru Kishimoto • Yuri Hideka • Yoshitaka Waya • Yuta Fukui • Shinichiro Isumi • Asumi Nase • Kosuke Ochi • Toshinori Honda • Tatsuhiko Kadowaki • Shigeo Morishita • Kuwabara • Zama • Harumi Ichikawa • Mitsuko Shindo • Michio Shirakawa • Suyong Hong • Atsushi Kurata • Yongha Ko • Kiyoharu Yashiro|
|Student||Hikaru Shindo • Akari Fujisaki • Kimihiro Tsutsui • Tetsuo Kaga • Yuki Mitani • Kumiko Tsuda • Natsume • Masako Kaneko • Hitoshi Koike|
|Current||Asumi Nase • Yuta Fukui • Eiji Komiya • Toshiteru Adachi|
|Former||Hikaru Shindo • Yoshitaka Waya • Shinichiro Isumi • Kosuke Ochi • Toshinori Honda • Ryo Iijima • Kaoru Kishimoto • Suyong Hong• Mitsuru Mashiba • Kiyoharu Yashiro|
|Japan||Hikaru Shindo • Akira Toya • Koyo Toya • Seiji Ogata • Yoshitaka Waya • Shinichiro Isumi • Kosuke Ochi • Toshinori Honda • Tatsuhiko Kadowaki • Shigeo Morishita • Kuwabara • Zama • Michio Shirakawa • Hiroyuki Ashiwara • Atsushi Kurata • Kiyoharu Yashiro|
|Korea||An Daesun • Suyong Hong • Yongha Ko|
|China||Yang Hai • Lu Li • Wang Shizhen • Zhao Shi|