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Hikaru Shindo
Hikaru Shindo (9)
Kanji 進藤ヒカル
Rōmaji Shindō Hikaru
Also known as The Strongest Shōdan
Description
Gender Male
Birthday September 20, 1986
Age 12 (debut), 15 (end)
Blood Group 0
Sign Virgo ♍
Status
Occupation Go player
Student (former)
Affiliation Haze Middle School (Gratulated)
Insei (former)
Professionals
Japan
Go Level 1 Dan (skipped a lot of games)
Relationships
Family Mitsuko Shindo (mother)
Heihachi Shindo (grandfather) Masao Shindo
Rivals/Friends Akira Toya
Yoshitaka Waya
Shinichiro Isumi
Akari Fujisaki
Yuuki Mitani
Suyong Hong
Yongha Ko
Media
Manga Debut Game 1
Anime Debut Episode 1
Japanese Voice Actor Tomoko Kawakami
English Voice Actor Samuel Vincent
Image Gallery


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.

Appearance[]

Hikaani
In the anime

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.

Personality[]

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.[1] Hikaru tends to be emotional and tends to get easily annoyed when things don't go well. 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.[2]

History[]

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.

Plot[]

Beginning Arc[]

Hikaru first went to his grandfather's house and went up to his attic, where he and Akari found a bloodstained goban. There, he met a spirit named Sai and he passed out shortly after. Upon meeting him, Sai explained his past: that he served the Emperor as a Go instructor during The Heian Period state and 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 that he was the one who did that, but the Emperor told them to be silent and stated he did not want to hear anything disgraceful happening in his presence and ordered them to continue the game.

This resulted in Sai being unable to maintain his composure and resulted in him losing the game. Sai was banished from the capital and was unable to do anything else for a living. Three days later, Sai committed suicide by casting himself into a river. Sai wasn't able to find peace and his soul was trapped in the Go Board. One day Sai heard a child's voice and met a young boy named Torajiro, who eventually became known as 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 asked Hikaru if he wanted to play Go, but Hikaru refused at the time because he had no interest in the game. Hikaru eventually gave in to Sai's request after Sai's sadness and screams caused him to vomit and set out for the nearest Go Salon. Hikaru and Sai arrived at the Go Salon where he met Akira Toya and asked him to play, unaware of how strong he is. Akira agreed to play him. Through Hikaru, Sai beat Akira, leaving the young prodigy devastated. Seemingly unaware of Akira's torment, Hikaru then received a flyer about a Youth Go Tournament from the cashier where many kids will play. Hikaru and Sai raced home.

The next day, Hikaru attended a Go class learning how to play but had no idea what the Go teacher was talking about. Sai pointed out that Hikaru was still a beginner in the game. The Go teacher, Shirakawa, asked if Hikaru ever played and then showed him a Ladder, a type of Go Strategy. Sai wondered how strong Shirakawa was. Hikaru told Sai that he was a Professional Go Player and that he could make a living by just playing go. When a person named Akota bullied a player who was weaker than him, Sai did not like it and asked Hikaru to switch with Akota's opponent so he could teach him a lesson. However, Hikaru instead placed a bowl of go-stones on Akota's head and shook off his wig which resulted in Shirakawa telling Hikaru to leave, which upset Sai.

Hikaru recalled the flyer he received from the Go Salon Cashier and went there. Hikaru saw kids playing Go who were even younger than him and was amazed by the intensity and Sai, who was awed, pointed out that his devotion to Go was 1000 years old, and yet all of these kids had the same passion. While Hikaru was wandering around, Sai noticed a shape that would leave the opponent dead there and pointed out that the best move is 1-2. Hikaru then blurted out what Sai pointed out and a go professional noticed him and took him away for Kibitzing. Later, Hikaru was scolded for his actions and later let go after that. Hikaru then bumped into Koyo Toya who told him to be careful. Sai felt an intense aura in Koyo and believed he might be closest to the divine move. Soon after that, Hikaru and Sai began to argue, Hikaru blaming Sai for what happened, and Sai pointing out that it was Hikaru's fault as he was the one to blurt it aloud. Later, Akira arrived to find Hikaru.

Later, Akira arrives to find Hikaru. Hikaru is 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 playing. Hikaru tells him that he just went to watch. Akira checks Hikaru's hand and notices that Hikaru's fingernail isn't worn out from picking up stones, indicating that Hikaru is a beginner. This matches Ms. Ichikawa's statement about Hikaru never playing a game before. Akira then asks Hikaru if he has plans to become a pro. Hikaru laughs and says he had never even thought about it, then asks Akira if he is planning to become a pro. Akira replies that he is. Hikaru then asks how much money a professional go player makes. Akira answers 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. He 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 he must persevere and make sacrifices. He tells Hikaru that he has met many players who weren't good enough and that he works hard, perseveres, and makes sacrifices daily. Akira expresses his frustration about underestimating Hikaru because he thought he was a beginner. Akira then challenges Hikaru to a game, however, Hikaru hesitates as he has already spent his time at the tournament. Sai angrily states that they barely spent time at the tournament due to Hikaru's fault and tells him to accept the challenge.

Akira then drags Hikaru to the train station. Hikaru wonders why Akira is so angry at him, and states he was just joking. Sai, however, doubts Hikaru and asks if he was really joking. Hikaru expresses frustration and asks why can't people take a joke. Hikaru asks Sai why he beat Akira by 2 points and knows that it isn't easy to be a pro. Sai told Hikaru he wasn't intending to win and it was just a teaching game. Hikaru considers this not surprising and that Sai is better than Akira, but Sai tells him that Akira does not possess the behavior of a child. While walking home, Hikaru and Sai have a conversation about the intensity of their game, and 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.

Insei Arc[]

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 end up being off his game and has his 1st loss to a outsider player named Ooshima but still kept playing well and win his next game. 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.

Return Arc[]

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.

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, is selected to represent Japan.

Hikaru insists on playing the 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. Hikaru begs Kurata to let him play first board against Korea, but Kurata refuses, however, he may consider it depending on how Hikaru plays against China.

In the match against China, Hikaru plays the second board against Wang Shizhen. Hikaru plays badly during the match; however, he thinks about Sai and decides to continue and play fiercely as the match intensifies into a massive Ko battle as he tries to find a comeback move. Hikaru loses in the end. However, his determination and fierce pursuit during the match impress Kurata despite his loss and Kurata agrees to let Hikaru play first board against Korea.

In the final game of the series, when Hikaru finally plays as the 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 impresses 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.

Go[]

Hikaru possesses two remarkable traits when it comes to playing Go.

First, he has an exceptional ability to read the game further and faster than most players. Thanks to his mentor Sai, Hikaru is able to think like one of the greatest players in history, often catching his opponents off guard with surprising moves. This is evident when he appears to make a "dumb" play, only to reveal it as a brilliant trap for his opponent against Murakami and Suyong.

Secondly, Hikaru has a natural talent for remembering the steps of moves in a game exceptionally well. Sai was the first to notice this ability, recognizing Hikaru's potential in learning and playing Go.

Additionally, Hikaru's gut instincts and ability to make solid moves quickly set him apart. Skilled professional Go players and rivals acknowledge that Hikaru's talent seems boundless. He consistently demonstrates the ability to make strong moves, even while playing at a fast pace and already thinking about his next move while his opponent is still deciding.

Furthermore, Hikaru prefers fast-paced games over slow ones. During his insei times, he found opponents who took a long time to make a move frustrating, and he felt more comfortable with Fuku's speedy playing style.

Relationships[]

Fujiwara no Sai[]

Ever since Sai entered his life, Hikaru has developed a passion for Go. The two seem to have a caring relationship, although they tend to argue sometimes.

When Sai disappeared, this sent Hikaru on a quest to find his friend, as Hikaru presumed that he ran off. He tried to find him at the Go Association and then in Hiroshima, where Shusaku was born, but to no avail. He then went to the Go Association and later took a look at Shusaku's game record, which was Sai's play. Through Shusaku, Hikaru was amazed by Sai's skills, which caused him to regret not letting Sai play Go whenever he wanted. He blamed himself for not realizing how skilled Sai was sooner, because when he met Sai, he didn't know much about Go, while Shusaku was skilled enough to recognize Sai's strength. This caused him to become extremely depressed and stop playing Go for a while.

Sai's disappearance almost made Hikaru stop playing Go completely. Hikaru hoped that Sai would come back and that he would let Sai play Go whenever he wanted, but to no avail. However, when Isumi came to Hikaru and made him play against him, Hikaru saw Sai's hand point out a move that he would play. This made Hikaru realize that Sai now lived in his go and made him resolve to achieve Sai's goal to attain the Hand of God.

Akira Toya[]

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.

Akari Fujisaki[]

The two have a close childhood friendship, although Hikaru often yells or hurts her feelings when he is playing Go and messes up.

Yoshitaka Waya[]

Hikaru and Waya have a close friendship. This is shown when Waya becomes concerned about Hikaru and vice versa.

Yuki Mitani[]

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.

Shinichiro Isumi[]

Kosuke Ochi[]

Kiyoharu Yashiro[]

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.

Games Played[]

Opponent Outcome
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)
Kimihiro Tsutsui Lose
Dake Win (Play Through by Sai)
Middle School Student Win
Akira Toya Lose
Yuki Mitani Win
Kaoru Kishimoto Lose
Kimihiro Tsutsui Win
Yuki Mitani Win
Tetsuo Kaga Lose
Uchida Lose
Unnamed Insei Opponent Lose
Unnamed Insei Opponent Won
Imanishi Won due to mistake

Trivia[]

  • Hikaru's shoes just happen to be modeled after Takeshi Obata's favorite sneakers.

Gallery[]

References[]

  1. Game 3
  2. Game 149

Navigation[]

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