Ikkei Ukai (Japanese:
He has short gray-white hair and a tiny beard at the bottom of his chin. Despite his age, he appears to be well-built and athletic.
He appears scary and brisk at first sight but deep in his heart, he is a kind person who wants the best for his students.
As a coach, he's very strict and uses brutal training methods; Ryūnosuke Tanaka stated once during the summer training camp that he "hasn't been running this much since Ukai Sr. stopped coaching the team". In addition, Chikara Ennoshita said that the ungrateful second years left the volleyball club because of Ukai's harsh practices.
Before Karasuno was famous, the name Ukai was already well-known. After the Small Giant joined the team, Ukai led Karasuno High to its first National Tournament. Some time afterwards, Ukai went into retirement for a while. Just a few months before Hinata and Kageyama joined Karasuno (Kageyama having chosen Karasuno because he heard Coach Ukai'd come out of retirement), the esteemed coach collapsed and had to be hospitalized. It has been stated that one of the reasons he collapsed is that he overdid things in his younger years (over-training, perhaps).
Ukai currently coaches kids and some college students at the Lil'Tykes Volleyball Classroom.
Tokyo Expedition ArcEditUkai has just been released from the hospital and is practising with his students when Keishin Ukai brings Hinata to him for help with his training. Ukai criticizes Keishin for not knowing what to do with his own team and immediately flips his grandson over. Hinata nervously exclaims that he came here to get stronger in order to fight on his own. Ukai states it's hard to take control of mid-air battles with that height, but Hinata quickly retorts that he wants to do it because of his height. His exclamation suddenly reminds Ukai of the Small Giant and the coach agrees to help Hinata. After setting a court up, he explains to Hinata that in a quick strike, the spiker takes the initiative–something Hinata should never forget. He then tells Hinata to block the kids and starts setting up 'tempo' moves. Throughout the mini-match, Ukai's amazed by Hinata's high jumps. Afterwards, Ukai explains timing to Hinata, stating that in a quick strike, the setter matches the spiker; basically, it's an attack led by the spiker, not the other way around as Hinata and Kageyama have been doing it. As he explains the setter's and spiker's jobs, Keishin suddenly has a revelation and runs off, leaving Hinata with Ukai. Hinata then says determinedly that just reaching the top isn't enough, so he wants Ukai to teach him how to fight at the top.
Sometime later, Kageyama joins Hinata in training with Ukai; this extra practice helps them improve their quick-strike tremendously.
Spring High Preliminary ArcEdit
Ukai attends the Karasuno vs Ohgiminami match with some of his students. One of the spectators teases him, asking if he was here to watch his "cute grandson". The spectator then compliments Karasuno, stating that the members are pretty good this year. Ukai replies that there is no such thing as a match where a victory or loss is guaranteed, so he can't say for sure that Karasuno will win all of its matches.
Around the beginning of the fourth set of the Shiratorizawa vs Karasuno game, Ukai surprises Shimada, Takinoue, and Akiteru by showing up behind them and commenting on how the current Karasuno's doing better than the alumni did. The three greet him respectfully out of fear and Ukai remarks that they used to just jump at the ball without thinking, unlike what the current members are doing. Takinoue quickly replies that they just had too much to think of at the same time during matches. Ukai then sits down and notes that Washijō's still the same, amassing all the strong players onto one team.
As the game progresses, Ukai would comment on Shiratorizawa's strength and smile in pride at Hinata's vast improvements.
Despite his age, he can still play volleyball on par with high school students and flip his grandson over.
Keishin is Ukai's grandson who is also Karasuno's current coach. Ukai treats his grandson roughly, flipping him over when he came for advice and arm wrestling with him, but Ukai cares for his grandson deeply.
Ukai and Nekomata are longtime friends, both having met each other in middle-school. During their youth, they displayed countless competitiveness against each other each time they face off on the court. On their last middle-school tournament, Ukai was frustrated because Nekomata transferred to Tokyo, thus breaking their promise that they will battle again on a tournament. Years later, both become coaches of their respective former schools, Karasuno High and Nekoma High.Their teams played against each other for years–although Nekoma usually wins. Nekomata only accepted Karasuno's request for a practice match because Keishin Ukai is the current coach of Karasuno and Ukai's grandson; he also made fun of Keishin just because he resembled his grandfather.
Ukai had the best team in all of Karasuno history when the Small Giant was around. In the past, Ukai also gave the Small Giant additional training to help him develop other skills to make up for his lack of height.
Hinata reminds Ukai of the Small Giant, especially when he came to the coach to ask for help with his training; the Small Giant did the same thing in the past. During the summer, Ukai taught Hinata how to use tempos in his attacks and helped develop Hinata and Kageyama's quick strike by providing them with advice and a place to train.
Ukai is both feared by and well respected among every member of Karasuno due to his excellent coaching and brutal practices. It's been years since they graduated, but Akiteru, Shimada, and Takinoue are still afraid of Ukai; Takinoue became terrified when he accidentally let it slip in front of Ukai that he used to slack off during practices.
- There are rumors that Ukai keeps ferocious crows as pets.
- He tends to give people nicknames. When he first met Hinata, he nicknamed him "small fry" which eventually developed to "shrimpy". "Shrimpy" eventually developed to "shrimpo".
- Current Concern: The prospect of losing to his grandson at arm wrestling makes him feel slightly uneasy.
- Ukai (烏養) - Crow Nurturer
- Ikkei (一繋) - First Link
- "Humans have no "wings", so they search for ways to fly." (To Keishin Ukai, Volume 4 Chapter 30)
- "There is no greater toss than one which is easy for the spiker to hit." (To Hinata, Volume 10 Chapter 83)
- "Volleyball isn't a game where you "carry" the ball. It's only touched for a mere fraction of a second. In that instance when you control it, the ball becomes like an extension of your body." (To Hinata, Volume 10 Chapter 84)
- "There's no such thing as a match you can definitely win or a match you'll win for sure." (Volume 12 Chapter 99)
- "Volleyball is a sport where height is King. It is clear that tall players have an advantage but learning new strategies is an advantage too." (To himself, Season 3 Episode 10)