- 1 Appearance
- 2 Personality
- 3 Background
- 4 Plot
- 4.1 Karasuno High Team Formation Arc
- 4.2 Interhigh Arc
- 4.3 Tokyo Expedition Arc
- 4.4 Spring High Preliminary Arc
- 4.5 Tokyo National Arc
- 4.6 Final Arc
- 5 Statistics
- 6 Relationships
- 7 Quotes
- 8 Trivia
- 9 References
Ukai has dyed blond hair with brown eyes and wears a head-band. He has two piercings on his left ear. He has been told by Nekomata that he resembles his grandfather, the former Coach Ukai. In his youth, Ukai had a dark brown buzzcut, but otherwise looked the same.
Ukai's behaviour is fairly typical of a man in his 20's. He smokes and drinks and is willing to speak casually about alcohol to minors, using terms like "a first gulp of beer" to explain a volleyball tactic to Karasuno. He is quite competitive, agreeing to coach Karasuno only so he could beat Nekoma in the practice match and then staying on because of challenges he made with Nekomata. Ukai appears lazy and cranky, spending most of his time at work reading a newspaper with his legs on the counter or yelling at people for being too loud.
However, he's shown to have strong coaching skills and is a hardworking individual. Ukai chose to change his work schedule to a much earlier time in the morning to make up for the time he takes off to coach Karasuno. It's also been noted that in high school and college, Ukai excelled in mentoring underclassmen and had strong analysis skills of opponents. He also said that he wasn't very good at studies to Hinata, when he asks Ukai to help him study. While at work, Ukai would yell at high school students and remark that he's out of a product without bothering to check, but he does have a kind side as he gave Tanaka, Kageyama, and Hinata free energy bars.
Keishin Ukai is Coach Ukai's grandson. He is an alumnus of Karasuno High and was a setter on the Boys' Volleyball Club eight years ago, having the number 2. He had said that even he became a regular in his 3rd year because there were other setters as regulars in his 1st and 2nd years. He continued playing volleyball in college and after graduating, he works at Sakanoshita Store, a family business he inherited from his mother's side.
Karasuno High Team Formation Arc
Ukai makes several background appearances in the beginning as a cranky clerk at the Sakanoshita Store. He later receives calls from Takeda, who persistently requests that he becomes the new coach for Karasuno Boys' Volleyball Team. When Takeda confronts him at the store, Ukai asks if it's just the "Ukai" name that Takeda wants and after Takeda confirms it is part of the reason, Ukai seems to think over it. Despite that, he rejects Takeda anyway, claiming that he doesn't want to babysit high school boys. He later reveals that he doesn't want to go back to Karasuno because of the nostalgia it invokes in him, but he's eventually convinced when Takeda reveals that he wants Ukai to coach for the upcoming practice match against Nekoma.
Asahi and Nishinoya's return
Ukai schedules a practice match against the Karasuno Neighborhood Association to test the players' skills, strengths, and figure out their weaknesses. Like the Neighborhood Association members, he is stunned when he sees Hinata and Kageyama's freak quick attack.
Nekoma Practice Match
During the match, Ukai is continually impressed by Nekoma's tactics and playing style; acknowledging players like Kenma, Inuoka, and Kuroo to be outstanding and talented players. After the matches, Ukai is taunted by Nekomata for still being a beginner when it comes to coaching and looking so much like grandfather that Ukai decides to stay on the team as the coach in order to one day get revenge on Nekoma.
Just before the Interhigh Tournament begins, Ukai reveals to have gathered information on the teams and players he deems to be the most cautious of. To help the players prepare for the tournament, he starts working with them on attacks they may be able to pull off during a match and forming new attack formations.
Karasuno vs Tokonami
Karasuno is able to the win the match without much trouble.
Karasuno vs Date Tech
Although the match against Date Tech was more challenging than their first match, Karasuno is able to play without Ukai having to help much. After the match, he reveals that he was aware that Asahi had trouble overcoming emotions from the previous match against the Date Tech.
Karasuno vs Aoba Johsai
Loss and Decisions
Like the team, Ukai was upset by the loss against Aoba Johsai. The day after the match, Ukai is speaking with Takinoue about the match and how they observed that the Seijoh players somewhat coached themselves most of the time and rarely needed their actual coaches to guide them.
Ukai would later join the team for afternoon practice and revealed to them that Shiratorizawa Academy won the Interhigh tournament with Seijoh as the runner-up team. While pointing out that there is a team stronger than Aoba Johsai in the prefecture, Ukai states that the only way the team can hope to win is to become stronger and sets the goal for them to make it to the Spring Tournament in January.
Tokyo Expedition Arc
Despite the new goal to qualify for the Spring Tournament, Ukai is still aware that the team is in need of more game experience but knows the difficulty of trying to set up practice matches. Luckily, Takeda announced that the team was invited to the summer training camp held by the Fukurōdani Academy Group thanks to Coach Nekomata.
When Hinata and Kageyama are forced to stay behind to take make-up lessons, Ukai sees how the team is without the two first years to help. The team would suffer several losses until the two arrived and they were finally able to turn things around. It wouldn't be until Karasuno's match against Nekoma that Karasuno would start to have difficulty thanks to Nekoma's newest member, Lev, using his impressive height and quick reflexes to block Hinata's quick attack on his second attempt and get one-touches on other spikes that would allow Nekoma to take the lead. With Hinata having realized that the normal quick attack was starting to get blocked much easier, Ukai, believing that the quick was fine the way it is, was hesitant on agreeing to the middle blocker's request of wanting to change it so he could handle the mid-air battles on his own.
After the first training camp, Ukai would take Hinata to meet his grandfather and Karasuno's original coach, Ikkei Ukai. Ukai would come to better understand how the team would need to utilize tempo's and new attacks in order to become stronger and would present Kageyama with the theory of a new way to set to allow Hinata better control of the quick attack.
During the second training camp, Ukai would watch the team try their new attacks and carry out numerous penalty laps as they struggled to make things work. Every night of the camp, Ukai was dragged along with the other coaches by Nekomata to go drinking (In the anime, he spent one night helping Kageyama perfect the new toss). He quickly noticed how Tsukishima was not putting in the work to improve himself and considered removing him as one of the starting players but held off on doing so with the hope of Tsukishima possibly becoming the core pillar of the blockers.
When Karasuno was finally able to make their new attacks work, Ukai is shown being enthusiastic and mentioning how he would have to bring Ikkei to the tournament to see their newfound strength and abilities.
Spring High Preliminary Arc
Karasuno vs Ohjiminami
Ukai barely had to offer any advice as Karasuno was able to win the game fairly easily.
Karasuno vs Kakugawa
After struggling against the tallest high school player they have come across yet, Ukai would notice several things about Hyakuzawa along with Daichi and Nishinoya that would help them turn things around. They notice that Hyakuzawa is not capable of hitting straight shots and that he most likely has only recently started playing volleyball in the last few months.
Thanks to these discoveries, Ukai encourages the team to use their new weapons to their advantage. From that point on, Karasuno would have an easier time gaining the lead and would eventually go on to win the match though Ukai would acknowledge that Hyakuzawa would most likely become a great force to be cautious of in the future.
Karasuno vs Johzenji
Not involved much in terms of coaching, Ukai would mostly observe the team try to counter the wild and energetic Johzenji players. After Kageyama had to be removed to recover from taking a spike to the face, he would send Narita in for a while to allow Hinata the chance to watch Narita and Sugawara's plays and the chance to calm down from possibly getting caught up in Johzenji's flow. Karasuno would win the game in straight sets.
Karasuno vs Wakutani South
Ukai became more observant of things during Karasuno's game against Wakutani. Prior to the match, he was able to warn the team that Wakutani was on par with Nekoma when it came to receives and that they had their own Little Giant who would most likely give them the most problems.
Ukai was able to see that Nakashima was similar to Hinata in that he can tool blockers to do block-outs but noted that the biggest difference was that Nakashima's aim is not as precise as Hinata's since he would change the angle of his spikes. When Daichi became injured when he collided with Tanaka, Ukai temporarily left the game to escort the captain to the medical office. He later returned to the game and was about to scold Yamaguchi for his performance before Ennoshita stepped in to prevent that by pointing out Yamaguchi was already aware of what he had done. Ukai would inform the team that Daichi would be fine and just needed time to recover. During the third set, Ukai would see Ennoshita settle into the game and eventually take lead of the team. Ukai would be seen joining in the celebration when Karasuno eventually won the match.
Karasuno vs Aoba Johsai
Karasuno vs Shiratorizawa
Tokyo National Arc
Preparation for Nationals
Ukai is initially furious when he learns that Hinata had decided to crash the First Year training camp at Shiratorizawa and calls the coaches to apologize but hears from Washijō that he is fine with Hinata staying at the camp so long as he does nothing other than be a ball boy. However, during a talk with the first year the next day, Ukai shows that he is understanding of Hinata's reasons for wanting to attend the camp. He then encourages Hinata not to underestimate the ball boy position and to find something there that only he can do.
During the week, Ukai continues to help the remaining members of the team prepare as best they can for the Spring Tournament. After the first years returned from their camps, Ukai would travel with the team to Date Tech High for a practice match.
Date Tech Practice Match
As the practice match is about to begin, Ukai warns the team that it's rumored that Date Tech has improved their blocking over the last several months. He advises the team to try to get use to Date Tech's blocks so they will not panic when faced with similar blocks at the Spring Tournament. At seeing how the blockers were able to easily block Asahi despite Hinata acting as a decoy, Ukai feels that this practice match may have the same pressure on Kageyama similar to the pressure Tsukishima applied onto Shirabu during the match against Shiratorizawa.
Ukai helps Takeda understand the difference and effectiveness of bunch blocking and spread blocking. At hearing Kageyama yell at Nishinoya for 'being in the way', Ukai is surprised at the setters tone. However, it would be cleared up when Kageyama explained that Nishinoya was blocking the path for the back row attacker and Nishinoya understanding his mistake. While he would later be surprised at hearing Kageyama snap at Asahi, he would see that Kageyama was now starting to demand more of his spikers after having adjusted his sets to accommodate their preferences. Despite this, he still reminds Kageyama that the best type of set he can give to a spiker is one that is easy to hit. He is still curious if the other players will wonder how to make requests from a player as talented as Kageyama but is happy to see that Hinata is one person who does not hesitate to call Kageyama out on certain things. After Kageyama attempts to get Tsukishima to start spiking at a higher point, Ukai instructs Kageyama that he does need to keep the condition of his teammates in mind. As the match goes on and Date Tech continues to surprise Karasuno with their blocks and serves, Ukai comes to the conclusion that the most troubling team they will be faced with next year will be Date Tech.
Ukai soon has Hinata begin to blend in with the rest of the team during attacks. However, he is clearly aware that, while most others would be caught off guard by the freak quick attack, Date Tech will react differently and may be more on guard of when it appears like Hinata will attempt the freak quick. Despite this, he still states that Hinata is the type of player that causes opponents to have 'information overload' since he can use any tempo he wishes and attack from anywhere on the court. As the match goes into the eighth set, Ukai has Asahi try to concentrate on keeping perfect spiking form at all times. When the score reaches 18-16 with Karasuno in the lead, Ukai decides to send a pinch server into the game. He sees how eager Yamaguchi is to be sent in but he decides to use Kinoshita instead; although he noticed the second year having tried to hide from the coaches view. When Kinoshita is subbed back out after his second serve, Ukai points out how the wing spiker has an uncanny ability to rack up points but warns that he will have Kinoshita sit next to him from now on if he tried to hide from Ukai again. The game ended in a tie at four sets each. Ukai and the team return to Karasuno.
Karasuno vs Tsubakihara
Karasuno vs Inarizaki
Prior to the match, Ukai had warned the team that they would be facing the team that placed second in the InterHigh Tournament and were one of the favorites to win the Spring Tournament. During the team meeting the night before the match, Ukai passed on a great amount of valuable information that would help the team during the match; such as counting out the steps that Atsumu Miya would take from the end line in order to figure out if he would use a spike serve or a jump float. In a brief flashback Asahi has, Ukai was the one who helped the ace figure out how to best control his strength when he is serving during matches by clenching and relaxing his fist in order to ease his muscles and release any pent up energy. Like his team, Ukai would be caught off guard by the Miya twins copying the freak quick attack but Ukai points out to Takeda that it was more of a minus-tempo spike while Kageyama and Hinata are able to use their super quick at any time from anywhere on the court which makes it the more effective quick attack.
During one play when Atsumu was able to accurately predict that Kageyama would set to Hinata but was able to block the first year, Ukai advised the duo to stay calm. Kageyama would claim that he was calm and this became clear during the next play when Kageyama again set to Hinata who was able to do a block-out against Atsumu's hand. Ukai sees that Kageyama was being truthful in his claim and is more concerned about delivering the type of sets his spikers need. When Kinoshita is later subbed into the match when Tsukishima is up to serve, Ukai easily sees his nerves and reminds the second year that the people he is facing are regular high school teenagers like himself. As the play is carried out, a brief flashback shows Ukai acknowledging that Hinata's blocks are still a work in progress but asks if he thought he might be able to block like Inuoka while commit blocking Osamu Miya. Ukai is seen with a surprised look when Hinata was able to block Osamu's attack and silently admit it was more like an ambush than a block. After Hinata was not able to beat Osamu in a joust at the net, Ukai sees that Inarizaki is starting to keep up with the freak quick attack and decides Karasuno should deploy the 'blend and distract' tactic.
In the second set, Karasuno would try to stop Aran when he attempted several spikes in a row and eventually was able to spike past Kageyama to end the rally. When Takeda questions if they should call a time-out, Ukai decides against it as he believes the team was aware of what they were and were not capable of doing during the rally. When Inarizaki decided to send Kita into the game and have Aran rest, Ukai becomes uneasy at this. Shortly after the Inarizaki ace is brought back into the game, a flashback reveals that Ukai decided to have Tsukishima try to block Osamu as well in order to try to prevent the twins from attempting their quick attack and also have Kageyama paired with Aran more with the plan of having Aran faced with a high block to keep him from getting into a groove. The plan is successful when Kageyama is able to block Aran at his next spike attempt.
At seeing Atsumu lunge into a low position to make an overhand set, Ukai would applaud the skill that Atsumu used to make such a set possible when most other setters would use an underarm set. Ukai would then attempt to keep the team calm when they witnessed the Miya twins perform a reversed version of their quick attack by telling them that it was a possible one-off fluke.
When Tsukishima is able to narrowly get his serve over the net, Ukai notices that the players are starting to move at a faster pace. He desperately calls out to them to slow down but they are unable to hear him. He would not have to worry long when Hinata sends the ball high into the air and give Karasuno time to slow down. Ukai would greatly celebrate when Hinata and Kageyama were able to block the twins quick attack and win the match.
Karasuno vs Nekoma
As Ukai is introduced by the announcers as being the coach for the team, Ikkei Ukai proudly boasts to those in his hospital room that Ukai is his grandson and Ukai is noted to look just like his grandfather. As the match is about to start, Ukai advises the team, Hinata indirectly, that they should be cautious not too waste energy with unnecessary jumps or movements.
After Tsukishima rotated onto the court, Ukai would be surprised to watch the Nekoma team execute a synchronized attack; a move that Karasuno had never seen the Nekoma team do before. He later expresses silent pride at seeing Tsukishima and Yamaguchi perform a perfect serve and block technique. Later when Asahi attempted a powerful block-out that ended up being received, Ukai becomes frustrated and concerned about this due to the fact that it was the first time that Asahi had performed the move during the match. At the end of the set, Ukai shares in the same stunned confusion as everyone else when Kenma was able to use Karasuno's rotation to cause a communication error and win the set for Nekoma. Although he himself is annoyed by this, he is able to get the team to move past it and focus on the next set.
When Karasuno was able to get the first point of the set, Ukai sees that it wasn't entirely necessary for Kageyama and Hinata to use the super quick but realized that Kageyama did it as a means to send a message to Kenma that he would need to come up with a better plan if he wanted to contain Hinata.
Karasuno vs Kamomedai
As Karasuno’s match against Kamomedai is about to start, Ukai warns the team about Hoshiumi’s spike. However, he also says that they’ll have to keep watch of the team’s block as that they’ll be going against a max-level version of Date Tech After this, Ukai looks to the team captain, Daichi, to give Karasuno a pep talk, which he successfully does as Ukai watches with a smile on his face.
As the match progresses, Ukai notices that Kamomedai’s blockers are preparing themselves for a stack block. He finds it interesting because the last time that he had seen it was during Karasuno’s practice match against Nekoma but it was only to guide Hinata to where they wanted him to go. However, in Kamomedai’s case, they were using it to pick on specific hitters. Tanaka tries to try to surpass a triple block from Kamomedai by attempting to do a cross-shot but the ball goes into the net. Despite Tanaka’s frustration, Ukai tells him to take things easy because he could tell that the point gap was bothering him.
When Hakuba wins Kamomedai the first set despite having fallen for Hinata’s decoy trick, Kinoshita expresses his intimidation over their opponent. However, upon hearing this, Ukai tells them not to create vague reasons to scare themselves but gets surprised when that’s not what his team was afraid about. However, he still tells his team that even though the last rally was worthy of shock value, it wouldn’t be anymore once they figured out why they got tricked. He also adds that Kamomedai’s blockers are good, but they are still humans nevertheless and that if they have to process too much information, they’ll start stressing out and that’s how Karasuno can win. Right after, Takeda has a happy look on his face and when Ukai asks him why he was looking too cheery, he explains that it’s because he was proud of Ukai’s growth as a coach and mentor, and Ukai responds with his shock since he’d never expect to get a compliment from a school teacher.
When the second set starts, Ukai positions his player in a way that would be unresponsive to Kamomedai’s strategy, stubborn not to go along with their plan. Later on, Ukai thinks to himself that if they’d stuck to their normal rotation, Karasuno’s two best and tallest players- Kageyama and Tsukishima- would be right next to each other, and having them next to each other have saved Karasuno multiple times, however, even if Ukai had changed the rotation, it would still benefit the team since it would be a way to defeat Kamomedai’s wall.
Into the third set, when Hinata turns out to have a fever, Ukai is angry at himself for not noticing earlier. Hinata is stubborn to want to keep playing and Ukai does not know how to tell him to do until Takeda steps up. After this, the game resumes and after Kageyama tries to motivate his teammates, Ukai tells Takeda about how he’s always thought of great setters as great cons artists as well since they’d have also been able to hype up the team and ace in a dire situation. After this, the game resumes but Tsukishima gets a leg cramp. Not knowing who to sub him in for, Sugawara stubbornly tells his coach not to worry about not picking him because he’s a third-year and in the end chooses Tadashi.
Back at the hotel, Ukai brings Hinata food to his room and tells him that it wasn’t that he lacked guts or didn’t want to win badly enough that he got sick and he just needs to work to push his limits higher.
Takeda has replaced Ukai as Karasuno’s head coach and is now the assistant coach. With their team, they attend the game between the Schweiden Adlers and the MSBY Black Jackals. During the game, Atsumu and Hinata pull a quick set together, and Takeda notices that it is the same as the twin’s freak as well as Hinata and Kageyama’s quick set back in high school. However, Ukai says that it’s even faster. When Takeda asks him how that is even possible, Ukai speculates that it’s because Hinata grew to be able to jump higher.
As Hinata serves, Ukai is impressed at how good it is, and when Sugawara remembers back at the time when he hit Kageyama with his serve out of stress, Ukai comments on how he could break anyone’s neck with his serve now.
|High School Statistics|
Ukai used to be a setter, but he was not a regular while in high school. This implies that he isn't an extraordinarily skilled player, a trait that he is often teased for by his grandfather.  As a coach, Ukai has very high abilities in analysis and tactics. He goes the extra distance to collect as much data on their opponents as possible in order to formulate an effective plan to counteract them.
Ikkei is Keishin's grandfather and Karasuno's former volleyball coach. Initially, Keishin claims that he isn't the same as his grandfather and couldn't coach, but he later disproves that with his sharp mentoring skills. On the surface, the two have a rough relationship with Ikkei flipping and arm wrestling Keishin whenever he finds his grandson failing to perform
his responsibilities as coach. Despite that, Keishin has a lot of respect for his grandfather, going to him for advice when he needs help with his own players. Keishin is well aware of his grandfather's wish to see an official match between Karasuno and Nekoma and strongly wants to make it happen out of filial piety. Ikkei comes to watch Karasuno's matches in the Spring High preliminary rounds and is teased by spectators for watching his "dear grandson's" team, though Ikkei doesn't deny it. During the team introductions before the match against Nekoma, Ikkei is seen bragging about his grandson and feeling proud when others comment on their resemblance.
As the coach and advisor respectively, Ukai and Takeda work together to supervise the Karasuno boys' volleyball team.
Initially, Ukai is annoyed by Takeda's persistent attempts to get him onto the team, but later expresses his gratitude for Takeda's efforts. The two have strong respect for each other and care deeply for the volleyball team. They would often commentate on the matches and solve problems concerning the team together. Despite Takeda's general polite and respectful attitude, it's shown that even Ukai would cower if Takeda's angry.
Ukai has great respect for his alma mater, but he is initially resistant to become the volleyball club's coach due to his own nostalgic moments on the court. After personally watching a match and being tempted by Nekomata, Ukai becomes the official coach of the boys' volleyball team just like his grandfather. Despite calling the first and second years as the "hyperactive ones and simpletons", Ukai cares a lot about his players and is always trying to do the best for his team. He would give them advice on how to improve their play and what to eat.
Ukai and Naoi were friends in high school because of their similar situations of being third years but not starting members due to being outshone by their underclassmen. Thus, they dubbed themselves the "Benchwarmers Club". However, it's implied that they haven't seen each other since then. When they meet again in the Nekoma practice match, they tease each other about their appearances and reconnect.
- "Victory goes to the team that connects." (To Karasuno, Volume 4 Chapter 27)
- "'This is the final ball!' Think that at all times, and go after it! If you don't, then in the match, you'll regret the one ball you chose to ignore during practice!" (To Karasuno, Volume 5 Chapter 35)
- "...if you only pay attention to what's 'above', you'll get tripped up from below." (To Karasuno, Volume 5 Chapter 35)
- "It's only natural for everyone to feel nervous or hyped at the opening of the first match. So it's a matter of who breaks out of it faster!" (To Karasuno, Volume 5 Chapter 39)
- "Whoa! Whoa! What's with the grim faces? Loosen up, loosen up! You guys are still doing good, okay?" (To Ryūnosuke Tanaka, Volume 7 Chapter 59)
- "I have no complaints about the morale of our team. Seijoh is vastly better in terms of experience and technique. There's no denying that if they get ahead again, it'll be extremely tough, but if we hold onto everything we've got, the momentum will turn our way." (To Karasuno, Volume 5 Chapter 35)
- "In this tense situation, [Oikawa] still managed to find the smallest gap and pulled off a feint. His calm focus on victory is terrifying." (about Tōru Oikawa during the Inter-high tournament match with Aoba Johsai, Volume 3 Chapter 24)
- "Eat...eat...a little at a time...but be sure...to grow stronger." (When Ukai takes the team out to eat after they lose against Aoba Johsai High during the Inter-high tournament, Volume 3 Chapter 24)
- "Don't forget the frustration and bitterness you felt losing to Seijoh. However, you don't need to hold onto the feeling of losing. Hurry up and wipe that away!" (To Karasuno, Season 2 Episode 2)
- "Don't you dare look down! Volleyball is a sport where you're always looking up!" (To Karasuno, Season 3 Episode 8)
- "In the end, his blocking is reliant on personal skill. The problem is that his skill level is high. From what I've seen, he's very good at making some very sharp reads... and he has the reflexes for his body to keep up with his split-second reads." (To Shōyō Hinata, about Satori Tendō, Volume 18 Chapter 156)
- "Yes! We finally managed to get it to come together... our total defense!!" (About Kei Tsukishima, Tobio Kageyama, Yū Nishinoya, Asahi Azumane, Volume 18 Chapter 159)
- Favorite Food: Konnyaku dumplings
- Current Concern: He's not even 30 yet but his parents are already telling him to "Hurry up and get married."
- He owns a yellow car.
- Furudate gave him his name because of his nature: "Training crows and connecting hearts, exactly as it says.”
- His voice actor(seiyuu), Kazunari Tanaka, passed away due to a hemorrhage in the brain stem on October 10th, 2016; as for who will sub as him, the production said they will make changes since it's sudden. Above quote is his final lines of Episode 8 of Season 3.
- He shares his birthday with Alisa Haiba.
- His star sign is Aries.
- He sang "Aobajou koi uta" (青葉城恋唄) in Episode 9 of Season 1.
- In Haikyuu's first popularity poll, Ukai placed 17th with 1,535 votes. In the second, he dropped to 24th with 2,084 votes.
- Keishin (繋心) - Connecting Heart
- Ukai (烏養) - Crow Nurture