To Hinata and Kageyama about Shiratorizawa
Wakatoshi Ushijima (Japanese:
He is the main antagonist of the second half of the Spring High Preliminary Arc.
Ushijima has dark olive-brown hair and matching olive colored eyes. He usually has a stoic expression on his face and often looks rather intimidating. He has a large, muscular yet lean build and is fairly tall.
His representative team uniform is a sports jacket, gray on the sides but black in the middle. On his left chest is a small nametag with Japan and the Japanese flag.
Ushijima is a quiet and stoic individual, rarely ever speaking and often maintaining the same fierce expression on his face. He is immensely confident in his skills and does not ever doubt that he will win, to the point that when Oikawa bragged that he and his team would be the ones going to nationals, Ushijima genuinely thought that he was confused and corrected him that only one team is allowed to go.
One of Ushijima’s most notable characteristics is his tendency to bluntly say what is on his mind, causing him to come off as tactless or rude. He does not seem to be able to read people, and often takes the jokes and figurative language from others literally. Despite this, it is noted that when Ushijima does give actual praise or support, it is completely sincere as he never sugarcoats or minces his words. Due to his limited social skills and being incredibly earnest, Ushijima can appear awkward and unintentionally funny. This is seen when he prioritized reading the ads in magazines instead of the actual content and being thoroughly shocked when a young boy finds volleyball boring.
Ushijima seems to believe that cultivating one’s talent is the most important thing for a player, as shown when he openly criticizes Oikawa for attending Aobajohsai instead of the more powerful Shiratorizawa despite his talents, claiming the former is like “infertile soil”. Because of this mindset, he hates those with baseless and unfounded confidence, causing him to particularly dislike Hinata due to him declaring that he will beat Shiratorizawa despite his short stature and attendance at an unknown school.
Ushijima's father was a second division volleyball player who used to attend Shiratorizawa; his generation is rumored to have won first place at National. However, Ushijima's father had to retire due to an injury and then married Ushijima's mother, taking on her surname in the process. Sometime later, when Ushijima was still very young, his parents divorced and his father moved overseas; Ushijima ended up taking on his mother's last name.
During his childhood, Ushijima's mother wanted to change his left-handedness because it was not something that usually occurred on her side of her family. However, Ushijima's father disagreed and implored her to let him keep it, stating that it could become the child's greatest power.
Ushijima bases his volleyball style now on an encounter with his father back when he was very young. His father told him stories of the ace on his team who gave off a strong feeling of security and strength that boosted the team's morale. Ushijima has stated that he doesn't want to be like his father, but as the ace, his father had described. His father also told him to join a strong team and meet new people, encounter new abilities, and grow. But no matter what happens in the future, as long as Ushijima likes volleyball, his father will be happy.Taking his father's advice to heart, Ushijima joins one of the strongest volleyball teams in the country, starting with Shiratorizawa Junior High. Even back then, he was rivals with Oikawa and Iwaizumi. Besides being the ace of Shiratorizawa High, Ushijima is also an under 19 representative for Japan for the Youth World Championship.
Karasuno High Team Formation Arc
Interhigh ArcShiratorizawa plays against Ohgiminami (2:0 / 25-10, 25-6).
Before the Shiratorizawa vs Aobajohsai match starts, Ushijima and Oikawa shake hands, and Oikawa announces that he'll win. However, in the end, Aobajohsai can’t stop Ushijima’s powerful spikes and Shiratorizawa wins.
Tokyo Expedition ArcHinata and Kageyama are leaving Yachi’s complex after a study session when Kageyama notices that it was close to Shiratorizawa Academy. In the anime, this event is changed to Hinata and Kageyama getting lost after racing each other. Hinata asks him if he was referring to the school with “Ushiwaka” in it, only to hear a voice behind them. The two turn around to see Ushijima himself. Ushijima is out jogging with his entire team but they were too slow, so he left them behind. He asks Hinata and Kageyama if they have any business with him but when they didn’t reply, he starts to leave. Kageyama follows behind Ushijima, stating that he and Hinata came from Karasuno and they want to do some reconnaissance on Shiratorizawa. Ushijima identifies Karasuno as the team that uses a strange quick strike. He tells the two that no matter how capable they are Shiratorizawa never weakens. Ushijima allows the two to go with him to Shiratorizawa, only if they could keep up with him while jogging.
To Ushijima’s surprise, though, the duo can keep up with him and, not only that, they can even do it while talking to one another. When the three arrives in Shiratorizawa, some college students are playing inside the gym. Kageyama introduces himself to Ushijima, who instantly recognizes him from Kitagawa Daiichi. Kageyama said that he failed to get into Shiratorizawa and Ushijima replies coldly that he remembers how Kageyama played during middle school; he states that Shiratorizawa does not need a setter who can’t devote themselves to him, the ace.Hinata brings up Oikawa. Ushijima replies that Oikawa is an excellent player who should have joined Shiratorizawa. Kageyama asks if Oikawa would devote himself to the ace, and Ushijima replied that Oikawa is a setter who draws out the maximum potential of the team he’s on. If the team’s potential is low, then nothing will happen. If the team’s potential is high, Oikawa will make it higher; that is his talent. Ushijima adds that an excellent seedling requires suitably excellent soil; apart from Oikawa, Aobajohsai is weak. Hinata counters him, saying that if Aobajohsai is “barren land”, then Karasuno would be concrete. His expression intimidates Ushijima for a second. They are interrupted when a stray ball comes toward them, and Ushijima jumps up to grab it with his hand. However, Hinata, who jumped higher, grabs the ball before it could hit Ushijima’s hand. Ushijima is shocked because he was sure Hinata was behind him. Hinata lands and introduces himself, exclaiming that he and Kageyama are going to knock down Ushijima and go to the nationals. Their conversation officially ends when a teacher nearby discovers the two and kick them out of the school. Before he and Hinata left, Kageyama states that Oikawa is the strongest setter in the prefecture, but Kageyama surpasses that. As the two are walking away, Ushijima repeats their names and grinned in excitement. Sometime later, Ushijima gets scolded by some teachers for letting in some outsiders.
Spring High Preliminary Arc
On the first day of Spring High, Shiratorizawa, led by Ushijima, enters the Sendai City Gymnasium. Later, as Ushijima exits the bathroom, Hinata bumps into him while running away from Oikawa and Iwaizumi. Ushijima greets Hinata and then the Aobajohsai players, wishing them luck since the Spring High was the final high school tournament for them. The two then get angry with Ushijima, though he doesn't know why. Hinata tries to step in but the three glares at him simultaneously, scaring him off. Ushijima then leaves, stating that he welcomes all newcomers.
Shiratorizawa’s first match is on Court A against Niigawa (2:0 / 25-15, 25-12).
After Aobajohsai lost to Karasuno, Ushijima approaches Oikawa, who ignored and tried to walk away at first. Ushijima stops him and states that Shiratorizawa was a better place for Oikawa, but Oikawa’s insignificant pride led him to choose Aobajohsai. Oikawa replies that he never thought he made the wrong decision, and his volleyball career is far from being over. Oikawa warns Ushijima to remember his “insignificant pride.” Oikawa continues, stating that his kōhai, Kageyama, is an idiot but he’s on a strong team now; Karasuno could take down an enormous white eagle-like Ushijima.
Before long, the Karasuno vs Shiratorizawa finals match begins. Ushijima enters the court confidently with the rest of his team behind him. As he's warming up, he accidentally sends a ball over the bleachers, into the arms of a spectator, shocking the entire gymnasium. Right before the game begins, Goshiki comes over and tells Ushijima that he'll prove he's worthy of being the ace. Ushijima nonchalantly tells Goshiki "good luck", angering Goshiki.
At the beginning of the match, Ushijima dominates using only 70-80% of his strength. His immense strength and left-handedness throw Karasuno off, especially Nishinoya and Tsukishima until Nishinoya finally manages to receive Ushijima's spike. However, by that point, Shiratorizawa's already close to winning the set. Karasuno doesn't give up though and continues pressuring Shiratorizawa. Gaining steadily up to Shiratorizawa, Karasuno initiates several attacks that finally force Ushijima to start receiving the balls, something he'd left to Ōhira initially.
Getting serious, Ushijima demands Shirabu to toss all the balls to him. Shiratorizawa soon takes the first set. During the break, Tendō asks Ushijima if he knows Hinata and Ushijima replies affirmatively, describing what Hinata said to him during their encounter. After Tendō comments about Hinata, Ushijima states that he doesn't like him because he's too confident; Ushijima absolutely can't stand baseless self-confidence.
As the game progresses, Ushijima continues dominating, but Karasuno's slowly catching up to him by pushing him into positions where his spikes point towards the libero. His teammates are also targeted heavily, causing Shirabu to lose focus. He suddenly makes a mistake with his toss and Ushijima finally gets blocked by Tsukishima.
Unaffected, Ushijima takes back the third set. Afterward, the two teams change the court. As Ushijima's walking over, he sees Hinata staring at him. Coolly, Ushijima states that after seeing Hinata's movements during their encounter at his school, he thought Hinata would be good at receives and blocks. However, he realized now that Hinata's skills are at an infantile level, this statement stunning the shorter boy.
Unwilling to let Ushijima think of him that way, Hinata focuses on improving his skills. Ushijima continues scoring point after point and slowly increases the amount of strength he uses, but Hinata can catch up and block him in the fourth set, bringing both teams to a tie. Even though Hinata isn't able to block Ushijima again, he manages to pull off several one-touches, but Ushijima doesn't appear to be worried. When his coach points out Karasuno's improved defense, Ushijima states calmly that there is no such thing as a perfect defense.
Despite tiring out and making mistakes more often, Karasuno plays to the best of its abilities and gets ahead of Shiratorizawa, but Ushijima easily retakes those points. Kageyama, Tsukishima, and Asahi get together to block him, but he quickly switches to a softer spike to send the ball to the back corner of the court. At this point, everyone is expecting Shiratorizawa to win, especially when it becomes Ushijima's turn to serve. He gets a net-in on the first try, bringing Shiratorizawa to match point. The second time, just as the ball was about to hit the floor, Nishinoya receives it almost perfectly and Karasuno plans its comeback.
For the next few plays, the ball's given to other players as Hinata's switched back in. Karasuno's coordination is in disarray, but Hinata manages by using his left hand to spike when the toss is too short, winning the set for his team.
Karasuno gains the upper-hand right away in the fifth set when Sugawara is subbed in. As both teams take a quick break, Reon comments on Nishinoya's setting and Ushijima voices his opinion, surprising the former as Ushijima usually doesn't comment on his opponents. Tendō comments on Ushijima's dislike of Hinata because of the latter's unpredictability, something the third year's not used to. Ushijima doesn't reply.
Now that the match's nearing the end, Ushijima's concentration increases rapidly. Tendō tosses to him as he prepares to spike towards the right side of the court. However, Nishinoya is waiting there, expecting the spike, and Ushijima changes the path of the ball completely, surprising Karasuno. As he recovers, he thinks back to what his father had told him about the ace on his team and turns to his teammates. Ushijima smiles uncharacteristically and quotes Tendō to express his feelings about the match.
It's Ushijima's turn to serve again. He scores immediately with a perfect serve despite it being unstable usually. He continues to score and soon can completely slam past Tsukishima's hand, unintentionally injuring the first year in the process. Now that Karasuno has weakened without its main blocker, Ushijima seems to relax as well and returns to his unstable serves.
Karasuno tries attacking with its new formation and gets blocked, but Hinata uses his cheek to receive the ball. He explains to his surprised teammates that he didn't want to injure himself by using his nose and then getting switched out. Ushijima watches with a scowl and thinks back to their first meeting. He notes that when he first heard of Karasuno's freak duo and saw Hinata snatch that ball from his hand, he thought the first year would be a good player, but was proven wrong. However, after seeing the hard work Hinata puts into his plays, Ushijima realizes exactly what makes Hinata so strong despite lacking technique. Ushijima thinks of Oikawa quickly before focusing on Hinata, determined to beat the latter.
Kageyama's soon switched back in and both teams are evenly matched now. Ushijima stays back as his teammates do most of the work initially. When he spikes, Hinata appears out of nowhere and almost seems to catch the ball, shocking Ushijima. It's sent back to Shiratorizawa's side. Goshiki yells at Ushijima for letting the first-year block him, but Ushijima dismisses him.
Suddenly, Ushijima asks Shirabu if he remembers the promise he made a while ago to send all the tosses to him. Shirabu replies affirmatively and does as he had vowed, allowing Shiratorizawa to quickly overwhelm Karasuno. Just as the members were on the floor with fatigue, Tsukishima comes back.
Right away, Tsukishima can keep up with Ushijima's spikes, even if he can't block them completely. Ushijima continues attacking though but finally starts showing signs of fatigue. After Karasuno gets ahead, both teams take a break. Shirabu approaches him and brings up the promise and asks if that only applies to when Ushijima can still play. Shockingly, Ushijima smiles as he confirms it.
The match resumes and Ushijima's unstoppable initially. Karasuno quickly catches up by taking advantage of his weaker blocks, but Ushijima doesn't get discouraged. The ball gets sent to him and he spikes with all his strength. Despite the block used against him was to force him into using a straight, Ushijima continues with a cross spike, which Kageyama saves at the last minute. After a series of moves, it's sent to Hinata, who scores, ending the match in Karasuno's victory.
Ushijima doesn't show any emotions as everyone lines up and bows. Shiratorizawa then goes to a gym to recover. As Ushijima and Tendō are stretching, the latter comments on Ushijima's change in personality during the match. Ushijima replies that it was immature of him to do so, but he wanted to say that he was stronger than Hinata to his face. Suddenly, he gets up and leaves the gym quickly.
In the hallway, he finds Hinata and Kageyama, calling them the ones who sprouted from the concrete. He simply tells them that they will be defeated by him next time. The two challenge him excitedly before he walks away.
Some time later, after practice, the third years gather everyone up for a farewell speech. To everyone's surprise, Ushijima decides to address each member individually on his weaknesses and areas to improve on. Motivated by their captain's words, the underclassmen bow in gratitude.
Tokyo Nationals Arc
|High School Statistics|
Overall, Ushijima's play style is heavily reliant on physicality and is quite straightforward. His techniques generally stay the same throughout most matches, which means his opponents can get used to them and find ways to counteract. However, this is easier said than done due to his overwhelming power and height.
- Pre-Timeskip: 345 cm
- Post-Timeskip: 350 cm
Late in the fourth set against Karasuno, he performed a "touch-spike" since the Karasuno blockers created a huge gap on his left front side of the court, after dealing with his powerful spikes for so long. He also performed a touch-serve that scratched the top of the net and the front end of the opponent's zone.
He also performed a slice-spike, where the spikers thumb faces more to the blockers, so the ball hits more to his left rather than right at Nishinoya, directly opposite him deep in the opponent's right back corner.
Receiving: Due to his high offensive abilities, Ushijima is often spared from participating in receives with his teammates covering for him. Despite this, he is shown to be very capable and consistent in this area. It it noted that Ushijima tends to not move while passing and usually adjusts his leg position instead of making full steps. It is later revealed that when receiving Ushijima is thinking ahead about what he's going to do for the next attack.
Spiking: Ushijima is known for his powerful spikes. He is one of the top hitters in his prefecture. His spikes tend to be strong and consistent. Ushijima has an immense amount of stamina with hitting and wears out his opponents quickly. His spikes are so strong even Nishinoya has a hard time receiving them. After the time-skip, Ushijima's spikes are noted to have become even stronger due to Ushijima using a new swing that not only increases the power behind his spikes but also gives less indications of how he will spike. Before, Ushijima would draw his arm back in a manner described by Asahi as if he were drawing back an arrow on a bow. Ushijima had decided to stop using this method and now uses a circular swing that allows him to use the momentum of the swing to increase his power. This new method is referred to as Ushijima destroying his best weapon and then rebuilding it .
- Takashi Utsui: When he was very young, Ushijima's parents divorced and his father moved overseas. Utsui was a former volleyball player who quit due to an injury but made sure to train his son to love volleyball as he does. Ushijima's mother initially disliked his left-handedness and wanted to change it because it's not a trait that runs in her family but Utsui persuaded her to keep it, insisting that the left-handedness could become Ushijima's greatest power, and it did. Ushijima also bases his volleyball ideals on encounters with his father. His father would describe the ace of his team as a tall, strong guy that everyone on the team trusted, something that Ushijima aspires to become.
- Satori Tendō: Tendō admires Ushijima's spiking form and often gives friendly gestures towards him. However, when Tendō talks to Ushijima, their conversations are very one-sided due to Ushijima's simplistic nature and Tendo's enthusiasm. They do seem to be close, as Tendō calls Ushijima by his first name, and the latter doesn't seem to mind. After closing the gap between Shiratoirizawa and Karasuno in the 4th set, Ushijima quoted Tendō. Following their match against Karasuno, Tendō told Ushijima that he was looking forward to seeing him on TV in the future and be able to say that he was Ushijima's best friend.
- Shiratorizawa Academy: Ushijima is well respected by his team, and gets along with them well. On several occasions, he has apologized for mistakes, and his teammates forgive and encourage him. Most of the third years call him by his first name. Reon compliments Ushijima after he performs good moves, and Tendō pats Ushijima on occasion. Ushijima is usually seen with Shirabu and talks to him about other teams from time to time, he also made a promise with him before the Shiratorizawa match. The first year Goshiki wants to become the ace and has bothered Ushijima about it, though Ushijima doesn’t see him as a threat. Semi has gotten defensive about him when he thinks people aren't treating Ushijima properly.
- Tōru Oikawa: Ushijima recognizes Oikawa's talent and skills, and has stated that he is an excellent player and should have attended Shiratorizawa to cultivate his talent because he draws out the maximum potential of whatever team he is on; however, Oikawa aims to defeat him. Ushijima himself doesn't appear concerned with actually having him as a teammate, and he doesn't bring it up again, implying that the comment may have just been for Oikawa's benefit instead of Shiratorizawa's. When Karasuno and Shiratorizawa play in a match, Oikawa appears and sits in the audience, and he tells Iwaizumi that he won't be happy no matter who wins.
- Tobio Kageyama and Shōyō Hinata: Ushijima is surprised that the two can keep up with his pace while jogging. However, he looks down on Kageyama because of Kageyama's playing style during middle school. After Ushijima claims that the only good player from Aobajōsai High was Oikawa, Hinata and Kageyama announced that they would take Ushijima down, and Ushijima seems to begin to take them seriously.
To Kageyama, Volume 9 Chapter 77
To Hinata and Kageyama, Volume 9 Chapter 77
To Hinata, Volume 19 Chapter 166
- Favorite Food: Hayashi rice
- Current Concern: None.
- He has commonly been referred to as "Ushiwaka", most likely because of the "Ushi" in Ushijima and "Waka" in Wakatoshi. His nickname "Ushiwaka", is the child name of the Japanese Genji Warrior, Minamoto Yoshitsune, who was also known to have extreme jumping abilities.
- He is one of the few characters in the series who are left-handed.
- His birthday, August 13, is International Left-Handers' Day.
- He is one of the three most noticed high school volleyball players in the nation, and he is the only player selected from Tohoku to participate in the Youth World Championship as Japan's under 19 volleyball representative.
- He reads all of the ads in magazines.
- He dislikes things that he doesn't understand, or that gives him the feeling of "not knowing what he's going to do", like Hinata.
- His star sign is Leo.
- He shares his birthday with Takanobu Aone.
- Wakatoshi (若利) - Young Advantage
- Ushijima (牛島) - Cow Island