"Saito was completely indifferent. He would never take pity on me for any reason, and willingly drew his sword on me whenever he was ordered to."

Saito Hajime, known as Hajime Saito in the localization, is a main protagonist in Hakuōki, as well as one of Chizuru's potential love interests. He is Captain of the Third Division in the Shinsengumi, and is a left-handed master of iai.

Personality Edit

Saito is sharp and rational, sometimes to the point of coldness. However, he is not cruel or violent, and "[takes] no pleasure in battle" despite his efficiency and skill in a fight. Though he is ordinarily cool and distant, he also has a softer and more sympathetic side, of which he does not seem fully aware. For instance, almost immediately after insisting that "it is unlikely [he] can sympathize with [Chizuru's] situation", Saito refers to Chizuru as "nothing more than a lone girl looking for someone to help [her]".

Saito is dutiful and responsible, and rarely questions or complains about a task he is given. Because of this, Hijikata tends to assign him dirtier jobs than he would give to his other subordinates. Additionally, due to his often unconditional willingness to follow his superiors' commands, Saito is sometimes accused of having no will of his own. However, he is capable of objecting to his orders in favor of acting according to his own conscience, such as when he insists on remaining with the Aizu to fight in Bonari Pass rather than accompany the Shinsengumi farther north. A less extreme example is when (in Shinsengumi Adventures 1) he agrees to allow Chizuru to leave her room, going directly against Hijikata's orders for the sake of resolving what he perceives as a crisis.

Perhaps because of his matter-of-fact tone and demeanor, Saito is an excellent liar, and is capable of spying on the Guardians of the Imperial Tomb and reporting back to the Shinsengumi for a period of several months without getting caught.

Background Edit

Saito Hajime is based on the historical figure of the same name, Saitou Hajime. Because of his unorthodox left-handed style, no dojo would accept him as a student, even though no one could defeat him. Upon arriving at Shiei Hall, he was challenged by Okita Souji. During their duel, the two discovered that they were evenly matched in skill, which was unprecedented for them both. Following this display, Shiei Hall accepted Saito as a student, perceiving his unique style as an asset since there is no official way to get the edge on a left-handed swordsmen.

In Hakuōki: Stories of the Shinsengumi Edit

See also: Saito Hajime/Route

Prologue Edit

Saito is first encountered as he rescues Chizuru from furies. Possibly due to the immediate results of Okita's insistence that Chizuru show some gratitude, Saito is made aware of her true gender within their first encounter. He does not voice his personal opinion on whether she should die, instead deferring to Hijikata's judgment that the decision should be postponed.

Chapter 1 Edit

Meeting the Shinsengumi Edit

When Chizuru is brought into the common area to meet the other Shinsengumi officers, Saito does not offer her reassurance, but informs her that Okita is only teasing her when he claims to have gone into her room. Kondou later calls upon Saito to recount the facts from last evening. Though he does not voice his opinion directly during the conversation about Chizuru's fate, he agrees with Sanan that Chizuru may not be able to withstand torture, and that she has no reason to keep their secrets. However, he is also the first to suggest taking her back to her room, thereby maximizing her chances of survival.

Escape or Explanation [Player's Choice] Edit

If Chizuru chooses to explain the situation, Saito appears again, along with Heisuke, Nagakura, and Harada. Of the group, Saito is the only one aware of Chizuru's true gender from the start. If Chizuru explains her reasons for coming to Kyoto, he gleans from her brief summary that she is simply a girl looking for help in an unfamiliar city. Following the others' reactions to his revelation of Chizuru's true gender, Saito suggests that they return to Hijikata to reassess her situation.

Chizuru's Story Edit

When Chizuru explains that she is trying to find her father, Yukimura Kodo, Saito reveals that the Shinsengumi has also been looking for him. Okita explains that he has gone missing, while Saito adds that there is "a reasonable chance that the enemies of the shogun have identified him as a threat". However, he mentions that because doctors trained in Western medicine are few and far between, it is also possible that he is still alive. After Hijikata decides that Chizuru will be of use to the Shinsengumi, Saito tells her that they will do whatever they can to accommodate her needs.

One Week Later [Player's Choice] Edit

If Chizuru searches for someone to talk to, she finds Okita and Saito in the courtyard. When she expresses a wish to look for her father, Saito informs her that the Shinsengumi does not have enough men to keep an eye on her. However, he proposes that he test her combat abilities to see if she is worthy of joining them on their rounds. Chizuru agrees, but insists on using the back of her blade out of concern for Saito's safety. In the ensuing scuffle, she is disarmed, but Saito says they may still consider taking her out on patrol with them whenever she is given permission to leave the compound.

News From Osaka Edit

At the end of the day, Saito overhears Chizuru talking to herself about how kind the captains have been, and interrupts the ensuing exchange between her and Okita to inform them that dinner is ready. Once they arrive in the hall along with Heisuke, Inoue informs the group that Sanan has been injured, and Saito explains to Chizuru the importance of Sanan's ability to wield a sword. Okita then implies that Sanan will have to take something to avoid losing the use of his arm, and Nagakura mentions "the Corps". When Chizuru expresses confusion, curiosity, and concern, Saito reminds her that prying into their affairs is dangerous.

Shinsengumi Adventures 1 Edit

Several months after Chizuru first arrives at the headquarters, Saito starts preparing breakfast in her stead when she accidentally sleeps in. After she arrives in the kitchen and apologizes, Saito chastises her for speaking too loudly, informing her that he wishes to let the men rest as long as possible. He then explains that the only thing required of Chizuru is her assistance in finding her father, rebuking Okita for lying to her. When Okita says she should make herself useful, Saito reminds him that it is not his decision.

After breakfast, Chizuru stays behind to be introduced to the Watch. When Okita objects on the premise that it would be too inconvenient for the purposes of secrecy, Saito tells him that both Yamazaki and Shimada have been entrusted with the Shinsengumi's secrets, and that introducing them to Chizuru is inevitable if they are to make any progress in the search for Kodo. After Okita takes issue with Yamazaki's loyalty to Hijikata, Saito tries to prevent him from escalating the situation, but the tension remains until Hijikata dismisses them.

Later that day, a cat starts causing mayhem in the compound. Saito and Okita are among the first to give chase. Once Yamazaki is caught up in the pursuit, Saito interrupts another argument between him and Okita. Some time later, Saito and Okita return to Chizuru's room to meet with the other captains, and Saito says they must keep the matter quiet, as "the commander should not be troubled with this". He then suggests dividing the tasks of making lunch, distracting Hijikata, and catching the cat between the captains and Chizuru. When Chizuru says she is not allowed outside her room, Saito informs her that they will make an exception for the sake of resolving the situation as soon as possible.

In his sub-route, Chizuru volunteers to help catch the cat. Saito, Chizuru, and Okita begin their search in the courtyard, and the three of them follow the sound of crying to the Yagi residence. There, they find a boy who tearfully explains that the cat ran away from him. Saito says that the situation is his fault, adding that he must get more information out of him, which causes the boy to cry more. If Chizuru tries to console the child, Okita grows bored and leaves to search for it on his own. The boy eventually tells Saito and Chizuru that the cat was last seen headed for the Maekawa house, and Saito suggests that they scan the rooftops as they move, as cats like high places. However, when Chizuru asks if he has ever had a cat, he denies it, saying that he has "simply researched them a bit, on occasion".

Upon reaching the Maekawa house, they encounter Shimada, and Saito briefs him on the situation. Once they find the cat, the three of them give chase and ultimately capture it. Saito says it would be best to release the cat outside of headquarters, but Chizuru objects, as it is still young and vulnerable. Saito says that peace in the Shinsengumi takes precedence over the cat's safety, but expresses sympathy for its situation before taking it to be released at the entrance. Later that night, Chizuru hears a meow and follows the sound to the Maekawa residence. There, she finds Saito telling the cat to leave. Chizuru interrupts, startling him, and he insists that while he neither likes nor dislikes cats, he can understand why people keep them as pets. When Chizuru suggests that Saito look after the cat instead of trying to send it away, since it seems to have grown attached to him, he unexpectedly agrees. The cat is then secretly kept as a pet behind the Maekawa house.

Harada Memories of Love 1 (Harada's route) Edit

Harada and Chizuru are on an illicit stroll around the outside of the compound when Saito returns from his rounds with the Third Division. Chizuru hides, but Saito initiates a brief conversation with Harada, revealing that he has received word of strange behavior among the ronin. He tells Harada it is unsafe to be out alone, and returns to the compound.

Chapter 2 Edit

Chapter 3 Edit

Chapter 4 (Saito) Edit

Chapter 5 (Saito) Edit

Chapter 6 (Saito) Edit

Chapter 7 (Saito) Edit

Chapter 8 (Saito) Edit

Final Chapter (Saito) Edit

In other routes Edit

Hijikata's route Edit

Okita's route Edit

Heisuke's route Edit

Harada's route Edit

Kazama's route Edit

Following Chizuru's separation from the Shinsengumi, Saito is not encountered again. Historically, he lived through the events of the game, but his alleged death at Bonari Pass is mentioned in passing.

In Hakuōki: Kyoto Winds Edit

Saito's involvement in the plot is largely the same as in the first half of Stories of the Shinsengumi, with the following exceptions.

Chapter 1 Edit

Chapter 2 Edit

Chapter 3 Edit

Chapter 4 Edit

Chapter 5 Edit

Final Chapter Edit

In Hakuōki: Edo Blossoms Edit

Saito's involvement in the plot is largely the same as in the second half of Stories of the Shinsengumi, with the following exceptions.

Chapter 1 Edit

Chapter 2 Edit

Chapter 3 Edit

Chapter 4 Edit

Final Chapter Edit

In other routes Edit

Hijikata's route Edit

Okita's route Edit

Heisuke's route Edit

Harada's route Edit

Nagakura's route Edit

Sanan's route Edit

Yamazaki's route Edit

Iba's route Edit

Souma's route Edit

Sakamoto's route Edit

Kazama's route Edit

In Hakuōki: Sweet School Life Edit

Main article: Saito Hajime/SSL

In the anime Edit

In the musicals Edit

Main article: Saito Hajime/HakuMyu
Saito is portrayed by Matsuda Ryo in HakuMyu Saito-hen through Kazama-hen; by Hashimoto Shohei in HakuMyu Toudou-hen through HakuMyu LIVE 2; and by Naya Takeru in HakuMyu Harada-hen and Hijikata-hen 2.

Gallery Edit

Main article: Saito Hajime/Gallery

Quotes Edit

  • "It would be best if you prepared for the worst. I doubt this will end well for you." (Prologue, to Chizuru)
  • "Is something wrong, Yukimura? Draw your blade, unless it is merely decoration." (Chapter 1, to Chizuru)
  • "Your master should be proud. Your blade was not clouded." (Chapter 1, to Chizuru)
  • "Souji. You seem to have time to argue… Move your feet instead!" (Shinsengumi Adventures 1, to Okita)
  • "At this point, we'd even take assistance from another cat if it would prove helpful. We could use you." (Shisengumi Adventures 1, to Chizuru)
  • "None of the men in the Shinsengumi are kind enough to keep a small animal like you and care for it! Including me." (Shinsengumi Adventures 1, to a cat)

Trivia Edit

  • Saito apparently has an extreme love of tofu, which is barely mentioned in the original game but is played for laughs in HakuMyu Saito-hen, Okita-hen, LIVE, and Kazama-hen.
    • The first in-game mention of this predilection is in Hakuōki Reimeiroku, when he informs Ryunosuke that the dish he is protecting is his favorite.
    • Saito's Kyoto Winds DLC later centers on his love of tofu.
  • Though Saito is not particularly competitive in most areas, he is as protective of his food at mealtimes as any of the other captains, and encourages Chizuru to defend hers as well.
  • In an unlockable Ephemera scene in Stories of the Shinsengumi, Saito is revealed to spend more time at Shimabara after joining the Guardians of the Imperial Tomb. He insists that he is drinking socially, but hints that he is actually miserable, adding that if he spends enough of their money, they may kick him out. When Heisuke expresses alarm, he says he was joking.