|Relatives||Tsugumi Shibata (Daughter)|
Ayumi Shibata (Wife)
Sentarou Shibata (Ancestor)
Ai Enma (Distant Relative)
|Anime Debut||Silent Relations|
|Japanese Voice Actors||Yuuji Ueda|
|English Voice Actors||John Burgmeier|
Shibata is a tall handsome man with short light black hair and dark gray eyes he also has a light unshaven beard. He usually wears a brown jacket and jeans, though it changes between episodes.
He is shown to be a caring, good natured man with a good sense of humor, despite his shady dealings with celebrities, and cares a lot about his daughter. He holds a feeling of guilt for his wife's death, as he believes he was responsible for it. One of his most prominent traits is his strong belief that vengeance is wrong and shouldn't be acted on, this belief is what motivates him to try to stop people from acting through the Hell Correspondence. However, this would later change throughout the series. Although not seen directly, Tsugumi herself states that Hajime began to tire from his continuous and mostly unsuccessful efforts to stop the cycle of hatred. In the end, Hajime gave up on stopping the Hell Correspondence.
Long before the Hell Girl entered his life, Hajime Shibata was a journalist student. It was here that Hajime met his future wife Ayumi Shibata, then known as Ayumi Ogawa. He secretly held feelings for her for two years and finally asks her out in public, much to her embarrassment. Despite that, she returns his feelings and they were eventually married. However, throughout their marriage, Hajime was always occupied by his work as a journalist, often leaving behind Ayumi while they were going out. His work also caused him to leave on early hours and come home late. After his wife's pregnancy and the birth of his daughter Tsugumi, he continues to work harder for the both of them, but failed to notice that his wife was feeling neglected due to his prolonged absences.
One day, Hajime and his partner go on a stakeout to investigate a politician rumored to be having an affair. However, in an unexpected turn of events, the woman the politician was having an affair with was none other than Ayumi herself. Furious and heartbroken, Hajime ends their relationship as husband and wife. Ayumi comes to their house to try and repair their relationship, but he refuses and tells her he will also forbid her from seeing Tsugumi. Ayumi drives away in tears, but ends up in a car accident further down the road and dies. Hajime was still close enough to hear the accident and investigates. He finds Ayumi dead in her car and goes into a state of shock, stating it was not his fault although clearly feeling guilty about it. He keeps this a secret from Tsugumi.
Years later, Hajime is working as a freelance journalist and a single parent to a now seven year old Tsugumi. As a freelance journalist, his income sources included money that he got from blackmailing celebrities, as a return for him agreeing to not report their scandals. He hears a trending rumor about a website called the Jigoku Tsuushin that can be used to take revenge on a person. Soon after hearing of the Hell Girl Internet phenomenon, he discovers that there is much more to the rumours than first meets the eye. He is quickly introduced to the mysterious world of Jigoku Shoujo because Tsugumi, is somehow supernaturally linked to Ai Enma, often receiving visions through Hell Girl's eyes and knowing who is next in line to be taken to Hell and sometimes the next client. He makes it his mission to prevent the client from taking revenge and stop Jigoku Shoujo once and for all. His constant meddling attracts the attention of companions who investigates further into him and the mysterious link between Ai and his daughter . During his pursuit of Ai, he discovers that the Jigoku Tsuushin has existed for a long time, albeit with different forms that adjust to the time period. Hajime's continuous efforts to foil the Hell Girl puts him in a conflict with Tsugumi, who believes Ai's acts to be justified. Meanwhile, her telepathic with Ai allows her a glimpse of Ai's past. Later, after seeing an innocent person taken to Hell by Ai, Tsugumi's beliefs were shaken. Seeing his daughter's poor emotional state, Hajime decides to stop pursuing Ai. However, Ai takes control of Tsugumi again, asking him if he knows "Sentarou". Hajime begs Ai to let her daughter, vowing he would not pursue her again, but Tsugumi comes to and tells Ai was not done with them.
They drive to Mutsumi Ridge, where Tsugumi saw Ai and a boy called Sentarou playing in her glimpse of Ai's past. Hajime is given directions to a local temple. There, he learns from the monk in charge that there was a rite done 400 years ago known as the Seven Sendings, where a seven year old girl was sacrificed to the "Mountain God" or abandoned in the mountains so that good harvest will continue. The temple was built to calm the spirits of these children, hence the name "Seven Child Temple". The monk explains further, stating that the owner of the temple was from the first generation of the locals. Hajime learns the name of the owner, which surprises him: Sentarou Shibata, meaning that he was a descendant of Sentarou, and that the Shibata bloodline runs back 400 years to Sentarou Shibata, Ai Enma's cousin.
They travel to the ridge, where they meet face-to-face with Ai. She is angered by Hajime's presence as he is a descendant of the one who betrayed her. She attacks Hajime and Tsugumi, shooting bolts of dark energy at them. Despite the intervention of Ai's companions, she succeeds and hits Hajime with a blast of energy. Hajime and Tsugumi are thrown into the fall, where they finally learns the full past of Enma Ai, from her childhood days with only her cousin Sentarou as a friend, her being sacrificed to the Mountain God, how Sentarou brought her food and clothes and kept her company in the mountain, Sentarou's betrayal as the villagers found out she was alive and killed her and her parents, and finally, her resurrection and the destruction of the village as she summoned fire with the force of her wrath. The only survivor was Sentarou, who was out of the village when it happened and managed to escape Ai's massacre.
Hajime and Tsugumi come to in the temple. However, Hajime is quickly sent away by Ai to the Realm of Eternal Twilight while Ai tries to convince Tsugumi to send Hajime to Hell. During this time, Hajime learns from Hone Onna and Ren that Ai was punished by the Master of Hell to become the Hell Girl, a role she has carried for 400 years. During that time, Ai had buried her own hatred deep down in her heart and suppressed her own past. Hajime and Tsugumi's arrival changed that as it surfaced back her memories. Ai's grandmother suddenly speaks to him, and tells him she can get him out of the realm, but in exchange there is something he must do. Hajime, Hone Onna, and Ren arrive back at Hajime's apartment where Ai was still trying to get through Tsugumi. Hajime grabs Tsugumi but she pulls back, stating angrily that she knows the truth about her mother now as Ai had shown her. They are taken back to the scene of her death by Ai. Seeing his wife dead again finally breaks Hajime down, surfacing the guilt and regret he has been carrying all these years. In a fit of tears, he reflects upon his hatred towards Ayumi and apologizes to Tsugumi. He finally accepts his fate, expecting Tsugumi to pull the string and send him to Hell. However, Tsugumi hits him, and tells him that she has always been happy with him and loves him dearly, much to Ai's shock. They are transported back to the temple. After Ai destroys the temple and leaves with her companions, Tsugumi asks Hajime why she did so. Hajime is about to answer, but decides not to instead. They leave the burning temple behind and Hajime promises he will never leave Tsugumi.
In the second season, it is revealed that Hajime has written a biography on Ai Enma, perhaps as a guide for people who will become involved with the Jigoku Shoujo in the future. There is also a possibility that he may have written it to fulfill his part of the exchange with Ai's grandmother for letting him out of the Realm of Eternal Twilight. Shortly after he writes the biography, he goes missing. His whereabouts are unknown even to Ai's assistants, implying that he was not sent to Hell.
- The name "Hajime" is translated to mean "[the] first".
- In season 3, Tsugumi implied that Hajime may have died.
- Tsugumi only once called Hajime "dad", which was during the season 1 finale. She normally calls him only by his first name, calling him "Hajime-Chan".