|Relatives||Hajime Shibata (Father)|
Ayumi Shibata (Mother)
Sentarou Shibata (Ancestor)
Ai Enma (Distant relative)
|Anime Debut||Silent Relations|
|Japanese Voice Actors||Nana Mizuki|
|English Voice Actors||Luci Christian|
Tsugumi Shibata is a girl who is central to the main plot of the first season of Jigoku Shoujo. She appears in all four seasons of Jigoku Shoujo. She is played by Saaya Irie in the live-action television series.
When first introduced, Tsugumi a 7 year old girl with brown hair and brown eyes. During this time, she would often braid her hair into two ponytails, with black hair bands and a red clip holding her bangs.
In each season, she is shown to have grown up by a number of years. In futakomori, her hair has grown up to her mid-back. In Mitsuganae, she is depicted to have become an adult and retains her hair length up to her mid-back. During this time, she is often seen wearing a lab coat in Yuzuki's school, which is due to her duties in the school as a nurse. Her other attires include a pea coat and a kimono.
As a child, Tsugumi is surprisingly very mature and optimistic for her age. With her father, Hajime often absent at home, she is very independent and does the chores, cooks, and does the groceries all by herself. Tsugumi is usually serious and has a strong sense of judgment during many of the cases she and Hajime become involved in, and would often mourn silently for the unfortunate victims.
She appears for a very short part of one episode in Futakomori, so changes to her personality, if any, is not very apparent. In Mitsuganae, as an adult, she maintains the level of maturity from earlier, but seems to have lost her will to try to change the fate of the users and victims of the Jigoku Tsūshin and stop the Jigoku Tsūshin, noting that Hajime gave up.
Tsugumi shares a very strong relationship with her father and almost always calls him "Hajime-chan" instead of "father" or any similar terms, a rather unusual but affectionate way to address one's father. While she often appears to dismiss and criticize her father, she deeply loves and cares for him and sees him as her only family since the death of her mother, Ayumi Shibata.
Tsugumi has maintained a mysterious, telepathic link with Ai ever since their first meeting at a train crossing. During this time, Tsugumi is around the same age as Ai was when Ai was chosen to be sacrificed for the Mountain God. With the help of Hajime, she discovers the truth behind the Jigoku Shoujo internet phenomenon and finds out about her own family ties to Ai. Tsugumi discovers that she is Ai's descendant through Sentarō, who was Ai's cousin. Sentarō was the only relative of Ai who wasn't killed in the village fire created by Ai 400 years ago, since he escaped the village. However, Ai still holds a strong grudge against Sentarō and expands this grudge against Tsugumi and Hajime when she finds out that Sentarō's descendants still remain, and that they are the only remaining ones. After Ai's companions struggle to prevent Ai from destroying the last of her family, Ai makes efforts to prove to Tsugumi that Hajime deserves to be in Hell, probably because Ai herself cannot send them to hell and making Tsugumi do it would mean that they will both eventually go to hell and finish off the bloodline of Sentarō. Ai tries to convince Tsugumi that Hajime is somehow to blame for her mother's death. Tsugumi eventually returns the black straw doll, Wanyūdō, to Ai, choosing not to send Hajime to hell out of her love for him and probably also because she realizes that he is not to blame for her mother's death.
Years later in Mitsuganae, the adult Tsugumi serves as a nurse in Yuzuki's school. It is hinted that she moved to Saigawara and got a job in Yuzuki's school because she realized what was about to happen to Yuzuki, and because she wanted to do something for Yuzuki. Later on, Tsugumi notices when Yuzuki's current existence begins to fade, and tells her that she should just accept what is happening to her. Tsugumi tells Yuzuki that Yuzuki is not a person who exists in this world anymore, and that Yuzuki has died many years back. She explains to Yuzuki that for a long time, Yuzuki's life was merely an illusion. In the end, Tsugumi leaves Saigawara when she believes that she is unable to save Yuzuki anymore, since Yuzuki has become the new Jigoku Shoujo. It is unknown whether Tsugumi later gets to know that Yuzuki has been relieved from being the Jigoku Shoujo, and that she passes on to heaven.
Eventually, she took up a job as a health care aid to the Lovely Hall nursing home, where she take care of Sakura Kubota. After Sakura Kubota took her revenge, looking outside, Tsugumi see Ai once more before Ai vanish seconds later.
In the first season, Tsugumi gained the ability to see through Ai's vision, which often greatly assisted Hajime in finding the Jigoku Tsūshin clients. She has retained that ability ever since and cannot control what it shows her, nor can she make it go away, which forces her to see glimpses of the users and victims of the Jigoku Tsūshin, even if she doesn't want to.