Seishuu Handa (半田 清舟 Handa Seishū), born Sei (清) is a male protagonist of Barakamon. He is a 23-year-old calligrapher who is forced to move to the Goto Islands on the westernmost edge of Japan after causing a scandal by assaulting a respected art critic. In Goto, Seishuu tries to focus more on his calligraphy and to take time to understand himself and find his passion. He is a son of Seimei Handa and Emi Handa.
Seishuu is a tall and slim handsome young man with black hair that has an ahoge that splits in two, black eyes that are described as unpleasant sometimes and a muscular build.
Seishuu is a stubborn man who is easily irked or frightened. However, after he spends some time, and really begins to open up to a person, he can be fun to be with. He is really passionate about his work, sometimes to the point of self-seclusion and exhaustion when he is inspired for a piece. This, along with his 'city-slicker' attitude, often leads to him being taken care of by the other villagers on the island who help him by bringing him food or reminding him to relax and have fun every once in a while. Takao Kawafuji (Seishuu's friend) even describes him as a handful who needs to be looked after from the shadows. He is also extremely prideful of his work, to the point where he punched a respected art critic who criticized his work, which was what caused him to be sent to the countryside in the first place. This aspect of him is also shown when he fell into a depression after losing to Kosuke Kanzaki, an 18 year old newbie. He is also enthusiastic about calligraphy in general, taking it very seriously and lecturing those who do not take it as seriously as shown when he tried to teach Naru Kotoishi, Miwa Yamamura and Tamako Arai calligraphy so they could finish their homework. After some time passes, he becomes more humble in his skills and even apologized to the old director for his previous assault on him.
It is implied that this comes from his strict upbringing. It was mentioned that he and his parents didn't get along, and how his parents were so strict they didn't even let him eat candy or have a pet growing up. For quite a while, he even believed that his parents didn't like him and were being strict not out of love, but because they wanted him to become a calligrapher like his father. While on the island, he begins to realize that his parents were strict because they cared for him and his well-being.
Although he states he doesn't like children, he becomes a teacher at Naru's school and the kids grow to like him, especially Naru and Hina Kubota and to some extent Kentarou Oohama (although Kenta is jealous of Seishuu since Kenta likes Naru, but she pays more attention to Seishuu). In the beginning everyone thought he was a cool aloof guy since he was a calligrapher or "artist" and initially had a cold expression but they all quickly see him as silly due to his tendency to overexert himself and habit of talking to himself, along with his funny reactions to situations on the island and his interactions with the people. Nonetheless, he becomes famous throughout the island and seems to get along with everyone.
As a teenager, he was shy and socially awkward. He was under the impression that most of the school hated him and choose not to interact with them to avoid trouble. In reality, his schoolmates looked up to him as the most popular student because of his calligraphy talents and loner ways, even forming a group dedicated to worshiping him. He still had possessed love for calligraphy and when an impostor forged his signature, he was angry and later corrected it while telling the impostor to impersonate his work correctly. In fact, most of the girls in his schools were obsessed with him because of his cool exterior and even got disappointed after he temporarily lost his memories. While he tried to avoid trouble at school, he found himself in comprising positions which only solidified his misguided beliefs. When Kawafuji revealed the school really loved him, Handa was left in shock and he berated himself for not noticing this, but he was in awe at his popularity. After coming to terms with it, Handa could only keep his cool and act normal around them.
Seishuu was forced to move to Goto at the insistence of Seimei Handa (Seishuu's father) after he punched a respected critic for insulting his work. Shortly after arriving in Goto, he meets an energetic young girl named Naru Kotoishi who lives on the island. Naru had previously claimed Seishuu's house as her 'base' and insists on barging in uninvited, much to the annoyance of Seishuu who is intent on focusing in on his calligraphy so that he can make a come-back. When more and more kids seem to be appearing at his house, and the villagers poke their noses in, Seishuu begins to realize that he can't be alone. Through various mishaps and daily adventures, Seishuu begins to learn about the fundamentals of life through the relationships he develops in Goto.
He, later on, sends his first work after arriving in Goto to a contest which he worked really hard on but finds out that it got second place and the first place was taken by a 18 year old. He got depressed, but Naru helped him cheer up. Afterwards they both went to catch mochi. He couldn't catch any mochi and thought of quitting calligraphy too, but an old lady told him that he shouldn't go after things that belong to others, but he also shouldn't give up and those words encouraged Seishuu to continue keep working hard.
After a couple days he hears about a new contest and with the inspiration he got from staying at the island he makes his new work. After sending his new work and before the contest even started Seishuu had to leave the island. After going to a festival with everybody, the next day Seishuu left without telling them.
Seishuu is extremely antisocial and he has been so ever since he was young that Takao Kawafuji has mentioned that when they met in middle school, Seishuu was arrogant and he always said the first thing which came to his mind.
He also tended to form a "barrier" around himself when embarrassed or depressed toward others away from him, known as the "Handa Wall" during his high school years. He was in fact popular with girls and boys becoming obsessed with him. around that time, but because most people whispered around him, he assumed they hated him. (To see more of Handa's high school year watch Handa-kun)
As it turns out, during high school, Seishuu was very popular and admired by his peers for his cool aloofness, but Seishuu, being socially awkward and pessimistic and due to some misunderstandings, thought everyone at school hated him.
Eventually, Handa started to slowly figure out the truth about his peers views of him. At a festival, Kawafuji decided to explain to him on his standing and he was shocked to see he was very popular. He was annoyed his best friend was just teasing him on this and that the school actually loved him, as he kicked himself for not noticing.
His father is a strict man who Seishuu believes does not love him and had raised him strictly and with little freedom to be a calligrapher with the same conventional style and was the one who sent him to the island to calm his head after he punched the museum director for insulting his work. Kawafuji, however, states that anyone else would say his father is caring and overprotective towards Seishuu. Seishuu grows to realize his father does care for him but doesn't agree with Kawafuji's view that his father is overly doting. When he comes back from the island, he is the only one who supports Seishuu's desire to go back to the islands, understanding the island had a positive influence on his son and having been to the island himself when he was younger. He sees that his strict upbringing has created Seishuu into the antisocial impulsive person he is today and believes it is good to start giving him more freedom, and allows him to return to the island.
He seems to get along with his mother, though she was overprotective of him in the past as she protected him from his cat allergies and restricted his actions. She dotes on him, saying he was cute when he was young as he was prickly yet sweet but disliked the idea of sending him to the islands and is further opposed after he comes back saying he started getting ruder and developing weird behaviors. She forbid him from going back to the islands and even went so far as to send "subtle hints" such as pasting papers with the words "don't go to the island" all over his room and organizing a meeting where she, Kawafuji, and his father would argue against him going back to the islands (though his father quickly switched sides and defended Seishuu's decision). After hearing about all the friends he made on the island and how much they missed him, she relented and allowed him to go to the island, saying she would look like the bad guy if she didn't let him go.
His most central relationship in the series: Initially, he was annoyed with Naru as she constantly invaded his house. However, her childish antics and bright energy, along with her innocent view of the world and helpful, adventurous personality influences Seishuu as he learns from her to enjoy life and see things from a different point of view while she learns from him and enjoys spending time with him. She even seems to have a crush on him as she became worried about whether he had a girlfriend or not and wanted to appropriate him. She worried about him when he fainted from over exhaustion in episode 2. In episode 3, she believed she had become more adult like when she started reading calligraphy in school due to Seishuu's influence. In episode 5, when Naru was going to jump from a high height into the ocean, he was scared she would get hurt and rushed to stop her but tripped and hit his head. After they left the beach, he refused to speak to her, saying this was the first time he cared for someone besides himself and that she worried him to death. Despite being happy and having many friends on the island, she also at times gets lonely and likes to hang around Seishuu as he makes things more fun. For her birthday, when Seishuu gave her a "I'll do anything you want" ticket, she was extremely happy and saddened when her grandpa used it instead. She was also happy when he stayed with her while she visited her grandmother's grave, saying she was getting lonely and bored every year being by herself but the year Seishuu was with her she wanted to stay there forever, making Seishuu realized she could be lonely too despite her happy attitude and that he wanted to watch over her for as long as he can. She also got worried when Seishuu didn't follow them home after playing Tarzan in episode 9 and even after being assured he would be fine decided to check up on him at his house and went looking for him when she realized he still wasn't home. She stated to Akki she wanted to do lots of things with Seishuu such as going to the festival together, the sea (again), the sports event, the mountains, etc. and Akki informed her that she could do all of these things with him without the ticket because he would be willing to go. She was the most upset about Seishuu leaving and told him over the phone that without him on the island things weren't as fun. In episode 12, when Seishuu submits his calligraphy, he states he wrote about something he cares about and it lists all of the names of the people on the island he befriended, Naru's name was the biggest and in the center, showing how much he cares for her.
Seishuu is annoyed by Miwa's tendency to barge in and bully and boss him, despite her being younger. She also tends to trick him into doing favors for her or go her way (like tricking him into helping with her homework and purposely heating his bath too hot so he would open the window and she could see him naked). Despite her bullying tendencies towards him, she genuinely cares for him, as shown when she intervened between an argument between her dad (who was insulting Seishuu's lack of confidence in his calligraphy) and Seishuu and when in episode 8, Tama asked what she thought would happen after Seishuu was forgiven for his actions and Miwa changed the subject to avoid it. It would seem Seishuu has even rubbed off on her as shown when she submitted the homework she worked hard on with Seishuu and only won silver (second place) instead of first alongside Tama (mirroring episode 4 when Seishuu was depressed after his calligraphy lost and was second place to Kosuke's.
Because Miwa stated when they met that Tama wanted to be a manga artist, he decided that being friends with her would be good since they both understand art (him with calligraphy and her with manga). However, he is scared of her when she talks about manga because when she asked for his opinion about the mange she wanted to submit for a shonen magazine, he was horrified with the gore and when he stated his opinion she ranted on about her views of manga rather aggressively and pushed Seishuu to read her submission to the end and give her his opinion and even let him borrow some of her manga as reference. She also sees Seishuu's closeness to Hiroshi as "boy's love" and often fantasizes about this (though neither Seishuu nor Hiro are aware of this). She even asked him implictily about this by asking if he had ever been so worried about something that he lost sleep over it while looking at Hiro. Seishuu interpreted this as meaning she had a crush on Hiro and that she saw him as a mentor figure (which he felt proud of) and said Hiro was a great guy. Unfortunately, this created a misunderstanding and worsened Tama's fujoshi mode. Despite this, Tama does care about Seishuu as shown in episode 4 when she let Naru deal with cheering up Seishuu while she and Miwa would get out of the way, understanding he had a lot of pride and needed time to cool. She also worried about if he would leave the island after being given forgiveness and not come back as shown in episode 8.
A friend of Seishuu's. Initially, Hiroshi did not like Seishuu because he did not like having to bring food to his house, believing he was abusing his status as a citygoer to have the other villagers do things for him. However, when he meets Seishuu and the man faints on him, this forces Hiroshi to bring him into the house. While in the house, Naru shows him the room where Seishuu keeps his failed calligraphy writings and tells him about how Seishuu viewed himself as a talentless person who worked hard to achieve his goals. Hiroshi, who was depressed because he believed that no matter how hard he tried he could never escape mediocrity saw this, he realized he was just lazy and decided to work hard, beginning their friendship. He then told Seishuu he should learn to cook because he (Hiroshi) wanted to start taking his studies seriously. However, after seeing Seishuu's failed attempts at cooking decided to continue bringing food to him. While the two are good friends, Hiroshi is annoyed by Seishuu's childish antics and his tendency to exhaust himself and faint on him, but he still continues to care for Seishuu. Their closeness as friends is a major source of "boy's love" for Tama (though the two don't know this). He calls Hiroshi "Hiro."
He gets along with Kentarou but can be upset at some of his childish antics. Kenta likes Seishuu in return, especially since he feels Seishuu is the only adult who seriously plays with him and has fun being with him. However, he is jealous that Naru pays more attention to Seishuu than him. Seishuu became aware of Kentarou's crush on Naru in the manga after the two got into a fight when Kentarou accidentally killed a frog and had Kentarou apologize to Naru while giving him advice on being nice to Naru if he wanted her to like him.
Initially, Hina cried when she met him because she is bad with strangers. When Seishuu saw this, he tried to console her and say he wouldn't bother her but then she started crying more because she wanted him to notice her. When he said he understood and patted her head, she cried more but this time out of happiness. As the series progresses, she grows to like him and enjoys playing with him, crying when he doesn't pay her attention or won't play with her. Seishuu also likes Hina and gets along well with her
Seishuu gets along well with these two, but also interacts with them the least. He does not even properly remember their names. However, despite this the two like him because he is fun to play with and he enjoys spending time with them and the other kids on the island.
Seishuu's first friend whom he met in middle school. They continued to be friends in High School, as seen in Handa-kun with Seishuu calling Kawafuji his only friend. It is shown Kawafuji was somewhat responsible for Seishuu's warped thinking of everyone being against him, when in truth he was very popular. Seishuu would secretly hang out with Kawafuji in his free time and confide in him on his problems. Kawafuji knew Seishuu was popular but teased his oblivious friend on this, though he seemed to noticed he may have gone too far. At the end, Kawafuji explained to Seishuu of the admiration he got from others and Seishuu was irritated as he believed people hated him and his friend was teasing him.
As adults, Kawafuji understands Seishuu well and supports him as a friend, but admits he sees Seishuu as his money maker first and a friend second. He went to see Seishuu in episode 6 since Seishuu wasn't responding to his texts and brought along Kosuke, who beat Seishuu in a previous calligraphy contest in order to provide Seishuu a rival and motivate him to grow as a calligrapher. He also understood Seishuu should stay at the islands as he started to change and grow as a calligrapher. He also helped Seishuu receive forgiveness from the museum director Seishuu punched for insulting his work. After Seishuu came back from the islands, he initially didn't want him to go back since it would be more convenient for him to be in Tokyo but he relented when he realized how much Seishuu loved being with everyone on the island.
Kosuke looks up to Seishuu because when Kosuke was young, he hated having to study calligraphy but was so moved after seeing Seishuu's calligraphy that he began using it as a template for his own. He even owns multiple calligraphy magazines, which all contain Seishuu in it. He also has a tape recorder of Seishuu's quotes to motivate him. When Seishuu lost to him, Kosuke went to see him on the island to motivate him to go back to Tokyo, insulting his new style for being too individualistic.
Seishuu declined and stated he would discover a new style. Kosuke was in awe of this and tried to record this statement but Seishuu destroyed the recorder. Eventually, Kosuke relented and began to realize he needed to find his own style as well (as he had fallen into a slump after Seishuu changed his style since Kosuke copied his style). After Seishuu comes back from the island, he helps Seishuu try to find inspiration for his next work but complains that Seishuu should just stay in Tokyo. Kosuke still displays an over admiration by trying to record Seishuu and his father both times, causing Seishuu and Kawafuji to stop him.
- "Right now I'm in total darkness, but I'll definitely find the light" - (to Takao Kawafuji)
- To himself: "There's a bunch who can catch it and there's the bunch who can't. I belong to the second bunch. It's probably better to give up.. Much easier." - (to himself)
- "This is the first time I've been so worried about someone else!" - (to everybody)
- Seishuu loves cats although he is allergic to them.
- Seishuu is considered very handsome, with even Naru Kotoishi referring to him in the beginning as Junon boy, which refers to a male who participates in a beauty contest in Japan.
- Despite being handsome, it is implied that he has never entered a romantic relationship before. He even states that because he was so focused on calligraphy he has never entered a relationship and therefore, he is the type of person who would die alone.
- In Episode 5. Seishuu seems rather clumsy as he continually slipped on rocks as he was walking down to the beach.
- Since episode 5, he has become hooked on eating konomon (pickled daikon radish).
- Seishuu says he doesn't like kids but always seems to take good care of them when they need help and the kids on the island seem to like him.
- Seishuu doesn't like ghost stories and bugs.
- Seishuu can't cook.
- Seishuu was oblivious to being very popular in school and his name was well known to other schools as well.
- Though his expression seems to portray that of a concentrated and thoroughly thought out individual, Seishuu is a rather impatient and impulsive man that often doesn't plan through things, usually not even noticing the contributions others make towards his cause, as shown various times throughout the series.
- When Seishuu had decided to become a proper calligraphy teacher for the islanders, he had cut many ties including those with his family's and Takao Kawafuji's help. However, he immediately went into a slump after he realized his father had been paying for his rent and none of the kids wanted to join his school because of his under-planned tuition fees. Kawafuji later came by to assist him with the business portion despite having had a fallout with Handa for quitting his company.