|Relatives||Sentarou Shibata (Ancestor)|
Ai Enma (Distant Relative)
Ayumi Shibata (Deceased Wife)
Tsugumi Shibata (Daughter)
|Anime Debut||Silent Friendship|
|Japanese V.A||Yuji Ueda|
|English V.A||John Burgmeier|
Hajime is a tall, handsome man with short light black hair, dark gray eyes, and a light unshaven stubble. He usually wears a brown jacket and jeans, though it changes between episodes.
Hajime is shown to be a caring and kind man who has a good sense of humor and cares a lot about Tsugumi Shibata (Hajime's daughter), despite his shady dealings with celebrities. He holds a feeling of guilt for Ayumi Shibata's (Hajime's wife) death as he believes he was responsible for it. One of his most prominent traits is his firm 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 was a journalist student. It was here that Hajime met Ayumi Ogawa (Hajime's future wife), where he secretly held feelings for her for two years and finally asks her out in public, much to her embarrassment. However, she waited for him in front of the college to return his feelings, and they were eventually married. However, throughout their marriage, Hajime was often occupied by his work as a journalist, often leaving behind Ayumi while they were going out. His work also caused him to embark on early hours and come home late. After his wife's pregnancy and the birth of his daughter Tsugumi, he works harder for 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. Still, 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, but he finds Ayumi dead in her car and goes into a state of shock, stating it was not his fault, although feeling guilty about it, and 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 not to report their scandals. He hears a trending rumor about a website called the Hell Link 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 rumors than first meets the eye. He is quickly introduced to the mysterious world of Hell Girl because Tsugumi is somehow supernaturally linked to Ai Enma. Tsugumi 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 Hell Girl once and for all. His constant meddling attracts the attention of companions who investigate further into him and the mysterious link between Ai and his daughter. During his pursuit of Ai, he discovers that the Hell Link has existed for a long time, albeit with different forms that adjust to the time. Hajime's continuous efforts to foil the Hell Girl puts him in 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 retakes control of Tsugumi, 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 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 Hajime was a descendant of Sentarou and that the Shibata bloodline runs back 400 years to Sentarou Shibata, Ai's cousin.
They travel to the ridge, where they meet face-to-face with Ai. Hajime's presence angers her 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 learn the full past of Enma Ai. From her childhood days with only her cousin Sentarou, 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 town when it happened and managed to escape Ai's massacre.
Hajime and Tsugumi come to 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 Ichimokuren 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 hatred deep down in her heart and suppressed her 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 Hell Girl in the future. Shortly after he writes the biography, he goes missing. His whereabouts are unknown even to Ai's assistants.
- The name Hajime (一) means "one, first."
- In Season 3, Tsugumi Shibata implies that Hajime might have died as they haven't talked to each other ever since she was a child, although she's not sure.
- Tsugumi only called Hajime "dad" during the last episode of the first season.
- She usually calls him "Hajime" or "Hajime-chan."