Character descriptions. These pages will go more in-depth later.
The main character, nicknamed "Kai." A young piano prodigy. When he was little, he found a unique piano abandoned in the forest behind his house, and through playing with it acquired uncanny skills on the piano. In fifth grade he meets Amamiya Shuuhei, a classmate who also plays the piano, and also Ajino Sousuke, the original owner of the abandoned piano. He enters a piano competition and makes a spectacular performance, but is disqualified due to violation of the rules. This experience wakes him to the pleasure of performing in front of an audience, and he longs for more. However, the piano in the forest has eroded due to its environment, and burns down when it is struck by lightning.
Caught in the throes of despair, Kai encounters the piano once again in a live street band (hokoten) and reaffirms his reason for existence. He becomes Ajinoís student and continues life with the street performers.
Five years later, Kai, who is working in a strip club (Club P) disguised as a female, meets old friend Shuuhei once more and decides to enter the International Chopin Competition with him.
Kaiís good friend and rival, raised in a family of pianists and given a superior education since youth. A well-mannered, polite boy. He won first place in the South Central district for Japanís 56th National Piano Competition and went on to win first in all Japan, but decides to study abroad in Austria due to his fatherís advice and his own fear of Kaiís genius.
Several years later, he happens to hear Kaiís piano on the television and loses his self-confidence. He returns to Japan temporarily and meets Kai again, which helps him regain his confidence, and they enter the International Chopin Competition together.
Compared to Kai, who seeks to play music only for himself, Shuuhei is always judging himself as compared to others. As such, Shuuhei views Kai as a rival, and feels insecure when he is unable to match Kaiís genius.
A famous former pianist who lost everything he had (his fiancť and his ability to play piano) in a car crash. Dejected and disillusioned, he becomes an elementary school music teacher at Kaiís school. After discovering Kaiís genius and his connection the piano in the forest, through a series of events he manages to secure his role as Kaiís piano teacher. In the hopes of eventually introducing Kai to the world stage, he becomes a professor at Kiriyama Music Conservatory.
The same generation as Shuuheiís father, he has some glorious history behind him. Back in the day he won the Grand Prize for piano competitions within Japan, and though he regrettably did not clear the preliminaries for the International Chopin Competition, he so impressed famous conductor Jean-Jacques Theroux (?) that he went so far as to fight and split from the International Chopin Competition.
A young female pianist. She entered Japanís 56th National Piano Competition in the South Central district, but due to familial pressure or simple nervousness was very terse and antagonistic towards the other contestants. While stressing out over the presence of Shuuhei, a formidable rival, she chances to meet with Kai, who helps her to overcome her anxiety.
Kaiís piano performance greatly touches her and later drives her several times to tackle piano competitions in unconventional ways. She never wins by the rules, but this causes music teacher Shiba to notice her and take her in as his student.
In the hopes of meeting Kai again, she enters the International Chopin Competition and clears the first two preliminaries, but is forced to drop out due to tendonitis. Immediately afterwards, she meets Kai at the Japan Soliste Piano Competition, and makes the decision to cure her hands and face him again on the same stage.
Kaiís mother. Born on the far side of the forest, works a bar and had Kai at age fifteen. Because Kaiís parentage is unclear, fellow residents of the far side of the forest often make fun of her for it, calling her an irresponsible and immoral mother. However, she and Kai are very close. She trusts Ajino, who does not dispute the issue of parentage and simply admires Kai for his talent, and feels safe entrusting Kai to him.
Shuuheiís mother. Ambitious and pushes Shuuheiís education.
A famous pianist within the country, and also Shuuheiís father. His playing is nicknamed the ďHealing PianoĒ and he is commonly referred to as the ďHealing Pianist.Ē Used to be very wary of Ajinoís talent, treating him as a formidable rival. Because Ajinoís student Kai is also very talented, he fears that his son will be defeated by his genius.
A motherless girl who works on the far side of the forest. Suffers from very slight mental retardation and stayed with Kaiís piano until the end.
A handyman from the far side of the forest. Drives a large truck around delivering various pieces of luggage with his Dalmatian, Tenmaru. Heís five years younger than Reiko and ten years older than Kai. Rumor has it heís Kaiís father, but no one knows for sure.
Fellow street performers
Violist Kamata, cellist Takadaba, violinist Shinagawa, and original pianist Shibuya, the four who helped to nurture Kaiís talent during his junior high and high school years. Their names come from various train stations on the JR East line in Tokyo. In order to keep Kaiís school from finding out that he worked part-time, they dressed up as clowns for their street concerts even in the heat.
A tattooist. Visited P club because she liked Maria, who was actually Kai disguised as a girl. Extremely shocked when she found out the truth, but subsequently felt like she understood Kaiís feelings and eventually moves in with him.