|Japanese Name||紫 劉輝|
|Romaji Translation||Shi Ryūki|
|Pinyin Translation||Zǐ LiúHuī|
|Debut (Anime)||Episode 1|
|Debut (Light Novel)||Volume 1|
|Debut (Manga)||Volume 1|
|Appears in||Light Novels, Manga, Anime|
|Voice Actor (Japanese)||Tomokazu Seki|
|Voice Actor (English)||Brad Swaile|
|Age|| 19 years old (Beginning of Series)|
50 years old (End of Series)
|Family|| Shi Seien (Older Brother)|
Shi Senka (Father)
Kou Shuurei (Wife)
Shi Chouka (Daughter)
Hyou Riou Jr (Adoptive Son)
Sixth Consort (Mother)
|Title|| Emperor (国王 Kokuō)|
His Majesty (陛下 Heika)
|Occupation||Emperor of Saiunkoku (Former)|
Shi Ryuuki (紫 劉輝 Shi Ryūki) is the Emperor of Saiunkoku during the events of Saiunkoku Monogatari. He would eventually be succeeded by his daughter, Shi Chouka, after his death.
Ryuuki is considered as a handsome young man by many and is said to greatly resemble his father in terms of appearance. He is of average height, standing at 178cm (5'10"). He has dark golden eyes and long straw-blond that reaches below his waist. He is always seen in formal clothing of the emperor.
Personality & CharacteristicsEdit
Ryuuki's devotion to Shuurei reveals a capacity for subterfuge and cunning that may have helped him survive the fight for the succession. Due to his trauma in childhood, it is also suggested that he is particularly fearful of children as seen when he refused touch Yuushun's children and later even his own daughter briefly as he remembered the reason of his wife's death.
Early in Ryuuki's reign, he deliberately shirked responsibility and avoided actively participating in ruling the country in hopes that his half-brother, Prince Seien, would return from exile and take the throne. As a result, though Ryuuki is actually intelligent enough to understand statecraft, he is often perceived as politically naive to his lack of practical experience applying political policies or fully his understanding of the political consequences of his actions.
As the youngest of the previous Emperor's six sons, each from a different mother, Ryuuki had been an unlikely candidate to ascend the throne. During childhood, hewas badly treated by his mother and most of his half-brothers, who would beat him and lock him in a storage house for several days in a row. Second Prince Seien was the only member of the family who showed kindness to him. Ryuuki often took refuge in the garden or the imperial archives; in the latter location, he first encountered Kou Shouka, who tutored the young prince and encouraged War General Sou Shungai to teach him swordsmanship.
Ryuuki ultimately ascended the throne due to his father's dying wish, after Seien was exiled for treason and the other four princes were executed for treason. Secretly hoping for many years that Seien would return and take his place as Emperor, Ryuuki avoided any involvement in politics or government, wandering the palace for hours so no one would be able to find him. He even fueled rumours that he preferred the company of men to start speculations that he could not produce an heir.
His evasion of responsibility comes to an end when he meets Shuurei, who tells him of her dreams of making a better life for the nation's people. Charmed by her earnest and nurturing personality, he decides to undertake the task of becoming a respectable Emperor. After she returns home, he passes a law allowing women to take the official exams, which brings Shuurei back to the palace and enables her to pursue her dreams.
Eventually after Shuurei becomes an official, Ryuuki tasks her with difficult jobs keeping the fact in mind that her popularity would increase if she were to succeed. As the series progressed, the noble faction started plotting Ryuuki's fall and pushed him to a corner in a political play. Ryuuki's supporters (Shuuei and Kouyuu ) fell one by one from power due to the noble faction's cunning, leaving Ryuuki helpless and entirely dependent on Tei Yuushun, who is a major figure of the noble faction as well as the Prime Minister.
Soon afterwards he finds himself in a situation where he has to repair his relationship with the Kou clan which was in an uproar due to the dismissal of Kou Reishin and fall of Li Kouyuu. In order to repair the bitter relation, Ryuuki asks Shuurei to forget their promise and uses his authority as an emperor to command her to enter his harem as the eldest princess of the direct line of Kou clan as suggested by Ryou Anju. Shuurei gave her consent under the condition that Ryuuki must also marry princess Ran Jyuusan of the Ran Clan since she herself cannot bear a child and thus, is unable to produce an heir.
However, Ryuuki realized that his plan would take away Shuurei's freedom and dreams and that the marriage would have been born out of his intention to take advantage of Shuurei's connection to the Kou clan rather than out of love. Seeing that his actions were similar how the Rose Princess was imprisoned by the 'Master ' in the story, he became depressed. However, he finally opened his eyes and realized that he not only stole away Shuurei's dream but also destroyed his one final shield form the noble faction (after Shuurei and Kouyuu's fall) and forced himself to be completely reliant on Yushuun alone after being harshly reprimanded by Ki Kouki, Shuurei's superior. He realized that since Shuurei was a Censorate official, she had the power to directly accuse the Prime Minister himself should he be a suspect of crimes or conspiracies. Therefore, she alone could've protected Ryuuki from the noble faction's grasp.
After the matter with the Locust Plague became a serious problem and was brought up at the court, Ryuuki found himself to be the main culprit of the matter as he ignored his duties at the beginning of his reign and thus, failed to take any precautions for the plague even though the Censorate has been trying to draw his attention to the matter. As a result of being implicated for his inaction, Ryuuki lost a great deal of his political authority and impression, furthering his reliance on Yuushun, as well as Ou Ki. With Ryuuki effectively unable to act, Ou Ki took advantage of the situation to garner the court's favor and mercilessly paint Ryuuki as an incompetent emperor. Eventually, Ou Ki took over the court and Ryuuki was forced to flee the castle, drawing Saiunkoku into a state of civil war. However, before leaving, Ryuuki took measures to ensure that Yuushun was protected, despite being one of Ryuuki's enemies, which changed Yuushun's impression of Ryuuki. Ryuuki and Ou Ki would eventually meet on the battlefield, where Ryuuki was forced to face Ou Ki and 50,000 troops, with only Ran Shuuei by his side. The tide of the battle turned when Yuushun, having shifted his loyalty to Ryuuki, appeared with the aid of the Eight Coloured Clans. The battle was won by Ryuuki and he remained the emperor of the new era.
Years later, Ryuuki finally married Shuurei, who eventually gave birth to a daughter near the end if winter, on the 20th of December. However, Shuurei died at childbirth, leaving Ryuuki emotionally broken and lonely for the rest of his life. Ryuuki never remarried nor took on any concubines. His daughter by Shuurei eventually succeeded Ryuuki as the ruler of Saiunkoku.
Skills & TalentsEdit
Ryuuki was taught how to play the koto, traditional musical instrument of the Shi clan by Ou Ki. However, he can only play two musical pieces and it was noted by his daughter that he wasn't a very gifted player.
Ryuuki was personally trained by the famous War-General Sou Shungai himself in the art of swords. Ryuuki has shown great proficiency in swordfighting throughout the series.
Ryuuki was shown to be very clever and cunning at the beginning of the series where he was cleverly able to fend of assassins during the civil war. He was also able to secure Shuurei's position as an official with his Intellect. However, his short sightedness is an obstacle to his wits as he tends to be too impulsive. Therefore, he can't operate without any help, leaving himself vulnerable to his enemies namely the noble faction.
Ever since Ryuuki first met Shuurei, he fell in love with her. Shuurei apparently doesn't return his feelings and cares for him only as the emperor. Ryuuki confesses his love for her many times saying that he doesn't want her to be below him, but by his side. However, she remains as an official and continues to reject him for the next 10 years. When she realizes her life was coming to an end, she accepts his proposal and becomes his wife quitting her job as an official.
Ever since she was an infant, she was unable to live without her father. She cried so loudly when Ryuuki wasn't around, that the ladies-in-waiting who were in charge of her were forced to find Ryuuki no matter where he was and hand her over to him. Thus, Ryuuki was forced to tuck her under his arm and attend the morning court sessions, no matter how annoying it might be for the members of the court. He even placed a cradle in his office so that she can stay there. Given Ryuuki's childhood experience, he had hard time loving his daughter. Nonetheless, they both loved each other deeply though they were both awkward and even if it's complicated he supports his daughter's feelings towards the Purple Immortal to the point of asking him to take responsibility for her.
Ryuuki first met Riou in the Imperial Archives. Thinking he was a ghost, Ryuuki quickly became fond of him and talked to him about personal matters, including his complicated love for Shuurei. Ryuuki is amazed by Riou's frankness and abilities, so much that he was initially shocked to learn that Riou really was a normal child. Although Riou speaks harshly to Ryuuki, he later shows he truly cares about the Emperor's wellbeing. When his reign truly began, Ryuuki adopted Riou, making him the Crown Prince.