Haruhiko Yagi (八木晴彦, Yagi Haruhiko) is a recurring character in Hajime no Ippo.
His duties primarily consist of publicity and match booking, but he also takes part in managing the finances, selling merchandise, and occasionally even assists with the training.
Yagi was originally a boxer for the Kamogawa Boxing Gym, having joined around the same time as Miyata Senior. However, despite his passion, he lacked any natural talent to survive as a pro and suffered a string of losses.
Yagi was also a master fisherman and whenever he fishes his personality changes (in the words of Miyata Senior, "he gets the face of a demon"). He is so good in fact, that it has been said that he could become the world champion of fishing. Additionally, numerous fishing ponds put up "No Yagi Allowed" signs after losing so many customers because Yagi was catching all the fish. He apparently had his fishing skills long before that, as Miyata's father learned the hard way while taking him fishing to cheer him up after a disappointing loss.
Yagi would later retire to become manager of the Kamogawa Boxing Gym.
Yagi and Kamogawa Genji, while watching a world match on the TV, talked about how they haven't raised a world champion since the Kamogawa Boxing Gym opened. Yagi informed Kamogawa that Takamura Mamoru brought a newcomer. When Kamogawa assigned Makunouchi Ippo to spar against Miyata Ichirō, Yagi watched the spar, concluding that despite Ippo's loss, he has great determination. After Ippo won the second spar against Miyata, Yagi and Kamogawa were shown how Miyata barely got hit with the uppercut by 1cm.
When Miyata left the gym, Ippo's power from the spar two months ago was not showing. Kamogawa suggested to have Ippo go with Takamura, who's match is in a week, much to Yagi's dismay. Yagi and Kamogawa announced Ippo's opponent for his pro debut as Oda Yūsuke. Yagi revealed the details of Oda's fight record and fighting style to everyone.
On the day of the match, Yagi noticed that Ippo's name on his trunks is "IPO" instead of "IPPO". Yagi stood at the ringside as a cornerman for Ippo's match. After Ippo's win, Yagi, along with the others, celebrated at the Sugar Ray. When Ippo had his second match against Fujiwara Yoshio, Yagi was one of the cornermen in the match that Ippo won.
Yagi received the schedule for the East Japan Rookie King Tournament and showed it to the gym, revealing that Jason Ozuma is Ippo's first opponent. Yagi told Kamogawa that Ozuma sent a sparring partner to the hospital after a hook hit him. On the day of the match between Ippo and Ozuma, Yagi was on of the cornermen, with Ippo winning at the end.
Seeing a fired up Ippo spar with Aoki Masaru and Kimura Tatsuya, he noted how Ippo was influencing the two eight rounders. When the boxers came back from their one week training camp session, Yagi showed the poster of Takamura's JBC middleweight champion match against Yajima Yoshiaki and Ippo's match against Kobashi Kenta. Yagi got excited at the thought of the gym having someone going for a Japanese title in ten years. On the day of the match, Yagi was one of the cornermen for Ippo and Takamura's matches, where they both won. Yagi celebrated Ippo and Takamura's win with everyone.
When Aoki had a match that was after Ippo's next opponent, Hayami Ryūichi, Yagi was one of his cornermen. The match ended with Aoki winning. When the day of Ippo's match against Hayami arrived, Yagi was one of his cornermen, with the match resulting in Ippo winning. After the match and outside Kōrakuen Hall, Yagi noted how Ippo worked hard and now got to the promised place to get to Miyata.
Mashiba Ryō fought and defeated Miyata in the semi-finals. This caused Ippo to injure his fist in rage. Yagi noted how Ippo was frustrated due to not sparring in a while due to his injured fists, and warned Kamogawa to watch his fists for the fight. When Ippo and Mashiba's match arrived, Yagi was one of the cornermen for Ippo. Ippo won the match, ultimately winning the East Japan Rookie King Tournament.
Yagi, along with Kamogawa, left the gym for Thailand in order to look for middleweights for Takamura. When Yagi came back, he learned that Ippo was planning on drugging his fist. Yagi attempted to stop Ippo, wanting his fist to heal fully before fighting again, however, Kamogawa explained that he is too stubborn to listen. Ippo decided to fight Sendō Takeshi despite his fist injury, with Kamogawa only allowing him to if he has the ability to fight on the day of.
Upon arrival to Osaka, Yagi and the others arrived to the Ishino Boxing Gym for Ippo to spar against lightweight class Komori. When the day of the match arrived, in Ippo's waiting room Yagi noticed the different red shorts on Ippo. When the match began, Yagi was one of Ippo's cornermen, with Ippo winning the match and All Japan Rookie King title. Yagi and the rest of the Kamogawa Gym crew celebrated Ippo's win.
While Takamura, Aoki, and Kimura had a match scheduled on the same day, the Kamogawa gym became busy, with Yagi having a line of people wanting to join the gym. When Takamura decided to let all the newcomers do roadwork with him, Yagi became worried. Yagi was one of the cornermen for Aoki, Kimura, and Takamura's matches, where all three won. Later, Yagi received an invitation by Nakadai from the Nakadai Boxing Gym for Ippo to spar against JBC featherweight champion Date Eiji in three days, which he then notified Kamogawa. The day after Ippo came back from the spar against Date, Yagi received a call from Nakadai requesting Ippo to fight against Okita Keigo. When he notified Kamogawa and told him the fight was in one month, as his previous opponent could not make it, Kamogawa accepted. Yagi explained his worries, however, Kamogawa reassured his worries and told him how Ippo's eyes had changed after fighting Date.
Yagi announced that a TV station was coming to the gym to interview the boxers. Yagi congratulated Yamada Naomichi after he passed the pro test. He then revealed the Class A Tournament's entry list. Yagi noted how their were seven featherweights who dropped out when Alexander Volg Zangief entered. The next day, Yagi urgently informed Ippo that his mother was sent to the hospital due to collapsing. On the day of the Class A Tournament, Yagi was one of the cornermen for Ippo's match against Saeki Takuma and one of the cornermen for Kimura and Aoki. The matches resulted in in all three winning.
When Yamada had to move away from Tokyo, Yagi gave him his farewell and informed him that everyone was waiting for him down stairs for a farewell party. Yagi was one of the cornermen for Aoki's semifinal match of the Class A Tournament against Jackal Itō, and Kimura's semifinal match of the Class A Tournament against Ryūzaki Takeshi. Both of their matches resulted in a loss, losing the Class A Tournament. When Ippo's Class A Tournament finals was scheduled to be against Volg, Kamogawa had Ippo undergo intense training. When Kamogawa expressed his worries to Yagi about potentially breaking Ippo and losing all respect, Yagi reassured him that everyone knows he would not do that, and all of the boxers word hard to impress him. During Ippo's match against Volg, Yagi was his cornerman. Ippo then won the match, winning the Class A Tournament.
When the Champion Carnival for Takamura's match against Tamaki Atsushi arrived, Takamura was over the weight limit. Yagi noted how it was difficult to lose weight in the winter. When Takamura barely passed the weight limit, the match began, with Yagi as one of the cornermen. Takamura then won the match.
The night before Ippo's title match against Date, Kamogawa and Yagi reminisce when Ippo first joined the gym. Yagi believed that Ippo will answer Kamogawa and him as always and become a champion. When Ippo's match against Date arrived, Yagi was one of Ippo's cornermen. The match ended with Ippo losing.
The next day when Ippo returned to the gym, he informed Yagi the evaluation's results that showed no signs of brain damage, relieving Yagi. When Kamogawa collapsed due to overwork and went to the hospital, Yagi was there while the doctor gave the report. Yagi told Ippo, Aoki, and Kimura to continue training while he looked after Kamogawa since the three boxers have a match coming up soon. During Aoki's match against Snake Thomas, Kimura's match against Pone Morocotte and Ippo's match against Ponchai Chuwatana, he was there as one of their cornermen where they all won and was shocked when he saw Ippo use the Dempsey Roll.
Yagi attended Sendō's title defence against Saeki and watched in awe as Sendō defeated Saeki in one round.
Walking away from the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium after watching Sendō's match against Saeki, Yagi was greeted by Sendō who asked to let him fight Ippo as soon as possible. Yagi told Sendō that there had to be arrangements with his gym. Kamogawa confirmed that he would let Sendō fight Ippo, however, Sendō stated that the Dempsey Roll would not work on him before leaving.
After the Naniwa gym approved of Ippo fighting their champion, Sendō, Kamogawa later decided to head to the Pension Yoshio as a training camp. When they arrive to the pension, they meet Nekota Ginpachi. Yagi was tasked to catch fish for dinner, which he completed and made for dinner that night. The following day, Yagi was shocked when Kimura and Aoki rushed back from roadwork and informed him that Ippo was attacked by a bear. However, Ippo came back with a dog, which Nekota confirmed to be his dog, Hachi. Kamogawa announced to everyone at the training camp that he would be splitting the group for individual training. Yagi was grouped with Takamura, with one training method being multiple rounds of Takamura running with Yagi on his back. After Ippo finished his wood chop training, Yagi participated in Kamogawa's teaching of "punching without punching, the Sakki. When Kamogawa and Nekota began fighting over who won the draw, Yagi revealed their record being two wins, two losses, and one draw that neither of them could accept.
On the final day of the training camp, when Takamura was late coming back from his road work, the boxers wonder if he met a bear and if a bear had a weakness. Yagi confirmed that the forehead is the bear's weakness. On the final night of the training camp, Takamura returned wounded with a bear claw mark on his chest, claiming to have knocked out a bear. Yagi then ate a bear nabe that Nekota made for the final night. The next day, Yagi left with the rest of the group and returned to the Kamogawa Boxing Gym. When Takamura, Aoki, and Kimura had a match against Itō Takaaki, Boy Allade, and Nefuma Ozca respectively, Yagi was their cornerman where all three boxer's won. After celebrating at the Sugar Ray, Nekota stayed at the gym, and after five days, Nekota began to show his training skills, impressing Yagi.
One month before Ippo's title match against Sendō, Yagi put posters up on the Kamogawa gym's windows. Yagi then explained the meaning of "Lallapallooza" to Takamura, Aoki, and Kimura. Later, Yagi ran out of tickets while handing tickets out for fans at the Kamogawa gym and told the group to purchase them at the hall, however, they were sold out as well. He then encouraged Ippo to take the belt due to the tickets for the match being sold out. The day before the match, Yagi and Kamogawa went to the weigh-in with Ippo where they met the champion Sendō. After the two passed their weight check, Yagi, Kamogawa, and Ippo prepared to leave before being stopped by Sendō on the way out in order to speak with Ippo. On the day of Ippo's title match, Yagi was a cornerman for the fight. During the second round when Yagi wondered how Ippo was getting beaten in power, Kamogawa answered how Sendō's body may appear bigger due to boxer's being able to gain weight pass their weight limit right before a match.
In the third round, while Ippo was not able to hit back while getting attacked, Yagi wished for Ippo to come back to Kamogawa as he has high expectations of him, knowing that Ippo still had something that he had not used yet to go against Sendō. In the fifth round after Ippo's second down, Yagi compared the way Ippo fell as when he fell during his match against Date as Kamogawa got ready to throw in the towel. Ippo then defeated Sendō in the seventh round, becoming the JBC featherweight champion. Later, Yagi went to the Sugar Ray where Ippo's celebration party was held. Yagi introduced Ippo to everyone and announced that it was also his birthday.
During the Itagaki vs. Imai match, Yagi was asked by the coach to come up with a second encouragement pun after Shinoda couldn't think up another. The best he could do was pull Itagaki's Isu (Japanese for chair (or stool, in this case) away as he was returning to his corner and said Ima no ISU, Na~ISU (今のイス、ナ～イス, basically: This chair IS... nICE). Although the coach yelled at him for ruining the atmosphere, Takamura and the others found it hilarious and have been using it as a guts pose ever since.
Yagi has black short hair, a large nose, dark eye colour. He is always seen wearing eyeglasses, something he wasn't wearing in his youth.
His attire usually consists of the white KBG t-shirt and black pants. At times, he wears formal suits.
Yagi possesses a gentle and friendly personality as a manager for the gym and its boxers. In contrast to Kamogawa's gruff and strict attitude, Yagi prefers to be more nurturing and optimistic when speaking to the boxers, showing genuine concern for their well-being. That said, it sometimes allows Takamura, Aoki and Kimura to take advantage of his meeker approach (often leading to Kamogawa stepping in with a swinging cane). He often adds ~kun to the end of the names of the Kamogawa gym members.
Despite being quite friendly as a boxing manager, he becomes incredibly competitive and cocky when it comes to sport fishing, more than willing to make bets (and fully aware that he will win them).
Like Kamogawa, he puts a lot of trust in Ippo's ability to fight, though this is not without limits- if a bout has taken a turn for the worse and he feels that a boxer is at risk, he will readily suggest throwing in the towel.
- "I would love to handle a big match like that at least once, as a manager." - Round 2, while watching a world title match with Kamogawa Genji.