Note, this is the manga page for Akihiko, for the anime page: Akihiko Kaji Anime.
''...Coming to love someone is like creating a part of yourself with the softest and the thinnest skin. Just a simple touch can make my temperature go up. If they sink their claws in a bit, they can easily tear me up. And if they intentionally squeeze my hand tightly, that would be fatal for me.'' ― Akihiko Kaji
Akihiko Kaji (梶 秋彦 Kaji Akihiko) is one of the two deuteragonists and is a college student in the Given manga. The band's drummer, Akihiko is also rather gifted in the violin, guitar, and bass. He is the former on-again, off-again boyfriend of Ugetsu and the current boyfriend of Haruki.
The most distinguishing aspect of his appearance are the facial piercings he dons on the left side of his lip, tongue, and ears.
His eyebrows are thin and short, and his green eyes are described as having a bad look to them. He has short blond hair on top of his oval-shaped face, the back of his hair is also short.
Of a tall stature, Akihiko is also of a somewhat muscular build. He occasionally wears a baseball cap and often wears a black T-shirt. Akihiko tends to wear jeans held up by a red belt and dark shoes with white on the bottom.
Wearing a white collared high school shirt when he was younger he wore the tie loose around his neck.
Despite having been described as scary-looking on more than one occasion, Akihiko is also noted to be a nice guy and is rather perceptive, as pointed out by Haruki when the two were discussing Ritsuka's personality. Most of the time Akihiko is direct in saying what he thinks.
Akihiko is popular amongst woman and is known to be a womanizer, due to his popularity among women. Despite being very passionate, he has trouble with romance and acting on those feelings towards the person he likes. Akihiko is described as hot-headed. Furthermore, he can also be manipulative and selfish, ignoring other people's feelings and defining himself as unfair and a total brat. Although Akihiko seems like a tough and self-confident person, he has shown to be insecure rather insecure, as he has a somewhat inferiority complex towards Ugetsu. Overwhelmed by the other man's talent, Akihiko stopped playing the violin seriously and begins holding resentment towards music.
He likes working at a convenience store as he can take all the leftovers home. When starting the band, he did not consider them the types who would bother getting to know each other at first; just interested in playing the music.
Akihiko was seen without facial piercings during his time at high school, where he remembers seeing Ugetsu playing the violin.
Waiting in the studio, Akihiko asks Ritsuka who that guy is referring to the new arrival of Mafuyu. He needs clarification when Ritsuka voices that he feels he picked up an abandoned dog. Akihiko is not playing along with the story that Ritsuka just could not leave Mafuyu.
He listens as Ritsuka tells Mafuyu to introduce himself to him, with further non-reaction to him being described as appearing scary but is a good person.
Watching Mafuyu as he bows in greeting, Akihiko hears he has come to learn and taps Haruki's finger. Realizing the potential to perform, Akihiko proudly notes that they have no choice. He is asked by Ritsuka if he is sure, assuring him that it is fine before registering that Mafuyu is likely expecting a great performance. Exchanging a second glance with Haruki, Akihiko ponders this is bad. No matter what they do, they will have to jump hoops for this guy, thinking further how badly do they want to impress him.
When suggested, Akihiko flatly rejects the idea they should play normally, he wants to cause a storm like Yujiro. He listens to Haruki explain the approaches they could take and grins as they settle on playing with a Showa taste
Reacting to Ritsuka firing up the performance with his guitar, Akihiko shares a look with Haruki thinking they are not going to lose. Appearing startled as Haruki adds vocals along with their instrumental rendition, Akihiko then joins in before adding his foot drum to the mix as they deliver their musical performance for Mafuyu.
At work in a convenience store with fellow employee Ritsuka, Akihiko points out that his mouth is wide open. Tapping him, he asks if anyone is home before mentioning that Ritsuka has been making weird faces for the past few days now. Akihiko states that the Ritsuka he knows makes faces that are more like him. After work, Akihiko brings up Mafuyu as he tries to remember his name. He suggests to Ritsuka that he should look after Mafuyu, it will also be good for him. Akihiko bases this on that Ritsuka was super hyped during that jam session then leaves to head over to the studio.
Arriving at the studio alongside Ritsuka, Akihiko is surprised to see Mafuyu again, there with Haruki.
Having a drink and listening to Haruki speak he then proceeds to play with Haruki's hair asking if his bangs do not get in the way. Akihiko is shocked to hear Mafuyu declares that Ritsuka was cooler than anyone at the light music club.
Outside with the studio with Haruki, Akihiko agrees with his appraisal of Ritsuka as coming across as focused on himself but always doing his best. Akihiko thinks nothing of it with Ritsuka being like that for a long time and putting it down to him being good at the guitar for his age. Further, Akihiko describes Ritsuka as good at paying attention to the sounds around him and only has an attitude because of that and being young. Summarizing that he thinks Ritsuka is a good and honest guy, he counters that his scary-looking face has nothing to do with Haruki's comment that he pays attention to the people around him.
Rather than explaining how he can put it, Akihiko decides for them to head back in with internal observations that instead of Ritsuka wanting to do his best, he also has a strong desire to protect in which Akihiko draws his own conclusions on what that means.
Entering the studio room he comes across Ritsuka flustered over whether he is getting through to Mafuyu. Akihiko joins in the others knowing what is needed if playing music is to be taken seriously. It is money, as he explains it is everything for rental fees for clubs and studios, a band member simply needs money. Akihiko recommends places that provide food before asking if Mafuyu has a two-wheel driving license.
On his motorbike Akihiko asks if Yayoi can get down, helping her to do so he checks her hair before noticing Haruki nearby. Briefly saying goodbye to Yayoi and telling her to make sure to go to class he asks Haruki what is he doing seeing how he has his head in his hands. Akihiko brings up whether he saw the message Ritsuka sent, about wanting Mafuyu to join the band. Agreeing with Haruki about watching Mafuyu until he was more comfortable with the guitar, Akihiko asked Ritsuka's reason for why it occurred so soon.
In the studio Akihiko turns away trying not to chuckle when Ritsuka shares that Mafuyu rejected his offer of joining the band and his grave reaction to it, chortling as well. Like Ritsuka, Akihiko has not been informed that Mafuyu had messaged Haruki concerning a part-time job interview today. Unlike Ritsuka, Akihiko see’s his reaction grow further indignant and tries to soften it by stating that he does not know Mafuyu’s contact details either.
Listening to Haruki explain how Ritsuka should communicate with Mafuyu more, he reacts to Haruki feeling he said too much by ruffling his hair. Akihiko advises him to be strict because Haruki is like the older brother of everyone here before saying for them to head to the station to go home.
By chance, he comes across Ritsuka chasing down Mafuyu after he fled from seeing someone he knew again. Hearing that Mafuyu’s song resonated with Ritsuka, Akihiko does not make his presence known to them but considers what he heard to be unexpected.
With a university friend, Akihiko is called by Yayoi but does not have time to talk. Equipped with headphones and his motorcycle helmet he wants to know why Yayoi is bringing up whether they plan to have another live show soon and hears it is since Ritsuka has been practicing a lot. He agrees to tell her any plans as he places a motorcycle helmet on her head.
At an indoor barbeque with his band, Akihiko is fixed solely on the meat not listening to Haruki explain plans to turn one of their tunes into a song. He dives right in, drinking as well before remembering that he came by motorbike today so he asks Haruki to let him stay at his place.
With Haruki ending up drinking as well they support one another as they part ways with RItsuka and Mafuyu. At Haruki’s, he deems in troublesome to set up a futon, neither does Akihiko settle for sleeping on the floor, and so he falls asleep on top of Haruki.
Alongside Yayoi, they arrive at her apartment where Ritsuka is. Akihiko says sorry to Akihiko for intruding but concurs with Yayoi that he has been making his face as he daydreams often these days. He has business with Ritsuka having brought something good and asks to borrow his power as he shares the tune on a laptop that Ritsuka composed. Akihiko tells him the tune was super good, kind of unexpected but it would fit Mafuyu’s voice well with him in mind to sing it.
He had gone ahead and pushed himself to produce the demo after he added the drums. Akihiko is pleased to share that Haruki said he would fill the bass part as he pleases just like always. Encouraging Ritsuka to do his best, Akihiko describes Mafuyu’s voice as husky and beautiful. He thinks Ritsuka should go all out to make it punk rock without adding the acoustic guitar part.
Paying no mind to Ritsuka’s blushing reactions to the discussion on Mafuyu, Akihiko attempts to coax his friends' feelings out by reiterating there is no denying Mafuyu has a beautiful voice articulating that when Akihiko hears him sing he can feel that Mafuyu has a great passion as well. Plainspoken, Akihiko shares that passion makes him feel numb, like a scream but at the same time, not a scream.
His candidness is successful as Ritsuka opens up that he understands what Akihiko means. Continuing, Akihiko feels it would be a waste for Mafuyu to stay quiet and makes the conversation more fluid by explaining it is why he keeps drumming hard to his heart’s content. Akihiko does notice his words resonate in Ritsuka but says nothing to allow him to get to grips with what Akihiko suspects he is feeling concerning Mafuyu.
After a long pause and no response as Ritsuka holds his own face, Akihiko breaks the silence by laughing suddenly then asking him whether the melody is done. As it is, Akihiko suggests they should let Mafuyu write the lyrics and is up-front that he thinks it will be super hard, but best to let him do it.
In the studio with Haruki, he observes Ritsuka handle telling Mafuyu to not give up when he considers it impossible to compose the song. He facepalms himself taking issue with Ritsuka’s loud way of speaking as he holds Mafuyu’s face which whilst earnest comes across as pressuring him to do it.
With Ritsuka holding Mafuyu’s face and telling him he wants to play his song, Akihiko is pleased to see that Haruki has caught on regarding what they are witnessing between Ritsuka and Mafuyu.
With that playing out, Akihiko decisively intervenes on specifically Mafuyu’s behalf by telling Haruki to shut his mouth when he innocently suggests that Mafuyu writes about the love he has experienced so far. Though Haruki is unaware, Akihiko realizes the implications of breaching such a topic and to avoid it going further orders Haruki to shut up again when he in good faith asks if he did not just say a good thing just now. Akihiko takes drastic measures by wrestling Haruki to the ground to physically stop him from speaking along those unknowingly sensitive lines.
At his place of residence, he brushes his teeth and hears on the radio of thunderstorms over the Kanto region. He remembers to when he saw someone play the violin and always thought that love was something tender, sweet and affectionate as he remembers a time during high school when he saw this person. Akihiko realized that was only a plausible delusion when he experienced his first love describing it as feeling some sort of violence tear him to pieces.
In the present day, he considers Haruki is on fire seeing him play the guitar and pokes him with his drum stick when he looks to him. Regarding Ritsuka and Mafuyu nearby, Akihiko notes that the latter has not written a single lyric since the previous time. His guitar playing is also lackluster and affected by his mood, but that is to be expected. Concerning Ritsuka, he wonders why he is also in a bad way.
Observing Ritsuka scold Mafuyu on his performance skills, and then Haruki breaches the unspoken atmosphere that Ritsuka has also been acting strange recently, with that Akihiko stops practice for today. He thinks if it gets any worse than this they may disband for real.
Outside with Ritsuka, he offers him a canned drink, forcibly when he does not accept it right away. Akihiko discusses that Ritsuka looks worn out recently and asks why he cannot keep his composure. Since he cannot concentrate at all, Akihiko states Ritsuka is not in any position to tell off others adding constructively that he never thought Ritsuka was that kind of moody guy. Noting to himself that Ritsuka is not going to make any excuses, Akihiko announces he will get straight to the point.
The straight to the point topic involves Akihiko asking if something happened between Ritsuka and Mafuyu and leans in adding that he is just asking. Akihiko is happy seeing Ritsuka trying to hold it in as he blushes profusely seemingly having understood the question. Though satisfied they are on the same page, Akihiko's demeanor soon changes after he realizes what that means with what he had in mind. Thunderstruck, he yells for Ritsuka not to tell him that he has made a move on Mafuyu already. Even though Ritsuka's self-consciousness bubbles over into unadulterated horror at the assumed meaning, Akihiko continues that he always thought Ritsuka was just a late bloomer.
This does nothing to contain the situation and Akihiko glares back on whether Ritsuka is seriously asking that now with Ritsuka's issues with what he is suggesting. Akihiko proceeds to the end by continuing in the same direction, pointing at Ritsuka and saying does he have any idea what kind of face he is making right now.
At last in response to Ritsuka asking what kind of face he is making, Akihiko says it: it is a face saying that Ritsuka likes Mafuyu. With it done, Akihiko supportively takes Ritsuka's hand and tells him to get a hold of himself as he lies vanquished on the ground.
Sitting beside him as a shooting star flies ahead, this time Akihiko says nothing and waits for Ritsuka to speak first. He states simply that Ritsuka is not strange at all when asked if he is. Akihiko returns the question on what is strange about the one Ritsuka liking being a guy before asking if what he means is just because he is a guy, therefore, his sexual preference has to be towards girls. Affirming it is okay he tells Ritsuka that he used to be like that before. Akihiko grips his thumb as Ritsuka violently spews out his drink, confirming that he has experienced those sorts of feelings, too. Seeing Ritsuka's face, Akihiko deems it appropriate to say that it was in the past and smirks asking whether Ritsuka is saying that he is the strange one here.
With that done, Akihiko moves to Mafuyu, explaining that he is trying to live up to Ritsuka's expectations with his singing and so Ritsuka is responsible for supporting him. Getting up to leave he asks if Ritsuka is riding on his motorbike.
Seated at his drum set at another band practice, Akihiko hears Mafuyu notably better at the guitar then calls for a break when Mafuyu falls asleep. He guides Haruki to leave the room leaving Ritsuka alone with Akihiko prodding him to watch over Mafuyu.
Outside the room, he pulls Haruki back down when he points out Mafuyu is awake now. Giving Ritsuka and Mafuyu time, Akihiko then thinks loving someone is like creating a part of yourself with the softest and thinnest skin. A simple touch could make his temperature go up yet if they sink their claws in a bit they can easily tear him up. All the while wondering this he is envisioning Ugetsu and concludes if they intentionally squeeze his hand tightly, that would be fatal for him. This background in mind, Akihiko judges Ritsuka's love akin to a bomb filled with the potential to tear the band apart.
After pointing out that there was only one week left until the live show, Akihiko proposes they stop practicing, stating that "well, the sound isn't that bad.". Despite having previously shown concern over Mafuyu's guitar-playing, Akihiko then said that it has reached a passing mark now.
Akihiko mentions to Mafuyu that he does not believe he [Mafuyu] will be able to finish the lyrics if they keep on practicing endlessly. He offers to take Mafuyu home, asking if he is fine riding a motorbike. Outside, he offers both a helmet and coat due to the cold weather. Akihiko then explains that he does not think Mafuyu will be able to write unless he has made peace with his past, asking him if he wants to convey it, or if he just wants to run away from putting it into words. 
The next morning, Akihiko can be seen listening to news of expected thunderstorms on the radio whilst he prepares breakfast, which he offers to Ugetsu, who slumps himself on Akihiko's shoulder. Akihiko then asks if he can practice the drums that morning, to which Ugetsu approves of, later asking him if he had a live show. After a moment of silence, Akihiko asks if he [Ugetsu] will come, the latter then rebutting with asking him if it was at a level that Akihiko could show him. 
Thinking to himself he cannot deny the chance of him and the band having a massive failure, Akihiko still asks Ugetsu to come, being exceptionally insistent that he is filled with the confidence to do it. He then tells Ugetsu he can go practice the violin with his new boyfriend.
His words concerning whether Mafuyu wants to convey or run away from his feelings are remembered by the younger boy whilst in bed.
On the day of the concert he is near to Haruki before being called by Yayoi. He does not pay much attention to her, less so when he sees that Ugetsu has indeed some to watch the performance.
After witnessing Mafuyu snap his guitar strings, Akihiko praises Haruki for his handling of the situation.
He continues to perform on the drums with the live band performance underway.
From Japanese 秋 (Aki) meaning "autumn" combined with 彦 (Hiko) meaning "boy, lad, prince".
On Chapter Covers
- code. 1 on the drums in a colored group shot of the band with Ritsuka, Mafuyu, and Haruki.
- code. 2 in a scene with Haruki.
- code. 4 in a moving company uniform working alongside Ritsuka.
- code. 5 back to back with Yayoi resting on him.
- code. 7 he has his eyes closed wearing an "I was here" T-shirt whilst sharing headphones with Mafuyu in an "I am here" shirt and holding his guitar.
- Though his new band has fewer members he still likes to play the drums hard.
- His favorite music are extreme genres like heavy rock, metal, melodic hardcore, emotional, scream, alternative, trip-hop. Kaji is also good with instrumental music like classical, modern music, ambient music, and experimental music.
- He learned karate and the violin when he was younger.
- Majors in music.
- Akihiko works various part-time jobs at a convenience store, being a waiter in a private carriage or at events, also as a security guard.
- His residence is described as a semi-basement type house, a stairway leading to a partially underground closed room where he can play a drum kit present as much as he wants. Among other amenities, he has a radio but not a TV at home.
- Akihiko's signature animal is a squirrel.
- Akihiko is ambidextrous, but he uses only his right hand to hold chopsticks and his left hand to write. 
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- A reference to Yujiro Ishihara in the Japanese 1957 film "Man who causes a storm"
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