|Alternate Name||Hatake Satoko, Yoshizawa Satoko, Matsūra Satoko (due to previous fathers)|
|Birthday||June 24, 1971|
|Image Song||Suki Suki∞Nii-nii|
Hōjō Satoko (北条 沙都子) is one of the main characters in the Higurashi no Naku Koro ni series. She is the younger sister of Hōjō Satoshi and the insinuator of the events that took place in Tatarigoroshi-hen, Tsukiotoshi-hen, and, to an extent, Minagoroshi-hen. She is also the protagonist of Yakusamashi-hen, Satokowashi-hen and the main antagonist of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Gō and Sotsu.
Satoko never understood why her and Satoshi's mother repeatedly married and divorced various men. In fact, she could never decide whether or not she actually liked her mother, since their relationship was far from perfect. Men kept appearing beside her mother one after another, and Satoko could not adjust to any of them. The only family member that she felt she truly trusted was her older brother, Satoshi.
At some point, she started playing pranks on her step-fathers. This included a fake abuse report against Mr. Hōjō. Each step-father responded severely to her tricks, but whenever she recounted the abuse, she believed that her current Hōjō step-father did all of it. He and Satoko's mother were supporters of the Dam Project in Hinamizawa which caused them to be shunned by other villagers who branded them "traitors." Due to the stance of their parents, the villagers distrusted Satoko and her older brother as well. Since Satoko was somewhat of a nuisance towards her parents, she believed that they would be better off without her, and would kill her at some point. This belief was the starting point of her entering the L5 terminal phase of the Hinamizawa Syndrome.
According to Irie's theory in Matsuribayashi-hen, on the day of the Watanagashi Festival on June 1980, Satoko's parents decided to take her out to Shirakawa Park to escape from the celebration of the villagers' victory over the dam project, and to support Mr. Hōjō's and Satoko's relationship. However, the parents' attempt to get closer to Satoko only worsened her suspicions and paranoia. When they took her to a viewing platform over a muddy river, she was certain that they were going to kill her right there. In what she considered as self-defense, she pushed them over the cliff. In the console-only alternate ending arc Miotsukushi-hen, a different backstory is presented. Satoko did have suspicions about her parents, but she overheard them at Shirakawa Park, talking about how much they love Satoko, and want to make up with her. Satoko was happy and rushed to hug her parents, but the corroded railing gave in, and Satoko's parents fell to their deaths, right before her eyes.
Satoko was later hospitalized at the Irie Clinic to be treated for her poor health, and was almost vivisected as a terminal subject in research of Hinamizawa Syndrome. She was saved thanks to Irie's development of C-103. Afterwards, she and Satoshi were taken in by their uncle and aunt, Hōjō Teppei and Tamae, respectively. Satoko was abused during that time and always clung to her brother. When the Watanagashi Festival came around, Tamae was murdered by Satoshi to protect his sister from the abuse. Satoshi then disappeared, Teppei fled to Okinomiya to live with his mistress and Satoko started living with her recently orphaned friend Furude Rika.
Satoko, despite her past, is an energetic and playful girl. She has a very distinctive laugh, 'vampire fangs' as Keiichi describes, and loves to set traps to play pranks on her friends, though in the series these seem to always target Maebara Keiichi. Her traps can be dangerous, however; in Matsuribayashi-hen, she set traps for the Yamainu, some of which proved fatal.
Like Ryūgū Rena, Satoko can be incredibly analytical and intuitive at times; in Tsumihoroboshi-hen when Rena held the school hostage, Satoko was able to completely map out the blueprint of the school and the location of the bomb in her head, as well as connect all of the various clues together, especially pieces of seemingly-useless information, such as what types of containers were used to hold the gasoline Rena used, the reason a students' ball went missing, how the drain canal runs and how and where the bomb was set up.
Satoko referred to Satoshi as "Nii-Nii" (にーにー) from 兄 (ani・older brother), a cute term for older brother, when he was around, and has since referred Keiichi as such, as well as calling Sonozaki Shion the female equivalent, "Nee-Nee" (ねーねー) from 姉 (ane・older sister), though in previous arcs, Shion, pretending to be Mion, had murdered Satoko. In Matsuribayashi-hen, when Shion is about to be killed by the Yamainu after willing to sacrifice her life so that her friends could escape, Satoko cries and tells Mion that Shion is her "Nee-Nee."
The new series – on-going at the time of this edit – reveals that she also now travels through time fragments like Rika.
In the world of Saikoroshi-hen, where no tragic events occur, this Satoko contrasts highly with the Satoko we all know. Since no tragic events happened, Satoko did not kill her parents, but rather had learned to accept them over time. She lives in a stable family with her brother Satoshi, whom she is also not as endearing towards. She learned to speak a very polished and formal Japanese with a more advanced vocabulary. The most apparent difference is that this Satoko is very cold and uncaring towards Rika to the point of bullying her. She also does not have much of a relationship with Mion or Rena; rather, she prefers to socialize with her peers.
Rika comes to consider her as an insensitive brat who does not care about anyone else's pain. However, it is revealed later in the arc that Satoko's particular attitude towards Rika is mainly due to the Rika of that arc shamelessly and constantly exploiting her male classmates.
It is important to note that anything pertaining to Satoko in this world does not affect the Satoko of post-Matsuribayashi-hen in any way at all. The world of Saikoroshi-hen is the "perfect world" for everyone but Rika, and Rika begins to see how she has, in effect, made them all suffer each time she has lived her life. Rika is seen by many as spoiled and self-centered, and Satoko resents her for being a "princess."
Satoko has short blonde hair and, depending on the media, she has rose eyes. She is a petite girl, though taller than Rika in the manga, and has sharp canine teeth. She wears a black headband most of the time.
On school days, Satoko wears a bright green dress with a sunshine yellow tie or bow, a white sailor collar and black nylons with brown shoes. On her free days, she wears a carnation pink, sleeveless collared shirt, denim shorts, a belt and pink sneakers similar to Keiichi's sneakers.
When Satoko transforms into a magical girl she wears a playful yellow dress which is very decorated. The dress has many patterns and a large yellow bow on its back. The outfit is bright, with long socks and a yellow ribbon, yellow wristbands, yellow shoes with light sanding and a big bow at an angle on her head.
With the new season of the anime, Satoko, at the time of this writing, approaches the age of 17 in 1988. Since 1984, she has worn her hair a little longer. As expected, she grows taller and begins to appear as a young woman. Also, after obtaining the power to travel through fragments, Satoko's irides can assumes a bright blazing-red tone like Rika's at significant points.
On that note, Satoko finally displays an Adult Voice, like Rika and Hanyū, when – Arg! – she loses her patience with Rika. Arg!
Satoshi is Satoko's older brother. Early on, Satoko was completely dependent on Satoshi. When Satoshi disappeared, she blamed herself for always clinging to him. She vowed to become more independent from that point on. As eventually revealed, one of Satoshi's last actions before becoming overwhelmed by the Hinamizawa Syndrome was to buy her the stuffed bear she wanted for her birthday.
Satoko has a somewhat complicated relationship with Keiichi. In many ways, she acts as a "brat" sibling, while also acting as an older sibling depending on the situation. Part of the tragedy of some arcs is her seeing him as a replacement older brother only to have his and her behavior influenced by the Hinamizawa Syndrome ruin it.
She likes to practice her trap-making skills on him. Keiichi seemingly resents her for this while also seeing defeating them as a challenge. Both of them care about each other quite a lot, as is clear in the Minagoroshi-hen arc and others based on that time line where Keiichi tries to kill her abusive uncle or force the village to take her abuse seriously. She will, at some points, call Keiichi her "Nii-Nii." Again, part of the tragedy involves the paranoia from their Hinamizawa Syndrome destroying their trust: in the climax of Tatarigoroshi-hen, she confesses that she felt he was her Nii-Nii," only to reject him.
She behaves as the "adult" when she takes charge of Keiichi's situation when his parents leave him alone. She prevents him from burning his house down, then cooks him dinner. Rika explains to Keiichi that she is happy in that role. In Tatarigoroshi-hen, when Keiichi fails to think clearly due to his Hinamizawa Syndrome, she repeatedly reminds him that she is uncomfortable being wrapped in only a towel. Keiichi does not seem to understand this, which irritates her.
In Outbreak, when Satoko is captured by maddened villagers as a sacrifice, Keichii, along with Rena, risk their lives to save her. When Satoko tells them that they are idiots for risking their lives for her, Keichii replies that they are huge idiots, then asks Satoko if she has a problem with that. Satoko realizes how much Keichii cares for her and tearfully says that she does not.
In the new anime series Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Gō, she does come to see him as her older brother in one arc, to the point that she asks him if she can address him as "Ni-Ni." Keiichi previously noted that he regrets not having siblings and likes looking at Satoko as a younger sister. However, events in subsequent arcs of Gô call her sincerity into questions he was likely already going through the loops at that time.
Their developing relationship serves as an example of misunderstandings that over the arcs eventually resolve. Shion initially hated Satoko for always clinging to her brother whom Shion had a crush on. She comes to blame her for the stress that is making Satoshi suffer and making him grow hostile, which is something both Satoko and Satoshi (according to Rena) actually agree on, then his eventual disappearance. Thus, when the abused Satoko starts crying for her brother, Shion reacts violently against her and tells her that crying won't solve her problems. Later after Satoshi's disappearance in Meakashi-hen, Shion started killing those whom she deems responsible. She crucifies, stabs, and ultimately kills Satoko only to remember her promise to Satoshi to protect her. She promises at the end of the arc that she will not make the same mistake again. In later arcs, Shion takes care of Satoko. The two of them share a sisterly relationship from that point on, to which Satoko calls her "Nee-Nee". When all of them fear Shion has been killed, Satoko tearfully protests that Shion is her "Nee-Nee", which brings Mion to tears. Comic relief extra panels in the manga have Shion smother Satoko and insist she call her "Nee-Nee." Finally, in the anime ending titles for the Matsuribayashi-hen arc, she clings to Shion.
After Satoshi's disappearance, Satoko and Rika began living together since they are both orphans. As a result, they became best friends and are extremely close. Over the arcs, it becomes clear that Rika submitted to experimentation at the Irie Clinic to help develop a treatment for her.
Until the third anime season, the only time this is not so is in Saikoroshi-hen which represents a "perfect world" for all other characters save Rika. Both Rika and Satoko's parents are alive and well. They live with their parents and do not have the same close bond, or seemingly any bond at all. In that arc, Satoko considers Rika to be a spoiled brat or "princess" who attracted and exploited all of the boys at school. She bullies Rika until she steals a book Rika is reading to discover an exit from her current world to return to the world she secured in Matsuribayashi-hen. The enraged Rika beats Satoko with a chair then and threatens to beat her again if Satoko ever comes near her. In the anime and particularly in the manga versions of Saikoroshi-hen, Mion, Satoshi, and, as she is known in this arc, Reina confront Rika in an attempt to cease the conflict. She is told by Mion that she had been a "princess" which earned the enmity of most girls near her age. However, Satoshi confesses that Satoko really does not want to fight Rika, but she is too stubborn to admit it. In this world, Mion, Satoshi, and Reina set up their club to allow everyone to play together and become friends. In the manga, Satoko is depicted with her arms folded and glaring at Rika during the games, but the implication is that she will, eventually, accept Rika.
In the Nekodamashi-hen anime-only arc of Gō, Satoko appears to succumb to Hinamizawa Syndrome over Rika's desire to leave Hinamizawa. This occurs in Rika's last chosen world where she wakes up to find that Satoko is performing the Watanagashi upon her. However, in the next episode, Rika discovers that Satoko may also travel time loops when she tricks her to reveal that she knows about a trap Rika has set. Satoko's eyes blaze red, and she pulls a gun on Rika.
The immediately following arc Satokowashi-hen takes place in a world similar to if not the continuation of Matsuribayashi-hen. Rika convinces Satoko to study for the entrance exam for St. Lucia Academy. Over a montage of two years with some protest, she does and the two enter the academy together. However, Satoko finds the academic rigor of St. Lucia's difficult and the formalities stifling. She finds herself separated from Rika as she is relegated to long extra-study period while Rika becomes doted upon by other girls who find Satoko's behavior, especially her laugh, uncouth. Miserable, Satoko starts to inwardly blame Rika to the point that she wishes she had refused Rika's invitation to share in her dream to leave Hinamizawa and attend St. Lucia's.
Invited by Mion to join in a reunion of The Club in Hinamizawa, Satoko enjoys the day, she but asks for the opportunity to walk alone. She is saddened by the changes that have occurred. When she reaches the Furude Shrine, she is taken to the Realm of Time Fragments by Eua. She learns "looping," the truth about Rika, and she gains the ability to loop in the hope of convincing Rika to stay in Hinamizawa. Much of the plot of the third season turns out to have been through her efforts.
Since at the time of this pontification the new season has not aired. Stay tuned!
Takano was Satoko's nurse at the Irie Clinic, where Satoko was treated for Hinamizawa Syndrome after being taken in by her aunt and uncle. Because she was treated quickly and with experimental medicine, Satoko survived, but she requires daily shots to prevent a relapse. Since this incident, Satoko maintained friendly relationships with those at the Clinic, Takano included, and Takano valued Satoko as an important test-subject in the development of Crazy Medicine, though in Minagoroshi-hen Takano kills her without hesitation after teasing her inability to tell the difference between broccoli and cauliflower.
It is also interesting to note that a young Tanashi Miyoko looked very similar to the Satoko of June 1983.
Irie was Satoko's doctor at the Clinic, as well as something of a foster father. Irie cares deeply for Satoko, and he has jokingly voiced a desire to marry Satoko when she is old enough, but this is more an expression of adoration than a romantic attraction to her. This does not stop him from "admiring" Satoko in her various "punishment game" outfits, however, and the anime and manga expand on this with his various attempts to dress her in "maid" costumes. In Matsuribayashi-hen, this determination and love for Satoko led him to develop C-103 to suppress her L5 symptoms.
- The kanji of her name 沙 – sa – 都 – to – 子 – ko means, literally, "sand-capital-child."
- "A Lady Never Tells!" through much of the series, Satoko appears during events that take place in June of 1983 just prior to her 12th birthday. There are flashbacks to events in previous years. In the new anime-only arc Gō, she, thus far, reaches past June 1988 to reach 17.
- In Tsukiotoshi-hen, it was revealed by Rika that Satoko always eats Japanese style breakfast, usually rice with miso soup.
- It is suggested that Satoko has extraordinary strength for someone her age, as shown in Tatarigoroshi-hen when she shoved Keiichi twice across the room after he harmlessly petted her, and later even pushed him off of a bridge; however, another theory is this could be due to an adrenaline rush, rather than extraordinary strength.
- In the anime-only arc Yakusamashi-hen, it is shown that Satoko can detect sounds like a cat. She was able to hear a Yamainu member's leg graze a trap she set in the middle of the night.
- Originally, Satoko and Rika were supposed to appear on the cover of Meakashi-hen's fourth volume, but Yutori Hōjō (the artist of Watanagashi-hen and Meakashi-hen) dropped this idea and changed the cover characters to Shion and Satoshi.
- Satoko has the highest number of individual sprites in the original sound novels; most other characters have twenty or fewer sprites, while Mion and Rena have around fifty apiece, and Satoko has sixty-four.
- Her casual sprite in the original Visual Novels show her wearing a satchel behind her hip. She wears this in the third anime season's Nekodamashi-hen.
- In the original Tatarigoroshi-hen sound novel, on day 13, after stumbling upon Rika's corpse, Satoko drops her towel and a naked sprite of her can be seen. This sprite was removed from the Steam release and later versions of the arc.
- Her birthday is confirmed in the anime episode Cat Deceiving Chapter Part Four.
- Coincidentally, Satoko wears her St. Lucia Academy summer uniform in a similar manner as Shion: while most students tuck in their shirts and wear their skirts knee-length, Satoko chooses not to do so and wears her skirt mid-thigh length