Tanaka (田中, Tanaka) is the house steward and a former butler of the Phantomhive household.
Tanaka is an elderly man with gray hair and a mustache. He wears a monocle, a black suit, and white gloves, and he is often holding a cup of tea.
Tanaka's body dimensions are generally portrayed shorter, smaller, and in less detail than they are in actuality. In dire situations, he is depicted at his full height.
Tanaka is a perceptive, dignified individual whose loyalty to the Phantomhive house and its head is unwavering. He previously served Vincent Phantomhive as a butler; however, after sustaining severe injuries on the twins' tenth birthday, he presently does a limited amount of work. Nevertheless, when needed to substitute Sebastian Michaelis as the butler, he performs his duties efficiently and without delay. He has a wealth of experience at his disposal and thus is a dependable adviser to the head of the Phantomhive house. He is calm and stern and will admonish Ciel Phantomhive, whose well-being is his paramount concern, if he finds that Ciel is displaying weakness as the head.
Despite his age, Tanaka remains an exemplary fighter; he once, via Baritsu, effortlessly subdued a man who attempted to harm Ciel. He is exceptionally skilled in wielding a katana, having sliced a bullet in two with it.
He was treated at the Royal London Hospital where Angelina Dalles worked. Ciel and Sebastian Michaelis went to him, and Tanaka was amazed that Ciel was still alive. He then gave Sebastian his pocket watch, which he said has been passed down from one Phantomhive butler to the next.
Black Butler Arc
Tanaka, Baldroy, Mey-Rin, Finnian, and Ciel Phantomhive observe the match between Sebastian Michaelis and a martial artist outside Phantomhive Manor. Sebastian vanquishes his opponent, which impresses them. Afterward, Sebastian instructs them to perform their duties. When the Phantomhive servants make a mess prior to and during Chlaus’s visit, Sebastian cleans up after them and rectifies the various issues.
At one point, the Phantomhive servants attempt to exterminate rats, which have been biting the wires in the manor. Sebastian effortlessly gets rid of the rats. After Ciel is taken by Azzurro Vanel and while Mey-Rin is delivering to Sebastian the ransom letter she has received, a sniper attacks, but fails. Sebastian tells the servants to clean and cook and leaves after declaring that he will return before dinner. Later, Sebastian returns with Ciel, and the servants welcome them home. When the servants discuss the Azzurro Vanel case, Sebastian orders them to do work.
Red Butler Arc
In the morning, Sebastian assigns Baldroy, Mey-Rin, and Finnian their individual tasks for the day while Tanaka loiters. When the Phantomhive servants make a mess, Sebastian cleans up after them and rectifies the various issues. After Sebastian discovers that his chocolate statue is missing a head, he and the other Phantomhive servants hunt down Tanaka, assuming he is the culprit, but it is actually Ciel.
On December 14, the Phantomhive servants prepare for Ciel's thirteenth birthday, which coincides with Elizabeth and Francis Midford's visit. Sebastian redirects Francis away from the disasters the servants inadvertently cause. They all celebrate Ciel's birthday.
Indian Butler Arc
The servants accompany Ciel, Sebastian, and Soma to the curry competition. The servants are jubilant when Sebastian's curry dish garners rave reviews from the judges. Queen Victoria arrives, to their shock, and crowns Sebastian the winner. The servants rejoice.
The servants are pleased when Soma reconciles with Agni and stunned when Queen Victoria refers to Ciel as "boy." They congratulate Sebastian on his victory and enjoy the view of the evening sun. Soma hugs Ciel and cries over Mina while the servants look on.
Sometime afterward when they are back at Phantomhive Manor, Sebastian assigns Baldroy, Mey-Rin, and Finnian their individual tasks for the day while Tanaka loiters. Agni helps out, as well. The servants voice their appreciation for their current lives at the manor.
Tanaka calls Sebastian at Ciel's London townhouse, much to Ciel's surprise, to inform Ciel that Elizabeth has come to visit him at his manor. Sebastian later passes on this news, and it is what prompts Ciel to attempt to finish dealing with Baron Kelvin as quickly as possible.
Later, when Dagger, Jumbo, Peter, Wendy, and Beast invade Phantomhive Manor, Tanaka goes to check on Elizabeth, who awakes when Mey-Rin shoots Peter through a window outside of her room. He comforts her, telling her it was just a sound in her dreams, and tells her to go back to bed, lest she gets cold. This as well as shown Peter's body who was shot to death by Mey-Rin.
Phantomhive Manor Murders Arc
Georg von Siemens' and Patrick Phelps' deaths are followed by the death of Sebastian. Because Tanaka is the former butler of the late Earl Phantomhive, Ciel gives him the duty of his butler. He accepts and orders the servants. Ciel even comments that he is still a good butler, for an old man.
When Karl Woodley is about to attack Ciel, Tanaka flips him onto his back. Lau states that the technique he used is called "Baritsu" when Arthur Conan Doyle asks what it is it. Ciel replies that there is nothing much more interesting in it.
When the servants go outside looking for Sebastian's keys in the rain, Tanaka, carrying an umbrella with him, tells them to go inside. They check the food supplies as Tanaka states that Sebastian would chastise them if they were not able to overcome a crisis.
Later, he enters Karl's room to report that Patrick's killer had been caught and shall be presented to them soon. 
Tanaka is present at Sebastian's burial and is one of the coffin bearers. After Sebastian is revealed to be alive, Tanaka returns the position of head butler to him, while stating that the Phantomhive family butler should not die before his master.
Luxury Liner Arc
Public School Arc
Tanaka is sitting with the servants on the grounds at Ciel's cricket match. Lady Elizabeth is also with them. He listens to the conversation. Later on, he meets Sebastian in his normal form, and he addresses Sebastian as "Professor Michaelis." Sebastian gives him a beef minced pie for everyone's lunch. Tanaka asks him if he's sure they won't get sick after eating this. Sebastian chuckles softly and assures him that they all will be all right. As Tanaka is leaving, he gives Sebastian the "thumbs up" sign, stating he's looking forward to the next "Miracle of the Sapphires."
Tanaka whisks Baldroy's pie away and replaces it with Sebastian's lunch. Later on, Tanaka stands alongside everyone else when they see how great Ciel looks.  They all laugh good-naturedly when Ciel falls into the water after the boat ride. During the final party, everyone is present and enjoying themselves.
He remains in his "small form" during the sheep incident, and he doesn't accompany the rest of the household when Ciel takes them all to London.
Emerald Witch Arc
All five members of the household accompany Ciel and Sebastian to Germany. Tanaka waits in the village square along with the other servants. Sebastian instructs them to load the luggage in the second carriage. Then they all proceed into Werewolves' Forest.
The group eventually sees a village in the forest, and everyone disembarks from the carriages. Baldroy and Finnian both call out to see if anyone's there. They are all then unexpectedly surrounded by angry villagers who are waving their pitchforks at the group. Once the situation is resolved, they head with Sieglinde Sullivan to the Emerald Castle.
The group is untied after Ciel was "cursed" by the miasma. When Ciel wakes up, Baldroy states that Ciel scared the life out of him, and Tanaka agrees with him. Sebastian reaches his hand out to Ciel when Ciel unexpectedly knocks it away. Ciel then grabs hold of Finnian, surprising everyone. He says "Ciel doesn't want to be hurt anymore"; this confuses everyone even more. When Sebastian tries again, Tanaka stops him. Ciel suddenly starts screaming about the lights being too dim. Everyone feels that his eyesight may have been affected by the attack as well.
After they have left the room, Mey-Rin starts crying about his condition. Baldroy tells her to stop, saying it is bad luck. Tanaka asks Sebastian what they should do. Sebastian sorrowfully states he does not know since he cannot go near Ciel. Nevertheless, he excuses himself in order to do something.
In the morning, Sebastian greets all of the servants. He gives out instructions to everyone while Tanaka can stay as he is. Later on, the servants discuss the situation in the kitchen. Snake and Baldroy comment that Sebastian really does not care about Ciel; he should only be thinking of him. Nevertheless, Tanaka has faith in him, saying that he must have his reasons for his beahvior. Tanaka sips tea and adds that it is a butler's duty to "welcome his master's return in a fit and flawless state."
Sieglinde later addresses the rest of the Phantomhive household. Tanaka is present as well in his small form. She tells them that Ciel's eyes are fine; the condition was mostly psychological. All of them are extremely relieved.
After Ciel was attacked by a werewolf, the servants all beg him to untangle from the baldachin and get back to sleep. However, Ciel screams that he just wants to go home. When they have finally succeeded, Tanaka, Snake, Baldroy, Mey-Rin, and Sebastian discuss how they can help Ciel. Sebastian suggests shocking him some more, but Tanaka is against this. Tanaka states it would be best to watch over Ciel until he gets better. Baldroy adds that this is the reason that he does not like the occult. Sebastian agrees to not try anything strange—just to sit and wait.
Later, Snake tells the household that there are werewolves as well as something else in the castle's basement. Baldroy questions Snake about what this "something else," but he is unable to explain further. They believe Sieglinde is in league with the werewolves; however, Mey-Rin states her concern and worry for Ciel was not false. Snake adds that there is a magical charm on the door that forbids intruders' entry. Mey-Rin asks Sebastian how he will proceed. He tells them he is going underground to see for himself. If Wolfram returns, he instructs them to distract him until he gets back.
When Wolfram and the other maids return, the servants pretend to be very busy. Snake is preparing the scone dough, and Mey-Rin and Baldroy try to engage Wolfram in conversation, but they cannot since they do not speak German. Suddenly, one of Snake's snakes wraps itself around one of the maids and is poised to strike. As she screams, Sebastian effortlessly grabs it and returns it to Snake, surprising the Germans. After the excitement dies down and the main household is once again alone, Snake states that Oscar has another "scoop" to report—the maid smells just like one of the werewolves.
All the servants are reunited when Ciel lets them into his room after he returns to normal. Sebastian opens the door, and all of the servants tumble in. Sebastian remarks that they are really rude for listening at their master's door. All of them, Sebastian included, then line up by Ciel's bedside. Ciel speaks—because of his carelessness, they all suffered and worried. He asks them to forgive him. Although they are surprised, he adds determinedly that they will never see him in such a sorry state again. He finally asks that they continue to serve him. They all respond with "Yes, My Lord."
After a few minutes of the servants' light banter, Ciel also makes another request—he wants them to forget how he was until now. Mey-Rin deduces that Ciel also recalls his off-the-charts behavior. Ciel adds that he did not want to behave like that. Baldroy concludes that Ciel reacted the same way as soldiers. On the battlefield, when they are wounded for the first time, they panic. Sebastian wonders if the attack's aim was purely psychological. When Ciel asks him to explain, Sebastian relates the news about the Queen's letter. He also had the components of the antidote analyzed. When Ciel reads the Queen's letter, everything starts to fall into place. However, he's incredibly annoyed with the Queen's final request—she wants the "little witch to come to tea."
Ciel knows this request will not be easy to accomplish. Sebastian adds that even the Queen's selfishness is incomparable to Ciel's. Finally, Ciel tells the entire household to make preparations to leave—further instructions will come later.
The entire Phantomhive household is hiding and waiting in the forest. Mey-Rin whispers that it is starting to get noisy. A flare suddenly lights up the night sky. Baldroy yells it is about time. He adds their boss is calling them, and they all head out.
In the forest, the household is trying to find Ciel. Snake states Goethe smells Smile over there. Mey-Rin takes off her glasses, confirming that it is Ciel. When they reach him, he states their retreat plan starts now. They will split into two groups and escape.
Tanaka, Finnian, Mey-Rin, and Sieglinde form a group, with Finnian carrying Tanaka and Sieglinde—who is wearing Ciel's clothes—, and Mey-Rin running ahead. On their run, Finnian has to jump off a cliff with the others when the army officers reach the edge of the cliff and fire at them, but Mey-Rin takes several of them out from her position on a tree and causes the rest to retreat. Mey-Rin then notices Grete Hilbard in front of Finnian and yells at Finnian to run. When Grete fires, Tanaka charges ahead and uses his sword to cut through the bullets. He tells Finnian to go on ahead; as the Phantomhive servants, they will carry out any order their master gives them.
Tanaka makes Grete retreat with Mey-Rin's help. Mey-Rin reaches the bottom of the cliff and runs to Tanaka, asking if he's all right. He replies he is, but he is not as young as he used to be. They notice the flare in the sky and conclude that Ciel is changing his route.
They rejoin Finnian and Sieglinde; together, they head to the underground train station where they meet Baldroy, Diedrich, and Snake, having been shown the way by Keats. Baldroy tells Snake and Mey-Rin to check the oil and Finnian to open the gate. As soon as everything is done and ready, they start the train.
Suddenly, Wolfram arrives. The group panics when they think that he is going to attack them. However, he shoots a soldier who was going to attack Sieglinde. At the same time, Wolfram is shot by the female German officer, who yells that he betrayed them. She next aims for the group. Before she can kill them, Sebastian and Ciel arrive just in time to save them. Plunging his knife into her throat, Sebastian states some food escaped from the oven.
The entire group escapes and eventually arrives at Diedrich's castle. Tanaka greets Heinrich, Diedrich's butler, and says they have not seen each other in a long time. Tanaka and Mey-Rin then offer to help Diedrich's servants with the wounded since they are not injured themselves.
Blue Cult Arc
Months later at Phantomhive Manor, Sebastian gathers Tanaka, Baldroy, Mey-Rin, Finnian, and Snake, and gives each of them instructions, save Tanaka, who is told to remain as is, for the upcoming Halloween celebration. Baldroy, Mey-Rin, and Tanaka share details on the American, Chinese, and Japanese Halloween traditions, respectively, which inspires Sebastian.
On Halloween, Tanaka and the other servants, dressed in costumes, greet Ciel, when the latter arrives. Tanaka, then, mingles with the tenants of Phantomhive land, whom the celebration, which features a combination of various Halloweens from around the world, is primarily dedicated to. Later, Tanaka and the others convene at a river and are given lanterns. Tanaka tells Ciel that it is part of the Japanese lantern festival, the purpose of which is to "light" the way for the spirits of the deceased. Ciel proceeds to light everyone's lanterns via a candle. The lanterns are, then, set afloat into the river, marking the end of the night.
One day, "Ciel Phantomhive" returns to Phantomhive Manor, where Tanaka informs him that Ciel used everything lost in the fire as an opportunity to hide the fact that he is the twin of "Ciel". When "Ciel" later reveals that he is the twin of Ciel in front of Ciel, Sebastian, and the other servants, Tanaka goes downstairs with "Ciel"'s tea, and tells the other servants that he knew all along about the existence of the twins. He adds that, while he was planning to take the secret to his grave, such would be pointless now, and relays the story of fourteen years ago when Rachel Phantomhive gave birth to twins. Pressured by "Ciel" to explain why he deceived them, Ciel calls himself "Ciel"'s spare.
Tanaka listens to the conversation between Ciel, Sebastian, "Ciel", and Undertaker, which is interrupted by Grelle Sutcliff and Othello, whose intention is to capture Undertaker. Their attempt is thwarted by the arrival of Fred Abberline and his Scotland Yard officers, Alexis Leon Midford, and Edward Midford. Elizabeth Midford steps out to corroborate "Ciel"'s account that Ciel is the impostor.
After blood vials are seized and Ciel, Sebastian, and Blavat Sky are arrested by Scotland Yard for the Sphere Music Hall serial murders, "Ciel" orders Tanaka to escort Alexis to the drawing room. Later in the study, "Ciel" asks Tanaka why he did not leave with the other servants. Tanaka, while serving him tea, states that he will stay with the Phantomhive family.
In the drawing room, "Ciel" explains to Alexis and Francis Midford about the incident at the cathedral; Undertaker rescued him, and he has finally recovered. Tanaka and Undertaker look on as "Ciel" discloses that he will request an audience with Queen Victoria to formally assume the responsibilities of the Earl of Phantomhive and the Queen's Watchdog.
After Alexis and Francis leave, Tanaka wheels over the documents "Ciel" has requested to the study and urges him to recruit new staff; with Sebastian, they were able to run the household with a few servants, but, now that he is gone, they require more. Tanaka informs him of the amount and type of servants Vincent Phantomhive retained, stating that they require at least thirty. After providing suggestions for the recruitment of staff, such as asking Alexis for recommendations, Tanaka is dismissed.
Later, Tanaka requests that "Ciel" join him in the entrance hall, where numerous upcoming Funtom Corporation products are stored. He says that the corporation is thriving as demand increases and asks "Ciel" what he would like to do with the products. "Ciel" orders him to dispose of them, and he complies.
- (To Ciel Phantomhive) "The head of the Phantomhive family must not be shaken by the death of a mere servant. The Master was never once seen to be losing his composure over such a trifle."
- (To Karl Woodley) "At this manor, all who seek to harm the Young Master ... whoever they may be... shall, by we servants, be shown no mercy."
- (To Sebastian Michaelis) "The butler of the Phantomhive family is not permitted to pass away before his master does. Remember that!"
- (To Snake) "A butler has his duties to consider in addition to his concern for his master. A butler must welcome his master's return in a fit and flawless state."
- (To Sebastian Michaelis, about Ciel Phantomhive's condition) "The best medicine for that which ails the heart and mind is rest. I am certain the Young Master is experiencing emtional turmoil. In times like this, we must not succumb to panic or impatience... we must simply watch over him."
- (To Finnian, as he tells him to escape with Sieglinde Sullivan) "Finny. You two go on ahead. This old man shall deal with her. We will accomplish anything that is at the behest of our master. Such is our duty as servants to the family of Phantomhive!"
- "Tanaka" is the fourth most common Japanese surname and means "dweller in the rice fields." It is written with the Kanji for "ricefield, field, rice paddy" (田, ta) and "middle" (中, naka).
Out of Universe
- According to the official Kuroshitsuji character popularity poll, Tanaka is the twelfth most popular character in the series, with 156 votes.
- The "Baritsu" Tanaka displays when he protects Ciel from Karl Woodley may be a reference to the form of martial arts popularized by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in The Return of Sherlock Holmes. It is, additionally, a certain misspelling of Bartitsu, which was developed by Edward William Barton-Wright in England from 1898 to 1902, around the time Doyle's works were being written.
- His "special" lemonade is made with "Ajixmoto." Ajinomoto is the name of a Japanese food and biotechnology corporation and its original trade-marked monosodium glutamate (MSG), AJI-NO-MOTO (味の素, "essence of taste"), a flavor enhancer with an umami taste.
- Tanaka appears in the short story "With Father!", written by Yana Toboso for the Kuroshitsuji anthology Rainbow Butler 2.
- In early drafts, Tanaka had visibly thicker hair.
- There is a running gag that Tanaka only has a certain amount of time in his "regular style" before he returns to his smaller size. When he returns to his smaller version, there tends to be a lot of steam, like air coming out of a balloon. Then, a character, frequently Finnian or Mey-Rin, will exclaim that his "time" ran out.
|"Ciel Phantomhive" • Ciel Phantomhive • Cloudia Phantomhive • Rachel Phantomhive • Vincent Phantomhive|
|Baldroy • Finnian • Mey-Rin • Sebastian • Sebastian Michaelis • Snake • Tanaka|
|London townhouse • Phantomhive Manor • Funtom Corporation • Funtom Music Hall|