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, sophisticated suit, white gloves, and is almost always holding a cup of tea. His body dimensions are generally portrayed shorter, smaller, and in less detail than they are in actuality. In dire or critical situations, he is depicted at his full height.
Tanaka is an intelligent, knowledgeable, and capable person. As a former butler of the Phantomhive household, he had served under Vincent Phantomhive, but was injured in the past and presently does little work. He usually spends most of his time running around with Baldroy, Finnian, and Mey-Rin. Nevertheless, he is highly respected by others, such as Sebastian Michaelis and Francis Midford; in fact, the latter of which had once encouraged Sebastian and Ciel Phantomhive to take a lesson from Tanaka regarding their appearances. In addition, he is kind and loyal to Ciel, his guests, and the other servants. Although he typically goes along with the others' plans, he wields great authority himself, and he is the figurehead and executive director of the Funtom Corporation. Despite his age, he remains strong, as shown when he effortlessly subdued a man who attempted to harm Ciel.
In grave times when he is needed to temporarily assume the position of a butler once again, Tanaka performs his duties promptly and proficiently. He has a wealth of experience at his disposal. He is calm and stern, and he will admonish Ciel if he finds that Ciel is displaying weakness as the head of the Phantomhive family. He often puts Ciel's health and well-being as his premier concern.
He was treated at the Royal Hospital where Angelina Dalles worked. Ciel and Sebastian 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 Michaelis 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 Phantomhive.
On December 13, the Phantomhive servants prepare for Ciel’s thirteenth birthday, which coincides with Elizabeth Midford 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.
The next day, 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 Midford 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, he 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 weren't 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 stands in his small form 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 suddenly 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.
When they arrive at the manor, everyone is amazed at its magnificence. Inside, Sieglinde tells Wolfram Gelzer to show the servants to their quarters. Later, although they all offer to help, Sebastian tells them to rest after their long journey.
The group is untied after Ciel's attack. When Ciel wakes up, Baldroy states that he almost lost a few years there, 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 pain 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've left the room, Mey-Rin starts crying about his condition. Baldroy tells her to stop, saying it's 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. Tanaka can stay as he is (he is once again in his small form). Later on, the servants discuss the situation in the kitchen. Snake and Baldroy comment that Sebastian really doesn't care about Ciel; he should only be thinking of him. Nevertheless, Mey-Rin has faith in Sebastian—she responds that he must have his own plan. Tanaka (in his real form) sips tea and adds that it's a butler's duty to return his master to his perfect condition.
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.
A few minutes later, the servants all beg Ciel to come out of bed—everything is all right now. However, Ciel screams that he just wants to go home. 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 doesn't like the occult. Sebastian agrees to not try anything strange-just to sit and wait.
Later on, Snake rushes to tell Sebastian a "big scoop"; Oscar came back from the underground area. Sebastian asks him what Oscar discovered. Snake tells him along with the rest of the household that there are werewolves in the castle's basement as well as something else. 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's 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 can't since they don't 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 into the room. Sebastian remarks that they're 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 didn't 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 green witch to come to tea."
Ciel knows this request won't 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's starting to get noisy. A flare suddenly lights up the night sky. Baldroy yells it's 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'll split into two groups and escape. Snake tells Baldroy he can feel them coming. Baldroy asks how he can tell—Snake responds through Wordsworth that his snakes can feel vibrations with their skin.
At this point, Tanaka, Finnian, and Mey-Rin split up from the others. Finnian runs while carrying Sieglinde. When they jump off the cliff, the army officers reach the edge of the cliff and keep firing. Suddenly Mey-Rin takes out them one at a time, and the rest retreat. She suddenly notices movement; a female officer, Grete Hilbard, appears in front of Finnian, claiming men are useless. Mey-Rin yells at Finnian to run. When Grete fires, Tanaka suddenly appears 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.
In the underground room, Diedrich orders Baldroy and Snake to put coal in the furnace of the train. Finnian, carrying Sieglinde and "small" Tanaka, also arrives alongside Mey-Rin. Snake receives Keats, who showed the group the way. Baldroy tells Snake and Mey-Rin to check the oil; he also tells Finnian to open the gate.
Once the train starts, Baldroy tells Finnian to get on. Suddenly, Wolfram arrives. The group panics when they think that he's going to attack them. However, he shoots a soldier who was going to attack Sieglinde. At the same time, Wolfram is shot by Grete, 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 then arrives at Diedrich's castle. Baldroy, Finnian, and Mey-Rin comment on how big the house is. However, Heinrich says this castle, Weizsäcker, is small compared to the other castles. Ciel looks at Diedrich and comments that he's a rich boy. The wounded are all treated; Mey-Rin and Tanaka offer to help since they are not injured.
Wolfram and Sieglinde are disguised on their journey to England. Before Ciel leaves, Diedrich tells him to be careful. When the group arrives in London, Sebastian asks Wolfram to refrain from speaking in German because it will draw unwanted attention. The servants leave Sebastian, Ciel, Wolfram, and Sieglinde and proceed to the mansion. When the group returns, the servants all greet them. The entire day passes in light fun along with Agni, Soma, and Elizabeth.
Blue Cult Arc
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 fifteen years ago when Rachel Phantomhive gave birth to twins. Pressured by "Ciel" to explain why he deceived them, Ciel calls himself "Ciel's" spare.
- (To Ciel Phantomhive) "The head of the Phantomhive house should not be shaken by something as trivial as the death of a servant. I never once saw the Master lose his composure due to such trifles."
- (To Karl Woodley) "If someone means any harm against the Young Master in this mansion, no matter who they are, these servants will have no mercy on them."
- (To Sebastian Michaelis) "The Phantomhive family butler is not allowed to breathe his last breath before his master."
- (To Snake) "Worrying about your master isn't a butler's only duty. As a butler . . . you have to make sure your master returns to a perfect situation."
- (To Sebastian Michaelis, about Ciel Phantomhive's condition in the Emerald Witch Arc) "Rest is best for wounds of the heart. The Young Master must be in turmoil. At times like these we should not lose our heads or rush things. We need to watch over him."
- (To Finnian, as he tells him to escape with Sieglinde Sullivan) "Finny, go ahead. Let this old man take care of her. We will carry out any order our master gives us. That is the policy... of the Phantomhive servants!"
- His name, Tanaka, is Japanese and means "(dweller in the) middle of rice fields."
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 existed in Great Britain around the time Doyle's works were being written. Tanaka in recent chapters is shown to be skilled in using a katana.
- 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|