Is Kageyama Tobio an ISTJ? – MBTI Analysis with functions

Art by ruttika_shin on twitter

Spoiler warning for the entirety of the Haikyuu!! anime Parts of the manga after chapter 292 will not be discussed. Thread with caution dear reader!

This is the new and improved MBTI type analysis for the Haikyuu!! character Kageyama Tobio. You can read the old one here.

After a lot of research and also input from other readers and writers, we have started to analyse and type differently when it comes to the Myers Briggs Type Indicator. There are tools out there better equipped to type and examine the abundance of personalities out there which are called cognitive functions.

You might already be aware of it, but Makii has delved deep into those functions for her BNHA Compatibility : La Brava and Gentle/Sidekick and her Villain post. With extensive research, she has brought up beautiful points there, please feel free to check it out!

Now that we know about these functions, and Haikyuu!! To the Top is in our arsenal as well, I shall go over Kageyama’s personality type again and we will see if he still is our ISTJ setter!

Now to explain first before we dive into Kageyama’s personality, what exactly are those functions?

This time, instead of going with the Letters that you might already know (I/E, N/S, T/F and P/J) and shuffling those together, we are looking at four core functions that play out differently in each person.

Explanation is coming, stay with us!

These core four are the perceiving functions; Sensing (S) and Intuition (N), and the judging functions; Thinking (T) and Feeling (F).

The judging functions, as the name reiterates, shows us how someone judes things. How they make their decisions and what their values are. What does the person do with information taken from their surroundings? How do they analyse it?

The perceiving functions on the other hand are all about the perceptions of said information. When you look at the world, what do they see? What stays in their head? What catches their eye and how do they interact with it all? 

It’s easier to remember when you think of the concept as taking in information and then sorting it.

Now each person has a natural preference as to how they use their function. In this case we look at extraversion and introversion again, and see how their functions are used. If one f.e. prefers to use their Sensing trait internally we will add a small ‘i’ next to it so it becomes introverted Sensing Si.

Looks familiar?

These are the small abbreviations you might see around when looking at type discussions, and then they are arranged in the order of preference.

With the stack we always alternate between introverted and extroverted functions, and the order of the functions are always JPPJ or PJJP (Perceiving and Judging) which now forms our previously known 16 personality types!

The four functions get stacked and form the “Function stack” or “Cognitive stack” which can look a little like this:

Fi (Introverted Feeling) Ne (Extroverted Intuition) 

Si (Introverted Sensing) Te (Extroverted Thinking)

This would’ve been my personal stack as an INFP, and an even better way to properly look at how the personality type works. The first function in the stack is the most prominent and the last is the weakest, which can already tell you a lot about how a person sees the world.

Now that we have finished this rather lengthy explanation, let’s dive into Kageyama Tobio’s cognitive functions shall we?

Dominant Function: Si

The dominant function is the first function, and the one that encompasses said person the most. It is their core being, what they truly are and what most people see for the first time.

The dominant function also establishes  if the person behaves like an extrovert or an introvert. 

“I am not introverted!” is what we hear from Kageyama the first time this topic is mentioned in the anime. But is that really true? He is often seen as reserved and collected from the outside. A forceful and possessing figure,

“The King”. 

Extroversion and Introversion is easier explained if we take it like the workings of a battery. As Makii has mentioned in her post as well, if you spend a lot of time with people do you feel more energized or is your energy depleted afterwards? 

I feel like it’s important to mention that Kageyama’s biggest passion is volleyball, which is amplified by him saying how he would despair only if he couldn’t play volleyball anymore.

As an athlete Kageyama can’t really play volleyball alone, so saying he’s extroverted just because he’s always adamant on playing doesn’t really prove if he’s an extrovert.

In this case, what is the first thing we see with Kageyama? What would be the most dominant function for him?

If we typed him right the last time, and he actually is an ISTJ, that would be the Sensing function.

Sensing is the perceiving function that is all about organisation and strong discipline. People with dominant Sensing have the innate ability to look at what they do and maximize everything to the fullest potential. As we’ve established that kageyama definitely behaves like an introvert even though he might have some outbursts, that makes his first function ‘introverted Sensing’ or Si.

Kageyama still has his priorities laid out in front of him, but he is also very particular on how things are supposed to be done. He accumulates information and experiences from his past and uses those to evaluate current facts. 

That is why Si-Te characters are often shown to be adamant on their strategies or typical ‘textbook’ learners. They do things in a mundane and familiar way rather than try out new things. 

He’s known as the genius who is able to make incredible sets with shocking precision, and he has the highest expectations on himself and others. His Si is what makes him think deeply of only the things he is interested in, and makes sure to use practical and methodical ways of action. All of this is internalized in Kageyama’s brain, he doesn’t talk much about it and sometimes even has no concept of it himself, but his work ethic and controlling nature shows us that this function fits him very well.

Auxiliary Function: Te

The Auxiliary function is the second most preferred and used function, especially there to support the first dominant function. As the first function in introverts is internal, the second is external and therefore extroverted.

It is the first and most immediate thing that will be noticed by others when they interact with Kageyama.

His Si might be internal and therefore established when he is focused or when he lets other people see it, his Auxiliary as an ISTJ would be the Thinking function.

Extroverted Thinking, or also Te would show his love for routine and efficiency and also the reason why Kageyama often works to his limits and trains properly everyday to attain his goals. It also fuels his competitiveness, which is the first thing Hinata sensed about him when they met.

It is all about winning and winning until he beats Oikawa and becomes the best of the best.

Him being a hothead would explain that his Thinking trait is extroverted, when it comes to his training regimen for example Kageyama is very strict. He understands the importance of pushing his limits and working through every obstacle until it is solved. 

His first two functions Si-Te show the adamant way of carefully planning the way he needs to pursue their goals. 

Like mentioned before with the first quote of Kageyama wanting to win all his games in the future, those are not just empty words. He is shown to have a training routine that he follows diligently and he always nags Hinata to not just hit spikes but also work on his weak receives.

This also explains  the white board in Kageyama’s room that shows a very complex workout schedule.

Kageyama’s goal is to stay on the court the longest and become the absolute best, and he is aware that all of that doesn’t come from nothing. Logic, strategy and internalizing and sticking with his own principles is a strong indicator for his Si-Te stack.

We often see that Kageyama still has some difficulties using his Auxiliary Te, as he tends to overindulge in this function. Especially when Kageyama is stressed or overwhelmed by a situation, we can see that more clearly. 

He then tends to become very stiff and his judgment turns very black and white, which is seen for example when he already decided for himself what the role of the setter entails. Instead of looking at it from the perspective of Hinata as well, which was a piece of advice Oikawa had to give him before he could understand that more fully. 

These traits make him very inflexible which turns to him not being able to change plans and ideas, we see this when he was reluctant to change the quick attack to something that could’ve been improved. 

His recent interactions  in season four are also an indicator of his stiff and humorless attitude that conforms his Auxiliary. It’s the reason why Atsumu was able to get into his head space while calling him a “goody two shoes”, which Kageyama couldn’t fully understand until he broke apart. 

Tertiary Function: Fi

The Tertiary function is now one of the weaker and strained functions that a person exhibits. As the first two functions of the stack show us the accumulated personality of someone, we must know that balance is very important.

The third and supporting function makes sure that there is a healthy balance in the cognitive stack and it also acts as a slow break to the first two.

Kageyama’s third function should be an internalized one, as we’ve established in the beginning that the functions alternate from being extroverted and introverted. For his personal stack, the next function is his introverted Feeling or Fi for short.

To his very analytical and strategic behaviour, to conform to a good balance the setter needs to learn how to factor his own and other people’s emotions into the mix.

Fi exhibits itself as a sort of sensitivity to other people’s feelings. In the first season of Haikyuu!! We see Kageyama slowly and politely trying to sense the people around him in a very clumsy manner. He needs to know how he can take the perspectives of other people and apply them to his own course of action.

“Azumane-san, how was that toss just now?”

Pairing well with his observant nature, he accumulates actual facts to accommodate his peers. He might have a problem getting his emotions in check, but when it comes to volleyball his straightforward approach is what helps him determine how to f.e. set to someone new. In this moment his Fi becomes a gentle reminder that he needs to dial it down sometimes and consider how others feel.

Even if he does register other people’s emotions he uses them in a logical context instead of an emotional one, while keeping facts and logical aspects like skill and technique as a first priority. 

And that is why his Feeling trait is less prominent, but still an important asset to his whole stack. If he overindulges in his Auxiliary and uses his inferior Feeling trait to compensate for that overly stiff and possessive nature, he might fall into what we call on this instance a Fi loop. 

Signs for such a Fi loop would be the reluctance to see that problems are getting worse by using a black and white approach or knowing that the current course of actions could be improved but not changing it. 

We can see this when Kageyama knew exactly that the first quick attack was stopped by other good players and could be improved, but did not back away from his original play. Even though Hinata told him to his face that it soon wouldn’t work anymore. 

He then interprets his own feelings as immediate facts and factors them into his decision making as “facts” which only fuels his Auxiliary Te, and then the loop continues. 

Kageyama sees himself as the best and strives to overcome everyone who is in the way, so in his case he interprets his own feelings of “I am good/better” into actually being factual. His own feelings then cooperate to back up his own strategies. 

Inferior Function: Ne

The infamous last function is also called the inferior function, and as the name states the most weak.

It is a person’s emergency break or great strength and if not developed fully, can be their achilles heel.

It may be the weakest function of one’s stack, but it has a huge impact for when it actually comes out. For the analytical type that Kageyama is, his Feeling and Intuition are bound to be the latter functions in his stack. That doesn’t mean that he is emotionless or doesn’t like to try out new things true to his Intuition, it just means that he personally would rather value things by rationality and logic than emotion and theory.

Still, his Extroverted Intuition or his Ne is what wants new and exciting ideas to develop in his thought process. As it is the inferior function, it is only usable in small amounts of time and often associated less with Kageyama’s true character. 

A good example for a Ne and Si conflict would be the season two improved quick attack. 

As a Si-Dom he is less imaginative and likes to use things that always work for him. If he finds a safe route, he will cling to that stability and continue to pursue it, disregarding everything else.

When Kageyama started on the “freak attack” with Hinata he found said stability. Seeing the immediate boost it gave the team and the satisfaction that Hinata had in the beginning, it was especially hard for him later when the middle blocker demanded more. 

Why change something if it is already perfect?

To have a direct comparison, Oikawa with introverted Intuition (Ni) as his Auxiliary function immediately saw room for improvement behind the success rate and a chance to make something “perfect” even better, while Kageyama was clutching on the current path that was successful. 

Oikawa took his time to give every member in Karasuno advice and tips on how to improve, he is often seen observing in the background and pushing everyone he works with to their fullest potential. That is his internalized dialogue that plays with new ideas and concepts as he takes in his world.

When it came to the freak quick attack, it was shown that Kenma with extroverted Intuition (Ne) as his Auxiliary saw the weakness in it as well, pushing Hinata to want to improve it.

Kageyama’s weakness is that he didn’t see the bigger picture, but only the short term solution that was most effective.

Another reason why the inferior function is so important, is because under high amounts of stress any personality can fall into an episode called ‘the grip’, in Kageyama’s case that would be the infamous Ne-grip.

If caught in a spiral of routine that is a lot higher and alarming than most other days, a Si-Te with Ne grip can get irrationally scared of the future and compare it to bad things that happened in the past. Freezing up and getting the feeling that something may have already gone wrong ‘just like last time’.

A good example for a really strong Ne-grip for Kageyama would be his middle school experience with his team when they abandoned him finally after he taunted them for their efforts and this memory makes him stop in his tracks and over think his current state. 

His fear of situations taking a wrong turn and reliving past mistakes again makes Kageyama show signs of Ne-grip. 

It’s Hinata or the general new support system of Karasuno and even Oikawa who have to pull him out of his grip, when he starts to get overwhelmed by the sheer possibility of something going wrong just like last time. 


After this new analysis and with the help of other researchers and the personality database, it is now well established that I truly believe Kageyama is an ISTJ.

The reserved and logically inclined Si-Te setter who can still be a bit emotional with his Fi might feel quite ambiguous, still I think that his responses to sudden change and inefficiency due to his inferior Ne already determine a lot about him and his personality.

It truly was a pleasure to look at this whole analysis again and see if Kageyama was truly typed correctly, and I encourage every single one of you to look into your own cognitive stack to find out more about yourself!

Now what do you guys think? Agree or disagree with me? I would love to know if you have typed with or without functions in the past and what your experience with it is!

Until then, to the next tea time!

Ah~ this tea tastes the same and yet… Quite different now~


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