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Shuurei Kou (紅 秀麗)Shuurei Kou is the daughter and only child of Shouka Kou of the Kou clan, one of the two most powerful clans in Saiunkoku. She is sixteen years old when the story begins. As a descendant of the direct line, she has the title hime, which means 'princess' or 'lady'. Despite the high social status of her family, Shuurei grew up in relatively impoverished circumstances. Her father's job brought little income, and much of the wealth of their family home was given to the needy during the devastating fight for the imperial succession eight years ago. There are no servants at the Kou residence, so Shuurei has grown adept at household chores such as needlework, cooking and cleaning, traits unusual in a lady of high social standing. She has also held a number of odd jobs to earn money, acting as a professional erhu player, working as an accountant at Kochou's brothel in the Red Light District, and serving as a teacher at the local temple.
In the English version, her name is Shurei Hong since Kou is another family name in the series. Kou has two kanji symbols in Japanese, one red the other Yellow, which explains why two families have the same romanised name. To avoid confusion, 'Hong' was given unto Shurei's family, the same as the Mandarin Chinese reading.