Tatsuhiko Aota is a third-year student at Shohoku High and the captain of the judo team. He is a childhood acquaintance of Takenori Akagi's, and has a crush on his sister Haruko Akagi, who calls him "Tat-chan". Aota tried numerous times to inveigle Hanamichi Sakuragi into leaving the basketball team and joining the judo club, going so far as to bribe him with pictures of Haruko, but Sakuragi refused each time. Aota continues to believe that Sakuragi would make a great judo player because of his physical strength and athleticism.
Aota continually taunts Akagi about not making it to the Nationals, since the Judo team has always had greater success in their regional tournament than the basketball team. Nevertheless he shows up to support Akagi and the Shohoku basketball team during their final game against Ryonan in the Kanagawa Tournament.
Aota is sensitive about the fact that his upper body is disproportionately big and his legs are disproportionately short, and was made fun of for it in junior high. Akagi attributes this to judo.