"Rui's his only son. And he tried to totally control him, so Rui went kind of autistic. You get glimpses of that in him even now. Whenever we played together, he'd stay in the corner. Wouldn't even smile. It was almost like...his eyes were dead."
In kindergarten, Rui had a teddy bear that he really loved. Tsukasa asked for him to give it to him, but Rui refused. The two fought over it, which led to it being torn apart. The next morning, instead of being mad at Tsukasa, Rui greeted him with a smile.
After graduating from junior high, Rui and his friends moved on to Eitoku's high school. They became known as the F4 by this time. The group had taken control of the school, using their fathers' influence. They gave out red cards, their "declaration of war," to those who defied them. These students would leave Eitoku soon after receiving a red card, usually from being bullied by their classmates. Rui seemed to have little interest in these games, being more interested in finding a spot to nap.
Rui: "I wouldn't have helped you, if I thought you were going to be a pest. It was just bad form, that's all."
Tsukushi: "But I was really happy. For the first time since I came to this school, I was so happy that I cried. I'll look for you at the emergency exit!"
Rui first encountered Tsukushi Makino, when he saw her yell out her frustrations about her classmates at his favorite sleeping spot, the emergency stairwell. She, however, did not notice him at the time. Later, Tsukushi's friend fell down the stairs and landed on Tsukasa. Tsukushi defended her friend which angered Tsukasa. Rui was completely uninterested in the whole affair. After she received a red card, Tsukushi declared her own war on the F4. The next day, Tsukushi rushed to the stairwell after being bullied by her classmates. Hearing her yell, Rui realized she was the same girl as before. When she started talking about her family situation, he said "I'm not interested in other people's problems." Later that afternoon, Rui found a group of boys attempting to assault her, and ordered them to "let her go". He then said "Don't misunderstand. I just don't like this kind of stuff.
The following day, Tsukushi found Rui playing a violin in the music room shortly later. He was annoyed by her interruption and quickly made to leave the room. She thanked for saving her earlier and voiced her hope to see him again at the stairwell. Rui replied "Then I won't go there again." Later that day, he was walking home when he happened to meet Tsukushi outside Tsukasa's house. Rui was not interested in why she was there and tried to keep walking. Tsukushi stopped him and asked "Is there anything money can't buy?" Rui answered "air" and actually smiled as he called her a "silly girl." The next day after school, Sojiro saw Tsukushi through the window of a sweets shop where she worked. Rui bought one of the pastries since he thought it was "pretty," even though he was unable to eat sweets. He and Sojiro then left to go to a party.
The next day, Rui returned to the emergency exit despite his earlier declaration that he would not go there again. He told her "I like it here. I can get away from the chaos of the school." Rui was in a good mood about Shizuka coming home soon, which accounted for him being much nicer to Tsukushi. He even excitedly asked her "Do you know the time difference between France and Japan?," though he waved it off realizing she did not know. Later the same day, Rui was kissing a poster of Shizuka from one of her modelling gigs when Tsukushi walked by. He told her "Not you again?" She stumbled over her words, eventually saying "You don't have to go stupid on us just because your first love has come back." Rui then asked if she was in love with him, before grabbing her hand and kissing her cheek. He said "Haven't you wished for that?" as he walked off.
"It's ridiculous! You think I don't see through you? You play the sweet, loving little angel, but inside you know exactly what you're doing. And if people get hurt by your games, why do you care? You're not there anymore."
Upon Shizuka's return, Rui greeted her, saying "For so long, I've wanted to see you again." He became sullen once the rest of the F4 arrived. Later that night, they took Shizuka to a night club. Sojiro commented on Rui's "moody" demeanor, to which Tsukasa said "He always gets into a bad mood when he's happy." Shizuka finally asked him what was wrong and he admitted that her almost "naked" photos had been bothering him. She insisted that it was only for her modelling career, but called him "sweet" for worrying. The next day, the F4 and Shizuka ate lunch at the university's cafeteria. Shizuka started talking about relationships and mentioned wanted to introduced a girl to Rui, which he refused. A few minutes later, Tsukushi and her friend Kazuya Aoike burst in the room, having been chased there by bullies. Rui picked up Tsukushi and declared "It's time to stop."
Tsukasa was incensed when Rui came to Tsukushi's defense. Rui yelled "Snap out of it, will you?!," leading Tsukasa to ask Rui if he liked Tsukushi which Rui did not answer. Tsukasa asked him "Are you prepared to face the consequences?" He then tried to grab Tsukushi out of Rui's arms. She eventually screamed at both of them to let her go. The argument ended with Tsukasa saying "We're through!" Later, Rui ran into Tsukushi at the emergency exit. She apologized for his fight with Tsukasa, though he said "It's been brewing." During summer vacation, Rui went to Atami on Tsukasa's yacht, having been "dragged" along by Shizuka and the others. He was surprised to see Tsukushi at the beach. Shizuka had Rui encourage Tsukushi to come to that night's party, which he did. After Shizuka gave her a makeover, Rui complimented Tsukushi by saying she looked "nice."
The next morning, when Tsukushi was teased about kissing Tsukasa, she quickly told Rui "It was an accident." He chuckled and replied "It's none of my business who you kiss." That night, Shizuka told him that he and Tsukushi would "make a nice couple". Rui accused her of "playing with [his] feelings." He then dragged her into an empty room, saying "There's only one girl I want." The two began kissing but Rui pulled away, conflicted since he had forced her into the room. Shizuka told him "We're a man and a woman. This was meant to be." She leaned in to kiss him again, when Tsukasa burst into the room and invited them on deck. Rui went up alone and shared some fish with Tsukushi, who revealed that she had overheard him and Shizuka. Crying, she said "Please don't hate me." He replied "If I hated you, I wouldn't have gone through the pain of carrying you."
Going to France
"Tsukushi, that's what I like so much about you. You have a strength that I don't. It hit me hard that I didn't want it to end like this. Thanks."
At the start of the new term, Rui and Tsukushi met at the emergency exit. He was considerably nicer to her, even asking her to sit. Tsukushi admitted to being "very happy," having not expected to see him there anymore. Rui told her "Don't exaggerate!" though she insisted she was "serious." While they were talking, Shizuka yelled up to Rui to tell him about her photo shoot. As she walked up the stairs, she asked him to go with her since she was tired of her producer asking her out. He agreed to accompany her. A few days later, Rui attended Shizuka's birthday party with the rest of the F4. There Shizuka announced her intentions to return to France and give up her family name, surprising her family and friends. Rui was left in a state of shock. He then asked Tsukushi to tell his friends that he was going home.
The next day, Tsukushi met him at the emergency exit again. He was feeling irritable, asking her why she was staring. She asked him if he was okay with Shizuka's decision. Rui replied "It's not for me to say." Recalling their childhood, he then said "I think it was just like her to come to a decision like this." Later that afternoon, Rui happened to walk by when Tsukushi was begging Shizuka to stay in Japan "for [his] sake." He waited for Shizuka to leave before confronting Tsukushi. Rui yelled at her for interfering, asking "How could you do such a thing?" She ran away crying. Later, Rui came to a realization "that [he] did [not] want it to end like this." He waited until Shizuka boarded the plane to reveal to his friends that he was going after her. Rui thanked Tsukushi for her strength and kissed her on the forehead.
Return to Japan
"Once I was outside of school, I realized I couldn't do anything. Did you hear that I used to be a severely introverted child? I haven't changed at all. I'm still just a kid who can't do anything for the women he loves."
In France, Rui was "happy every day" spending all his time with Shizuka. However, when she returned to college and began working, Rui ended up being alone most of the time. News of Shizuka's betrothal to a Frenchman broke out, though she assured them that it was untrue. He, however, eventually decided to return to Japan. The day after his arrival, he went to school to surprise his friends. Tsukasa told Rui that he and Tsukushi were dating. Rui replied "That's too bad." The F4 then skipped the rest of the day to hang out together. The next day, they went to a night club, where Rui kissed a random girl "just for fun." Tsukushi met Rui the following day at the emergency exit. He asked if she was really dating Tsukasa. When she said no, he said "Why don't you [...] go out with me?" He then laughed and said it was a "joke," though he kept on flirting with her.
Later that day, the F4 left to go on a trip to Tsukasa's private island. A girl, Noriko, was to stay with Rui in his room. That night, he went to the beach instead. There he was stumbled upon by Tsukushi, whom he asked to hold him. After a few minutes, Rui began telling her about his time with Shizuka. Tsukushi returned to the villa after her pager beeped. The next morning, Rui gave her pager to Tsukasa to return. Kazuya arrived shortly later with news of Shizuka's engagement. When asked, Rui only said "It's all over." That night, he was at the beach again when Tsukushi came. She cried "I can't get you out of my mind." He then kissed her, wondering "Why didn't I fall for a girl like you?" Tsukasa, having seen them, punched Rui in retaliation. He left the next day, forcing the others to go home on Kazuya's boat. Rui grasped Tsukushi's hand, telling her "I'm here."
After arriving back, Sojiro and Akira confronted Rui about what happened. He admitted that he felt "bad" about hurting Tsukasa, who then kicked him out of the F4. Later, Rui asked Tsukushi out on a date. He had his hair cut short before the date. On the day of, he told Tsukushi that it was his first time going out with a girl. Rui accidentally walked in on Tsukushi in the bathroom at the restaurant. He later teased her about it though he insisted "It wasn't my fault." Afterwards, Rui invited her to his house. He showed her a photo album in his bedroom, where he soon fell asleep. The next day, Rui defended Tsukushi to a group of girls who called her "cheap." The girls then turned on him. He told Tsukushi not to "let it bother [her]." A few minutes later, Tsukasa announced that he would have Rui and Tsukushi expelled within two weeks.
Rift in the F4
"Save the awe. Practice. I'll back you up. We're not losing this game. I have something I want to protect, too."
At first, Rui was resigned to his and Tsukushi's fate, knowing Tsukasa would likely threaten to pull his parents' money from the school. The next day, Tsukasa's sister Tsubaki came to Eitoku to stop her brother. Amidst the arguing, both Tsukushi and Rui offered to leave of their own accord. Tsubaki interrupted to tell everyone to settle the matter through sports. Rui then proposed a three-on-three basketball match. That afternoon, he practiced with Tsukushi and Kazuya. He assured her "We're not losing this game." The match was held the following day at Eitoku. Rui went into it with a calm, confident demeanor. Seven minutes in, Rui was finally able to score his team's first point. He then formulated a plan to distract Tsukasa by being affectionate towards Tsukushi. Rui's plan was successful, nearly tying the game.
At the last second, Tsukasa declared "I quit," therefore allowing Tsukushi and Rui to go free. He then walked away. Rui told Tsukushi "Wasn't that fun?" afterwards. That night, they went to the Domyojis' to celebrate and wait for Tsukasa to come back. Rui was intoxicated by the time Sojiro asked how far he and Tsukushi had been, referring to sex. Going completely over his head, Rui answered "Omotesando." They realized that Rui and Tsukushi had not slept together yet. Akira and Sojiro then proceeded to lock the two in a guestroom. Still drunk, Rui bluntly called Tsukushi "ugly." He went on to say "At first, I wondered why Tsukasa was bothering with a girl like you, but I think now I know." Rui then admitted to trying to use Tsukushi to forget Shizuka. He apologized and expressed remorse for "butting in" between her and Tsukasa.
The next day at school, Tsukasa tensed up after seeing Rui and immediately walked away. Sojiro and Akira then asked Rui about how the previous night. He told them "Nothing happened," though he admitted "[he] could get serious about her." However, he came to the conclusion that he could not "stab Tsukasa in the back." He then told them that he was not going to tell Tsukasa yet, wanting to take a little revenge for his torn teddy bear from when they were kids. The next day, Tsukasa revealed that he was going to school in New York. He denied that he made the decision because of Rui and Tsukushi. Rui was surprised by Tsukushi's outburst when she was upset about Tsukasa not telling her he was leaving. At the airport, Rui pulled Tsukasa aside and told him "I think [Tsukushi] really loves you." He then revealed that he did not tell him earlier because of the bear.
Teen of Japan
Sojiro: "I never dreamed Tsukushi would come this far."
Akira: "I'll bet none of the 100,000 people in the audience thought so."
Rui: "But there is one in that 100,000 right over there."
When Tsukasa returned in a few days to Japan, Rui was not surprised unlike Sojiro and Akira. Tsukasa pulled Rui aside, telling him "I owe you an apology." Rui then said "Apologize to me now." He laughed since Tsukasa was unable to say sorry. The next day, Tsukushi asked Rui to accompany her to a party for Seinosuke Amakusa. He agreed since it was her first time asking him for something. That night, the two went to the party, where they ran into Tsukasa. After Seinosuke confessed his feelings to Tsukushi, Rui helped her escape the ensuing brawl. A safe distance away, Rui revealed to Tsukushi that he gave her up because of Tsukasa and told her "Don't hurt him too badly." The next day, Tsukasa told Rui, Akira, and Sojiro that he was planning on entering Tsukushi in the Teen of Japan contest. Rui was against it, not liking the idea of Tsukushi "being paraded around."
On Christmas Eve, Rui accompanied the others to watch Tsukushi compete at Teen of Japan. Unlike his friends, he liked the outfit Tsukushi choose during the first round, saying "I think it looks rather good." Before the second round, the others went to wish Tsukushi good luck backstage, though Rui decided to stay in his seat. Tsubaki made a comment about Ayano Kurimaki reminding her of Shizuka. Rui did not respond, evidently agreeing with her. During the second round, he said "Her accent's pretty bad, but at least she's talking," regarding Tsukushi's English skills. Akira and Sojiro expressed shock about Tsukushi making it to the final round. Rui pointed out to them that Tsukasa had always believed in her. At the end of the contest, Rui congratulated Tsukushi on winning a special prize.
Following Teen of Japan, the F4 took Tsukushi out to celebrate being the runner-up. Rui smiled as Tsukushi made a short speech. Later on, he told Tsukushi she looked "pale" and asked if she "had too much to drink." She then went to the bathroom. Akira and Sojiro began giving Tsukasa advice on his Christmas date with her. The following night, Rui went with the two guys to Tsukasa's house. Despite Rui not saying anything, he kicked him out along with Akira and Sojiro. Sojiro later had an idea about how to help Tsukasa make up with Tsukushi. Rui went with the other two to Tsukushi's job. He kept silent while they helped sell out the store. Sojiro then asked Tsukushi to go to Canada with them in exchange. Later, Tsukasa refused to go with them. To goad him, Sojiro told Rui "Why don't you take your chance with Tsukushi?" Rui then said "Then I guess I'll do that."
Haruto: "I know this is really rude of me to ask, but I'm going through a lot of upheaval right now. It feels like I'm powerless. In this situation, what would Mr. Domyoji do?"
Rui: "Who knows? He's a wild one. When everything's a mess, he only has eyes for what's most important."
One day, Rui was sleeping at his old favorite spot, the emergency exit at the high school. Haruto Kaguragi accidentally woke him up. Irritable, Rui glared at him and said "What?" Haruto was startled, causing him to break his bracelet which then fell all over the floor. Rui picked up one of the stones and asked if he could have it since he thought it was "kinda cute." He then briefly reminsced about the emergency exit being "[his] spot" during high school. As Rui was walking away, Haruto told him he was going through "a lot of upheaval." He then asked "In this situation, what would Mr. Domyoji do?," to which Rui replied "Who knows?" He went on to say "[Tsukasa] only has eyes for what's most important." Haruto yelled his thanks.
Over a year later, Tsubaki received a message from Tsubaki telling him to expect Tsukushi to come back to Japan. He texted Tsukushi and met her at Oto Edogawa's house, where he met Haruto again though he did not recognize him. Oto's parents arrived shortly. Tsukushi introduced herself and Rui to them, though he kept saying he wanted to leave. Finally outside, Tsukushi told him that she was worried about Oto and Haruto. Rui said "Are they making you think of how you and Tsukasa are?," meaning how they have to be apart so often. He reminded her that Tsukasa had asked her to go to New York with him. She responded "I have to live my own life." Tsukushi then turned to Oto and Haruto, advising them not to be apart if they do not want to be. Once they left, Rui told her "You're one to talk." She then admitted that she really wanted to see Tsukasa.
The next day, Rui had gotten in touch with Tsukasa and asked him to fly to Japan to see Tsukushi. The F4 became stuck in traffic on the way to Tsukasa's house, where Tsukushi was leaving for Los Angeles via the Domyojis' private plane. They attempted to run there, but stopped feeling it was "hopeless." At that moment, they noticed Haruto who called Oto to have her stop the plane. Tsukasa was curious about Haruto, but Rui told everyone to "just run." They fortunately made it in time. Tsukasa and Tsukushi had a brief argument which was quickly settled. Rui encouraged her to call Tsukasa in the future. Tsukushi then introduced Tsukasa to Haruto. Rui finally remembered him, commenting that he had not recognized since he "changed so much." The F4 and Tsukushi walked off shortly, talking for a second before having to part ways again.
As the name F4 (Flower 4) suggests, Rui was very conventionally good-looking and attracted the attention of most females. He had short, light brown hair which appeared to require little maintenance. Rui grew it out during his time in France, but had it cut short again not long after returning to Japan. Tsukushi described his eyes as "clear, marble-like."
Personality and traits
As a child, Rui was "severely introverted" due to the pressure put on him by his father. Shizuka helped him by drawing him out of his shell. He began to smile and was happy more often. Rui remained an introverted person, speaking little even to his own friends. He was generally uninterested in anyone who was not his friend. Tsukushi was a rare example of someone he opened up to.
Rui spent most of his time taking naps, leading Akira to joke that "he must sleep fifteen hours a day." His favorite spot to nap was the high school's emergency stairwell, which he occasionally visited during university. He was also athletic, though not as much as friends. Rui and his friends excelled particularly at basketball.
He is voiced by former SMAP member, Takuya Kimura, in the 1993 audio drama. It was Kimura's first voice role. Due to his popularity, he is considered the lead of the audio drama. Author Yoko Kamio was excited to meet him and interviewed him for Margaret, on which he appeared on the cover.
Naohito Fujiki plays Rui in the 1995 film, Hana Yori Dango. Fujiki also portrays an original character in Hana Yori Dango Final (2008). His portrayal is kept close to the original, though extraneous details are left out. Being in love with Shizuka, Rui is heartbroken when she decides to go to New York and never return. He staves off the loneliness by dating Tsukushi briefly. She eventually tells him that they are not meant for each other. He then decides to go after Shizuka.
In Hana Yori Dango: F4 and First Kiss (2015), a mobile game, Rui appears as a choice for the player's character to date. He first appears in the prologue chapter of the game. As one of the F4, he regularly appears in promotional art for the game. He also had special menu items at the Hana Yori Dango Café, including "Rui Hanazawa Éclair Set" and "Rui Hanazawa Ratatouille".