Tsukushi Makino (牧野 つくし,Makino Tsukushi) was a student at Eitoku Academy. She was the daughter of Chieko and Haruo, and the older sister of Susumu. During high school, Tsukushi became acquainted with the heir of Domyoji Group, Tsukasa Domyoji, whom she hated at first. They later became friends and eventually entered into a romantic relationship.
"She was always happy and popular, and nice to everybody! She always had friends around her. At snack time, when I couldn't finish my milk and I thought the teacher was going to yell at me, she'd drink it up for me, even if it meant a tummy-ache later."
—Kazuya describes Tsukushi during elementary school[src]
Tsukushi was born on December 28 to middle class parents, Haruo and Chieko. Her parents named her after a weed, because "it always grows back stronger than ever". She was made an elder sister when her brother Susumu was born. During her childhood, Tsukushi did not have many toys and her mother often had her play outside to save money.
In elementary school, Tsukushi met Kazuya Aoike. At the time, they were close friends, but they lost contact after moving on to middle school. Tsukushi was very popular among her peers in elementary school.
She became a class officer in middle school, where she met her best friend, Yuki Matsuoka. Tsukushi's popularity continued throughout middle school. Her friend, Shingo Oribe confessed romantic feelings toward her during this time, though she did not reply at the time.
Tsukushi's mother forced her to attend Eitoku Academy, though Tsukushi preferred the public high school. After entering Eitoku, she became withdrawn in an attempt to remain "quiet and unnoticed." She grew to hate the school and her fellow classmates, who did nothing to help the F4's victims. Tsukushi also befriended another middle-class student Makiko Endo, who was in the same class as her. After school, Tsukushi worked part-time at Sengoku Sweets with Yuki.
Meeting the F4
"I'm not letting you get away with this anymore! This is my declaration of war!"
Tsukushi gradually became disgusted with her own cowardice, but felt she had no power to fight the F4. One day, Makiko slipped down a flight of stairs while they were walking to class. She landed on Tsukasa Domyoji, leader of the F4, who refused to forgive Makiko's mistake. Tsukushi took up for her friend, insulting Tsukasa in the process. Tsukasa's anger was then transferred to Tsukushi. The next day, she received the F4's red card, a "declaration of war", in her locker. Instead of quietly leaving school, Tsukushi decided to fight back against the F4 and declared her own war on them.
The following day, Makiko began avoiding Tsukushi and their classmates started to bully her. Tsukushi then ran to an emergency stairwell, where she spoke to Rui Hanazawa for the first time. He acted cold towards her, saying "I'm not interested in other people's problems." Later, four students tried to assault Tsukushi on Tsukasa's orders. Rui happened by and ordered them to stop. Tsukushi thanked him, though he replied "do [not] misunderstand. After the incident, Tsukushi returned to school with a vengeance. She was able to block all of the students attempts to bully her. Tsukushi then kicked Tsukasa in the face, telling him "you call yourself a man?! You are [not] even worth contempt!" She promptly fled the scene. Later, Tsukushi thanked Rui again for his help, to which he responded with harsh words. She, however, did not feel angry at him.
On her way to school, Tsukasa kidnapped Tsukushi and brought her to his home, where he had his servants give her a full spa treatment and makeover. She was in too much shock to resist. Afterwards, Tsukasa made her an offer to "let [her] hang around him." Tsukushi felt insulted and rejected him, saying "I [am] not for sale." Back at school, she found a rumor about her written on her classroom's blackboard. Tsukushi confronted Tsukasa first, thinking he was the culprit. Upon returning to her classroom, Yuriko Asai, Minako Yamano, and Erika Ayuhara were wiping away the words. They acted friendly towards her and invited her to a party. There they humiliated Tsukushi, being jealous of her interactions with the F4 particularly Rui.
"Me...in love with him? I don't even want to think about it. Except...I feel like I'm drowning in those eyes and I can't move!"
—Tsukushi realizing her feelings for Rui, after learning about Shizuka.[src]
Tsukushi visited Rui at the emergency stairwell the following day. Unbeknownst to them, Yuriko and her friends were watching and later confronted Tsukushi about Shizuka Todo, whom Rui was in love with. Tsukasa arrived and forced them to leave her alone. Tsukushi refused his help and pushed him away. Shortly after, she joined Akira Mimasaka and Sojiro Nishikado, F4 members, for lunch. They told her a story about Rui and Shizuka from their childhood, which sent Tsukushi into a daze. That night, Tsukushi saw Rui kissing a poster of Shizuka. He mockingly asked her if she was in love with him, before kissing her on the cheek. Shizuka arrived from France the following day.
At school, Tsukushi was greeted by Kazuya, whom had transferred to Eitoku after his family became "nouveau riche." Tsukushi was overjoyed to see her old friend, though she was afraid the F4 would target him next. Tsukasa became jealous after seeing them together and promptly sent a red card to him. Tsukushi confronted Tsukasa about his reasons for going after Kazuya. They began yelling at each other, and he slapped her and she punched him in retaliation. Hearing Kazuya's cries for help, she left to save him from the bullies. The two were then chased into the university's cafeteria, where the F4 and Shizuka were eating lunch. Seeing Tsukushi distressed, Rui put a stop to the bullying and picked her up.
Rui's actions angered Tsukasa, who refused to be his friend any longer. Shizuka then brought Tsukushi to the girls' room to clean up. The stress of the day caused Tsukushi to faint from a fever. She stayed home the next day. Tsukasa visited her, much to annoyance. Her parents insisted that she walked him to his car. He offered to pay for her ticket to Hawaii. She refused, deciding to go to Atami with Kazuya. Several days later, Tsukushi arrived in Atami with Kazuya and her parents. They were greeted at the beach by Tsukasa on his yacht. Tsukushi hesitated to accept, but agreed after seeing Rui. Shizuka invited her to a party later that night. She helped Tsukushi with her outfit and make-up.
Tsukushi had copper colored hair and her eyes were a similar shade. During her first year of high school, she often styled her hair in braids. Tsukushi mostly it down after she challenged the F4. Her hair was shoulder-length until part of it was cut by Junpei. Tsukushi's hair was then styled as a short bob-cut for the rest of high school. When not wearing her school uniform, she wore modest but cute clothing that were probably cheap.
Personality and traits
Due to her upbringing, Tsukushi developed into a strong-willed, tough person. She often referenced in this regard, saying things like "You can pull a weed and mow it down, but it always grows back stronger than ever." Tsukushi had a strong sense of justice, which was constantly tested during her time at Eitoku. Howeer, She was still a normal girl that sometimes lost her nerve in high-pressure situations.
Tsukushi was well-liked, excepting only her rich classmates who were jealous of her friendship with the F4.
In the 1995 film, she is portrayed by Japanese idolYuki Uchida. Uchida plays Tsukushi as a stubborn, lower-class student attending Eitoku Gakuen University, similar to the original. The story starts with Tsukushi angering Tsukasa by refusing to join his fan club. She falls for Rui Hanazawa at the beginning, and slowly becomes friends with Tsukasa. She betrays Tsukasa's feelings by embracing Rui at the beach, after she agreed to be the former's girlfriend. At the end of the film, Tsukushi realizes that Rui is meant to be with Shizuka and she reunites with Tsukasa.
Mochida also voices Tsukushi in the short film, Hana Yori Dango: The Movie (1997). In the film, Tsukushi is an aspiring dancer on Broadway, instead a high school student. Tsukushi works an errand girl at Freedom Dance Studios by day, while training hard at dancing by night.
In "The Bored Prince" from Hana Yori Dango FF, Tsukushi appears as a frog in Rui's dream. Rui, a sleepy prince, finds and names her Piyon (ピヨン,Piyon). The frog informs him that she used to be human, however Rui wakes up before he can help her.
Mao Inoue portrays Tsukushi in every episode of the Japanese dramas, Hana Yori Dango (2005) and Hana Yori Dango Returns (2007), and the film Hana Yori Dango Final (2008). Inoue's portrayal is a close interpretation of the manga, however, her romance with Tsukasa develops much faster compared to the manga. In Returns, she is given an aspiration, to be a lawyer like Shizuka. The season also follows the couple through several trials, including Tsukasa's engagement to Shigeru. She and Tsukasa are married in Final, unlike the manga where they remain engaged.
Ririka Kato plays Tsukushi in the Japanese musical, Hana Yori Dango: The Musical (2015). She was chosen out of three thousand applicants by the producers, who were impressed by her cheerful attitude during the audition. Being sixteen at the time, Kato is the youngest actress to ever portray Tsukushi.