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 met F4 leader, 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 became an older sister when her brother Susumu was born. During their childhood, the siblings did not have many toys due to their family finances. Her mother had Tsukushi play outside instead in order to save money.
In elementary school, Tsukushi gained popularity through her upbeat and nice personality. She became friends with Kazuya Aoike during this time, thought they lost contact after moving on to middle school. At her middle school, she was a class officer. She also met her best friend, Yuki Matsuoka, back then. 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 enroll at Eitoku Academy, despite her wanting to go to the public high school with Yuki and her other friends. She was confident at the times that she would be able to make new friends. There she was unable to relate to her rich classmates though she did meet Makiko Endo, who was of a similar background. Tsukushi became disgusted with the school after witnessing the F4's antics. She decided to go "quiet and unnoticed," while counting down the days to graduation. 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!"
By her second year, Tsukushi was extremely downhearted about her life at Eitoku. She was disappointed with her own cowardice, though she also felt she had no power to fight the F4. Tsukushi talked about it with Yuki, who remarked how she had changed from someone who was "always ready to jump in and help." Later, she and Makiko were walking together when the latter slipped down a flight of stairs. She landed on Tsukasa Domyoji, leader of the F4, who refused to forgive Makiko's mistake. Tsukushi yelled at Tsukasa, insulting him by saying "You've never had to work for anything you've got! So shut your beaks!" His ire was redirected to Tsukushi. The next day, she received the F4's red card, a "declaration of war", in her locker. Instead of leaving school, Tsukushi decided to fight back against the F4 and declared her own war on them.
The following day, Makiko started avoiding Tsukushi when their classmates began to bully her. Frustrated, she 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 acting on Tsukasa's orders. Rui happened to walk by and ordered them to stop. Tsukushi thanked him, to which he replied "Don't misunderstand. I just don't like this kind of stuff." The next day, Tsukushi was prepared to fight against the bullies, blocking all of their old tricks. She then confronted Tsukasa by kicking him in the face, telling him "You call yourself a man?! You aren't even worth contempt!" She promptly fled the scene. Later, Tsukushi thanked Rui again for his help. He responded with harsh words again, though did not feel angry at him.
Later on her way to school, Tsukushi was kidnapped Tsukasa, who had her brought to his home. There he had his servants give her a full makeover, which Tsukushi did not resist due to shock. Afterwards, Tsukasa made her an offer to "let [her] hang around him." Tsukushi felt insulted and rejected him, saying "I'm not for sale." Outside, she ran into Rui and asked him "Is there anything money can't buy?" He answered "air" though she considered his smiles the real answer. The next day, a rumor about Tsukushi was written on her classroom's blackboard. She confronted Tsukasa first, thinking he was the culprit. Upon returning to her classroom, she found Yuriko Asai, Minako Yamano, and Erika Ayuhara wiping away the words. They acted friendly towards her and even invited her to a party. Tsukushi was hesitant to accept at first, but decided to go after speaking to Yuki about it.
Tsukushi: "I just wanted to thank you... You and Tsukasa had a falling out because–"
Rui: "Not your fault. It's been brewing."
Tsukushi: "But why–? N-Nevermind, It's nothing."
— Tsukushi stops herself from asking why Rui saved her[src]
At the party, Yuriko and her friends humiliated Tsukushi and revealed that they started the rumor. She was able to get back at them, before leaving the party. The following day, Tsukushi visited Rui at the emergency stairwell. Unbeknownst to them, Yuriko and her friends were watching and later confronted Tsukushi. They then told her about Shizuka Todo, whom Rui was in love with. Tsukasa arrived and, seeing Tsukushi in distress, forced them to leave her alone. She refused his help and pushed him away. Shortly later, she joined F4's Akira Mimasaka and Sojiro Nishikado for lunch. They told her a story about Rui and Shizuka from their childhood. That night, Tsukushi saw Rui kissing a poster of Shizuka. He mockingly asked her if she was in love with him and then kissed her cheek. Tsukushi watched Rui and Shizuka greet each other the next day.
After seeing Shizuka in person, Tsukushi made the decision to avoid the F4 and "become [her] old self." The next day, she was greeted by Kazuya, whom had transferred to Eitoku after his family struck it rich. Tsukushi was happy to see her old friend, though she became afraid that the F4 would target him next. Her fears were proved true when Kazuya found a red card in his locker. Tsukushi confronted Tsukasa about his reasons for going after Kazuya. Argued back and forth for several minutes, until he slapped her. She punched him in retaliation, before leaving when she heard Kazuya yelling for help. Tsukushi fended off the bullies, allowing her and Kazuya to escape briefly. The two ended up being chased into the university's cafeteria, where the F4 and Shizuka were eating lunch. Rui picked Tsukushi up and yelled at the others to stop, calling them "animals."
Angry at Rui, Tsukasa cut off their friendship before storming off. Shizuka brought Tsukushi to the girls' room to help her clean up. She was quickly enamored by Shizuka due to her kindness and beauty. Later, Tsukushi developed a fever and had to stay home the next day. Tsukasa visited her in the evening. Her parents insisted that he stay for dinner and later forced Tsukushi to walk him to his car. He offered to pay for her to go on the school trip. She refused, deciding to go to Atami with Kazuya instead. Several days later, Tsukushi arrived in Atami with Kazuya and her parents. After sightseeing, they went to the beach where they saw Tsukasa approach on his yacht. Shizuka invited her to that night's party. Tsukushi hesitated to accept, but was prompted by her parents and seeing Rui. Shizuka helped Tsukushi with her outfit and make-up.
Start of fall term
Tsukushi: "Please don't hate me... You and I we're "emergency exit friends" At least, that's what I call us."
Rui: "If I hated you, I wouldn't have gone through the pain of carrying you."
— Tsukushi and Rui on the last night of the Atami trip[src]
At the party, Tsukushi accidentally kissed Tsukasa when the lights turned off. She was distraught about losing her first kiss. The next morning, Sojiro teased the two about the kiss. She tried to defend herself to Rui, though he only replied "It's none of my business who you kiss." Tsukushi chastised herself for hoping he would rescue her. That night, she went to return Shizuka's dress. She then witnessed Rui confess his feelings to Shizuka, before taking her into a room. In shock, Tsukushi starting thinking about all of her memories of Rui, realizing how much she liked him. Tsukasa and Kazuya returned from their fishing trip. They started a cook-out, which she helped them with. She shared some fish with Rui and revealed that she overhead him and Shizuka by accident. Tsukushi then said "Please don't hate me," to which Rui assured her that he did not.
The first day of the fall term, Tsukushi felt depressed about returning to Eitoku. Everything was the same at school, including her classmates badmouthing her and her slippers were stolen again. It turned out Tsukasa had stolen them. Tsukushi was annoyed but did not pursue the matter further. She then headed to the emergency exit, where she met Rui. Tsukushi was happy to see him there, confessing that "Coming here was my one moment of solace." Shizuka walked up shortly to ask a favor of Rui. She then invited Tsukushi to birthday party. Back inside, Tsukushi saw Tsukasa on a rampage. She wondered what had happened for him to be so angry. After school, she was walking home with Kazuya when she realized she forgot her notes. She went back to the emergency exit, where she found Tsukasa seemingly waiting for her.
Tsukasa pinned Tsukushi against a wall and threatened her. She argued with him until he punched a window next to her. Tsukushi then threw her books at him and ran away. She tripped, leading Tsukasa to pin her to the ground and start kissing her. Crying, she asked him to stop which he finally did. Several days later, Yuki and Kazuya accompanied her to Shizuka's party. There Tsukushi saw Tsukasa for the first time in days. Feeling that he was not showing remorse, she became annoyed with him. Later that night, Shizuka announced that she was returning to France to pursue her dreams. Tsukushi looked to Rui, who then asked her to tell the others he was leaving. Apparently drunk, Tsukushi wandered to where Tsukasa was. She laid her head on his chest, before throwing up on his suit. He took her home that night, which she was unaware of until her mother told her in the morning.
Getting close to Tsukasa
Tsukushi: "Go after her. If you love her, you should go after her. Were you satisfied, just watching from behind a pillar? Are you a man, or what? You're always hanging out with these three. That's why you don't understand anything!"
The next morning, she went to the emergency exit and asked Rui about Shizuka. He answered "It's [her] decision." Tsukushi later met Tsukasa, who hinted that she was "happy that Shizuka was going away." They then overheard some girls scheming to get Rui. Tsukushi realized that she had been acting just like those girls. She rushed off and ran into Shizuka. Tsukushi proceeded to beg her to stay for Rui's sake. Shizuka calmly explained her reasons for leaving, which Tsukushi accepted. She then apologized to her. A few minutes later, Rui yelled at Tsukushi for interfering. At the airport days later, she and the F4, except Rui, said goodbye to Shizuka. When Rui finally arrived, Tsukushi yelled at him to "Go after her." He revealed that he had already decided to do so. Rui thanked her with a kiss on the forehead, before leaving.
While they watched Rui's plane take off, Tsukasa said something to her which she did not hear. The following day, he came up to he in her classroom and gave her a time and place. Kazuya said "It sounds like he was asking you for a date," which she quickly dismissed. That Sunday, Tsukushi went shopping with her mother. She eventually decided to go check to see if Tsukasa was waiting. Seeing him there, she felt guilty and offered to treat him. Stuck in an elevator, Tsukushi became nervous when Tsukasa approached her. She hit and kicked him until realizing he was not fighting back. Discovering his fever, she took precautions to bring it down. By the morning, she promised to "make it up to [him]." Tsukasa leaned in to kiss her, just as a construction crew opened the elevator. After helping Tsukasa to a taxi, she wondered whether he liked her before deeming it impossible.
Later at school, Tsukushi's classmates suddenly began acting nice to her. She discovered that it was because they believed she was dating Tsukasa, after a photo was taken of them together. Despite knowing they were not "true friends," she enjoyed having friends again and was happy that Tsukasa did not correct the rumor yet. That night, her new friends took her to a club, where she met a handsome foreigner who reminded her of Rui. Tsukushi woke up alone in a hotel room the next morning. The last thing she remembered was being offered a drink by the guy. She resolved to keep it a secret, thinking of the repercussions if anyone found out. Later, Sakurako Sanjo, whom she had met at Shizuka's party, asked to be friends and invited her to her house. There she ran into the same foreigner, who Sakurako introduced as her childhood friend, Thomas.
"Say one more word and I will beat that pretty face of yours into a pulp. No one like you has the right to talk about her. Shizuka is like an angel with a beautiful heart to match her beautiful face. I actually thought you were light that, too! You called me an "ugly bitch"?! Look at yourself in a mirror! Then you'll see what ugly is!"
Thomas hinted to Tsukushi that they had slept together. She begged him to "Forget about it!" He agreed once she promised to see him again. Later, Sakurako confided in her about her fear of boys. To help her, she decided to introduce her to the F4. Sakurako later handed Tsukushi a note from Thomas, asking her to meet him by the school's gate. She reluctantly went. A few minutes later, Tsukasa found them talking. Tsukushi managed to distract him so Thomas could get away. Before leaving, Thomas told her to meet him later. Tsukasa yelled at her for letting him escape and called her "boy-crazy." Tsukushi reminded him that they were not really dating, causing a sad look to cross his face. Afterwards, she asked Kazuya to accompany her to meet Thomas. Seeing Thomas' bad table manners, made Tsukushi wonder why Sakurako would have "anything to do with him."
The following night, Tsukushi went out to a club with Yuki and her sister. There she was left speechless, when she saw Sakurako dancing on the platform. Tsukushi eventually thought "There's got to be reason," deciding to be understanding. Later, she defended Sakurako when Tsukasa yelled at her. However, Sakurako got upset with her for insulting Tsukasa. She later admitted to Tsukushi that she loved Tsukasa. The next day, her classmates began bullying her again without warning. Feeling something was off, she raced to the bulletin board where she saw a photo of her and Thomas in bed. During the process of confronting him, Tsukushi realized that someone else had to have taken the photo and that he put something in her drink. She then said "We didn't do anything, did we?" He admitted that Sakurako forced him to do it. Sakurako then entered the room.
Sakurako insulted Tsukushi and called her an "ugly bitch," but she refused to listen to her snide remarks on Shizuka. She then said "Look at yourself in a mirror!" While walking home, Tsukushi resolved herself not to run from her troubles. In the morning, she went to school where she immediately attacked by her classmates. She passed out when one hit her with a bat. Tsukushi woke up tied to a car, which they proceeded to drag her with. Tsukasa showed up and yelled at them to stop. Sakurako then showed him the photo. Tsukushi pleaded with him to not to listen to her, saying "I just want you to believe me." He walked away as Tsukushi yelled after him, calling him an "idiot." Not one to back down, she challenged her attackers and continued trying to fight them for several hours. Finally, Tsukasa came back, apologized, and said "I believe you."
"I can't leave you alone! Even when I try, I can't get you out of my mind. I can't, I just can't. Why can't you be happy? Thoughts of you fill my mind..."
Tsukasa brought Tsukushi to his home, where she took a bath first. He told her that her said yes to her spending the night, before treating her wounds. Tsukasa apologized to her again. When he brought up Thomas, she said "What's with you? You're acting almost jealous." He surprised her by saying he was and then confessed, "I love you." Tsukasa kissed Tsukushi and she realized that part of her was "hoping for [that]." The next morning, she rushed to school when a maid informed her Tsukasa was "shouting about revenge." She stopped him from torturing the students too much. Rui then showed up, surprising everyone. Tsukasa told him that he and Tsukushi were dating. That night, Thomas visited her to tell her about Sakurako's past. Unable to fully forgive her, Tsukushi still took up for her when the other students made fun of her for having plastic surgery.
Later, Tsukasa gave Tsukushi a pager, ordering her to come whenever he paged. After school, Tsukushi came home to find the apartment full of furniture sent by Tsukasa. He then paged her and asked her to come to a club. She went only to yell at him to take back the furniture. Tsukushi became distracted when she saw Rui kissing a girl. The next day, he flirted with her at the emergency exit. Tsukushi was taken aback by him, though he laughed it off. Tsukasa later took her shopping, before taking her in a plane to his family's island with the rest of the F4. There he revealed that they were sharing a room together. Tsukushi ended up going to bed early, partly upset that Rui was staying in a room with some random girl. Tsukasa followed shortly and told her that he was sleeping on sofa since she not given him an answer yet. Once he fell asleep, Tsukushi went for a walk.
Finding Rui on the beach, he asked her to hold him before telling her about his time with Shizuka. Tsukushi returned to the villa, where she told Tsukasa "I went for a walk alone." She felt guilty for lying to him. The next morning, Kazuya suddenly arrived on his boat with Sakurako and Thomas. Kazuya brought news of Shizuka's engagement. Tsukushi realized that was the reason for Rui's strange behavior. That night, she met him again at the beach, telling him "I can't get you out of my mind." He then kissed her. Looking up, they saw Tsukasa watching. He punched Rui. Tsukushi began crying when Tsukasa told her that she "sliced [his heart] into ribbons." He refused her apology, saying "Don't ever talk to me again." Tsukushi then broke down. The next morning, Tsukushi and the others had to return home on Kazuya's boat since Tsukasa had left on his jet.
"We walked together in Aoyama that snowy winter morning. He waited four hours for me in the snow. He had snow on his head. From that day on, I began to notice his feelings for me. But I pretended not to see. Now I know just how much he felt for me. And just how much I hurt him."
—Tsukushi thinks of Tsukasa during her date with Rui[src]
When she returned home, Tsukushi resolved to apologize to Tsukasa "with all [her] heart and soul." The next day, she saw Tsukasa kicking Rui out of the F4. He then ignored her as he passed by. Later, she had lunch with Rui and began crying, thinking about Tsukasa. Rui then asked her on a date. During it, Tsukushi found herself thinking about Tsukasa constantly though she had told herself to "forget everything" earlier. She went to bathroom to gather her thoughts and was mortified when Rui accidentally walked in seconds later. Tsukushi continued crying about it on the way out. Rui, however, laughed and invited her to his house. In Rui's bedroom, Tsukushi was nervous about being alone with him. He showed her a photo album and then fell asleep. She waited for two hours, before leaving. On her way home, she saw Sakurako and Tsukasa laughing together.
Tsukushi stood still for several moments while a car honked at her until a woman scratched it. She then insisted on taking Tsukushi to her house, before introducing herself as Tsubaki Domyoji. Just as she realized she was Tsukasa's sister, Tsukushi was trapped in the house but managed to hide before he saw her. She became lost and Tsukasa found her later. He was angry and grabbed her arm, just before Tsubaki knocked him out. Tsukushi made an attempt to tell her that she knew Tsukasa, but could not get a word in. She finally confessed it when she was drunk over dinner. Later, Tsubaki told her about Tsukasa's childhood and asked her to "try and understand him." Tsukushi felt "I have no right to be with him anymore." The next day, Tsukasa announced that Kazuya was replacing Rui in the F4. He then told Rui and Tsukushi that he was going to have them expelled.
Tsukushi questioned the expulsion at first, but resigned herself to it after seeing Rui's complacent attitude about it. She, however, could not bring herself to tell her parents about it. The next day, Tsukasa's sister came to Eitoku and dragged Tsukushi into the principal's office. Tsukushi promised to leave school if that would "satisfy" Tsukasa. Rui then offered to be expelled instead. Tsubaki interrupted and proposed they settle the matter with sports. A three-on-three basketball match was decided upon. Tsukushi, Rui, and Kazuya practiced late into the night. On her way home, she ran into Tsukasa who promised to cancel the match if she said she loved him. Tsukushi resisted his advances, having chosen to follow Rui. Though devastated, Tsukasa accepted it and left with a smile. She wondered whether she would come to regret her decision to reject Tsukasa.
"What do I do? Everything's fallen onto my shoulders. They're all depending on me. If I tell them that Rui Hanazawa doesn't want me, and Tsukasa never wants to speak to me again, it'll kill them. I've got to work. I've got to work like mad!"
The next day, the match was held at Eitoku. Tsukushi was intimidated by the crowd, but vowed to herself that she would not leave "without a fight." Tsukushi's team did not fare well for most of the match. Rui managed to score six points in three minutes. He then had Tsukushi attempt a two-pointer in order to win. She missed it, though Kazuya scored one point. Tsukasa then suddenly quit the game, telling Tsukushi "Do whatever you want" on the way out. Afterwards, they went to celebrate at the Domyojis' mansion. Akira and Sojiro asked her and Rui whether they had had sex. Learning they had not, the two proceeded to lock them in a room. There a drunk Rui admitted that he had used her to forget Shizuka. He tried to apologize for getting between her and Tsukasa. She insisted she had "no regrets," though she admitted to herself "It hurts a little."
The next morning, Tsukushi learned that her father had lost his job and they had to move into a smaller, shabbier apartment. They put pressure on Tsukushi to marry rich. She instead set out to find a better paying part-time job. Tsukushi was enticed by a man's offer to take photos of her uniform for 100,000 yen. She quickly became uncomfortable and tried to leave, but was restrained by the men. A delivery guy arrived at that moment. Seeing Tsukushi's predicament, he beat up the men and helped her escape. He scolded her for following those guys, leading her to yell out her frustrations at him. He promised to help her find at job, taking her to a fast food restaurant where she could earn a decent wage. His helpfulness later led her to nickname him "Kinsan." That night, Tsukushi resolved to keep herself busy in order to forget Rui.
Kazuya informed Tsukushi the next day about Tsukasa leaving for New York. She promptly rushed off to go talk to him. Tsukushi was shocked to hear that he was leaving the following day and asked why he had not told her. His reply hurt her feelings, leading to her slapping him and bursting into tears. She then claimed it would be a "relief" to see him go and ran off. At work, Tsukasa came to say goodbye to her. He got into an argument with Kinsan. Tsukushi took Kinsan's side and Tsukasa left in a huff. Later, she was sad that they did not say goodbye but considered it a "fitting end." The next day, Sakurako asked her why she did not go to see him off. She declared that Tsukushi was "the only one who [could] make him stay." Tsukushi, however, did not seem convinced. She later watched a plane go by and wondered if Tsukasa was on it.
"Your dad lost his job, your family was in trouble, and you were working so hard for them. I couldn't leave you alone. Seeing how positive you were, even though you had no one to support you. You were so different from the girls around me who spend their fathers' money like water. I thought I had met the perfect girl."
The next day, Kinsan asked her if she wanted to go somewhere on her day-off. Her mother mistakenly thought she was going on a date and forced Tsukushi to dress up. She then met up with Kinsan near her workplace. They first visited a shrine in Asakusa, followed by a soba restaurant. There Tsukushi started to think Kinsan came from a poor family like hers. Kinsan later walked her part-way home. Near her house, she ran into Tsukasa just as Kinsan came walking up. Tsukasa revealed that Kinsan was actually Seinosuke Amakusa, a parliament member's son. Tsukushi told Tsukasa he was mistaken, but believed him once she saw the magazine. She became upset, questioning "Did you feel sorry for me?" Her mother then showed up and insisted that Tsukasa come to their house. There her parents had her sleep alone with Tsukasa in a separate room from them.
In the morning, Tsukasa asked Tsukushi to choose an outfit for him at a store. Annoyed by the prices, she rejected every outfit before approving the first one. Later at school, Tsukushi met Seinosuke, who cleared up the misunderstanding about his family. He then called her the "perfect girl," confessing his feelings, and invited her to his party. After he left, Tsukasa walked up behind Tsukushi. He sensed that she was hiding something, which she denied. Later, Tsukushi asked Rui to attend Seinosuke's party with her that night. There she was shocked to see Tsukasa. On stage, Seinosuke made an announcement about not wanting to follow in his father's footsteps. He then approached Tsukushi and asked her to be his girlfriend. Tsukasa punched him before she could answer. Rui helped Tsukushi escape the ensuing fight, which made national news the following day.
On her way to work, she was stopped by a group of Eirin Academy students. She stood up to the girls, before Seinosuke forced them to leave her alone. He then apologized to her for the news coverage and asked her to think about becoming his girlfriend. At work, Tsukasa asked her some questions for a recommendation letter. He refused to tell her what it was for, promising "You'll find out tomorrow." At home, Tsukushi learned that her father had borrowed one million yen from a loanshark and then lost it at the racetrack. To save her family from falling apart, Tsukushi decided to ask Tsukasa for a loan. She readily agreed to his terms, which were that she enter the Teen of Japan contest. The next day, Tsubaki asked Tsukushi to come over to her house. She talked in length about the contest. Tsukushi was daunted by the unpredictable nature of it, though she decided to carry on.
Teen of Japan
"In my heart, this is no longer just a matter of money. I can't let down the people who've spent so much effort on me. If I'm an embarrassment, it will only reflect on me. I have to show them that this "pauper" has pride and will-power."
Tsukushi initially struggled with her lessons in such things as etiquette, English, and tea ceremony. After meeting Seinosuke's childhood friend Ayano Kurimaki, Tsukushi became more discouraged as she was shoo-in to win the contest. That night, she attempted to sneak out of Tsukasa's house but he caught her. He convinced her to stay and "be [her]self." Tsukushi spent the rest of the night with Tsukasa, falling asleep next to him. She later began showing considerable improvement in her lessons. The day before TOJ, Seinosuke offered to help her repay Tsukasa's loan. She declined, saying "I can't let down the people who've spent so much effort on me." In the first round, Tsukushi froze until Tsukasa yelled at her in the audience. She then chose an outfit that especially impressed one judge, despite jeering from the crowd. Tsukushi was passed to the next round.
Backstage, Tsukushi learned that Ayano was engaged to Seinosuke. Ayano then revealed that she came to Japan to compete against Tsukushi. She was taken aback by the look in Ayano's eyes. During the second round, she struggled to keep up with the judge whom was testing her English. Noticing she was faint, Tsukushi caught her before she fell and shouted "Pale." The judge was impressed with her "thoughtfulness." She then passed Tsukushi and Ayano on to the third and final round. Seinosuke caught up with the two girls backstage. Ayano tearfully asked him if he remembered promising to marry her. Stunned, he looked at Tsukushi who then promised to give him her answer after the contest. As she walked onto the stage, she realized that she was not in love with Seinosuke and that Ayano was a "better match" for him.
In the final round, she and Ayano were tasked with entertaining a group of children to determine the winner. Tsukushi met Ryusuke Hayama and his friends, whose cocky attitudes reminded her of Tsukasa and the F4. Despite a rocky start, she eventually befriended Ryusuke and then the other children. Tsukushi invited Ayano to join them for the rest of the round. In the end, Ryusuke refused to pick either girl since he felt it was unfair. The judges crowned Ayano the winner based on overall points. They awarded Tsukushi a prize of 300,000 yen for her "heroic efforts." She then left briefly to go see Seinosuke, whom she told "I like you a lot but there's something that's not quite right." He asked her if she liked Tsukasa, but she did not have an answer. Once Seinosuke left, Tsukasa showed up and offered to cancel the remaining loan if she spent Christmas with him.
The F4 took Tsukushi out to celebrate afterwards. Noticing Tsukasa was staring at her, she excused herself to go to the bathroom. She was nervous thinking that try to take advantage of her later. The following morning, Tsukushi was greeted by Ryusuke whom wanted to spend Christmas with her. She ended up bringing him along to meet Tsukasa. Though Tsukasa was annoyed, Tsukushi was relieved as it meant she would not be alone with him. He and Ryusuke bickered until they reached the zoo, where Tsukasa began being nicer. Later, Tsukushi asked Tsukasa "Why do you bother with me?" He became irritated and refused to answer her. The two then had an explosive fight, leading to them both storming off. The next day at work, Sojiro and Akira helped sell out the store. She offered them her commission, but they asked her to come with them to Canada instead.
At first, Tsukushi was reluctant to accept their invitation to Canada. She explained her reasons to Yuki, whom was also invited. Later that day, her family encouraged her to go since her father now had a new job. She then received a call from Tsukasa, whom yelled "If you go, I'm not going!" Tsukushi stubbornly decided she would go after all.
Meeting Oto and Haruto
Tsukushi: "I'm not saying this lightly, but if you two need to be together then I don't think you should separate."
Oto: "But we don't have that option."
Tsukushi: "There's only one choice for you. It'll be fine. Just leave it up to him. If you give it a try, Oto, he'll exceed your expectations."
— Tsukushi advises Oto and Haruto while thinking of her own situation[src]
Tsukushi went to Los Angeles for "bridal training." She had to master five languages, and study ballroom dancing, international affairs, economics, and business management. One day, Tsukushi went to the boardwalk to yell her frustrations about the training and was seen by Haruto Kaguragi and Oto Edogawa. She was surprised that Haruto recognized her until he called her Tsukasa's girlfriend. He then asked about where Tsukasa was, to which Tsukushi answered "I wonder where he is too." She had rush off after looking at the time. That night, Haruto and Oto came to Tsubaki's house, where Tsukushi was staying, with their friends. She formally introduced herself to them, having not caught their names earlier. Oto asked Tsukushi about her reasons for being in LA. She told her about her training and then said "I've been trying my best but I'm tired." Tsukushi left to go to bed.
That night, Tsukushi snuck onto Haruto's plane using a special VIP pass. She was found by the others, but then fell asleep for the rest of the flight. Once it landed, Tsukushi apologized and thanked Haruto. Oto then invited her to her home. There an annoyed Haruto told Tsukushi he was "super disappointed," expecting Tsukasa's girlfriend to not run away from her problems. She was not offended and explained her situation, saying "Sometimes I want to give up." Rui then walked in since Tsukushi had texted him her location. Oto's parents arrived shortly. Tsukushi introduced herself and Rui to them. Oto and Haruto walked her and Rui outside, after her parents revealed they were moving to Kyushu. Tsukushi told Haruto and Oto "If you two need to be together then I don't think you should separate." Once they left, she admitted to Rui that she really wanted to see Tsukasa.
After Oto and Haruto talked to her parents, they met up with Tsukushi at a cafe. They both thanked her for her help. Tsukushi then revealed that she decided to give the bridal training another try. The next day, Oto and the Correct 5, except Haruto, went to see her off. Before she board the plane with Tama, Kaito Taira explained to Tsukushi how important Tsukasa was to Haruto. A few seconds later, Oto dragged her off the plane. Tsukasa then arrived and embraced her. He said "I told you not to go to L.A.," leading to argument. She told him that she wanted to understand his life better, but admitted "Once I tried it, it was really hard. I was so lonely." Tsukasa then hugged her and asked her to call him if she needed him. Feeling better, Tsukushi decided to go back still. She introduced Tsukasa to Haruto, before leaving. Back in Law, Tsukushi continued her lessons, surprising Kaede.
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 wore 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.
Personality and traits
Due to her upbringing, Tsukushi developed into a strong-willed, tough person. She often referenced her name in this regard, saying things like "You can pull a weed and mow it down, but it always grows back stronger than ever." Tsukushi felt out of place at Eitoku, not being able to relate to her rich classmates. She gradually became withdrawn due to the environment, ignoring her strong sense of justice. After standing up to Tsukasa, Tsukushi changed from a "scared little girl" back to her strong self.
Tsukushi was generally a well-liked and popular person, particularly in elementary and middle school. In high school, she was disliked by her rich classmates who were jealous of her friendship with the F4. Tsukushi was also inexperienced with love.
Tsukushi's given name means "weed," a plant usually considered undesirable. More specifically, it is likely a reference to the field horsetail. Her parents named her Tsukushi since weeds are supposed to "grow back stronger" even after being pulled. It is written in Hiragana as つくし. Her surname, Makino (牧野,Makino), is a not uncommon Japanese name. It utilizes the kun'yomi pronunciation of both kanji; written as まきの in Hiragana. Together the kanji can mean either pasture or ranch.
In Hana Yori Dango (1995), she is portrayed by Yuki Uchida. Uchida was an extremely popular Japanese idol at the time. The film plays it relatively close to the original, except changing Tsukushi to a university student. She angers Tsukasa by insulting him, which results in her being bullied. Tsukushi first falls for Rui and slowly becomes friends with Tsukasa. She later agrees to date Tsukasa and betrays him by kissing Rui. In the end, Tsukushi realizes she is love 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.