Boys Over Flowers (花より男子 Hana Yori Dango?) is a Japanese shōjo manga series by Yoko Kamio. It was serialized in the bi-weekly anthology magazine Margaret, which is aimed at high-school-age girls. The manga series ran continuously from October 1992 to September 2003, and was collected into 37 tankōbon volumes. In 1996, it received the Shogakukan Manga Award for shōjo.
Recently, the series has started to be released in a deluxe edition (larger pages and with all the color artwork from the magazine reproduced). The manga has been adapted into 4 drama productions (in Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and Mainland China), along with one spin-off, 2 live action movies, 1 anime movie and also an anime series. Hana Yori Dango is the best-selling shōjo manga in Japan of all time, having sold 54 million copies as of 2005.
The title Hana yori Dango, is a pun on a Japanese saying, "Dumplings before Flowers" (花より団子, "Hana yori Dango" lit. "dango (rice dumplings) rather than flowers"). "Dumplings before flowers" is a well-known Japanese expression that refers to people who attend Hanami, but rather than enjoying the beauty of the flowers, head straight for the food vendor booths, preferring tangible things like food and drink to the abstract appreciation of the flowers’ beauty. The author creates the pun by changing the kanji of the title to mean "Boys over Flowers" (花より男子?). Note that "boys" (男子?) is normally read danshi (だんし?), but the furigana indicates that it reads dango (だんご?).
Makino Tsukushi, a working-class girl, attends an elite escalator school called Eitoku Academy (英徳学園 Eitoku Gakuen?), populated by children and older youths from rich, high-society families. She is the "weed" of the school, surrounded by all the rich kids, including the "Flower Four" (F4). The F4 leader and son of the wealthiest, most powerful family in Japan, Domyouji Tsukasa, takes an interest in Tsukushi, because she is the only girl at Eitoku who does not fawn over him. However, his hot-headed nature and bullying ways are originally a major turn-off for Tsukushi, who has her sights set on someone else (Hanazawa Rui).
The violinist Hanazawa Rui, Tsukasa's best friend, becomes Tsukushi's first serious romantic interest. He is a quiet and cool guy, but he has a soft spot for his close friend and Tsukushi's idol, the model Todou Shizuka, whom he harbored feelings for since childhood. His character is a bit complex, and always has changing feelings for Tsukushi, but above all cares about her a lot.
The other two members of the F4 are Mimasaka Akira, the laid-back peacemaker of the group, and Nishikado Sōjirō, an unrepentant playboy. They both usually have at least one girlfriend at any one time; Akira prefers older women because the women of his household (his mother and two younger sisters) are quite silly. Sojiro is happy to be in casual relationships with many women, although we later discover that at one time he was in love with a childhood friend.
Over the course of the series, however, Tsukushi's feelings evolve, and she begins to appreciate the degree of change that occurred in Tsukasa once he fell in love with her. He becomes fiercely loyal to Tsukushi and believes in her beyond all doubt, and slowly gets her to see him in a different light. The physical obstacles and emotional challenges of their rocky high-school courtship form the basis of the story. Other themes include Tsukushi's attempt to fit in at the school, the problems of her family's lifestyle and income, and the decadent lifestyle of upper-class Japanese girls.
- Tsukushi Makino (牧野 つくし Makino Tsukushi?) is the main female character in Boys Over Flowers, and is one of the very few students at the prestigious Eitoku High School to come from an 'unwealthy' family. Her family is so poor that they can barely afford to pay Makino's tuition, but her parents push her to continue at the school so she can 'seduce a rich man' and take them out of poverty. Tsukushi is not thrilled about being stuck at Eitoku, and is determined to remain as invisible as possible until graduation. However, she sticks her neck out to defend her friend, who accidentally bumps into F4 leader Tsukasa Domyouji on a staircase. The next day, a red tag is found hanging in Tsukushi's locker, the F4's "declaration of war," officially marking her for future torment from the F4 and the rest of the student body. But, unlike most of the F4's targets, Makino stands up for herself, showing how strong a 'weed' can be. She attacks Domyouji in the hallway and presents him with a red tag of her own. Because of this unexpected retaliation and steadfast resistance to the hazing that he had never encountered from a victim before, Tsukasa develops a crush on her. Initially, Tsukushi hates all of the F4 except Hanazawa Rui, (whom she harbors romantic feelings for). But, as Rui goes off to chase after Shizuka, Tsukushi slowly falls in love with the hotheaded leader, Domyouji. In this process, she lets her fierce determination and her stubborn, hardworking ways show through, and in the end, turns all of the F4 into her friends. In the end, Makino and Domyouji become a couple and it is hinted that they will get married when the time is right. Voiced by: Maki Mochida (Japanese), Kelly Sheridan (English)
- Tsukasa Domyouji (道明寺 司 Dōmyōji Tsukasa?) is the leader of the F4. At the beginning of the series, he is Tsukushi's biggest enemy, but as the story progresses, he becomes her love interest. Tsukasa is the heir to Domyouji Enterprises, and his family is extremely rich. They own various houses around the world, including an actual island, a house in Canada, and a house in New York City where his parents live most of the year. Domyouji spent much of his childhood with the rest of the F4; his parents were always overseas, and his older sister--as loving as she could be--was always busy studying and eventually married and moved to New York. His mother, Kaede, is cold to him, and although she loves him, wants to control his life for the sake of preserving the family name. Tsukasa often calls her "the old hag" and "witch," an opinion shared by nearly all of his friends. Tsukushi's retaliation in the hallway sparks Domyouji's interest, and he is immediately attracted to her daring and strength (the traits he used to admire in his older sister). Despite the harassment he puts her through to keep up appearances, he also constantly tries to do things to impress her - such as trying unsuccessfully to straighten his hair after she tells him that she can't stand his curly-top. Because he has grown up in luxury and is used to always getting his way, Domyouji is initially not very good at interacting with Tsukushi. He frequently makes fun of her family's poverty and responds angrily when she refuses to do as he says. As time passes, however, he begins to mature and develop a greater understanding of how to interact positively with others, a consequence of his love for Tsukushi. He later takes over his family's business and works internationally, but remains faithful to Tsukushi. Voiced by: Naoki Miyashita (Japanese), Michael Adamthwaite (English)
- Rui Hanazawa (花沢 類 Hanazawa Rui?) is Tsukasa's best friend who becomes Tsukushi's first serious romantic interest. He is generally quiet, but has a soft spot for his close friend and Tsukushi's idol, the model Shizuka Todo, whom he has harbored feelings for since childhood. His character is a bit complex, and his feelings for Tsukushi are in a nearly constant state of flux (varying from annoyance to love), but above all cares about her a lot. In season two of Hana Yori Dango, he grows closer with Makino, but he also claimed that he loved her and that he is the one that would make her happy, not Domyouji. They eventually become very close friends and she depends on him as a confidant. According to Tsukushi, Rui Hanazawa is the one who can heal her wounds and make her feel happy and calm again when hurt by feelings for Tsukasa. Although he still loves Tsukushi, Rui eventually comes to accept Tsukasa and Tsukushi's relationship, vowing to stay by their side to make sure their love goes smoothly. It is suggested that while Rui will always care deeply for Tsukushi, he will eventually meet someone special one day.
Rui has Asperger syndrome, which makes socializing difficult for him. He has trouble recognizing facial expressions: for example, when trying to draw Tsukasa, he drew an expressionless egg with curly hair. These are personality traits which he still holds. Voiced by: Kouji Yamamoto (Japanese), Stephen Park (English)
- Sojirou Nishikado (西門 総二郎 Nishikado Sōjirō?) is quiet and very interested in the tea ceremony, which is his family's business. For the most part, he and Mimasaka usually work to keep the peace within the group and following Domyouji. He reunites with his first love, Sara, whom he stood up and missed his chance with during his freshman year in high school. Later they confess their love for each other, but the relationship is unsalvageable (in the manga they both recognize that they missed their one chance to be together, and in the drama she has become engaged to someone else). Makino's close friend, Yuuki has feelings for him and it is uncertain whether he feels the same way. He is also one of the two playboys in the F4. Voiced by: Yoshihiko Akaida (Japanese), Andrew Francis (English)
- Akira Mimasaka (美作 あきら Mimasaka Akira?) is arguably the kindest and most mature member of F4. His family is very powerful in the Japanese underground (in the manga they own a large trading company). He keeps his cool and rarely loses his temper, although when he does, even Domyouji has to run for the hills. Akira is the other of the group's two playboys. His tastes tend towards older women, mainly because of his young mother, who is only 38 years of age. He has two younger sisters who are twins. He is also the one F4 member who like to and only uses cash. Initially, he secretly resents that he has to be the peacemaker each time things go wrong within F4, and sometimes doubt if what F4 has is truly friendship, but eventually Tsukushi makes him realize that since he helps balance F4 out, a supporter if you will, that if he ever leaves them, then F4 will fall apart. With that, he comes to accept his role in F4, coming to terms with himself. Voiced by: Yuuta Mochizuki (Japanese), Alistair Abell (English)
- Yuuki Matsuoka (松岡 優紀 Matsuoka Yūki?) is Tsukushi's best friend, who work together at a dango shop after school. Yuuki offers Tsukushi a lot of encouragement and advice about her situation with the F4. As she gains more familiarity with them, she develops romantic feelings for Sojirou. Voiced by: Kanako Tobimatsu (Japanese), Tabitha St. Germain (English)
- Shizuka Todou (藤堂 静 Tōdōu Shizuka?) is a rich heiress and childhood friend of the F4. She and Rui particularly are very close; she was the first person who was able to get him to come out of his shell, and the two were inseparable for much of their childhood. She began a modeling career during her high school years, but shocks everyone at her twentieth birthday party by announcing that she plans to give up her career as a model as well as her position as the Todo heiress to move to Paris and become a human rights lawyer. In the drama, Shizuka was the inspiration that convinced Makino to attend Eitoku, and later to pursue a legal career. Rui initially accompanies Shizuka to Paris at Tsukushi's request, but their relationship suffers as Shizuka spends more and more time at work. Eventually, Rui returns to Japan in frustration. Shizuka remains in Paris and eventually marries to a lawyer there, giving her bouquet to Tsukushi. Voiced by: Keiko Imamura (Japanese), Nicole Oliver (English)
- Kazuya Aoike (青池 和也 Aoike Kazuya?) is another one of Tsukushi's childhood friends. He enrolls at Eitoku after his family comes into money through some real-estate deals. The other students at Eitoku draw a sharp distinction between Kazuya's "new money" and their "old money." The F4 in particular mention this difference fairly often. Tsukushi is both relieved to have a friend at Eitoku, and worried for Kazuya's safety if he continues to hang around her. She is particularly worried about Domyouji, who clearly considers Kazuya a romantic threat. Kazuya is fiercely loyal to and harbors romantic feelings for Tsukushi, but also relatively clueless and not very quick to pick up on things. He is not featured in the drama. Voiced by: Ietomi Yoji (Japanese), Brad Swaile (English)
- Makiko Endo (遠藤真紀子 Endō Makiko?) is one of Tsukushi's only friends at Eitoku in the beginning of the series. Tsukushi rescues her from inevitable torment after she collides with Domyouji on the stairs. Although she's forced to break off their friendship to prevent becoming a target of abuse, Makiko finds ways to help Tsukushi, sending her secret messages of encouragement or to warn her of impending danger. After Tsukushi become best friends with the F4, Makiko seems not feared about being near with Tsukushi. She always cares about Tsukushi's feeling, and helps Tsukushi's bad condition. In the live-action versions, her character is merged with Sakurako.
Voiced by: Fuuko Misaki (Japanese), Nicole Bouma (English)
- Sakurako Sanjo (三条 桜子 Sanjō Sakurako?) was the object of torment of the children she went to school with because she was born "ugly". When she confessed her love to Domyouji, he traumatized her by making fun of her looks. She also friend of Makiko (Tsukuhi's best friend in Eitoku) when they still in Elementary school. But she moved to Germany because her family's business. Sakurako undergoes plastic surgery and returns to Eitoku, determined to use her new beauty to take her revenge on Domyouji by making him fall in love with her. She met Tsukushi when she asked for help in Shizuka's birthday party. She acts sweet and innocent, but lets her true colors show when she thinks no one is watching. When she hears of his growing attraction to Tsukushi, she conspires with her friend Thomas to destroy her. She has Thomas drug Tsukushi at a club and then distributes photos of the two of them in bed together around the school, causing the student body to turn on her for betraying Domyouji. When Tsukushi finds out that Sakurako is behind of this, Sakurako tells Tsukushi that she only used her in order to take revenge on Tsukasa and that she doesn't need any friends and says that ugly and average people like Tsukushi shouldn't be near handsome men like F4. When Domyouji eventually refuses Sakurako's advances and sees through her plans, Sakurako becomes remorseful. She is then bullied by whole student body because of her plastic surgery. But, Tsukushi, the one who had been hurt by Sakurako, defends her. Tsukushi then says that she still can't forgive her. Sakurako also takes the advantage to be near with Tsukasa when Tsukasa breaks up with Tsukushi because of her romance with Rui. But Tsukasa only pretends to be close with Sakurako to make Tsukushi jealous. At first, it's unknown whether Sakurako and Tsukushi can still be friends or not, because Sakurako becomes cruel when she is with Tsukasa. But, as the story progresses, Sakurako seems to be more friendly and sometimes defends Tsukushi from the bad girls. Voiced by: Mikako Sakurada
- Ookawahara Shigeru (大河原 滋 Okawahara Shigeru?) is the princess of the Okawahara Corporation. She becomes the fiancee of Tsukasa and at first she is completely against it but soon she warms up to Tsukasa. She is extremely tomboy (like bravely punch Tsukasa or beat his earlobe), but girlish sometimes. Shigeru befriends Tsukushi and often asks her to help her get Tsukasa, not realising that Tsukasa likes Makino and Makino in return harbours feelings for Tsukasa. At first, Tsukushi is very mad with her (because of her engagement with Tsukasa), but after Tsukushi sees her innocent and kindness toward her, she accept to help her (although Tsukushi sometimes get mad sees Tsukasa and Shigeru together). In the end, she realises that Tsukasa will never love her and so decides to her two friends get together. On the surface, Shigeru seems aggressive and "boyish" but she is actually quite girly. Voiced by: Emika Sato
- Tsubaki Domyouji (道明寺 椿 Dōmyōji Tsubaki?) is Tsukasa's sister. She is 4 year older than Tsukasa. When she and Tsukasa was liitle, she cared Tsukasa and teach Tsukasa to not being naughty (although he does) because her parents is always overseas. When she was a student in Eitoku, she did some modelling in Paris, made her an idol in Eitoku. After she graduated from Eitoku, she dated a man (not the rich one) that makes her mother force her to broke with him and marry a wealthy man. She is one of the few people who is not afraid to stand up to him, a trait that Tsukasa secretly admires in her. After struggling to date with her man, finally she give up and marries the wealthy heir to a hotel company and moved to Los Angeles with him. Although she has obtained a degree of happiness in her marriage, she often get sad and always go to Japan when her husband is busily overseas. She begs Tsukasa not to make the same mistake. She always make Tsukushi as her younger sister, and always helps her relationship with Tsukasa. According to people near Tsukasa (not his mother), her character is similar to Tsukushi. Voiced by: Chiho Ohkawa
- Kaede Domyouji (道明寺 楓 Dōmyōji Kaede?) is Tsukasa's controlling mother. She is the chairwoman of Domyouji Enterprises. She is very clever and devious and hatches many schemes to break apart her son and Tsukushi, whom she sees as an "insect" that must be squashed for the sake of the family. She meets Tsukushi at Tsukasa's birthday party when Tsukasa is going to introduce Tsukushi to her. She saw Tsukushi as pebble for her son's future. Once, she bought Tsukushi off by 50 million Yen and forced Tsukushi to agree not to see Tsukasa again. However, Tsukushi's mother refused it- and poured salt on her head because she thought that Kaede had insulted Tsukushi. She refused to give up, trying to enforce Tsukasa to married with Shigeru (the princess from Ookawahara Corporation). When she found out that Tsukasa was going to break up with Shigeru, she got mad and forced Tsukasa to be quickly married with Shigeru. Tsukushi was thrilled at first but she found herself really insulted after she going to buy her off. When her relationship back with Tsukasa again, Kaede got mad at Tsukushi and forced Tsukasa to not see Tsukushi again by avoid him going to school. After Tsukushi knows that, she helped Tsukasa and met Kaede, making they both become aggravated at each other. Kaede slaped Tsukushi, making Tsukushi even more angry. Finally, she snapped and bravely slapped Kaede back. After that, she gave up and stop forcing Tsukasa again. Voiced by: Mika Doi
An anime series was produced by Toei Animation and broadcast by Asahi Broadcasting Corporation. It ran from 8 September 1996 to 31 August 1997 with a total of 51 episodes. The storyline is based on the manga version with little skipping in storyline. The opening title of this anime series features Tsukushi is dancing with F4 and the whole students. In 1997, anime movie was also produced, however it deviated from the plot of the actual manga as it was set in an alternate universe and characters were placed into new roles to suit the movie's new story. The anime movie is reminiscent of the American film Flashdance, Tsukushi is an aspiring dancer attempting to win a role in a large stage production.
|1||"Declaration of War!!"|
|3||"I Won't Get Hurt!!"|
|4||"The Ordinary Duo"|
|5||"Him, Me, and That Guy"|
|6||"One Night Cinderella"|
|7||"Night of Love in Atami"|
|8||"Nightmare of The Fall Term"|
|9||"Domyouji Tsukasa Snaps!!"|
|10||"The Woman Who Gave Up Everything"|
|11||"Love Flies Over The Horizon"|
|12||"A Date in The Snow"|
|13||"Love Moves Too Fast"|
|16||"Please Believe Me!!"|
|17||"Mine at Last"|
|18||"Can I Hang Around You"|
|19||"The Fluttering Bird in My Heart"|
|20||"Warm Night of Betrayal"|
|21||The Crime and Punishment of The Kiss"|
|22||"First Date at The Seaside"|
|23||"The Arrival of Tsubaki Domyouji!!"|
|24||"Love's Tempest!! Being Expelled??"|
|25||"Two Ways of Love"|
|27||"Tsukasa Goes to New York!!"|
|28||"Tsukushi Goes to Canada!!"|
|29||"His Body Against Mine"|
|30||"Do You Want a Friend?"|
|31||"Shock!! Horror!! Another Red Card?!"|
|32||"Tsukasa.. Won't Come?!"|
|33||"Someday We'll Laugh..."|
|34||"The Woman in My Life"|
|35||"Lovers on The Run"|
|36||"Tsukasa's Mother's Secret Plan"|
|37||"It's Showdown Time!!"|
|38||"I Will Tame You!!"|
|39||"Love Triangle From Hell"|
|40||"The Turning of Love's Tide"|
|41||"The Dawning of New Day"|
|42||"Surprise!! Double Date!?"|
|43||"The Heart's Wounds Intensify Feelings"|
|44||"It Can't Be You!!"|
|45||"Be Honest, Won't You??"|
|46||"Within The Approaching Hurricane!!"|
|47||"Exchange Student - Shigeru's Ripple!!"|
|49||"The Couple's New Connection"|
|50||"We Shouldn't See Each Other Anymore"|
Live-action TV series
Due to its immense popularity, Hana Yori Dango has been adapted into TV series several times: Meteor Garden, a 2001 Taiwanese series broadcast on CTS, followed by Meteor Garden II in 2002; Hana Yori Dango, a 2005 Japanese series broadcast on TBS, followed in 2007 by Hana Yori Dango Returns; Boys Over Flowers, a 2009 South Korean series broadcast on KBS; and also, most recently in late 2009, a Chinese adaptation, Meteor Shower, broadcast on Hunan TV.
In 2008, Hana Yori Dango Final was released in theatres on June 28, 2008 to end the Japanese TV series, all the original actors reprised their roles. The movie focused solely on Tsukasa and Tsukushi's adventure to retrieve the precious family heirloom: a tiara called "Smile of Venus" which was stolen by a mysterious man in black. The film has proven to be a huge success in Japanese cinemas remaining at #1 at the box office for several weeks, earning over US$ 70 million. The DVD for the drama is currently the #3 Best Selling Japanese Film DVD of all time after a mere 4 weeks of entering the charts, having stayed on top of them for all 4 weeks. The DVD was also the #1 best-selling DVD that was released in 2008. A cameo appearance was made by Naohito Fujiki, who played Hanazawa Rui in the original first live action movie, Hana Yori Dango, which was made in 1995 starring Uchida Yuki as Makino Tsukushi.
- "小学館漫画賞: 歴代受賞者" (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved 2007-08-19.
- Article - ‘Boys Before Flowers’ Korean Adaptation confirmed at Hancinema
- Article - ‘Hana Yori Dango: Final’ hits theaters at Nippon Cinema
- Article - ‘Hana Yori Dango: Final’ enters Top 3 Best-selling Japanese Film DVDs of all time at Oricon
- - ‘Hana Yori Dango: Final’, Naohito Fujiki's cameo casting at Nikkan Sports
- Official Movie Website (Japanese)
- Official TV Drama Website from TBS (Japanese)
- Official TV Drama 2 Website from TBS (Japanese)
- Toei's Hana Yori Dango website (Japanese)
- Official Viz site
- Boys Over Flowers (manga) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia