Gokusen (ごくせん?) is a manga series by Kozueko Morimoto. The story follows Kumiko Yamaguchi, the granddaughter of a Yakuza boss and teacher at an all-male private high school. In 2008, a SP manga was out, featuring some of Yankumi's (Kumiko) old students who are by now working adults.

In 2002, the manga was adapted into a television drama with Yukie Nakama in the title role. A second series was produced in 2005. An animated adaptation ran in Nippon Television from 6 January 2004 to 30 March 2004.

The third season of the series was aired as Nippon Television's 55th Anniversary Program in 2008.

A movie as part of the drama was released in Japanese theaters on July 11, 2009.


The plot involves Kumiko Yamaguchi, the granddaughter of a Yakuza boss, Kuroda of the Kuroda Ikka. Her parents died when she was younger, and her grandfather has no other descendants, so Kumiko is next in line to head the family business with the title of Ojou. However, her lifelong dream has been to become a teacher. While her grandfather approves of her choice, others in the family want her to become the next boss.

Kumiko (known by her students as "Yankumi") becomes a teacher at an all-boys private high school. Her class is full of delinquents, but she tries her hardest to teach them not just about academics (her subject is Mathematics), but about lessons of life, much like any "dedicated teacher" story. Though she's forced to keep her family a secret from the public, her Yakuza upbringing gives her the strength and the experience to reach out to her students, while also providing comedic relief.

Anime characters

Kumiko "Yankumi" Yamaguchi (山口 久美子 Yamaguchi Kumiko?)
She is a 23-year-old university graduate, and is newly hired at Shirokin Gakuen. She is very idealistic, and wants to inspire her students and help them graduate high school. Since the age of 7, when her parents died, Kumiko has been living with her grandfather, who is the head of an influential Tokyo Ninkyo group. Despite this strange upbringing, and the bizarre mannerisms she has picked up from it, like her use of yakuza slang and a habit of running from the cops when she sees them, Kumiko is a good-hearted girl who has a strong faith in her students, even when they think the world is against them. Her belief in them and her combat skills help her earn their respect. They give her the nickname "Yankumi", something she greatly likes. In the drama, she wished for her new students to refer her by itd and in the SP manga, despite being injured she becomes energetic and wishes for her class to play soccer when her new student calls her it (something Shin told them to call her to make up for what they did). It is also revealed that she is attracted to men in a fundoshi; going into a trance when she saw Shin in one. In the 2008 SP manga, Yankumi finally returned Sawada's feeling after Sawada saved her from a gang of bikers. A running gag for the drama series is that with each new series almost everyone has completely forgotten she is next in line to run the yakuza, even when asking a fellow teacher from a previous series he replied only with a puzzled look on his face. Another running gag is in the beginning of each new series she is shown incapable of teaching unless she is teaching the delinquents of the school, and more often than not scaring her students from her unusual behavior.

Shirokin High School

Shin Sawada (沢田 慎 Sawada Shin?)
18 year old Shin is the leader of class 3-D (17 year old leader of 2-4 in the manga). He is cool, level-headed, smart, and somewhat introverted. Everyone in the class looks up to him. Shin is feared because of an incident back in middle school, where he punched out a teacher, though he did deserve it as the teacher constantly persecuted a student he believed to have committed a crime, where later he was proven innocent the teacher refused to apologize. He knows right away that something is not normal about their new teacher and keeps an eye on her. He's the first one who found out Yankumi's true identity and later confesses to her [in the manga's last chapter] that he is in love with her. In the manga, he is given the alias of "Young Master Red Lion" from Kyou. Shin's father is a high ranking police official. At the end of the series he wanted to become a Yakuza lawyer so to be with Kumiko, and when he confessed to her, it appeared that everyone knew of his feelings for her, even the teachers, except for her. In the drama, his father is a senator. An amusing aspect of this series is that whenever he thinks he's on a mission to save Kumiko, he always gets beaten up and she continuously has to come to his rescue. Many fans were disappointed that he never returned in the sequels in the live-action series, hoping for him and Yankumi to become a couple as in the drama, he decided to go abroad as a social worker, where in the Special Manga 2008, Sawada was a top student of Toudai University and he has a stable life and job as he's seen taking Yankumi out for a movie with his own car and constantly flirting with her, stating why he was so cooperative with her back then was because he fell in love with her at first sight and set up their casual meeting to turn it into a date. For the first time he is shown with emotion when one of Yankumi's new students trick her to fight a gang of bikers and he goes off to save her - he managed to save her and Yankumi finally returned his feelings, and they ended up kissing.
Youichi Minami (南 陽一 Minami Yōichi?)
He is one of Shin's friends. He always gets into fights, like everyone else. He had gotten into a fight with Ichiro Tsuruta, and was beaten by him. Minami is the tough guy of the group. In the anime and manga he is often seen with Noda, indicating a close friendship. In the drama he was a ladies man, but in the anime/manga he was considered the ugliest.
Haruhiko "Uchi" Uchiyama (内山 春彦 Uchiyama Haruhiko?)
He is the guy with a weird purple hairstyle. In the drama, he has long hair that he bleached blonde. He's also one of Shin's friends. He was lost in Okinawa when they had a trip there and he gave Kumiko and Shin a lot of problems during that time. When they finally found him, Kumiko smacked him until his face was swollen. Uchi in the Drama seemed very much like Minami from the anime/manga. In the drama he is a tough guy with a soft spot for his mother. His nickname is Uchi.
Teruo "Kuma" Kumai (熊井 輝夫 Kumai Teruo?)
Large and tough, Kumai (called "Kuma", or "Bear" by everyone) always seems to be getting into trouble. He's either getting into fights, or being accused of theft, or being attacked by a rival school. Kuma and Shin are best friends. They grew up together, and Kuma calls Shin "Shin-chan". Even Kuma's mother was friends with Kumiko before she became a teacher. He is also the only former student of Yankumi's shown in the drama version's sequel. In the second series he is revealed to be married to the girl he had a crush on in the first season, and in the third season he becomes a father. Throughout the seasons he helps Yakumi when he sees her students getting into some kind of trouble and becomes a mentor to them as well. In each new series of the drama there is always a kid who greatly resembles Kuma in Yankumi's class.
Takeshi Noda (野田 猛 Noda Takeshi?)
He is also one of Shin's friends. He was the one who thought of giving Kumiko "Yankumi" as her nickname. Takeshi Noda is a member of class 2-4. Although not typically a main cast member, in one episode (in the drama), he becomes obsessed with the teacher Shizuka Fujiyama. Hurt when she threw away a present he gave her, Noda takes a picture of her at her secret second job: hostess of a bar. He then sends the picture to the head teacher and almost gets Shizuka put on probation for a week, to be fired if class 3-D does not get at least a 30 on their English mid-finals. In the manga, he is the first of his classmates to figure out that Shin likes Yankumi and gets Shin to admit so. In the manga, he is much more involved then in the anime or drama. He is also much smarter in the manga, like one instance when Ms. Fujiyama was being stalked, Noda made many suggestions as to how the stalker could follow Ms. Fujiyama. One thing he has in common with his drama counterpart is his sense in fashion, as demonstrated in the chapter of the manga "Protect our F-cup", where he dresses Yamaguchi in his sister's clothing in which Uchiyama and the others (first in disgust) found that the outfit worked well with her. He is often seen with Minami in the anime and manga, indicating a friendship between them, possibly being best friends. In the anime and manga he is accused of being a thief (similar to Uchi's situation in the drama).
Shizuka Fujiyama (藤山 静香 Fujiyama Shizuka?)
Shizuka Fujiyama is another female teacher hired by Shirokin Gakuin at the same time as Yankumi. In the drama, Fujiyama teaches English. In the anime she teaches music. One of her students once attempted suicide and she learned a lesson because of that incident. She started a choir club in school. In the drama, Fujiyama wears her normal clothes all the time, but in the anime and manga she wears a tracksuit like Yankumi does. Fujiyama used to teach middle school students, and is very happy to be teaching at a high school. She jokes about which boys are cute, and whom she would sleep with.
Goro Sawatari (猿渡 五郎 Sawatari Gorō?)
The School's Vice-Principal is Yankumi's main nemesis amongst the school staff. In episode 13 he was the 3rd person to find out about Yankumi's secret only to realize that she resigned. Also he tried to use a camera when he witnessed a fight only to be caught by Kyo. He is only majorly featured in the drama and anime. In the drama, despite initially antagonistic towards Yankumi and her class, he was undeniably portrayed as more benevolent than his anime incarnation. His state of benevolence was shown to be more prominent in Gokusen 2, where among the last few episodes, he deliberately informed Yankumi that her class attempted to boycott their graduation unless she calls off her resignation. It would seem that the drama-version Sawatori has grown to respect the headstrong and dignified educator that Yankumi is, despite knowing that he also risked getting fired in the process (he was poised for promotion). He was later seen a month after graduation, apparently assigned to another school (claiming to have resigned from the last one). He has a wife in the drama who runs an arranged marriage business, though he is constantly seen enjoying himself with younger women. A running gag in the drama is that he is able to instantly retain his status as Vice-Principal with each new school, even leading Yankumi to question how he does that.
Gonzou Shirakawa (白川 権三 Shirakawa Gonzō?)
The School's Principal. He does have a great knack for popping up suddenly at unusual times to point out useful information. In the manga and anime, the Koucho is this happy little bald guy who likes to wear bow ties. He knows that Yankumi is next in line to the yakuza, and discovered that was one of the main reasons he hired her, because he knew she would be able to easily handle that class.

Kuroda Family/Ooedo Clan

Ryuichiro Kuroda (黒田 龍一郎 Kuroda Ryūichirō?)
Kumiko's grandfather. He is a kindly, wise old man who loves Kumiko very much, and is always there to support her and give advice. He took Kumiko in after her parents died. Though many rookies in the crime world might believe he runs a small branch of the Yakuza due to only having a few members, it is shown he is highly respected in the yakuza, and with a single command he could call upon thousands of members, as well as the few members that are with him are very strong and skilled at what they do, being able to take on a gang that clearly outmatched them in numbers with ease. This alone will scare smaller branches from even the thought of attacking him. He and the family are very respected around town as well, willing to do what they could to keep Kudou from escaping the Ooedo Clan.
Kyotaro "Kyo-san" Oshima (大島 京太郎 Ōshima Kyōtarō?)
Kyo is a tough-looking member of the Yakuza, but he is very close to Kumiko. When he was younger, and Kumiko was a little girl, he taught her how to fight and defend herself when she was being bullied in school and teased because of her Yakuza connections (in the drama it was her grandfather who did this). He later figures out that Shin is in love with Kumiko and wishes him the best of luck. He respects the Ooedo Clan and Kumiko very dearly, where even though he pretended to hit her to make it seem like she was in debt to the yakuza rather than a part of it to her students, he tried to kill himself (while flooding with tears) for raising his hand to her, or protecting Class 4 because they are her students. Yet this does not prevent him from wishing to kill them when he believes they upset her.
Kouzou Wakamatsu (若松 弘三 Wakamatsu Kōzō?)
The young head assistant of the Kuroda family and the only one of the group that is married.
Minoru Tatsukawa (達川 ミノル Tatsukawa Minoru?)
Along with Tetsu, Minoru is a member of Kumiko's Yakuza group, and is one of her loyal followers. He and Tetsu watch over Kumiko and worry about her. Minoru and Tetsu can occasionally be seen running a takoyaki stand near Kumiko's school where they can be near her if needed. Sometimes their enthusiasm in serving her almost betrays her secret, but all they want to do is help. Kumiko took him in when he was a teen, calling him a 'younger brother' since the family didn't accept underage kids, and he had no where else to go.
Tetsu Asakura (朝倉 てつ Asakura Tetsu?)
Tetsu is one of Kumiko's lackeys. He is a member of the Yakuza group, and is very devoted and protective of her. He and Minoru always keep an eye on Kumiko and do their best to help her when they can. In the drama, Tetsu seems to like Kumiko, but unfortunately he doesn't seem to have very good chances of getting romantically involved with her, as she considers him to be like family. Kumiko took him in when he was a teen, calling him a 'younger brother' since the family didn't accept underage kids, and he had no where else to go.
Fuji (黒田 富士 Kuroda Fuji?)
He is Kumiko's old dog. He narrates the preview for the next episode. He is very loyal to Kumiko. He talks most of the time in the anime even though nobody can hear him (however Shin seems to be able to know what Fuji is thinking). Anime and manga character only, though a dog fitting Fuji's image can be seen in the drama.


Tomoya Shinohara (篠原 智也 Shinohara Tomoya?)
In the manga and anime, Shinohara is the lawyer that works for Kumiko's Yakuza group. He's handsome and cool. Kumiko's grandfather helped Shinohara back when he was a law student, and Shinohara works for the Yakuza to repay the favor. Kumiko has had a crush on him for a long time where in the drama she gets a crush on the new guy of the series, oddly though the P.E. teacher showed genuine feelings for her but during the time she is too star-stuck by her new crush to notice. At the end of the series he returns to his hometown after his father was getting out of the hospital.
Hiroki Kudoh (工藤 広樹 Kudō Hiroki?)
A former student at Shirokin Gakuen. He was a senior there until he was kicked out. He met Kumiko during her first week of school, when he tried to beat up Kuma. Then Kumiko, when she found Kudoh and his gang, gave them a worse beating. He joins the Nekomata Group and tries to frame the Ooedo Clan to get back at Kumiko. Back at Shirokin Gakuen he and the other seniors used to beat up the juniors whenever they could. By the end of the anime he kidnapped Kumiko in hopes of bringing down the Ooedo Clan, only to be beaten by Shin and the rest of the class from 2-4. In the manga he is later taken in by Kumiko, seeing that she needs to make him into a better man, though he fights her (unsuccessfully) at every step.
Ichiro Tsuruta (鶴田 一郎 Tsuruta Ichirō?)
Tsuruta is known to be the strongest pupil in the school. He and Kudoh were the bullies to the juniors, and Tsuruta was eventually kicked out. He returns to school in Episode 9 for the festival thanks to the Vice-principal. The seniors basically used him to start fights with the juniors, until he and Kumiko secretly had a fight. Kumiko won and in return had Tsuruta stop being a bully and start hitting the books. Tsuruta may seem tough but he's actually a kind person and a good cook. He also shows up in episode 11 of the anime, to try and help the guys get Shin out.
Ichikawa (一川?)
A boy who goes to Shirokin Gakuen. A good kid who keeps getting bullied by his so-called friends. Ms. Fujiyama wanted him to join the choir club because she thought he was cute and to get him away from his bad friends, and because he reminded her of a student she had in middle school who tried to commit suicide. He almost did commit suicide, if not for Kumiko and Shin who grabbed him in time before he fell off the roof. He's later shown in Ms. Fujiyama's choir club.


File:Gokusen gma.jpg

GMA Network's title card for the Gokusen drama series in the Philippines

The drama aired on Nippon TV from April 1, 2002 to July 3, 2002. The series consisted of 12 episodes. Nippon TV began airing a second season on January 15, 2005, with several returning cast members (including Yukie Nakama). It lasted 10 episodes. There is also a special episode titled "Gokusen Special: Sayonara 3-nen D-gumi" (Goodbye 3rd year Class D), it's a sequel to the first season and the prequel to the second season. The drama also was the highest-rated in its time slot when it was shown in the Philippines by the GMA Network, and was popular enough that the network decided to re-run it, and continued to be the highest-rated show in its time slot. In the Philippines, the series ended with the Gokusen special.

The third season of Gokusen began airing on April 19, 2008 in Japan and March 23, 2009 in the Philippines on GMA Network. Yukie Nakama reprises her role as Yankumi, Katsuhisa Namase as Sawatari, and the rest of the cast that makes up Yankumi's Yakuza family returns as well.


Oedo Family

Note: The Ooedo Family cast members remain the same throughout all three seasons of Gokusen.

Other cast

  • Katsuhisa Namase as Goro Sawatari (the Vice Principal of all of the high schools Yankumi worked at on all three seasons)
  • Tomohiro Waki (脇 知弘) as Teruo "Kuma" Kumai (a student of Class 3D at Shirokin High School (Season 1) → the owner of the ramen restaurant named "Kumai Ramen" (Season 2-3))
  • Mikihisa Azuma as Masayoshi Baba (a PE Teacher who first appeared on Season 2 and returned on Season 3)

Season 1 Cast

Shirokin High School
Class 3D

Season 2 Cast

Kurogin High School
  • Otoha as Hitomi Shiratori (English Teacher)
  • Toshiya Sakai as Taichi Inazuka (Japanese Language Teacher)
  • Moto Fuyuki as Takashi Kameyama (Ethics Teacher)
  • Magii as Inomata Shinji (Chemistry Teacher)
  • Yukiko Ikeda as Sayuri Wanibuchi (Music Teacher)
  • Jun Inoue as Ginji Kurokawa (Chairman of Kurogin High School)
  • Shosuke Tanihara as Takuma Kujo (Teacher in Momo Girls High School)
Class 3D

Season 3 Cast

Akadou High School
Class 3D

Recurring themes

  • Yankumi begins each season with a long speech about her career as a teacher. On Season 2, she makes her speech in front of a Kindergarten class, while on Season 3, her speech is in front of a class of foreign students in the Japanese countryside. On both instances, she is promptly fired for teaching her students Yakuza slang.
  • When Yankumi bumps into her love interest for the first time without knowing his name, she temporarily uses an object or location as a nickname for him. On Season 1, after meeting Shinohara in a crowded bus, she nicknames him "Sakurazashita-sama" after the bus stop where he departs. Kujo from Season 2 is nicknamed "Burberry-sama" from the Burberry handkerchief he drops after meeting her in front of the school. On Season 3, Natsume is nicknamed "Romeo-sama" after a book copy of Romeo and Juliet he drops on his first encounter with Yankumi.
  • When Yankumi first has a fight in the beginning of each of the seasons, it begins in a warehouse and she knocks down the door. In season 1, she goes after the men who have stolen the money Kumai originally stole from the head teacher. In season 2, she rescues Ryu from a gang of men intent on keeping him in their job. In season 3, she rescues Yamato from a man he has accused of framing one of his classmates.
  • Yankumi switches from her teacher mode to her Yakuza mode by pulling out her ponytails and taking off her glasses before every fight. In season 2 she added a slight head toss as well.
  • When Yankumi is especially proud of her students, she often ruffles their hair in an affectionate way, to which they respond with disgust and confusion.

Theme songs

The theme songs for the anime are:

  • "Hontou no Kotoba" - "My Real Word" by Foot Stamp (Opening)
  • "Onore Michi" - "On My Road" by Aki Yashiro (Ending)

The theme songs for the drama are:

  • "Feel Your Breeze" by V6 (Ending) (S1)
  • "No More Cry" by D-51 (Ending) (S2)
  • "Kizuna" by Kazuya Kamenashi (insert song) (S2)
  • "Oretachi no Seishun" by Yuya Takaki (insert song) (S3)
  • "Niji (Rainbow)" by Aqua Timez (Ending) (S3)



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  • Noticeably, most of the members of Class 3-D retained the first names of their actors. However in Season 3, all members of Class 3-D but the main 6 members, retain the last names of the past Prime Ministers of Japan.[citation needed]
  • The leaders of each class 3-D are members of J-Pop boy bands. Jun Matsumoto (Sawada in Season 1) is from Arashi; Kazuya Kamenashi (Odagiri) and Jin Akanishi (Yabuki) of Season 2 are from KAT-TUN; Yuya Takaki (Ogata in Season 3) is from Hey! Say! JUMP; Haruma Miura (Kazama in season 3) is from Brash Brats. It is notable that all of the actors mentioned, with the exception of Haruma Miura, belong to the famous talent agency "Johnny & Associates"
  • Shun Oguri, the actor who played Haruhiko Uchiyama, also played as Noboru Yoshikawa in Great Teacher Onizuka. In Gokusen, he is one of the bullies but in GTO, he is the one being bullied.
  • The Kuroda Ikka and Ooedo Family was based on The Yamaguchi-gumi (based in Kobe) is the largest and most notorious criminal organization in Japan.
  • All high schools Gokusen were set in have names that are a combination of a color and metal: Shirokin means "white gold"; Kurogin means "black silver"; Akadou means "red copper".


External links

ca:Gokusen ko:고쿠센 ms:Gokusen pt:Gokusen ru:Gokusen sv:Gokusen th:ครูสาวยากูซ่า tr:Gokusen zh:極道鮮師

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