"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."
Tsukushi was born on December 28 to middle class parents, Haruo and Chieko Makino. Her parents named her after a weed, because "it always grows back stronger than ever". Tsukushi's brother, Susumu was born about two years later. 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, though they lost contact after moving on to middle school. Tsukushi was very popular among her peers in elementary school.
She became a class officer during 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 After entering Eitoku, she became withdrawn in an attempt to remain "quiet and unnoticed."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 transferred to Tsukushi. The next day, Tsukushi received the F4's red card, their "declaration of war", in her locker. Tsukushi decided to fight back against the F4's tyrannical rule. She delivered her own red cards to them.
The following day, the other students began bullying Tsukushi and Makiko started avoiding her. Tsukushi held back her tears until she reached the emergency stairwell, where she spoke to Rui Hanazawa for the first time. Later, Tsukasa hired four students to assault Tsukushi. Rui stepped in and stopped them, despite previously saying "I'm not interested in other people's problems." After the incident, Tsukushi returned to school with a vengeance. She blocked all of the students attempts to bully her and kicked Tsukasa in the face, before running away. Later, Tsukushi tried to thank Rui for his help, though he rebuffed her. Saying "hi" to her became a popular game among the students.
Tsukasa kidnapped Tsukushi and brought her to his mansion, where he had his servants give her a spa treatment and makeover. Tsukasa offered to "let [her] hang around him." Tsukushi felt insulted and rejected him, saying "I'm not for sale." Back at school, she saw "Tsukushi Makino, only girl in her school who had two abortions" 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 invited her to a party, which she attended later that day. However, they humiliated Tsukushi, being 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. However, Tsukasa became jealous instantly upon seeing them together and sent a red card to him. Tsukushi confronted Tsukasa, which lead to a volatile fight in which he slapped her and she punched him. Hearing Kazuya's cries, she left to save him from the bullies. They were chased into the university's cafeteria. At that point, Rui put a stop to the bullying. He angered Tsukasa, who refused to be his friend any longer. Shizuka befriended Tsukushi by helping her clean up in the girls' room. The recent stress was too much for Tsukushi. She fainted and stayed home from school the next day.
Tsukushi had copper colored hair and eyes. During her first year of high school, she often styled her hair in shoulder length braids. After confronting the F4, Tsukushi stopped wearing her hair in braids, leaving it down most of the time. Her hair remained straight and shoulder-length, until part of it was cut by Junpei Oribe. Tsukushi then wore her hair as a short bob-cut.
Personality and traits
She was a strong-willed, tough person with a strong sense of justice. Being named after a weed, Tsukushi often referenced, saying things like "you can pull a weed and mow it down, but it always grows back stronger than ever." Nevertheless, Tsukushi was a normal girl, who sometimes lost her nerve in high-pressure situations.
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 Taiwanese drama Meteor Garden (2001), Barbie Hsu plays Tsukushi, renamed Dong Shan Cai. Hsu's Shan Cai is a university student and only child, but retains most of Tsukushi's personality. Like Tsukushi, Shan Cai is stubborn, willful, courageous, and indecisive about her feelings for Dao Ming Si (Tsukasa).
In "The Bored Prince", a short comic published in 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.