Yukari Yukino (Movie) Character in “The Garden of Words”

This post includes a character analysis of Yukari Yukino, one of the protagonists of the 2013 film “The Garden of Words”. Beware of spoilers.

The Garden of Words

In “The Garden of Words”, Yukari Yukino is a young woman who forms a close bond with a boy named Takao Akizuki. At first, Yukari and Takao avoided revealing too much about each other’s personalities. It turns out that Yukari is a teacher at Takao’s high school.

When Yukari is at the local park, she likes to drink beer and eat chocolate. The teacher has been skipping work because of malicious rumours spread about her at school. Unable to overcome the harassment, Yukari eventually quits her job.

Meanwhile, Yukari runs into Takao again at the local park, and she notices a couple of bruises on him. The instigators behind the rumours decided to beat Takao after he confronted them about their actions. Their conversation is interrupted by the heavy rain, and Yukari invites Takao to her place.

At Yukari’s apartment, Takao confesses his feelings for her. The teacher reminds him that she cannot reciprocate his feelings. Not only that, Yukari also informs Takao that she’ll be moving soon, which deeply upsets the latter.

In the end, Yukari hugs Takao and tells him that he “saved” her. After their emotional farewell, Yukari becomes a teacher in her hometown, while Takao continues his studies. Despite living in different cities, the two remain in contact through letters.

Note: For those who are interested, here is another article discussing the meaning behind the ending of “The Garden of Words”.

Yukari Yukino Character Analysis in “The Garden of Words”

“The Garden of Words” presents Yukari Yukino as a young woman who is currently avoiding her workplace. She used to teach at Takao’s high school but quit because of malicious rumours spread by a group of ill-intentioned students.

In terms of personality, Yukari Yukino is introverted and non confrontational. Yukari has a secretive side to her, which makes her exude a mysterious aura. Many describe the young woman as someone who often displays a sad and lonely demeanour. Also, Yukari does not handle hostility well. Instead of taking action against her perpetrators, she ended up quitting her job.

What Happened to Yukari Yukino?

It all started because some girl thought Yukari “seduced” her boyfriend, which was obviously not true. However, that didn’t stop the girl and her clique from spreading petty rumours to slander Yukari’s good name.

The harassment and stress induced by this incident led Yukari to lose her sense of taste. Ever since then, Yukari’s life has spiraled out of control, and she has lost her will to get her life back together. Not being able to face her fears, Yukari becomes extremely unhappy with the direction that her life has taken.

On the one hand, Yukari is aware that she needs to change her ways. But on the other hand, she doesn’t know how to break from her own bad habits. Day after day, she lies to her friends and drinks heavily. Yukari knows that what she’s doing is bad, yet she feels too weak and stuck to make a change.

Yukari Yukino’s Character Evolution

Throughout the film “The Garden of Words,” Yukari Yukino’s personality goes through a significant change. She goes from being mysterious and closed off to being more open and vulnerable. Not only that, but Yukari also becomes more assertive and self-aware regarding her life and its direction.

In the beginning, Yukari Yukino was lost and depressed by the malicious rumours. However, little by little, she found herself again, thanks to Takao. Before bidding farewell, Yukari was able to express her gratitude to Takao and show her vulnerable side.

The young woman’s decision to move back to her home town was the first step towards taking care of herself again. Up until meeting Takao, most of Yukari’s day consisted of drinking too much and avoiding her workplace.

More towards the end of “The Garden of Words”, Yukari manages to change her ways. She finally breaks from the unhealthy cycle that has been trapping her for a long time. And starts making more proactive decisions towards her life and well-being.

Yukari Yukino and Takao Akizuki (Relationship Analysis)

The relationship that Yukari Yukino has with Takao Akizuki is purely platonic. Although the latter developed romantic feelings for Yukari, the teacher never forgot her role as an educator and as an adult.

At Yukari’s apartment, Takao accuses the latter of playing with his feelings, but she never did such a thing. Although it’s true that Yukari was being secretive during their meetings, she also had her reasons.

Despite not being able to love Takao back, he is an important figure in her life. As mentioned before, Yukari feels that Takao saved her during their meetings at the park. In a way, the boy was the anchor she needed to prevent her from sinking further into a dark place.

In Takao, Yukari found a new reason to get up and walk. She liked her meetings with Takao because of the anonymity. In the beginning, they were just strangers chatting at the park, which gave her an enormous sense of freedom. Takao didn’t judge her like the others, as he didn’t know who she was.

The friendship gave Yukari the strength to move on with her life. In turn, it also gave Takao a new purpose in life and the courage to pursue his dreams. Despite parting ways in the end, their bond was genuine. The letters are proof that they haven’t forgotten about each other.

Final Thoughts

Yukari Yukino reminds the audience that sometimes life might play some cruel tricks on us. Nonetheless, that shouldn’t stop one from playing the game and moving on in life. In her case, the young woman was fortunate enough to find someone who could lift her up.

In retrospect, Yukari was just as emotionally immature as Takao when it came to dealing with her own emotions and personal problems. Despite being a fully grown adult, Yukari was too afraid to confront her bullies. In reality, the young woman did nothing wrong, yet she hides as if she did.

For most people, there isn’t always a Takao in the corner standing up for our personal fights. Sometimes, we just need to find in ourselves the strength to walk on our feet. On a more positive note, Yukari does change her ways and makes an effort to get her life back together.