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This is a past article published in Hiragana Times. Each Japanese paragraph is followed by its English translation or vise versa, and furigana are placed above each kanji to make Japanese study even easier. [Magazine Sample] [Subscription Page]

Thrilling School Drama

[From March Issue 2015]

201503-10-1

Gokusen, Cover of issue 1, Shueisha Bunko.
Written by MORIMOTO Kozueko.
Published by Shueisha Ltd.
© 森本梢子/集英社

Gokusen

In this comedy YAMAGUCHI Kumiko is an unconventional teacher working at Shirokin Gakuin boy’s high school. The title “Gokusen” signifies that Kumiko is both the female heir to a crime syndicate and a school teacher. It was serialized from 2000 through to 2007 in the comic magazine “YOU.” It was adapted into a TV drama and movie, and through these works many actors became well-known.

A teacher at Shirokin Gakuin – a school with many problem children – Kumiko is put in charge of class four of the second year (junior year). The students proceed to make fun of seemingly mild-mannered Kumiko. One day when student KUMAI Teruo is attacked by senior year students, Kumiko comes to his rescue. Soon everybody comes to adore the hot-headed Kumiko. While helping out Kumiko, student leader SAWADA Shin finds out about Kumiko’s shady background.

Since her parents died in a traffic accident, Kumiko was left in the care of her grandfather KURODA Ryuichiro from a young age. The Kuroda clan, which her grandfather leads, has an excellent legal adviser called SHINOHARA Tomoya. Owing a debt of gratitude to Kumiko’s grandfather, Shinohara has remained in the underworld and during this time Kumiko has continued to hold a torch for him. Though she has the support of the clan’s henchmen, this romance does not develop.

As class four year two begins to come together as a group, Shirokin Gakuin’s future becomes uncertain. The school board chairman stops recruiting students for the next fiscal year and it’s rumored that the school is due to close. Angered by the news, Kumiko makes the board chairman write out a contract stating that if the school becomes number one in a sport or in a humanities subject within two months, the closure will be cancelled.

Though still having difficulty dealing with her students, with the help of the other teachers Kumiko begins to take charge. Kumiko and Sawada set up a boxing club, and challenge Japan’s most prestigious school to a match. Thinking that the team wouldn’t be able to win by playing fair, Kumiko uses underhand methods during the match. After securing a victory Shirokin Gakuin escapes closure.

During graduation Kumiko’s background come to light and she is forced to resign. Shinohara who has decided to return to Hokkaido because of his father’s illness asks the depressed Kumiko to marry him. But Kumiko elects to part with Shinohara when her students desperately plead with her to attend their graduation. Later, thanks to the efforts of the principal and her co-workers, she returns to Shirokin Gakuin.

The spirited protagonist is strong in a fight, but when it comes to love is completely clueless. So much so that she isn’t aware of her student Sawada’s affection for her until the last episode. After the series ended, special episodes were published several times. The growth of their mutual affection is depicted in these episodes.

Text: KAWARATANI Tokiko


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