Gokusen 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, an 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. The third season of the (live action) series was aired as Nippon Television’s 55th Anniversary Program in 2008.
A 13 episode animated adaptation by Madhouse ran on Nippon Television from January 6, 2004 to March 30, 2004.
A movie as part of the drama series was released in Japanese theaters on July 11, 2009.
- Kumiko “Yankumi” Yamaguchi
- 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. 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 with her unusual behavior.
Shirokin High School
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. When he was in middle school, he punched a teacher for refusing to apologise to an innocent student the teacher had been unfairly harassing. 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. He never returned in the sequels in the live-action series as he decided to go abroad as a social worker. While in the Special Manga 2008, Sawada is 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 with her, stating why he was so cooperative with her back then was because he liked 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 tricks her into fighting a gang of bikers and he goes off to save her – he managed to save her.
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
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. In the drama, he is a tough guy with a soft spot for his mother. His nickname is Uchi. In the manga, he is the first of the group to get a girlfriend when he starts a relationship with a horror-obsessed girl named Shiori. She constantly terrifies him with horror stunts. After a while, he seems to embrace her love of horror, even thinking about becoming a monster movie make-up artist.
Teruo “Kuma” Kumai
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 second and third drama seasons. He eventually marries his first love and later becomes a father. Throughout the seasons he helps Yankumi 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.
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 than 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).
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. In the manga, she developed a crush on Kyo-san and tries to meet him, but she doesn’t believe he’s her “knight”. Since she daydreamed him younger looking.
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.
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.