- "When I read the article that said he'd found someone he was willing to give up his family name for, I decided to leave my family and come here. I heard that you were entering the Teen of Japan contest so I entered it too, because I wanted to compete with you. That's why I want to fight this out with you to the end."
- —Ayano to Tsukushi[src]
Ayano Kurimaki (
Ayano was from a wealthy political family. Her father was projected to be the next UN ambassador. She and Seinosuke Amakusa were informally engaged by their parents due to the favorable political connections. When they were little, Seinosuke himself promised to marry Ayano and told her about his dream of becoming a sushi chef. She happily agreed to work beside him in the future.
Teen of Japan
After reading articles about Seinosuke and Tsukushi Makino, Ayano rushed to Japan without telling her parents in order to compete in Teen of Japan. She met Tsukushi a week after arriving in Tokyo, running into her and Seinosuke in the park. She introduced herself and wished Tsukushi good luck. The contest commenced on Christmas Eve. In the first round, Ayano selected a Chanel ensemble and "made her unique additions to it," which a judge complimented her on. Ayano passed the round. Backstage, she took up for Tsukushi against Sonoko Maekawa. Angry at Ayano, she made a pointed comment about her and Seinosuke's engagement. Once Sonoko left, Ayano revealed to Tsukushi her reasons for coming to Japan. She told her "I want to fight this out with you to the end."
At the end of the second round, Ayano and Tsukushi were selected as finalists. During a break, Seinosuke approached the two girls backstage. When he questioned Ayano's reasons for coming to Japan, she reminded him of his promise to marry her. He was unsure of what to say. In the third round, Ayano had a head-start with the child judges, though they soon began defecting to Tsukushi's side. When Tsukushi invited her to join them, Ayano was touched and realized "why Seinosuke fell in love with [her]." The children were given instructions to choose which girl they liked best. One refused to do so, feeling that it was unfair since he liked them both. Some of the other children joined his protest. The judges decided to pick the winner based on overall points, leading Ayano to be crowned.
- Ayano: "Did you come to have Seinosuke's sushi. He treated me once. It was delicious, you know."
- Seinosuke: "Hah! Of course it is!"
- — Ayano meets Tsukushi while visiting Seinosuke's restaurant[src]
Seinosuke later left home to pursue his dreams of being a sushi chef. Ayano visited him at least once at the restaurant, where he was training. During her next visit, she was surprised to see Tsukushi and Tsukasa Domyoji. The two girls recognized each other and began reminiscing about Teen of Japan. Ayano, in particular, looked back on them jumping rope together fondly. Seinosuke invited Ayano to eat tuna he prepared. When he asked the girls "Aren't you digging in?," Ayano exclaimed "Hell yeah!" She was embarrassed at her un-ladylike outburst and corrected herself "I mean... I'd love to eat." Seinosuke answered "That's a good phrase to use." Tsukasa then told Ayano to get Tsukushi to "teach" her since she was "good at using words like that." They all laughed before sitting down to eat.
Ayano was known for her beauty. Sojiro Nishikado, in particular, found her very attractive and compared her to several flowers. Tsukushi described her as "beautiful," putting her on par with Tsubaki Domyoji and Shizuka Todo. Ayano had short, light brown hair styled in a bob cut and parted her hair in the middle. Her fashion style consisted of classic ensembles, such as a Chanel suit.
Personality and traits
She often hid her true feelings behind her calm and cool demeanor. Ayano only showed emotion while speaking about Seinosuke to Tsukushi. Like Tsubaki and Shizuka, Ayano was a nice and kind person which was the opposite of most of the wealthy girls Tsukushi had met. She did not see Tsukushi as someone beneath her, instead viewing her as serious rival for Seinosuke's affections. Ayano had long harbored deep feelings for Seinosuke, whom she was willing to throw away her comfortable life for. She was also noted for her intelligence and good manners.
Behind the scenes
- Ayano debuts in chapter sixty-five during the T.O.J. Arc.
- It is unknown if Ayano and Seinosuke continue their engagement or start dating, though it strongly hinted in chapter two hundred and thirty-four that there may be mutual feelings.
- See also: Category:Ayano Kurimaki portrayals
- Ayana Sakai portrays Ayano in two episodes of Hana Yori Dango (2005). In this version, Ayano is Tsukasa's fiancée and goes to school in London. She enters the Teen of Japan contest with Kaede's recommendation. Ayano passes through each round, eventually winning over the contest's underdog Tsukushi in the final. She grows to respect to Tsukushi and ends her engagement with Tsukasa by telling Kaede that Tsukushi may be the one meant for him.
- She is played by Liu Ye as Zhou Cai Na in the Chinese drama, Meteor Garden (2018). She is informally engaged to Tian Ye (Seinosuke), whom she has feelings for. To earn his respect, Cai Na enters the Chinese Cuisine Culinary Competition and competes against Shan Cai (Tsukushi). She later becomes a love interest for Feng Mei Zuo and Ye Ming Chuan.
- Koko Miyahime portrays Ayano in the Takarazuka 2019 musical, Hana Yori Dango. Her role is reduced since she is not a rival to Tsukushi in this version. Ayano's personality is kept similar to her manga counterpart, such as her kindness to Tsukushi and the children.
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