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Sawako
Name
Japanese 黒沼 爽子
Rōmaji Kuronuma Sawako
English Sawako Kuronuma (VIZ)
Alias Sadako (貞子)
Zashiki Warashi
Personal Information
Birthday December 31
Sign Capricorn
Age 15 (ch.1) • 16 (ch.25) • 17 (ch.76)
18 (ch.113)
Gender Female
Height 158 cm[1] (5'2")
Weight 50 kg (110 lbs)
Blood Type O
Relatives Kitao Kuronuma (Father)
Youko Kuronuma (Mother)
Shouta Kazehaya (Husband)
Touta Kazehaya (Brother-in-law)
Eiji Akahoshi (Cousin)
Motto "One good deed each day"
「一日一善 Ichinichi Ichizen
Professional Status
Occupation Student
Affiliation Kitahoro High School (Former)
University of Education
First Appearance
Manga Chapter 00
Anime Episode 01
Voiced by
Japanese Mamiko Noto
English Xanthe Huynh
French Élodie Lasne (Black Box)
Charlotte Hervieux (Netflix)
Latin-American Spanish Samanta Figueroa
Portrayed by
Movie Mikako Tabe
TV series Sara Minami
You don't know how others feel unless you ask. Your feelings can't reach others unless frankly expressed. Because we can't understand each other, we desire to make things clearer. And that brings joy to my heart.
— Sawako describing the joy of communicating feelings properly, the essence behind the series.

Sawako Kuronuma (黒沼 爽子 Kuronuma Sawako) is the main protagonist of the series Kimi ni Todoke. She is a high school girl in search of friendship, but her resemblance to the horror film character Sadako from The Ring has made this difficult. Her peculiar levels of modesty and ineffective communication skills prevented her from correcting misconceptions. As a result, she was ostracized by her classmates and became socially inept. Still, she is a pure, positive, and caring person who works hard in everything she does.

On the day of the entrance ceremony at Kitahoro High School, Sawako meets Shouta Kazehaya on the road by chance and helps him find his way. Due to his friendly and broad-minded nature, he is the first person she is able to smile genuinely around and get through to as herself and not Sadako. After this, her world begins to change as she learns to communicate her feelings and form close friendships with fellow humans, especially Chizuru Yoshida and Ayane Yano, for the first time in her life.

Currently, she is studying to be a high school Japanese Language teacher at the University of Education with her rival and later best friend, Ume Kurumizawa.

Appearance[]

Sawako in the manga

Sawako in the manga.

Sawako is a beautiful and considerably petite and slender girl whose appearance stands out among her high school population as she has pale skin, thin lips, big brown eyes and long straight jet-black hair, styled in a hime-cut, resembling the horror film character Sadako. Her smile is rumored to bring good luck due to its rarity and the fact that it is beautiful to look at. Chizuru Yoshida notes that Sawako's face and figure looks like her mother Youko Kuronuma while most of Sawako's other features, including her short frame, are inherited of her father Kitao Kuronuma.

Sawako usually wears her high school uniform, along with a blue blazer during winter and a short-sleeved dress shirt during summer. Her skirt reaches her knees as she follows school regulations and does not pull or roll it like her female peers. Neither does she care much for cosmetics or accessories.

When not at school, Sawako is known to usually wear light-colored dresses instead but wears a t-shirt and a pair of pants during the school trip to be more at ease when walking.

Personality[]

On the surface, Sawako seems to be shy and distant, resembling a certain creepy horror film character. She tends to take words seriously and over-analyze situations.

In reality, Sawako is kind and honest, desperately wanting to make human connections. She is extremely hardworking and responsible, ranked 3rd in her high school class and eventually graduating as her class valedictorian, but stumbles in social areas.

Sawako is also very selfless, often forgetting her own needs for others. When it comes to herself, Sawako is sometimes clueless, being oblivious to Shouta's feelings, not knowing she was already friends with Ayane Yano and Chizuru Yoshida, and having Shouta Kazehaya tell her that social isolation to protect others wasn't a normal or healthy way to live.

However, Sawako can give very good social advice in an objective role, giving consultations as part of the cafe her 2nd year class put together revolving around her medicinal plants during the school festival.

She is quite harmonious and open-minded, noting how all things/beings complement each other. She is also very pure and innocent, as observed by other characters. 

Thanks to Shouta, Ayane and Chizuru, Sawako learns to deepen her friendships with others. By the time she graduates from high school, Sawako has made friends with everyone in the class and has become the most popular girl in school. 

Abilities[]

Sawako is incredibly fast at running and jumping, to the point where people believe she is teleporting. This is revealed during a sports festival soccer match during her first year, although this is the only mention of said ability throughout the series. It is hinted that Sawako trains every weekend by jogging during her neighborhood cleanup duty.

Sawako is very good at cooking, tending to make meals for friends and family, who often become delighted and ask for a second round.

Sawako knows how to crochet hats, scarves, tea coasters, slippers and haramaki - those are the items she gave to friends and family for Christmas.

Relationships[]

Shouta Kazehaya[]

Sawako and Shouta met as freshmen under a road of cherry blossoms on the first day of school. He was the first person who treated her cordially and Sawako began admiring and wanting to be more like him. After conversing with him before the summer break, she felt a desire to develop a closer relationship with Shouta and know him better. Shouta has influenced Sawako's life greatly, encouraging her to become more social and experience new things. Sawako has admitted that she could never hate him. As the year went by, they became closer friends and Sawako began to see him as someone special to her. When Kurumi asked for Sawako's help to get romantically involved with Shouta, Sawako found herself unable to help but did not understand why. It took Kurumi's scolding, and Ryu's definition of romantic love for Sawako to realize that she was crushing on Shouta. 

Sawako had once worshiped him, but figured out that the Shouta she fell for was just an ordinary guy. After noticing her feelings for Shouta, Sawako became more nervous around him and eventually avoided him out of fear of possible possessiveness. Later on, though, she worked hard on trying to confess her feelings to him, which led to them getting together. 

Being in a relationship with Shouta was like a dream for Sawako, and she often found herself at a loss on how to deal with him. However, Shouta assured her that she should just be herself, and Sawako felt at ease. Later during their 2nd year, particularly after the class field trip in Okinawa, Shouta becomes more self-conscious and distant towards Sawako due to his own insecurities that he wasn't properly valuing Sawako as his girlfriend. During Christmas, Sawako feels lonely because Shouta is so busy managing their class party that he does not spend any time with her. Afterwards, Sawako openly questions their relationship and cries and yells at him for neglecting her. This snaps him back to his senses, and they get their relationship back on track.

During their third and final year, Sawako and Shouta greatly support each other as they begin to ponder what they want to do in the future. Shouta helps Sawako realize that she wants to go to Sapporo University become a teacher, and Sawako helps Shouta make amends with his Father and realize that he wants to become a sports trainer and attend in their hometown. By the end of high school, Sawako and Shouta promise to retain a strong long-distance relationship with Sawako receiving a ring from him on her 18th birthday and a letter the day she leaves with promises for the future.

Ayane Yano[]

Ayane is a close friend of Sawako, as well as one of the first few people who noticed Sawako was being avoided, as seen in Chapter 1. She deals with Sawako differently than Chizuru, being kind and encouraging but taking a backseat and being calculating. Ayane also helps Sawako with makeovers and relationships, acting as a big sister. 

Sawako cares about Ayane a lot, as seen when she avoided her and the others to protect them from the rumours. Although she is usually calm and collected, Ayane is easily infuriated if someone hurts Sawako and not hesitate to attack the one she believes is responsible (frequently Kazehaya) with kicks and sharp words. She also was the one who discovered Kurumi made those fake rumours and had proved it to Sawako herself. Ayane greatly watches over Sawako's relationships and seems to enjoy watching it. Sawako's affection for Shouta also makes her start questioning her own relationships.

Chizuru Yoshida[]

Yoshida is another close friend of Sawako and Ayane. She tends to cry a lot when Sawako says something sweet or does something for her. Yoshida and Ayane try to help Sawako gain more friends and they also try to set up Kazehaya and Sawako. Chizuru is someone who will fight back head on for Sawako and cares for her greatly. At one point, she even scolds Sawako for not believing in herself, leading the latter to think more about her actions, although Chizuru also regrets yelling at Sawako right after. They make up right after, leading the two girls to be really happy.

Sawako has always felt Chizuru and Ryu would make a good match, although Chiru loves Ryu's brother, Toru, instead. When Chizuru began to feel rejected by Toru, Sawako began to worry about the fact she couldn't do anything but gets advice from Shouta to just be by her side. After Sawako cries for Chizuru, she is able to make Chizuru cry and say what she really feels.

Ryu Sanada[]

Ryu is a good friend to Sawako. Sharing similar soft-spoken, honest personalities, the two understand each other well. Throughout the series, they often support each other in pursuing their respective romantic relationships. Sawako was the first person Ryu ever confided in on his romantic feelings for Chizuru, and for some time she was the only one who knew and supported him. Likewise, Ryu is aware of Sawako's romantic feelings for Shouta and plays a major role in helping her realize them. Later on, when Sawako was unable to communicate to Shouta due to her anxiety, Ryu helped her out by making her realize how silly she was acting. Finally, when Sawako mustered enough courage to tell Kazehaya how she felt, Ryu guided her by telling where Kazehaya was. Ryu is glad for both Shouta and Sawako when they finally get together.

When they first met in Kitahoro High, Ryu originally does not remember Sawako's name that well, comically misspelling it as "Kuroyama Takako", etc. However, it is a commendable fact that unlike most of the class, he never avoided Sawako. Not caring about her supposed supernatural powers or even believing in them, he had no problem sitting in the seat behind her. He also did not doubt her trustworthiness in spreading rumors against Yoshida and Yano, aware of her thinking process.

Ryu has stated more than once that he likes Sawako, but not in a romantic sense. Similarly, Sawako has stated that she also likes Ryu, but sees him as a fellow classmate rather than a romantic interest.

Ume "Kurumi" Kurumizawa[]

Sawako had met Kurumi a few times before finally formally getting to know one another. She had thought of Kurumi as her role model since she was always so nice, even wanting to become pretty since she saw Kurumi and wishing to have curly hair like her too. After Kurumi asked Sawako for her help in getting together with Shouta, she said she couldn't help thus noting her true feelings towards Shouta, leading Kurumi to start showing her true personality to Sawako. Despite this, Sawako didn't hate Kurumi, even after finding out that Kurumi started the rumors.

Sawako admitted to herself that the Kurumi who is in love with Shouta was the cutest, and they start to talk more about Shota's good points. Later on, Kurumi confessed, due to what Sawako had said to her before, and announced they were rivals the next day. When Sawako and Shouta had accidentally rejected one another, Kurumi scolded Sawako stating she was not her rival, since Sawako had not tried hard in confessing unlike her, leading the latter to think about what she did. In the end, after Sawako and Shouta get together, Kurumi thanks Sawako for being a good rival, and says it was because of Sawako that she was able to confess to Shouta.

Recently, Kurumi has returned and revealed that she wishes to study to be a teacher, just like Sawako. She and Sawako form a closer bond with one another as they both prepare for this mutual career, with Kurumi accepting Sawako as a study partner and promising that she'll do her best to push Sawako along just as Sawako will do for her. Kurumi also helped Sawako deal with a problem she was having on Valentine's Day, which made Sawako call her "a good person", vehemently denying it when Kurumi insisted that she had a "bad personality".

Shino[]

Shino was Sawako's elementary school classmate and the only person who Sawako talks to as the series begins. During elementary school, Shino called Sawako "Sadako" by mistake, causing others being afraid by Sawako's appearance, heard rumors that she was known as "Sadako".

It is because of this, that Shino feels guilty, thus caring about Sawako and whether she is fitting into high school. She is in a different class and regrets that she doesn't get to see Sawako very much. Perhaps for their occasional interactions, unless something happened with other people, Sawako is too modest to consider her as a friend.

Kento Miura[]

Kento sat beside Sawako in the second year, eventually developing an attraction towards her. He tried breaking them up but ends up making Shouta confess to Sawako but since both of them never understood what the other person meant they ended up separating and things turn to his way but failed. In the end, Kento realizes Sawako only sees him as a friend.

Quotes[]

  • "Do one good deed a day." - Sawako's motto, episode 2
  • "During elementary school, I wasn't particularly disliked, but I didn't have a close friend either. I lacked a social circle. One day, my classmate Shino accidentally called me "Sadako". Ever since I've been mistaken for the character. My middle school classmates made it a joke. Before I knew it, I was known as a "ghost magnet". Then, when I entered high school, that single rumour spawned many other myths. That being said, when I reflect on how I was in the past, I think I was fortunate. While I did get depressed at times, I never felt absolutely miserable." - Sawako reflects on her past self, episode 6
  • "Happy birthday, Kazehaya-kun! You were born 18 years ago today. Were you already born at this time of day? I wasn't alive yet at this time 18 years ago. I've been thinking how strange and precious it is that I met you. I'm happy we're together. I don't know how to explain to you how meaningful May 15th is to me. When you feel happy, and if you're not too busy, please spend that fun time with me. When you feel bad, and if I'm not bothering you too much, please let me be by your side. I hope you choose the path that's best for you. I hope you do what you want to do. I hope our relationship grows even closer. I wish you a wonderful 18th birthday. I like you so very much." - Sawako's letter to Shouta Kazehaya on his 18th birthday, chapter 85
  • "The snow has melted and the long winter in the north country has come to an end. To the teachers, guests and parents, and the current student body, and everyone we have known who has cheered and encouraged us, thank you very much! Three years ago when we entered this school, the sakura trees bloomed earlier than usual. I remember walking through the gate of Kitahoro High School and feeling hopeful rather than worried. That feels like yesterday. Sometimes we made mistakes and sometimes we failed, and often we behaved immaturely. But we were also full of excitement and dreams. Just like those early-blooming cherry blossoms, unbelievable things happened in abundance. By moving forward one step at a time, we finally came to be here. We collaborated on ideas for the school festival. We practiced a lot for athletics, and the baseball team went to the semi-finals in the North Hokkaido Tournament. So many memories... My nickname is Sadako, and ever since I started school here, I've wanted people to call me by my real name. But now, I don't care! I don't care, if I have creepy powers or not! The friends at this school made it so I don't care! I'm proud of the days that I spent as Sadako. I truly enjoyed them. Thank you very much." - Sawako's valedictory on graduation day, chapter 119
  • "There isn't even a millimeter between us. He said my name, and that made me who I am. Holding hands started to seem normal. Then I learned to hug him without hesitation. Kissing him made me feel secure. And time passed. We can tell each other when we feel worried. We can tell each other when we're being dumb. We can sleep next to each other and share the same feelings. I'm so happy." - Sawako's thoughts when she finally makes love with Kazehaya, chapter 122

Etymology[]

  • The name Sawako means "pleasant child" with sawa (爽) meaning "pleasant" or "refreshing".[2]
  • Sawako's surname Kuronuma means "black swamp".[2]
    • Her married name Kazehaya means "fast wind" with kaze (風) meaning "wind" and haya (早) meaning "fast".[2]

Trivia[]

  • Sawako's childhood dream was to become a firefly.
  • On days off, Sawako likes to go for a run in the morning while collecting and organizing litter.
  • Although her estimated birth date was December 24th, Sawako was late and finally born on New Year's Eve.

References[]

  1. Volume 2 profile
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Volume 1 cultural notes (English edition)

Navigation[]

Characters
Kitahoro High School
Students: Sawako "Sadako" KuronumaShouta KazehayaAyane YanoChizuru YoshidaRyu SanadaUme "Kurumi" KurumizawaKento MiuraTomoEkkoJoeChigusaAndyShinoYuiYuka
Teachers: Kazuichi "Pin" AraiYoshiyuki "Zen" Arai
Relatives
Kazehaya Family: Mr. Kazehaya • Mrs. Kazehaya • Touta KazehayaMaru
Kuronuma Family: Mr. KuronumaMrs. KuronumaEiji Akahoshi
Sanada Family: Mr. SanadaMrs. SanadaToru SanadaHaruka KatayamaAyu
Yoshida Family: Mrs. Yoshida
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