Kaoru Hanabishi


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Kaoru-sama (by Aoi Sakuraba)
Kaoru Honjo (birth name)


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Hair Color


Voice Actor(s)

Souichiro Hoshi (Japanese)
Narumi Hidaka (Child)
Dave Wittenberg (English)


Ai Yori Aoshi Episode 1


Yuji Hanabishi (father, deceased)
Kumi Hanabishi (mother, deceased)
Gen'ichiro Hanabishi (paternal grandfather, deceased)
Aoi's Father (father-in-law)
Mrs. Sakuraba (mother-in-law)
Aoi Sakuraba (wife)
Kaoru Hanabishi (paternal half-brother)

Kaoru Hanabishi (花菱 薫 Hanabishi Kaoru), also known as Kaoru Honjo, is the primary male protagonist of Ai Yori Aoshi, the fiance and later the husband of Aoi Sakuraba (the primary female protagonist).


Kaoru is a tall, handsome, pale-skinned young man in his early-twenties with brown hair and eyes. His appearance overall is very similar to Kumi Honjo (his mother). However, his back is covered with scars that his paternal grandfather had inflicted upon him every time he disobeyed him, using his bamboo cane back from before he left the Hanabishi. The majority of the time, he is seen wearing casual clothes.


Kaoru is a kind and gentle young man, which is something that hasn't changed ever since he was young. He is known for his courteous actions among female characters, which has caused them all (with the sole exception of Miyabi Kagurazaki) to fall for him at some point; however, he can also be abrupt and let them know when something is wrong. He generally refers to girls with the honorific “-chan”, the only exceptions being Miyabi, whom he refers to as 'Miss Miyabi', and Tina Foster, whom he simply calls by her name.

Despite his kindness, Kaoru has a tendency to keep his emotions to himself. This is due to the emotional and physical abuse he suffered from his grandfather while being the heir of the Hanabishi family. After his grandfather burned all of his mother's possessions, except for the good luck charm he was able to save (for which his grandfather beat him for his disobedience), Kaoru left the family and swore to never return. When he first arrived in Tokyo, he was deeply broken as a result of the abuse he suffered, as well as the fact that he had no one in the world to call his family anymore, but eventually put on a happy facade to hide his pain.

Kaoru is shown to sometimes have perverted fantasies about Aoi Sakuraba and he is attracted to her from practically the moment they reunite. Kaoru falls in love with Aoi as he spends more time with her, confessing his love to her when they revisit his old apartment, which reduces her to tears as she wasn't sure how he really felt about her until then. It's then that he confesses to have loved her for quite a while, but had trouble putting it into words. He even goes so far as to say that Aoi is his reason for living, as well as the sole reason he's happy to have been born into the Hanabishi family.

While not as explicit about it, Kaoru often shows that he can be just as stubborn as Aoi when it comes to their relationship. An example of this is when he works several part-time jobs in order to get the money to pay for a white dress for Aoi's birthday, though these efforts proved to be pointless, as she is revealed later to have bought it herself. Another example is when he stands up to Aoi's father (who has held a grudge against Kaoru ever since he left the Hanabishis and broke Aoi's heart) when their marriage is in danger of being called off, efforts that convinced Aoi's father to accept Kaoru, though he adds that he hasn't forgiven him. While he has shown attraction to other girls on occasion, most notably Tina, he is always quick to shake it off, reminding himself that Aoi is his one and only love, and the other girls around him are just friends.

Kaoru is also prone to a mixture of anger and depression whenever he's reminded of his past. When the Sakuraba household residents make a traditional Japanese cafe for the cultural festival at Kaoru's university, the group end up wearing kimonos, something that angers Kaoru, as he had made a vow to never wear traditional Japanese clothing again after leaving the Hanabishi household (ironically, he never seems to have any problems with Aoi always wearing a kimono). Fortunately, Aoi is easily able to tell whenever he's in pain, and reminds him that he can talk to her about anything, something he is very thankful for.


Kaoru is a university student who is the son of Yuji Hanabishi, the head of the Hanabishi Zaibatsu and was set to take over the Zaibatsu after his father retired. His mother, Kumi Honjo and his father never got married, making life difficult for both he and his mother. Kaoru's father died when he was five years old. Since then, Yūji's father, Gen'ichiro Hanabishi, took Kaoru under his wing and began educating him for the eventual succession. Yet Kaoru never felt at home in the Hanabishi family and went into self-imposed exile after his mother's death. Day by day, he felt alone, thinking that he was living life with no reason pushing him on.

However, there was a person who loved Kaoru so much that she had to do whatever was necessary to be with him and her name is Aoi Sakuraba, who is the only daughter of the owner of the Sakuraba Dry Goods Store (later renamed the Sakuraba Department Store).

Kaoru's family and Aoi's family had expected for Kaoru to marry Aoi, but after Kaoru walked out, the arranged marriage was canceled. Both families had a friendly relationship and Aoi had been in love with Kaoru from the start, which Kaoru was unaware of. The Sakuraba family had already been searching for someone else that was suitable, but Aoi was unwilling to marry someone else and walked out, chasing Kaoru.

Both were freed from their families' affairs, but did not know how to make their living. Miyabi Kagurazaki, who had been looking out for Aoi, offered the two a way for the time being. Aoi and Miyabi would live together in a grand, western-styled summer house owned by the Sakuraba family and Kaoru would live in a house for servants next to it. This would prevent a scandal, much like the one that had made Kaoru's life difficult, as the two would be living separately. But soon, Kaoru's friends, who just happen to be attractive females themselves, took residence in the servants' house, and it quickly became a dormitory and Aoi became the landlady of the dormitory.

Kaoru eventually comes to terms with his painful past by confronting the Hanabishis. Later, Kaoru's half brother attempts to gain control of the Hanabishi Zaibutsu by marrying Aoi, but Kaoru meets her father, who accepts Aoi's relationship with him, foiling his half-brother's plan. Knowing that his half-brother was suffering the same fate he had (both of them were obeying the family for the sake of their mothers), Kaoru informed him that as the previous heir of the Hanabishi family, he acknowledged his half-brother as the next heir. Kaoru and Aoi eventually got married (which now makes her Aoi Hanabishi/Honjo) and began a new life together.



Trivia Edit

  • The name Kaoru means "fragrance, fragrant" (薫).
  • It has been stated that Kaoru's favorite color is blue.
  • Kaoru's favorite type of hairstyle is short hair.
  • Kaoru's favorite food is grilled fish.
  • In the manga, Kaoru has a paternal half-brother that is also called Kaoru.
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