|Also known as||Mayu|
|Hair Color||Light Brown|
|Eye Color||Light Brown|
|Affiliation||Kaibara Municipal High School|
|Spouse||Hatori Sohma (Husband)|
|Children||Kinu Sohma (Daughter)|
|Extended Family||Unnamed Parents-in-law|
|Japanese||Naomi Shindō (Drama CD)|
Hitomi Nabatame (2019)
|English||Anastasia Muñoz (2019)|
|“||Nobody falls in love because they want to become sad and lonely. And yet, the last thing I wanted wiped out was these two, the way they were.||”|
Mayuko Shiraki (白木 繭子, Shiraki Mayuko), more commonly known by her nickname Mayu (繭), is one of the recurring characters of the Fruits Basket series.
Mayu is Tohru Honda's homeroom teacher at Kaibara Municipal High School. Because she is young, headstrong, and understanding of her students, she is very much well-liked by them. Mayu's parents, who are worried about her being unmarried, run a bookstore named "Shiraki Books", where she sometimes helps out.
Mayu is best friends with Kana Sohma, and while she only has wished for her happiness, Mayu has in fact always had feelings for Hatori Sohma. After Kana marries someone else, Mayu got the push from both Kana and her previous boyfriend Shigure Sohma to romantically pursue Hatori, with reciprocation.
Mayu is a young adult woman with a tall and slim build, fair skin, and sharp, light brown eyes. Additionally, she has a beauty-mark under her left eye. She has long, straight, light brown hair with free-falling bangs covering most of her forehead, which she wears in different styles. At school, she keeps it tied into a ponytail at the back. When at home or during other occasions, she keeps her hair down, sometimes with a piece of her hair tied into a bun at the back. It is later seen that towards the end of the series, Mayu cuts her hair to about nape-length.
She usually wears buttoned shirts but is also known for wearing casual clothing. She is usually seen in a top and a pair of jeans, on special ocassions, she would wear dresses.
Mayuko is depicted as a good-humored, funny, and sometimes aggressive woman. She is a also strict and no-nonsense person in front of her students, but her interactions with them prove that she can have fun. For instance, she slammed Kyo with a book after he attempted to escape from one of her classes, and threatened to dye his hair black if he did it again. She also poured a bucket of water over Kyo and Haru to interrupt their fight. Despite that, she cares deeply about her students and wants them to succeed in life. Although she doesn't like to meddle in personal business, she is able to stand up for her students and is seen to be visibly upset when her student's parents are rude, such as the case when she had a conference with Yuki and his mother. While she is called an "aggressive woman" by Kyo, she is well-loved by her students.
Mayu has a tough exterior but is also very outspoken, social, rarely afraid to say what she is thinking, and wears her emotions on the sleeve. Although she is quite easy-going for the most part, she can be level-headed and firm when needed. She is very independent and true to herself; this stems from her previous relationship with Shigure, as they both only dated each other to ease their loneliness. Mayu never wants to go back to the person she was back then because she understands that dating other people will increase her loneliness. She simply states that she won't be defeated by her loneliness and will choose her happiness for herself.
Despite her tough exterior, Mayu is devoted to those she cares about, such as Kana and Hatori. She is extremely selfless and often thinks about others before herself; Kana describes her as a person who is so considerate of others that she sometimes tends to suppress her own feelings. Although she has always been in love with Hatori, she decided to ignore her own feelings because she only wished for Kana and Hatori to be happy together. When Kana's memories of Hatori were erased, Mayu refused to meet with Hatori because she didn't want to betray either of them. However, with the support of Kana and Shigure, Mayu realizes she should let go of the past and face the future where she can truly be happy, and in doing so, she pursues Hatori romantically.
Mayu has been best friends with Kana since their college days. When Mayu was introduced to Hatori by Kana, she fell in love with him at first sight. However, she suppressed her feelings, as although Kana and Hatori never vocalized the nature of their relationship, Mayu knew they were lovers. She hoped that Hatori and Kana would be out of her reach so they could be happy forever. At Kana's request, Hatori became a regular at Mayu's book store and she also began spending much time with Hatori, Shigure, and Ayame Sohma along with Kana, as they would go out drinking sometimes. During that time, Shigure sensed that Mayu loved Hatori and thus proposed the idea of them dating, since both of them were both lonely. However, Mayu broke up with Shigure after two months, as she didn't love him and felt lonelier by their loveless relationship. During that time, a traumatic incident occurred to both Kana and Hatori, which left Kana in utter grief and depression. Mayu was stunned and heartbroken during Kana's mental breakdown, unsure how to comfort her friend when she was not allowed to know the full details. After Kana was slowly recovering, Mayu was informed by Shigure that Kana had her memories of her and Hatori's relationship suppressed. She then distanced herself from Hatori and focused on Kana's happiness. After Kana began recovering, she mentioned that she thought that she wouldn't match Hatori at all and that Mayu was a better match for him, which prompted Mayu to cry.
First Year Arc
Mayu is seen to be teaching her class as well as being the main cast's homeroom teacher. It is known that when Tohru's mother passed away, Mayu called on her and quickly informed her about the situation. She also informed Tohru once that she hadn't paid for last month's deposit for the class trip. Tohru tells Mayu she will work harder, and she smiles in agreement.
Mayu is also seen spending time with Kana and another one of her friends. They talk about Kana's upcoming wedding and that she is deeply in love with her new husband, unbeknownst to the fact that Hatori heard the conversation.
A day before Valentine's Day, Kyo attempts to escape from one of her lessons, but she quickly slams him with a book to keep him from doing so. Kyo is angered by this and exclaims that Mayu is not a teacher but a thug, to which Mayu tells him that he has no right to talk like that with her, calling him "tangerine head" in retaliation. She also pulls out a bag of hair dye and threatens to dye Kyo's hair black. She eventually succeeds in keeping Kyo in the classroom.
Second Year Arc
It is known that Mayu attended Kana's wedding during spring, and she also sent some pictures of the wedding to Ayame. During a Sohma vacation, Ayame sent some pictures to Hatori and left it up to him if he wanted to see them or not. When Shigure expresses that he hopes that Hatori will find another woman who will make him happy like no other and Hatori thinks it sounds absurd, the scene is cut to Mayuko, at school, gazing at the photo of herself and Kana at the wedding, with a photo of Hatori underneath.
Mayu is seen teaching her class as usual during the student's second year; she informs them to turn in their career-goal before their final exams, dumps a bucket of water on Kyo and Hatsuharu to interrupt their fight and later brings Haru to the principal's office due to him having destroyed a classroom, as well as dismissing her class before summer vacation while casually walking away and telling them to have fun but also to do their homework.
During summer vacation, Mayu is forced to manage her parent's bookstore since her father is hospitalized and her mother is busy taking care of him. Shigure visits to retrieve a book planned to arrive the next day, but he also pesters Mayu by telling her that she is the only one who still hasn't let go of the past even after two years; especially since Kana has married and Hatori apparently has found himself a new girlfriend. Mayu is shocked to hear this, but is happy that Hatori is happy. After Shigure leaves, Mayu wonders if she should find her own happiness. Just then, Hatori enters the store and meeting for the first time in two years sends Mayu into a fit of nervous panic. Hatori tells her that he came to retrieve a book Shigure ordered for him, and Mayu realizes that it was Shigure's plan to set her up with Hatori.
The next day, Hatori visits again and Mayu quickly drags Hatori out of the store along with her in order to avoid her mother's pestering about her love life. After settling the book matters, Mayu worries about the fact that Hatori doesn't seem to be happy, and Hatori replies that happiness has nothing to do with him. This prompts Mayu to hysterically cry; upset over the fact that Hatori thinks he doesn't deserve happiness, and internally begs for him to be happy. Hatori is taken aback by her crying and explains that he was only tired, but seeing Mayu cry in his stead made him very happy because he can't cry easily nowadays. Mayu tells Hatori to get his girlfriend to cry for him, but Hatori explains that he doesn't have a girlfriend and that Shigure only tricked her. Mayu becomes embarrassed while Hatori just invites her for a meal as a thanks and appreciation. Mayu agrees and upon seeing Hatori smiling genuinely for the first time in a while, it makes her happy as well.
Shigure later calls and tells Mayu that he helped out in her love life because he was fond of her in his own way, and that her relationship with Hatori will definitely work out. Mayu imagines that in the near future, she would cut her hair short, Hatori would begin to call her "Mayu" again, and the two of them would go out on a sunny day together.
After summer vacation, Mayu has several teacher-parent conferences; including with Arisa Uotani, Saki Hanajima, and Kyo Sohma. During Tohru's conference, she is disgusted to see Shigure acting as her guardian and argues with him in a manner that Tohru won't notice. After her conference, Shigure teases Mayu about her relationship with Hatori, and while annoyed, she only tells him to treat Tohru with more care. During Yuki's conference, Mayu tries to stand up for him due to Yuki's mother dismissive attitude to Yuki's wishes, but Ayame arrives and saves the day. Mayu thanks Ayame, but when he begins causing a scene in the student council, Mayu calls Hatori and sympathizes that he, like her, has to put up with a lot of things regarding the Sohmas.
Third Year Arc
Since Tohru wasn't able to take the end-of-the-term exams due to being hospitalized, Mayu watches over her as she takes it alone at a later date. After finishing the test, Mayu asks if something good had happened at the Sohma's recently, since a certain someone seemed to be happier. Tohru wonders if she is talking about Kyo or Yuki, and Mayu, not wanting to reveal her feelings for Hatori, quickly agrees and runs away.
Towards the end, Mayu and Hatori have become a couple, and they are seen on a date in a restaurant. When he invites her on an Okinawa vacation, she starts imagining herself in a bikini, but knowing that she has a washboard body, she laughs at that idea and dismisses the possibility of it happening. Mayu's worry about her figure makes Hatori laugh, which embarrasses her. They later go outside and comment on the beautiful weather.
At some point, Mayu married Hatori, having one daughter named Kinu Sohma between them. It is mentioned that Mayu is still a teacher and that Kinu doesn't want to follow in either of her parent's footsteps.
Ever since Mayu first met Hatori, she has loved him. However, she suppressed her own feelings because she knew that Hatori was in a relationship with Kana, and not wanting to get between them, supported them, and wished for their happiness. During that time, Mayu and Hatori were casual friends and got along quite well, as he would sometimes visit her bookstore. Even though Mayu thought it was pointless to have feelings for him, she still loved all of him. When Hatori and Kana's relationship was destroyed, Mayu was genuinely grief-stricken and didn't meet with Hatori for two years because she didn't want to betray him or Kana. This mindset remains even after two years and after Kana marries someone else.
However, with a push from Shigure, they end up reuniting and their relationship develops from there. It is proven that they still get along very well and have fun together. For example, when Mayu once mentioned that seeing Hatori in a suit made her sweat, he made sure to not wear one the next time they met in order to not trouble her. Hatori has also mentioned several times that he can't figure out Mayu and that she is always saying nonsensical things. Mayu also still loves him and understands him well; she notices that he is still sad and selflessly and genuinely wishes for his happiness, even if it's not with her, and cries openly for his sake. Hatori, who can't bring himself to cry, appreciates how much Mayu cares about him and how she cried in his stead, and thus becomes interested in her and takes the initiative to get to know her better.
Throughout the series, they begin talking more and it is mentioned that Mayu regularly keeps in touch with Hatori. Towards the end, Mayu has begun dating Hatori, and they are seen to be a very loving couple who openly anticipates traveling together, are very comfortable and open in one another's presences, and are able to genuinely have fun together; with Hatori barely being able to contain his laughter and happiness around Mayu.
In Fruits Basket Another, Mayu is married to Hatori, and they have one daughter named Kinu Sohma together.
Mayu and Kana have been best friends ever since their college days and are still very close in adulthood. Mayu loves Kana dearly and admires her and holds her in high regard, mentioning that being around her makes her feel like she can be kind too. They are very supportive of one another and Kana trusts Mayu more than anyone. Mayu prioritizes Kana's happiness above her own and felt guilty about falling in love with Hatori, and thus selflessly wished for Kana and Hatori's happiness to last forever so she could never get in between them. When Kana was depressed over the incident of Hatori's eye, Mayu supported her through it all and only focused on Kana's recovery and happiness; as such, she refused to meet with Hatori for two years. Mayu is shown to be supportive of Kana's mental health and her marriage with her new husband, and is able to move forward thanks to Kana's influence amongst other factors.
Mayu and Shigure were normal friends when they first met, as they would sometimes go out to drink. When Shigure proposed the idea of them dating since they were lonely, Mayu agreed to this but never actually fell in love with him; mentioning that he was very cold, distant, and like a "ripple on water". After a month of dating, Mayu broke up with him, and now doesn't seem to be too fond of him. Mayu is often annoyed by Shigure and dumbfounded by his actions, but they seem to keep in touch and Shigure even sets her up with Hatori since he is actually quite fond of her. Mayu, on the other hand, seemingly wants nothing to do with him, is cold to him when they are forced to interact, and is disgusted by the fact that they will become relatives if she marries Hatori (albeit in a comical way).
Mayu and Ayame seem to be close friends, judging from the fact that Mayu genuinely enjoys his company, can have heart-to-heart conversations with him, and encourages his growing relationship with Yuki. However, she does seem to think that he can be too much for her to handle sometimes.
- According to the official Fruits Basket Character Book:
- Mayu's new role in Hatori's life during their reunion after two years is described as "the first breath of spring".
- Mayu's biggest mistake in life was dating Shigure to try getting over her feelings for Hatori.
- In Japanese culture, cutting one's hair is symbolized by starting anew or starting a new chapter in one's life. In Mayu's case, she cut her hair short once she left her past of regret and guilt behind, and then found her own happiness and started a new loving life with Hatori.
- She likes to be called "Mayuko-daisensei-sama", literally meaning "Great Teacher Mayuko-sama".
- Although her debut is in Episode 7 of the 2019 anime, she makes a silhouette/voice appearance in Episode 4.
- Despite being Tohru and the other's homeroom teacher and introduced early on, she does not appear in the 2001 version of the anime.
- Takaya said in an author's note that Shiraki is "possibly sad" that she is a woman and "secretly insecure of how tall she is", but since Hatori Sohma is tall too, they "might look pretty good together as a tall couple".
- The subject she teaches was never specified, but in an author's note, Natsuki Takaya stated it is probably Literature.