| Spoiler warning!
Yūko is as a tall, thin woman with pale skin and long black hair down to the back of her knees. Her hair is cut in many layers having front bangs up to her eyebrows, then another layer, reaching up to her jaw, and a layer at her hips and a final one at her knees. Her eye colour is usually red though sometimes it changes to purple or even a turquoise blue so it is suggested that she changes eye color randomly and so, her real eye colour is not known. She always wears a kimono at her home (though she would prefer to wear a more revealing outfit when she goes out in public) but she never wears the same thing twice. When Yuko wears a kimono, she usually has accessories to accompany it. For example, if her kimono has a rose pattern with lace, she will wear a rose in her hair and a lace choker and bracelet. Also, when she has the time, Yuko will style her hair is a neat yet creative fashion and will always decorate her hair with some sort of accesory such as coloured pins or chopsticks. Like her clothes, Yuko has never been seen with the same hair style other than letting her hair loose. On some occasions, the length of her hair is shorter than it looks. An example can be observed during the episode where the Twins are introduced, her hair is tied up in a small bun almost impossible to hold all her hair.
Meaning of the nameEdit
Yuuko's name has various meanings to it. Firstly, 'Ichihara' is divided into two meanings. Her "Ichi" generally has no relation to her as it means, one. It could however mean that she is the main character of the story or she was tchau, xxxgEnho e first to be introduced. Next, "hara" means wilderness, field, moor, or the plains. This could possibly mean that she is very knowledgeable and that her level of knowledge is vast just like the wilderness. Moving on to her second name, Yuko. Yuko is a common girls name with many different meanings based on the kanji making it up, but in her case, the kanji that makes up the "yuu" portion of her name means "leading", which is fitting given her role in leading people to what they desire, and especially in being a mentor to Watanuki. The "ko" in her name means child, and is merely a common ending to girls names.
The eccentricity of this character confuses readers because, her guidance of Watanuki grants him a state of spiritual and paranormal awareness of great importance. Therefore, some of her resolutions are meaningless at first, but eventually the plot reveals the origin of her wise decision.
Many times she seeks to act as a spectator, but in most cases, her intervention yields results that govern the speed and dynamics of the plot. Her histrionics confuses Watanuki, but end up involving him in serious situations, in which Watanuki, is driven by it as part of it. She's fun and respectful of all beings, being these kind or not. According to the manga, good and bad are concepts that humans decide, and these do not apply to non-human. This kind of thinking occurs when, for example, she decides not to intervene to prevent someone from their mistakes or endangerment,  .since "everything is a matter of fate" (hitsuzen, 必然, ひつぜん) . Though she acts sarcastic, bossy and annoying towards Watanuki, it's quite evident that she cares for him, as it was seen when she died; "my wish... is for you to continue existing". Sometimes she uses her lecherous side to disturb Watanuki (to her great amusement). She also loves alcohol, which traduces in sending Watanuki to the drugstore every time she's got a hangover.
Towards close friends, Yuko shows a very different side of herself than when she is with a customer. With close friends like Oba-chan or Watanuki, she is kinder and more open to them. She shares more opinions and thoughts with them. Though she is close with her friends, she still keeps serious feelings to herself, not wanting to burden others with her serious problems. We, as readers see these unmentioned or hidden thoughts through monologues by Yuko when she is alone. Many of these hidden worries are not revealed to other characters (such as Watanuki) even after she dies as she never reveals it to them. Also, even though Yuko is sometimes open about her feelings towards others (telling Watanuki that she is happy that he is at the shop), readers can see that most of the time, her feelings go unsaid. The reason to why Yuko hides her feelings from others is unknown but it is thought to be because she doesn't want to get hurt or too attached, mostly because she knows that one day she will vanish.
As the plot advances, we can see that she sometimes acts immature to keep Watanuki from realizing the gravity of the situation around him. Yūko received many nicknames because she never revealed her real name due to a kind of spiritual self, because, as she herself says, who knows the name of another person can control it.
See also: Yūko's Shop
At the shopEdit
Yūko is the owner of a mysterious shop in Tokyo. She is a dealer in wishes as she will grant the sincere wish of anyone who is willing to make an appropriate sacrifice in return; the price is always equivalent to the weight of the wish, no more, no less. In the case of Watanuki Kimihiro, who sought to be rid of the evil spirits that plague him, the price was a long period of frequently demeaning servitude. As a result, she now has Watanuki as a sort of "personal assistant" to clean, cook, and perform other tasks she considers beneath her. She keeps Watanuki close and searches for him whenever he's in trouble in order to protect him. This is a connection she shares with Doumeki who's always by his side in the hardest moments due to his ability for exorcism.
When it comes to the gastronomical requests, she always challenges Watanuki to prepare the most varied dishes, which the boy makes without much problems unless some complaints, since he is very good in the kitchen.
Yūko is apparently one of the few people with the power to send people to multiple worlds, such that she has been aptly named the Dimension Witch. The travelers Syaoran, Fay D. Flourite and Kurogane, the protagonists of Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, are sent to her from their respective home worlds in order to gain this ability. However, to gain the ability to traverse dimensions and the related abilities embodied in a being known as Mokona Modoki, they are required to pay a price that equates the power required to grant the wish.
At the shop, two child-like beings created with Yuko's magic, known as Maru and Moro, also reside there. Their full names, Marudashi and Morodashi, translated roughly mean streaking and flashing; a play on the "xxx" in the title. According to Yūko they cannot leave the shop or touch the Mokonas because they have no souls. The two have the function of grounding the shop to its unique location between dimensions. In later chapters, Moro and Maru are seen sleeping and Yūko comments that they are focusing on keeping the house in place. Apart from this function, the two greet visitors, assist Yūko, and annoy Watanuki.
Yuko also goes to a fortune teller every so often. When Watanuki asked her why she needed to see a fortune teller if she had the ability to predict the future, Yuko explains that one cannot predict their own future or else there will be chaos. Though she does not explain this matter any further, readers suspect that that by this, she means that if we tell our own future, we may not want to accept what we see and so we will try to twist our predictions. So forth, Yuko goes to an older fortune teller, whom she calls Oba-chan. The two are old friends and often talk.
Before she vanished, Yuko met Haruka in a dream and asked him if he would take care of Watanuki when she was gone. Of course, her wish is only revealed in a discussion between Haruka and Watanuki after she vanished.
Yuko remains calm and secretive about her death. She knows that she must vanish and that her time is aproaching but does not want to worry anyone else with her problem. It is unknown if Oba-chan or Mokona know about this, because Oba-chan can see Yuko's future and because Mokona is one of her closest friends and knows about a lot of her secrets. However, if any one of the two did know about what was going to happen to Yuko, none of them did anything to prevent it.
In her final day at the shop, Yuko meets Watanuki in a dream. They are having a picnic out side in the shop's yard. They talk casually about customers and work (since Watanuki was also entrusted with his own customer at the time) but suddenly, they change the topic to the shop itself. Yuko asks Watanuki if he is happy to be at the shop and Watanuki tells her that he is very happy (he even told Haruka in previous chapters that the shop was "his place"). Yuko tells him that the shop was especially created for a time that is coming soon but if it also serves as a reason for Watanuki to be happy and for him to stay, then she is also happy. As the two continue to converse Yuko's body starts to turn into butterflies and fly away. There are so many butterflies and so even though Watanuki tries to reach her and save her, he cannot. All he can do is call out her name. Yuko says her final words in the dream: "The dream will soon end." Yuko also commented earlier in the manga that these were the same last words that Clow Reed spoke to her before he died.
When Watanuki wakes up the next day, he goes to wake Yuko up but she is not in her room. Watanuki is not too worried, thinking that she is running errands, but a few chapters later, Watanuki comments to Shizuka that he has not seen her in two weeks.Later on, when Shizuka is in the shop with Watanuki at night and they are both sitting at the front porch, Watanuki says that he will go get something to drink. While he is about to enter the shop, he sees Tsubasa Li, Syaoran Li, Sakura Li, and Princess Tsubasa in the front lawn. Princess Tsubasa tells Watanuki to not be afraid and Watanuki starts running towards them as they disappear. Watanuki, however, stumbles and suddenly, Shizuka is beside him, trying to pull him to his feet. Watanuki however, remains on his knees with his head down and says "Why... Why does this hurt so much?" He also has a hand on his heart and so it is implied that it is not physical pain he feels but rather an emotional pain. Suddenly, Watanuki stands up and runs inside the shop screaming for Yuko but of course, she is not there.
While Watanuki is on his knees, asking why the feeling hurt so much, in another world, at the same minute, Yuko dies. This shows that the bond between Watanuki and Yuko is so great that, when Yuko vanished even though she wasn't in the same world, Watanuki felt great pain.
Her last wish Edit
Watanuki is at the house of a customer that he was entrusted with by Yuko and the two are talking about continuing the cooking classes (the woman's wish was to learn how to cook) when Watanuki mentions Yuko. The woman asks him who Yuko was and when Watanuki explains that she is the shop owner and that she met her before, the woman said that the only person she ever met in the shop was Watanuki. Watanuki leaves with Doumeki and the two talk about why the woman doesn't remember Yuko, when they see Kaoruko and Sakurako. They stop to talk with them and once again, Watanuki mentions Yuko and just like his previous customer, they do not remember her. Watanuki then runs off to the shop in a panic over why people are seemingly forgetting Yuko and desperate to find her. When he crosses the barrier between the shop and the outside world, he faints.
Watanuki appears in a dark space where nothing but vast darkness to be seen. Watanuki then thinks that it is a dream and that what just happened had to be a dream too. Watanuki walks around in the darkness talking about how he should have dreamed something less frightening when suddenly, a voice tells him that this is not a dream. When Watanuki turns, it is Yuko in her butterfly kimono. Her arms and legs are covered with shadows from the dream world. Watanuki runs to Yuko but when he reaches three feet of her, he stops and his feet will not go forward. Watanuki yells in frustration and asks Yuko why he cannot move, to which she replies by saying that it is not the "time" in which he moves in. Yuko then explains that someone (Clow Reed), a long time ago, wished that she would remain and because his emotions and wish was so strong, she could not die. She then tells Watanuki that she lived a long time ago and that she should have also died a long time ago, many years before Watanuki was even born. She finally tells Watanuki that because someone made a choice, her halted time continues to move again towards death.
The Shadows rapidly consume most of her body now, as Watanuki tells Yuko that he doesn't care about anything she's saying and that the only thing that matters to him is what's right in front of him. He then asks her about the choice (the one to continue her stopped time) she was talking about. He asks her while in tears, how a choice in which he had no say in, could decide the fate about someone he cares about. Watanuki then proceeds by listing all the things that Yuko had done for him in the past years that he has been working for her. When he finishes, Yuko thanks him and tells him that once she dies, his wish will be granted and spirits will no longer be attracted to him neither will he be able to see spirits. Watanuki dismisses this quickly and continues to name reasons why Yuko should not die, as if she had the power to stop her death. He tells her that she cannot go because he still has to make her favorite foods and that there are still customers that they have to attend to but, in the middle of his list he sees that the shadows are already consuming her face, curling around her hair and cheeks and Watanuki cannot go on because he starts sobbing. He then starts pleading for her to tell him that this is all a dream. Yuko tells him that is not and that she will not lie to him and Watanuki finally says that he promised that he would grant her wish, whatever it was, and that if she dies, he will never be able to grant it. Yuko finally tells him that her only wish is for him to live. These are Yuko's last words to Watanuki.
At this point, the shadows have consumed her whole face except for her eyes and Watanuki finally says that he will grant her wish by stopping his own time and staying in the shop. He then says that his new wish is to see her again and that he will stay in the shop, waiting for her return. Yuko then dissolves into dust and the dust turns into coloured lights, closely resembling the northern lights.
Events after her deathEdit
Watanuki wakes up in the shop, he is alone in a room and then Shizuka comes in and tells him that he found Watanuki in the treasure room; he had fainted. Watanuki asks Shizuka if anyone was there with him but his friend tells him that he was alone in the room. Watanuki remembers that nobody remembered Yuko and so he asks Shizuka if he does. Shizuka agrees and says that he remembers Yuko and so Watanuki starts to think that everything else was a dream. However, at that moment, Maru and Moro appeared out of the floor and the ceiling in the same way that Syaoran and Sakura appeared to Yuko out of the sky in volume 1 of the manga. The two run towards Watanuki crying, saying that "the mistress is gone, but she used the last of her power to keep the shop here". Watanuki then knows that Yuko did really die.
Watanuki stays inside with Maru and Moro while Shizuka goes out to talk with Mokona. Mokona says that everybody has forgotten Yuko except for the people who have power: Oba-chan, Kohane, Himawari and Shizuka. The two continue talking about the egg that Yuko gave Shizuka a while before, and Shizuka sees both Tsubasa Li and Syaoran Li through the eye that he shares with Watanuki. He then runs off to find Watanuki and sees him in the treasure room. Watanuki proceeds to tell Shizuka that he will succeed Yuko's shop. He explains to him that he will no longer attend school (though at this point in the manga, it is suspected that Watanuki is already in his last year of high-school so his absence will not be too serious) because he has decided to wait for Yuko in the shop until he could meet her again. The price for this wish is the "time within him" and so Watanuki will never be able go go outside of the shop boundaries but he will also never age. However, Watanuki points out that he will still die one day because "no matter how much we wish, people die." Yuko appears again in Watanuki's recurring dreams in Chapter 212 and Chapter 213. However, Watanuki made a statement that the Yuuko he met in the dreams wasn't the real Yuuko, but more like allegorical form of her.
To be added.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
She's a sorceress of great power and spiritual energy, who has gained multiple titles with her renown, but she is commonly known as The Witch of Dimensions, due to the travel she sent on the characters of Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, in search of Sakura's feathers. Besides the ability to travel in time, she is powerful enough from handling dangerous objects and protective seals, create powerful barriers to protect (and even instruct Watanuki on how to create them, as she did on the night of the Hundred stories ghost / horror (Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai) and then sending Mokona to his side to play with words to block spirits in a full moon night, and she can also talk on good terms with any character of the nonhuman realm, including ghosts, gods, spirits and among others, which often saves Watanuki from death. When doing magic, Yuko often summons her magic circle.
Among her other abilities beside granting wishes, traversing dimensions, she can also create gods for other worlds (which was a wish made by Ashura of Tsubasa), manipulate time (demonstrated when she had Mokona transport the Tsubasa group from Shara to its ancient past of Shura), and speak through Maru and Moro as well through other people's minds. In the anime, when she sends a letter to Watanuki, her responses to him are in "real-time", depending on Watanuki's reaction. In the xxxHolic movie, she gives a glimpse of how powerful she can be when she faces the collector, even though she does not use any offensive attacks. She effortlessly dodges most of his attacks and is seemingly unscathed from a direct hit.
All of Yūko's customers must pay a price in order to grant their wishes, which can be no more or no less than the one demanded, or else harm will come to one's way. She is not one to tell the customer the most direct way to solve their problems because in the end, it can only be solved with that person's own realization and resolution to change themselves. Often if the person lacks the sincere determination to change themselves, an ironic disaster -that even Watanuki, who wishes to stop them from hurting themselves, cannot stop- will inevitably befall them. In Volume 8 when the Tengu-Karasu seek her help to save the Zashiki-warashi, their payment; the Tengu Fan was more than the required price. To balance it out, Yūko sent out Watanuki to assist them.
Her abilities are not unlimited and may almost seem like a curse as it appears that she is unable to do anything for anyone or grant any gift (other than feelings) without it becoming a binding transaction. She possesses knowledge of all types of magic objects that exist, many of which are in her store.
Her relationship with Clow Reed is somewhat ambiguous. They made the two Mokonas together using their magical abilities, also met the original Mokona of Cephiro together in the other world. Clow Reed is the one who accidentally wished for Yuuko to stay alive, stopping her time and effectively preventing her from dying for an untold amount of time. In the first chapters of xxxHOLiC manga, he is being called by different names by Yuuko. In some fansubs, it has been translated that 'Yuuko hasn't met Clow Reed' (xxxHOLiC chapter 3) but in Del Rey translations, it is Sakura Kinomoto (talking about her first staff in Card Captor Sakura) who she hasn't met. It is been hinted that Clow and Yūko had somewhat a love relationship before. In chapter 138 of Tsubasa, Clow told Sakura-hime that "Being apart from the one you like, no matter how old you are, is a lonely thing. And while apart, I'm wishing for that person to be happy." There is a possibility that he was talking about Yuuko.
Initially Yuuko is merely Watanuki's employer, but their relationship gradually becomes one akin to that of a close mentor-student bond, or perhaps something even more personal, such as a mother-son one. She teaches Watanuki valuable lessons about the world and gives wise advice. Despite often giving him grief with the many requests and jobs she gives him to fulfill, and also her merciless teasing, Yūko proves to care a lot for Watanuki, helping him and giving him guidance even though he does not always realize it. In chapter 168 of the manga, Yūko talks about Watanuki and Syaoran. She says that Watanuki now "wants to be here," and because of her help, Fei Wang Reed wasn't able to find Watanuki. She also says: "Maru, Moro, because we love Watanuki, we'll do our best to protect this store, so that we can always be together with Watanuki." Later on, something similar happens when Yuko and Watanuki start meeting in dreams and Yuko starts asking Watanuki if he is happy at the shop. When Watanuki confesses that he is, Yuko tells him that the shop was made for the sake of a specific and special day, but if it has also turned into a reason for Watanuki to stay/ to be happy (Translations vary), then she is glad.
Just before her death, Yūko tells Watanuki that her only wish is for him to continue on existing. He in turn, makes a vow to grant that wish, and stay in the shop until he meets Yūko again.
Yūko and Larg are good friends. They share similar interests in food (they love snacks and sake) and can usually be found together. Mokona is usually seen on Yūko's shoulder or sitting beside her on the porch drinking with her. Yūko and Mokona also seem to be interested in the same activities. They were both very excited to do the 100 Ghost Stories and the Winter Games along with other things. Yūko sometimes also refers to Mokona as her "drinking partner."
Oba-Chan is one of Yuko's oldest friends. She is Yuko's fortune teller which means that Yuko trusts her with her future and whatever other aspect of her life that she might see in her fortune telling. In Oba-chan's home, one can see that on one of her bookshelves is a letter from Yuko, held up on a stand. You cannot read what the letter says but it shows that Yuko sometimes writes letters to Oba-chan and that Oba-chan likes Yuko so much as a friend that she keeps her letters as a reminder of her in her home. Oba-chan is also the only person in the entire manga that calls Yuko "Yuko-chan." Everybody else calls her Yuko-san. Also, when Kohane comes into Yuko's care after she is taken away from her mother, Yuko entrusts her to Oba-chan, knowing that she will take good care of her.
Yuko and Haruka are good friends although we only see them meet once during the series. Before Yuko dies, she meets Haruka in a dream. When Yuko sees him, she says "This is the first time we have met this way" (she is referring to meeting in dreams). This shows that the two have met each other in the past and the two continue to talk as friends. Later on, after Yuko's death, in a dream, Haruka tells Watanuki that when Yuko and he talked, Yuko asked him to take care of Watanuki. This shows that Yuko trusted Haruka with Watanuki's care even if it only was in dreams.
She gave Kitsune and his son a birdcage. When Watanuki first finds the oden shop and brings some oden home to Yuko, she recognized the food immediately and asked if it was Kitsune's oden. This shows that Yuko had met and ate at Kitsune's oden shop a few times. Also, (in the anime) Kitsune invites Yuko and Watanuki to a small feast at his oden stand. Yuko and Watanuki go, inviting Himawari and Shizuka also. During the feast, Watanuki and his friends stray from the oden shop a bit to look at the stars and talk while Yuko stays and converses with Kitsune.
Akarai once jumped out of a picture when Watanuki was cleaning and when Yuko sees her, she talks to her like good friends. Akari even said that she traveled a lot but in her opinion, Yuko was the best hostess. The two are good friends and they have sake together. Yuko then tells Akari that it is a shame that they only get to see each other once every year, and Akari agrees. Every year, Akari gives Yuko a type of seed where "the best sake" (in Yuko's opinion) is collected. This is also an invitation to the Monster Procession.
Also known as the real/original Sakura. Her body was kept by Yūko for a long time, without Fei Wang knowing. As stated in Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, Yūko also suffered the same fate as Sakura, that she had her time severed in all dimensions and now, her time would flow once more.
He was sent by his parents to Yūko because his mother dreamed of someone needing his help. He was then sent to Clow Country and met Princess Tsubasa. He then realized that the princess was marked by a seal of death and made a vow to protect or remove the princess' seal of death. He was then returned in Yūko's shop badly wounded after a battle with Fei Wong. He made a wish to return to Clow Country to fulfill his promise, with a payment of him unable to meet his parents ever again.
- "Nothing in this world is coincidence. Everything is hitsuzen."
- "For everything you wish, you have to pay an equal price in return. You can't get more or give more. You can't get less or give less. It must be in balance, or else there will be chaos." - Chapter 001
- "Habit... A need to be conscious of it, and if a person does not want to get rid of it, then it cannot be rid of." - Chapter 003
- "Good and bad are human concepts, so something that is not human cannot be classified as neither good nor bad."
- "Family is other people. No matter how close your blood relationship is…no matter what your relationship may be…anyone other than you is not you! And so you have to think it over and decide for yourself! Take away other people’s wants and needs, and decide if this is something that is necessary for you! It may cause hardships to others…but you want it. That’s your free will right there! But you ignore that and decide based on someone else's advice, because decency demands it, because people say it’s awful, you will fail to quit. No one could succeed that way! You don’t understand what you’re trying to do. With that as your background, how do you expect to make a promise to yourself? But the opposite way…there are risks there, too, of course. If you decide to take the action that best suits you, there will be people who won’t understand…people will be saddened by your actions "
- "If you believe in it, it is real, if you do not, it is fiction." - Chapter 009
- "Even family are still other people. Other than being related by blood, is there any other relation? Aside from yourself, everyone else will always be other people." - Chapter 006
- "Names are important. Names have power. It doesn't matter whether it's living or not. Once you have given something a name, you have embodied it with that same amount of power." - Chapter 007
- "Normal? What is normal? To do only what the masses do? What is the benefit of that? And what is the problem with adopting a custom that is abnormal if it has no negative effect on the world at large?" - Chapter 023
- "If you've decided that you can't do it even before you act, you have already made it into something impossible." - Chapter 024
For more quotes from Yuko, check Quotes!
- Her true name is not yet revealed.
- She had a past relationship with Clow Reed.
- She is the one Fei Wang Reed wanted to revive completely, causing the events of both xxxHOLiC and Tsubasa.
- She has a specific outfit that she always wears whenever she shows up in Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle.
- In Horitsuba Gakuen, she is a chairwoman and a Literature teacher who always climbs through the window.
- She has the longest hair in the whole series.
- Yuko is an alcoholic. This however, is pretty obvious as she is most of the time seen drinking wine, beer or other alcoholic beverages. The most is that she is seen drinking sake with fish as she called it really delicious.
- Interestingly, all of Yuko's customers in the story are all female - with the exception of the old man that received the cage filled with "Illusion Birds", birds that can only be seen its shadow in the full moon. Watanuki and Doumeki are not included as they are employee and friend respectively.
- Yuko is hardly seen wearing the same outfit all the time, since she only wear them once (she never wears the same outfits twice, except for the black dress that she used to sent the Tsubasa gang to another dimensions which she is seen in anytime there's a plot point related to Tsubasa, and a kimono with butterfly wings attached to the obi that is seen mostly in Watanuki's dreams).
- Her real eye colour is not known as she changes it most of the time to fit with her outfits. However, the most consistently used color for her eyes is a wine red.
- Her recurring theme is the butterfly. Almost all of her outfits have a butterfly design to it. An example is her OVA kimono, the obi is designed to resemble a butterfly.
- Kakei makes a reference of her when Rikou asks him why Watanuki can't leave the shop (Drug and Drop, Ch 6)
|v · e||Characters|
|Major Character:||Yuko Ichihara · Kimihiro Watanuki · Shizuka Domeki · Himawari Kunogi · Mokona Modoki · Kohane Tsuyuri · Tsubasa Li · Syaoran Li · Princess Tsubasa · Sakura Li · Fay D. Flourite · Kurogane|
|Minor Character:||Maru and Moro · Ame Warashi · Tanpopo · Zashiki Warashi · Haruka Domeki · Kudakitsune|
- ↑ XXXHOLiC manga volume 1, chapter 1