|This article is about a character in Higanbana no Saku Yoru ni.|
Masaaki Yoshikawa (吉川 正明 Yoshikawa Masaaki) is one of the main protagonists of A Thistle of Vengeance. He is bullied by his classmates, but after gaining power from Azami, he starts to bully them back.
|A boy of smallish stature from the same class as Yukari Sakaki. He caught the eye of several bigger and meaner bullies and spent his days being bullied by them.
Being a person that hates losing, he adamantly refused to accept that he was being bullied. Because of that, he ended up changing himself by the way of a magical thistle.
He hates Yukari for interfering. He's the kind of guy who ends up acting mean to the girl he likes.
(Translation by Spider Lily Translations)
Masaaki has brown hair tied into a small ponytail and brown eyes. He has a bandage on his cheek, wears a blue hoodie, khaki shorts and blue shoes.
Masaaki is a timid and prideful boy, not wanting to admit that he's being bullied or that he's being helped by a girl. After becoming a bully due to Azami's power, he becomes more confident yet mean.
Masaaki has a small stature compared to the other boys in his class, becoming mocked and harassed for it. His desire for it to stop leads Azami to convince Masaaki to become a bully himself and get revenge.
- Yukari Sakaki (friend)
Masaaki is introduced when Yukari stops some kids from bullying him. Masaaki begrudgingly accepts her help. Later, Masaaki is bullied even more when his tormentors steal his pants and force him to carry several backpacks while walking home. Masaaki trips and drops bag in the gutter, and his bullies get mad and force him to dirty his own pants. Masaaki is unwilling to explain to his mom what happened and claims he just fell.
The next day, Yukari pulls Masaaki aside and asks if he'll help join her to stop bullying. Masaaki insists he isn't being bullied and doesn't want help, and Yukari promises not to interfere with him anymore but will still be there if he needs help.
Masaaki's bullying increases as Yukari watches, and he's later voted into position as class representative and forced to stay inside during recess. While looking down at the kids from the roof, Masaaki considers jumping off and killing himself, and Higanbana tries to entice him to do it. Marie intervenes and talks him out of it, saying that he needs to have courage and talk to people. Masaaki doesn't think it will work since his teachers didn't understand the problem and his parents were no good. Masaaki's suicidal thoughts disappear, being replaced with the desire to get revenge on his bullies.
As Masaaki walks home he encounters a garden of thistles and remembers a ghost story about a magic thistle that will give bullied kids the power of bullying. Azami appears and confirms the story is true, convincing Masaaki to eat one of her thistles and take revenge. The next day, Masaaki sees his bullies vandalizing his desk and yells at them to fix it, and they hurriedly comply.
Feeling much more confident and powerful, Masaaki begins taking revenge on his bullies by doing the same things they did to him, like throwing eraser bits. Yukari notices Masaaki's sudden change and tells him that though his bullies may have deserved retribution, that doesn't mean he should act the same as them. Masaaki yells at her, saying this is just karma. One day, Yukari sees Masaaki bullying more kids and tries to stop him, but he gets angry and says he won't forgive his bullies unless they apologize for everything. Yukari smacks him and goes to help one of the kids find his key that Masaaki threw away.
With Masaaki's change in status, he's able to study more and get better grades, being praised by his parents and teachers. Yukari confronts Masaaki while he's bullying another kid and learns he really did eat a magic thistle. Masaaki says he wanted to thank Yukari for always sticking out for him by never bullying her, but Yukari still won't overlook his actions. Masaaki declares that the next day, she'll also be bullied by him.
The next morning, Masaaki bullies a kid by taking his pencil case and tossing it around the room. Masaaki gets tired and throws the case at the boy, but it gets blown out the window; the boy tries to grab it and winds up falling to the ground below, being taken to the hospital afterwards. When the teachers ask what happened, Masaaki claims the boy just fell out by himself, the rest of the class agreeing since they were afraid of telling the truth. Masaaki becomes worried of what will happen if the boy died at the hospital, as he'd be called a murderer.
Later, the entire class confronts Masaaki and asks why he lied. Masaaki tries to threaten them, but it doesn't work this time as his self-doubt caused the thistle's magic to run out. The class starts beating up Masaaki and Yukari tries to break them up. Yukari learns that Sumire and Azami are trying to hunt by turning the class against Masaaki so they can later make him a bully again, and she offers to become the target of bullying again.
Over the next few days, Yukari gets bullied by everyone in class, and Masaaki learns about what she told the youkai. He apologizes for doing a lot of horrible things and asks what Yukari will do to fix everything. Yukari thinks she'll have to sacrifice herself to prevent anyone else form being bullied. Masaaki summons Azami and asks her to give a thistle to Yukari so he can become her singular target for bullying as atonement. Yukari accepts and eats the thistle.
The next day, Yukari uses her new status to scare the class into never bullying others. She tells Masaaki to be on the lookout for any bullying as the class representative, and he agrees. Masaaki later apologizes to the boy he made fall out the window.
In this dream world, Masaaki and Yukari have a conversation with Azami and Sumire regarding Yukari's tyranny.