" Yuki gave me a boy's school uniform. I will wear it to school, because that is who I am ! "
Takatsuki Yoshino is the secondary protagonist of the series. Yoshino lives much of their life assigned female at birth (AFAB), but throughout the series displays an affinity for presenting as their correct gender of a teenage boy. The manga follows a timeline forward from when they first meet Shuichi, until the college days. Yoshino is voiced by Asami Seto in the anime.
( Because Yoshino is a female-to-male transgender teen, Gender Neutral Pronouns may be used when referring to their perceived birth gender. Male pronouns will be used when he is presenting as his authentic gender identity of a teenage boy. See this article. )
Takatsuki Yoshino, is a masculine child, born perceived as a female, who at the beginning of Wandering Son is a fifth grader in Shuichi's class. Otherwise known as Takatsuki-kun (高槻くん) by their classmates, with a name honorific ( -kun ) used mainly with boys as an acknowledgment of masculine nature, Yoshino was assigned female at birth, but wants to be seen as a boy. Yoshino has many masculine features, such as a slim, athletic body, and a young, noble look. Yoshino is tall for that age group and is considered handsome and debonair by fellow classmates. Yoshino has dark gray hair color, with gray highlights, worn in a boy's bowl cut. They have slightly greenish deep brown eyes, and an even beige skin tone.
Except for wearing the girl's school uniform at school, Yoshino usually refrains from dressing in traditionally feminine clothes, such as skirts or dresses. They usually dress casual for a teenage boy, with a plain shirt, pants, and a hoodie. Shortly after becoming friends with Shuichi, Yoshino obtains a haircut in a boyish style, thereby taking on the appearance of a boy of about the same age as Shuichi. Yoshino has been known to dress in a male school uniform and wear that to school, although little or no real objections were voiced by the school staff. Yoshino's fellow classmates told them that they looked wonderful. Although Yoshino's appearance is definitely masculine, they are still repeatedly distressed about their appearance to the point of tears and sorrow.
- Like Shuichi, Yoshino becomes increasingly concerned and resentful about undergoing puberty, such as at the beginning of menstruation, or the noticeable growth of breasts. Also like Shuichi, Yoshino shows signs indicating gender dysphoria, though later they stop thinking that way due to personal exposure to modeling. Yoshino Takatsuki is the first person to befriend Shuichi at the new elementary school; their first conversation is about Maho's leg injury caused by the homeroom teacher, which Yoshino had witnessed. However, Yoshino finds themselves on the receiving end of a considerable amount of harassment from the other boys in class, as the popular perception perpetrated by them is that Yoshino is an ordinary tomboyish girl.
- Yoshino is a nonchalant, easy-going person by nature and will try to avoid confrontation at all costs. Yoshino prefers to dress and act like a boy, but usually abstains from anything which would draw unwanted attention to themselves. However, Yoshino does on occasion dress in a male school uniform that was given to them, and often goes to neighboring cities while dressed as a boy. During one such time, Yoshino enjoys being hit on by an older transgender woman, named Yuki. Yoshino wants to look "cool", and often wears clothes which are masculine styled, and not at all girlish. When teased by others, Yoshino is prone to getting emotional and is known to get violent on occasion. Such is the case when their dignity comes under fire, and are willing to go to any lengths to defend personal honor and the honor of one's friends. Yoshino successfully ignores much of the teasing the other boys direct towards one's personal integrity, up until the insinuation is made that experiencing the beginning of menstruation is 'proof' of "actually being a girl". This triggers an emotional breakdown and Yoshino goes home in tears.
- Yoshino takes up an interest in basketball after entering junior high school and joins the female basketball team with Chizuru Sarashina. Previously, until the Farewell play for the 6th graders that lays ahead of them (Maho and Shuichi's class), Yoshino is at odds with a trio of bullies and this comes to physical blows, with Yoshino beating up and subsequently being beaten up by the main bully antagonist. Yoshino absolutely refuses to apologize to the other boy, even when their parents become involved. Since then Yoshino has had a heightened aversion to conflict regarding an authentic male gender identity presentation, and therefore does not want to be considered rebellious or troublesome by others, or attract more of the same negative treatment that was already received.
- Yoshino wants to be considered "cool" or handsome by other people and tries to exert one's independence as much as one can without overstepping societal boundaries. He began leaving home to visit remote places by subway, dressed in male clothes after he got his hair cut short in 5th grade, and has since continued to present himself as male to people who are not in a position to criticize him for it. On his first outing he meets an older transgender woman who finds him charming, who asks for his name. A startled Yoshino actually gives Shuichi's first and last name, as Shuichi is the only person with a familiar male name that came to his mind. Yuki gave Yoshino her telephone number, thereby provoking the thought that this had been a pick up attempt. Yoshino greatly cheered himself, proud of the fact an adult woman found him attractive as a male.
- Yoshino went to middle school in the male school uniform for a while with little scolding or ridicule. However, when it became apparent that people wrongly thought Yoshino was just an imitation of the appearance of being male, all the while not actually physically being a male, and in addition to that having a sense of justice and solidarity for Shuichi who was not allowed to present as female at school, they stopped wearing the boys' school uniform. Yoshino said it wasn't fair that they could wear what one wanted to and Shuichi couldn't. At the same time, though, Shuichi admitted to being a transgender male-to-female teen, however, all the time that Yoshino was wearing the male uniform, all that while Yoshino remained silent about their honest intentions.
- Yoshino attempts to befriend Saori Chiba after a falling out, feeling responsible for the discord that their conflict has caused the surrounding friendship group, and fearing rejection in all its forms. Saori tends to undermine Yoshion's self-esteem regarding authentic masculinity, and then win back favor using small comments meant to acknowledge that she gets how Yoshino feels about themselves, amazingly all the while disagreeing with it. One such event is when she says Yoshino should grow one's hair out; because even boys have long hair, and when Yoshino does, she incredulously says she is happy because in her eyes that hairstyle makes Yoshino cuter and more feminine. But when Saori eventually reveals that opinion, Yoshino immediately cuts it short again in retaliation for the hypocrisy.
- Yoshino's family consists of a Mother, a Father, an older sister, and an older brother, who are all very doting and loving. Yoshino loves the family, and is not quarrelsome by nature, but the family's insistence on attempting to feminize Yoshino causes ones to butt heads at times. The Mother is the biggest promoter of femininity; she buys girl's clothes that Yoshino never wears, and continues to buy more, even though the old ones go untouched and unworn. She tried to convince Yoshino to enroll at the older sister's all-girls school because Mom's only motivation for doing so was to see how Yoshino would look in the girls' school uniform. In one chapter, Yoshino is remembering things the family has said; Father assuming a female-to-male masculinity means one is a butch woman, and the Mother lamenting that Yoshino's sister is disobedient and being disappointing because she had been relying on Yoshino to be the 'daughter' that Mom always wanted, with whom the sister could have feminine things in common. They are only supportive of Yoshino once attempts are made to present themselves as female, and were previously resigned to only tolerating Yoshino's behavior of being authentic with their gender identity of male. The boys' uniform that Yoshino wears in 5th grade is a hand-me-down from the older brother, the girls' uniform Yoshino gives to Shuichi for Shuichi's birthday is a hand-me-down from Yoshino's older sister.
- Like Shuichi, Yoshino experiences physical and social gender dysphoria for many years. Yoshino was humiliated by and disdainful of menstruation, but collapsed to the ground in absolute shock at the knowledge that breasts will eventually grow. In the girl's PE class one day, Momo comments, on seeing Yoshino wearing the girl's school swimsuit, further commenting on Yoshino now having breast buds, and a narrower waist. That comment was enough to give Yoshino vague thoughts of suicide. After the recovery from that disagreeable dose of peer pressure, Yoshino started searching for and buying a chest binder in order to conceal the breasts and not have to wear a bra, which they consider to be an unwanted indicator of femininity. However, Yoshino is ordered by a teacher at school to come to school wearing a bra underneath the female school uniform from now on; Yoshino complies. Yoshino also wanted to be taller, and ultimately wishes with all their might to have a penis.
- As of chapter 105 of the manga, the isolation from the friendship and support group consisting of Shuichi and many more accepting friends, combined with societal pressure, and the nagging of Saori Chiba, Yoshino enters a confused, questioning phase in the outworking of life. Experimentation begins with the validation of masculine gender identity, in order to prove to themselves that in the mind, heart, and soul, they indeed, are truly masculine, and not just a girl who hates the things expected of women. Years of fear and rejection catch up to Yoshino, and so they react to the positive attention and adulation that is received concerning finally being able to please people with one's perceived, but untrue, existence. However, the hidden damage has already been done, and Yoshino eventually loses the resolve to consider themselves masculine anymore. As of the final chapter, the author of the manga writes that Yoshino knows that they still want to be a transgender female-to-male person, and believes transitioning is the right path, but lacks the drive to pursue it. This leads to Yoshino thinking that by affirming male gender identity in the mind, but by leaving the body female, means that there doesn't supposedly exist a valid claim to correct gender affirmation, or the right to claim transition to masculinity. Yoshio says that " [not being like Shuichi in gender affirmation]" is more painful than being romantically rejected by Shuichi. Yoshino is last seen in the manga, crying as their hands are held by Shuichi, who no longer sees Yoshino attempting to present as a boy.
Nitori Shuichi: They have known each other since childhood. At one point Shuichi expressed intimate feelings towards Yoshino, but such was not reciprocated at the time. Later, they both briefly dated one another as their correct genders. Near the end of the story, Yoshino expressed the same intimate feelings for Shuichi, but Shuichi had, at that time, been in an off and on dating relationship with Anna, and could not reciprocate Yoshino's feelings. Shuichi continues to have an intimate social and emotional shipping with Anna, but still wishes to continue to be friends with Yoshino.
In the Japanese language, the first name 'Yoshino', given to this character at birth, is feminine, and means a fragrant, aromatic girl who is very beautiful, having a good heart, and a dweller on the plains or lowlands. When this character presents as a male, the first name they use is 'Shuichi', borrowed from their best friend. The first name 'Shuichi' is masculine, and means excellent in all criteria, person of excellence.