Kyoko's name is written in Otonashi's family book, showing that she belongs to that family. In a argument with her parents about remarrying, they will suggest she removes her name from that book for getting back her maid's name : she will refuse.
The ancient Japanese tradition was to write the widow's name beside the dead husband's one in red on the tombstone. A bit as if she were already dead. Fact is the literal meaning of "miboujin" (widow) in Japanese is "person who is not dead yet". To be a widow has a definite sound in the Japanese mind.
Once their mutual feelings, Kyoko and Yusaku will think rapidly about marriage. Don't think Kyoko is prude or innocent : a physical relationship will take place with Yusaku even before they think about marriage (the manga, by the way, is much more explicit than the anime series about that aspect of their relationship).
Yusaku, having found a job, only has to make his official proposal... doing a proposal seems to be a difficult operation for a Japanese... it's a tradition not to ask directly, but rather to make understand to the other what you are up to. In an elliptical way, "I'd like to drink my coffee with you every morning" is like "would you like to marry me" (in the adequate context, of course... ^_^). After some aborted tentative ("do you want to make me a miso soup ?" interpreted literally or the tenants coming in at the wrong moment), Yusaku will finally make his proposal, her father being present who had opposed strongly that marriage. Mr Chigusa, as I was saying earlier, not only feels he's losing his only child, but also fears that she will be unhappy again because of a man and he can't bear it. Nevertheless, he will give his consent : Kyoko having said "yes", he can only give his benediction, with reluctance and because a child must grow.
To accept his proposal, Kyoko asks him only to promise something, that is, even if by just one day more, he lives longer than her... because... she doesn't think she could continue on by herself... she admits then, simply, her fear of loneliness. Souichiro's death left her confused and lost. And although she's been able to overcome her sorrow, she often suffered of being alone and of the feeling of having been abandoned.
Kyoko will be introduced to Yusaku's family. She's a bit nervous, since she's older than him by two years, but everything will go well (thanks to Yusaku's grand-ma) and the whole family will welcome her without further questions...Oh, by the way... Godai's family, who owns a restaurant, is installed in Niigata, the Japan prefecture where Rumiko Takahashi is born...
Even Akemi will get her share, since she will marry the master of the cafe she works at.
Kyoko's wedding, in many ways, is depicted as a rebirth. Many times, it's mentioned that she's reborn. And as if it was not enough to say it, the picture embroidered on Kyoko's wedding kimono is a Phoenix, the bird always reborn from his own cinders. We see the strong symbol : by remarrying, Kyoko leaves the state of "person who is not dead yet" to become a full woman.
The circle is closed and the author offers us a wonderful ending, the whole Ikkoku-kan's family gathered in front of the house and Kyoko, happy, holding in her arms her daughter, Haruka. A definite ending that couldn't be better, that couldn't be more perfect... everything is said and their life belongs now to the characters.
Here we are, at the end of that long story. I would have so much more to say about that series, about each of the characters I didn't take the time to talk about, but I said the essential : Kyoko is a fictitious character yes, but one in a million and she deserves to be more known and more appreciated... ^_^
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Kirin. Aug. 1999