Kaori Miyazono, often referred to as “Kao-chan” by others, is one of the main characters of popular manga and anime series Your Lie in April (Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso). In Japanese and also on the door or her room, her name is spelled as Kawori. She is voiced by Risa Taneda in the anime, and is played by Suzu Hirose in the film adaptation. Her parents Yoshiyuki and Ryoko Miyazono own a pastry shop called “ma fille”, which translates into “my daughter”.
As a child, she often wore a pink dress with red shoes, and enjoyed playing the piano and going out with her friends. At the age of five, she attended a recital at Towa Hall where she saw Kousei Arima perform for the first time. She was so inspired and touched by Kousei’s music that she convinced her parents to let her become a violinist instead of a pianist. Her goal was to have Kousei accompany her in a performance.
While Kaori presented herself as a passionate and energetic girl, her body was weakened by an unnamed illness. While many fans hypothesize that Kaori was affected by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or advanced multiple sclerosis (MS), the answer was never revealed in the manga or the anime. As a child, Kaori became aware of her condition at the hospital one night where she saw her parents crying in the waiting area.
Early in junior high school, Kaori wore black framed glasses and had her blond hair tied in pigtails with red ribbons. As she came to realize that she did not have much time left, she decided that she would not carry any regrets to heaven, and switched to contact lenses that she was formerly afraid of. Later on in junior high, Kaori wore her hair freely without any ties, and no longer used her glasses. At her performances, she would wear a beige tulle lace dress that complimented the bright color of her hair.
Together with Kousei Arima, Tsubaki Sawabe, and Ryota Watari, Kaori attended Sumitani Junior High School. After seeing Kousei at school but being unable to reach out to him because of Tsubaki and Watari, Kaori decided to fake a crush on the popular Watari to become closer to Kousei. With Tsubaki’s help, the four met together at the park near Towa Hall, where Kousei was first introduced to Kaori.
Due to a misunderstanding, Kousei started off with the wrong impression of Kaori. At first, he thought that she was violent and had a bad personality. However, after hearing her play the violin freely and with passion, his thoughts towards her began to change. As the two began to spend more time together, Kaori would appoint Kousei as Friend A and a replacement for Watari, taking him on walks, shopping trips, and for snacks at restaurants and pastry shops. As they grew closer, they would often meet in the music room at school. During numerous scenes, the two would sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star together.
Kaori was a highly skilled violinist who would truly make her music her own. Instead of copying and replicating music according to the score, Kaori would play freely to her heart’s content. Because of her unique take on music at recitals, she usually scored poorly with the judges, but would always be well received by the audience. Her music and style earned her many fans and followers, who provided her and Kousei the opportunity to play in the gala concert. She ended up missing the concert due to her deteriorating condition. Kaori knew she did not have much time left, so she was always motivated to do her best so that her audience would remember her.
“We’re all afraid, you know.. to get up on stage. Maybe you’ll make mistakes. Maybe the audience will reject you. Even so, you grit your teeth and step on stage anyway. There is something that compels us… something that moves us to play.”
Although Kaori did not actually have a crush on Watari, she pretended to be in love with him, and kept her lie as a secret until the very end. In her final letter message to Kousei, she explained that she prefered someone more honest and earnest, and that Kousei was the one that she was in love with.
Even after Kaori was hospitalized at Totsuhara University Hospital later on in the series, she continued to communicate with Kousei and encourage him to find meaning and motivation in his music. To ensure that Kousei had enough time to practice, Kaori would tell him not to visit, but still ask for him to deliver her favorite caneles and also call to remind him that they were still connected. With Kousei’s invitation and challenge to Kaori to perform together with him again, she was able to find new strength and courage.
“Such a cruel boy. Telling me to dream again. I thought I was satisfied because my dream had come true... And I'd told myself it was enough... Yet here you are, watering this withered heart again.”
On February 18, the same day as Kousei’s piano competition, Kaori underwent surgery and never woke up from the procedure. She passed away on the same day, and her parents gave Kousei her final letter to him at her funeral.
“Was I able to live inside someone’s heart? Was I able to live inside your heart? Do you think you’ll remember me at least a little? You’d better not hit the ‘reset’ button! Don’t forget me, okay? That’s a promise! I'm glad I chose you, after all. Will I reach you? I really hope I can reach you.”
The beauty of Kaori’s appearance, personality, and story have inspired plenty of fan art and cosplays. There are numerous Kaori Miyazono figures produced by Good Smile Company and Aniplex, with all of them being very well received by fans of her and the series.