I understand Toji too much to hate him.

Content warning: Yeah, so this blog post is very much giving “a woman unhinged” as I open up about being abused, along with providing details about a depressive episode I had in the summer of 2020. Reader discretion is advised. Hopefully, I can get back to writing happier things soon.  
The best way to describe Jujutsu Kaisen is the same way you will tell many Shakespeare plays and Greek mythology: a tragedy. Jujutsu Kaisen is one of the more well-known tragedies set in contemporary times, which makes it easier for the audience to sympathize with its characters. I do have my criticisms regarding how this show deals with death at times, but I appreciate how it tells stories about people whose communities have failed them. When it comes to community failure, that is one thing Jujustu Kaisen got right with its storytelling. 

Regarding my having numerous bad friends and being in tons of abusive situations, I identify with characters who have lived similar experiences. This is a contribution to why I renamed my blog after Nathalie Sancoeur from Miraculous Ladybug. The reason I could never hate Nathalie, and why I see so much of her in myself, is because the dynamic she has with Gabriel reminds me too much of a guy I was friends with for almost seven years, realizing that we were too dependent on each other to the point of where we didn’t know ourselves outside one another. It never hit me that he had so many bully tendencies towards me until another friend of mine called it out. When I made friends with people that didn’t know him, and I told them about what he would do to me, they didn’t sugarcoat how they felt about his behavior. I honestly did not want to accept that he was terrible to me and that we were better off without each other. Everything changed during the last conversation I had with him, which caused me to block his number.


While things ended badly, and we are no longer friends, I still love him. I just have to love him from a distance. I don’t want to take the risk of him mistreating me again. The last conversation I had with him over text literally scared me. 

I picked up Jujustu Kaisen because the crossover fans had created with the Disney characters got me interested; I had no idea that I would like Toji Fushiguro as much as I do now. Yes, I do find him to be sexy, as many other people do; it’s beyond his looks; I really enjoyed his character because I could see a bit of myself in him once I learned about the history with Toji and his family (that I hate by the way they suck!). Toji Fushiguro, born Toji Zenin, comes from a family called The Zenin clan. Because he is so different from everyone else, the family is nasty towards him and sets him up in the worst scenarios. Because of the mistreatment he dealt with, Toji felt unloved. The Zenin clan could have loved Toji and accepted him for who he was, but they abused him instead. Toji does not find love until he meets a woman whom he ends up marrying, and he has a baby with her, his son Megumi. Traditionally, when a man and woman get married, the woman takes the man’s last name. Toji hates his family so much he doesn’t want her to take his last name; he takes hers, Fushiguro, instead. Toji did change for the better when he had someone care about him.


When things started to get better for Toji, his wife died. When she died, he was lost again in life and began to make terrible decisions, along with being emotionally unstable. As someone who lost someone I loved with all my heart to death around the time I got into Jujustu Kaisen, this hit too close to home for me. One of the most genuine friends I had ever had, on top of the fact that this person helped me become a better person, was dead.  


While I do feel for Toji, my sympathy for him changes once he leaves his son and stepdaughter; my condolences turn into frustrations. His grief relating to his wife is understandable, but I can’t help but be angry with him for what he did to Megumi and his step-daughter, Tsumiki (yes, there’s another one; we will get into that later). Yes, I get that he was an emotional wreck when his wife died, but he now had the responsibility of being a father, and he failed. Thinking deeper into this, it seems as if no one would help Toji take care of Megumi, at least well (we will get into this later). Once again, I blame the community. If you see a father struggling to take care of his son, why won’t you try and help him? There is so much neglect going on here, and it’s not just from Toji. The Zenin Clan sucks. 


I genuinely do think Toji may have been a much better person if his wife, the one who is Megumi’s biological mother, didn't die. 


But also, Toji should have been in a community with more people like her. We barely know anything about that woman other than the fact that she brought out the good in him. It becomes evidently clear that a lack of genuine connection and support flawed his second marriage. When you lose the person that helped you grow and develop, you lose a sense of hope. After Megumi’s mother died, Toji married another woman, and we barely know much of anything about her other than that she had Tsumiki and that she and Toji ran off together. We legitimately don't know anything about her, but the two of them abandoning Megumi and Tsumiki told me all that I needed to know about that relationship.

I made sure to call out what Toji did to Tsumiki just as well because I rarely ever see anyone do it. I like Toji, but just because I like his character does not mean I will excuse him when he's wrong. While Tsumiki isn't his biological daughter, he was still her parent and, therefore, was responsible for her. Not only did Toji fail Megumi, but he failed Tsumiki; it resulted in her having to be motherly towards Megumi because their parents were gone. Toji is partly to blame for that.


When it comes to Tsumiki's mother, It's beyond Toji being with someone who most likely enabled his wrong behavior; that isn't the only problem. The problem is that healthy community matters, and Toji did not have that. When you have two people who are at writ end together and have no hope, that relationship is doomed from the start unless they take responsibility for their actions and help each other grow. I have a theory that Toji was with that woman simply because she was available, and he didn't want to be alone. From what Megumi has expressed about that woman (that she left him), she didn’t seem all that great. I find it hard to believe Toji truly loved her. I do think Toji loved his first wife, though, because of the good she brought out in him. It's beyond a woman changing a man; it's a person having someone in their life who cares about them.


I could never hate Toji because it scares me to think of what I would have turned into if I hadn't made better friends and fixed the friendships I already had. I, too, grew up in a community that didn’t protect me( and recently got out of one that didn’t protect me and threw me under the bus). I was not protected from the abuse I suffered at my cheerleading gym or school growing up. I think back to 2020, the year I lost myself and found myself again because of the falling out I had with a female friend. I wanted this friendship to work because she liked so many of the things I liked. I realized I got attached to her because she was similar to a very rude girl I hung out with all the time in high school; she reminded me of her. I had a terrible habit of befriending people who treated me poorly because it’s what I was used to. You know the person in the friend group that everyone walked all over and never left despite their friends bullying them? That was me for the longest. I didn’t understand that I didn’t have to tolerate that kind of behavior from someone who was supposed to care about me. This woman I thought I was going to be friends with forever let her boyfriend say gross things to me about my body and treated me horribly when I spent the weekend at her home for a sleepover. I let it slide until one of my closest friends told me that what she had done to me was wrong and I had the right to stand up to her. The betrayal I felt was so heart-wrenching that it bothered me for months to the point where I braided my hair blue and green, turned my phone off, and didn't talk to anyone other than my mom, dad, and sister for almost four days. In between that period of my breakdown and the sleepover, I had another conversation with her; she failed to see that she was awful to me. She didn't change at all. While I still had friends, I questioned if I even wanted to have friends at all anymore.


I know if I pushed everyone anyway, it wouldn’t have made anything better for me. Being a glass-half-full person, for a few days, I was glass-half-empty during that period of my life, and it was terrifying. Mind you, this conversation also happened around the time I lost my job because of the pandemic and taking care of my sick mother, so I already wasn’t doing well. I gave up on having a community for a short period. Those four days when I was alone, I didn’t like how I felt; I wrote some of the meanest things down in my journal, and I was so appalled by what I had said I set the paper on fire and burned it down the drain. I wanted better because I deserved it. 


After the hair change and the isolation, I did better with the friends I already had and ended up meeting some fantastic people along the way. Having friends who care about you but also call you out on your BS and not enable it helped me so much later down the line. I also needed to believe that someone cares about me. That's what I needed, and that's what Toji needed. Toji is a grown man who is responsible for his actions. He could have taken the initiative to find a healthier community, but I understand why he didn’t. When you are constantly let down, you lose hope in society. It’s tragic how his negativity overpowered him. 


What truly won me over with Toji is that even though he had done wrong, he still had some kind of love in him. Despite not treating Megumi the best, Toji didn’t want the Zenins to hurt him the way they did him, so he mentioned Megumi to someone he knew would look after him. Because of this action, I also want to believe he cared about Tsumiki. I still have so many questions about this family, and there is so much left unanswered regarding Toji.

I like to think back to how things would have changed for Toji if his family hadn't hurt him so much. I like to think about how life would have been better for him if he had healthy friendships or friends at all. I like to think about how life would have been if Tsumiki’s mother wasn’t trash. I like to think about how his life would have been if Megumi’s mother hadn’t died. Most importantly, I like this think about what Toji would have turned out like if he stayed optimistic. As someone who has survived abuse, I want to be happy. I genuinely hate when an abuse victim's life feels like an ongoing cycle of pain. But that's the sad reality for some. I respect Gege's decision for what they did with Toji's character; it's also why I like to read Tojj fanfictions where, in another universe, he's happy and takes the time to grow and become a better person. I like his character so much because I understand him too well. I could have ended up similar to him, personality-wise if I didn’t stay hopeful.



Thank you all so much for reading. If you are interested in more of my writing, me and Amaya Janelle's new book Um, Do Not Call Me Sis, is now available for purchase! Offered in paperback, ebook, and audiobook. 

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