Hiroko Makunouchi (幕之内寛子, Makunouchi Hiroko) is a recurring character in Hajime no Ippo.
After Makunouchi Kazuo returned with a new boat for the Makunouchi Fishing Boat, he decided to retire from the commercial fishing boat to be there with his family. Before retiring, he went to one last trip on the commercial fishing boat, promising Hiroko and Ippo that he would be back in a week, and that he would stay at home afterwards. Hiroko told him to be careful since it looked like there is a storm. However, due to a storm, the fishing boat sunk, and Kazou went down with it after saving Sakuma. After a week of searching, he was declared dead.
During the funeral without shedding a tear, she thanked everyone and thought Kazuo would be proud to hear from them. As Ippo kept on waiting for his father's return, Hiroko tried to get Ippo to come home, but he wouldn't listen. One day, Ippo returned soaking wet carrying Kazuo's cap, telling her that he kept his promise of coming home. She decided to take over the family's fishing boat business, later getting a captain's license for the fishing boat, while the local fisherman made a sign for it, and offered to help her.
Since Kazuo's death, Hiroko tried to get into dating again, however, nobody sparked her interest. The men thought she would be alone, but she believed she was never alone since she has her son. After Ippo saw his mother always tired from working, he mentioned not enrolling in high school, but she told it was unacceptable. She believed he needed to enrol in case he found something else he wanted to do. She told him not to worry bout anything else. She thought if he had time to worry about the business, then he should use it to worry about his future.
When Makunouchi Ippo came home from school, Hiroko noticed he got beat up by students again. When Ippo got accepted to the gym and about to leave the gym for a spar, Hiroko suggested to think of his opponent as a fish, like his father used to. Before Ippo's debut match, Hiroko made a big meal for him and told him that she can't come because of work. Sometime before Ippo's debut match, Ippo asked her to put his name on his new trunks, but gave her an incorrect spelling ("IPO"), which he ended up wearing anyways, since it was too late when he noticed.
At home, Ippo asked Hiroko if she could come see him fight, Hiroko responded that she doesn't want to see her son get hit. Ippo became worried that Hiroko is doing too much work, when Ippo was asked to go to outdoor camp, Hiroko lets him go.
When Hiroko wanted to watch a TV show, Ippo asked her for more time so he can research his next opponent. She asked Ippo if his opponent is strong. Takamura Mamoru, Aoki Masaru, and Kimura Tatsuya visited the house to see Ippo. Hiroko told them that he was sleeping due to a fever as the trio went to his room.
When Ippo got back from the Yamaguchi Chiropractic, Hiroko asked Ippo how it went. Hiroko questioned if he should use medicine instead of a bucket of ice, however, Ippo reassured her that it is the best method. After Ippo won the All Japan Rookie King Tournament, Hiroko got a phone call from him. Hiroko asked Ippo how is his injuries. Hiroko then congratulated him on his victory.
When Ippo came home, Hiroko heard about his entry in the Class A Tournament. When Ippo asked Hiroko if he can go to the training camp, Hiroko let him go. The next day however, Hiroko collapsed due to anaemia from overworking and was sent to the hospital. When Hiroko woke up and saw Ippo, she apologised to Ippo that he could not go to the training camp and wants to close the fishing business. However, Ippo reassured her that he can do it. Two weeks before she was supposed to be released, Hiroko began packing up and go back home. Ippo stopped her, as he wants to continue helping and have boxing as a hobby. When it was time to pick Hiroko up, Ippo and Umezawa Masahiko drove to the hospital and congratulated Hiroko on her release. Hiroko then gave Ippo a new pair of boxing trunks. Hiroko then arrived back home.
The night before the Class A Tournament finals, Hiroko gave Ippo dinner and noted how he only eats a little before a match. Hiroko was then asked how she was feeling, which she informed Ippo that, thanks to him, she fine.
After Ippo's match against Alexander Volg Zangief, Hiroko began to get worried as Ippo has been passed out for three days at the Kawai Hospital. While at the hospital with Ippo, she met Volg, who apologised to her for hurting her son. She peeled Volg an apple, and before Volg left, told him how seeing her son work hard is a wonderful thing for any mother. When Ippo woke up, she informed him that he was sleeping for three days and that Volg came by.
When Ippo came back from a date with Mashiba Kumi, Hiroko asked how the date went and mentioned that since he was 19 years old it was no surprise to hear such things. Later when Ippo returned to the house, Hiroko noticed how Ippo's face looked more of a man's since he lost, as he looked disappointed and embarrassed. She told him that he must really like boxing and to have fun until he gets tired of it.
When Ippo came back from his trip to the mountains, Hiroko asked how the trip went.
While Ippo was spaced out in his room, Hiroko answered the phone when Kumi called and gave the phone to Ippo. Hiroko and Umezawa eavesdropped on the conversation. When Ippo came back and went to bed, Hiroko noticed Ippo could not sleep as it got closer to his match with Sendō Takeshi, but she believed it was not due to being scared, as he was like this during training camp due to excitement. After Ippo won against Sendō and became the JBC featherweight champion, she informed Takamura, Aoki, and Kimura that Ippo went to bed as soon as he came home. She then expressed her disbelief of Ippo's being "Japan's best" when Umezawa told her. When Ippo woke up, Hiroko congratulated Ippo for becoming the champion.
A day before Ippo's first title defence match against Sanada Kazuki, Hiroko and Umezawa gifted Ippo new red boxing shoes and trunks, with the trunks having twelve stars signalling the twelve knockouts Ippo achieved. The next day, when Umezawa became excited as Ippo was in high spirits, Hiroko believed that the way Ippo said he would win by knockout, lead her to believe that he may lose. After Ippo's win against Sanada, Hiroko noticed Umezawa declining requests from interviewers wanting to talk to Ippo, as he was worried about his health. Hiroko thought Umezawa was like a manager for a movie star based on his actions.
When Ippo received a phone call from Aoki, Hiroko wondered why Ippo ran out of the house in excitement.
When Ippo came home one night after having dinner at the Itagaki family's house, Hiroko made him dinner since Ippo could not eat there as he didn't have time. Ippo's fourth JBC title defence opponent, Shimabukuro Iwao, arrived to the Makunouchi Fishing Boat and Ippo went to Tokyo Bay to talk to him. When Hiroko heard about the guest, she rushed to Ippo to meet him. She invited him for dinner at her home, thinking he was one of Ippo's friends. Hiroko was then worried if Shimabukuro had strange hobbies when he proceeded to smell her and deemed her a woman of the sea. Hiroko was worried that Ippo's been hanging out with a bad crowd, but then decided that Shimabukuro was not bad, just weird and thought that he was a bachelor in her age despite him being 22. Later, due to Ippo's intense training, Ippo wasn't able to carry out his duties for the boat. She told him not to push himself too hard since he was told to rest, mentioning that it is hard for him to carry the customer's equipment.
After Ippo defeated Shimabukuro, Umezawa told her that it was an awesome fight than the newspaper could show, suggesting that she should go to one of Ippo's matches. Hiroko disagreed, since she didn't want to see her son being beaten to a pulp, believing that she would have a heart attack from the shock. While Ippo was sleeping for two days, Itagaki Nanako arrived as she was worried about him. Hiroko gave her permission to check on him and thought how rare it is for females to visit him, not believing that her son would be popular. As Mashiba Kumi and Īmura Mari arrived and the three females began arguing, Hiroko entered the room and offered tea for them. She expressed that while worried about Ippo's boxing, she is unable to ask him to stop the sport since he comes home happy everyday. Hiroko then mentioned that when Ippo is heavily injured like this, she tries to let him sleep as peacefully as she can, which made Kumi, Nanako, and Mari feel guilty, and they decide to leave.
After Ippo recovered from his injures against Shimabukuro, he was planning to head to the gym. Hiroko was worried that Ippo was already practising again and told Wanpo to go with him in order to make sure Ippo only walked.
When Ippo brought Volg to their house, Hiroko made them dinner consisting of fish and nattō. Though she thought Volg would like the nattō, Volg had it stuck to his mouth, prompting Hiroko to give him tea. Hiroko offered Volg to stay at her home while he finds a place in America. While Volg stayed there, he helped with the fishing boat, though Hiroko insisted that he didn't have to help. A few days later, Hiroko told Volg to relax while Ippo and Umezawa took the boat out and asked if Volg has a request on what he wanted to ear, but Volg mentioned he was willing to try anything. Volg asked Hiroko if he could get the videos of Ippo's next opponent since he couldn't read the words on the video tapes. When Ippo returned, she told Ippo that Volg was watching videos, however, Volg was gone by the time Ippo checked on him.
Later, when Hiroko finished dinner, she went to get Volg while he was doing roadwork and mentioned that it would be sad when he leaves. She asked him if he will be okay in America by himself and if he spoke English. Along the way home, Ippo approached them and he and Volg ran the way home in a competition as Hiroko watched. When it was time for Volg to leave Japan, Hiroko gave him a good luck charm and money for helping out with the store. Hiroko was asked by Volg to say "I pray for your success, my son" in Russian. After she did, and Volg responded back, she watched as Volg left with Umezawa to the airport. After Ippo's weigh-in with Sawamura, Hiroko informed Umezawa that when Ippo came home, he shut himself inside of his room.
After Ippo defeated Sawamura, Ippo returned home with Kumi, who walked him back, and immediately put Ippo to bed when he fell. Hiroko expressed to Kumi how she still can't get used to seeing Ippo like that. When Kumi noticed a picture of Makunouchi Kazuo, Hiroko mentioned how timid Ippo was and relied on his father, who she believed was more suited to be a boxer than Ippo. Hiroko asked Kumi if she wanted Ippo to stop boxing, however, she noted how Ippo will never quit boxing due to his stubbornness. Hiroko showed her the cap that used to be his father's as proof of how stubborn he is, as Ippo found the hat as he waited for his deceased father to return. Afterwards, as Kumi was about to leave, Hiroko tried to stop her since she saw a "strange man" outside, however, Kumi confirmed that it was her brother.
After Ippo's injures healed, and Umezawa finished his his manga, he decided to quit the Fishing Boat and devote himself to be a mangaka. At a farewell dinner for him, Umezawa thanked Hirako for taking care of him, but she thought they should thank him since he helped them a lot. She thought it will be lonely with out him around. Umezawa felt the need to come clean and apologise to Hiroko and Ippo for bullying Ippo in the past since he wasn't sure on what his relationship with Ippo was. Hiroko lectured him to lift up his head, since if he is going out to a new world he needs to do his best with his head up, eyes forward. Umezawa left after giving his thanks to her. Catching up to Umezawa as he walked near the ocean, Hiroko steered the boat and waved as she and Ippo gave their farewells.
The next day, Hiroko received new hires Itagaki Manabu and Nanako for her fishing boat company, with Nanako helping out without pay. Later, the Kamogawa gym rented the boat to host a fishing event using the prize money from Ippo's match with Sawamura. Hiroko planned to prepare dinner for everyone with what ever they caught, which started a fishing competition between Kamogawa Genji, Yagi Haruhiko, Shinoda Tomoyuki, Takamura, Kimura, and Aoki. They returned early after Takamura fished Aoki out of the sea. After she cooked the meal for them, and heard about what happened, she commented on how dangerous it was for them. Later, Hiroko asked Ippo what he was doing in the hallway after he received a phone call from Miyata Ichirō, who asked about Takamura's potential eye problem.
Hiroko, Ippo, and Itagaki were shocked after they watched Takamura's commercial for Champion Royal C, an energy drink. A few nights later at dinner with Ippo and Itagaki, Hiroko heard about Aoki's new haircut by Takamura. When Ippo and Itagaki were thinking about Takamura's dream, Hiroko advised that they should be more concerned with themselves, as everyone has dreams that they chase, and she believed that people who try to see how far they can go is what makes a man. She was shocked when she saw a commercial by Aoki, where he was advertising broccoli as Broccoman.
During Takamura's travel across Japan, he called Ippo's house where Hiroko answered. Takamura told her to tell everyone that he was fine. When Ippo asked her if he told her where he was, she mentioned that Takamura was somewhere in the northeast moving down to the east of Tokyo. Itagaki and Ippo discussed the reason why Takamura travelled around Japan. The night prior to Ippo's title defence match against Karasawa Takuzō, Takamura finally returned. Hiroko fixed him dinner, where he told her that he ate different food on his trip, but her food was the best of all as he stole Ippo's and Itagaki's food. Itagaki was surprised at the lack of tension Ippo and Takamura were showing before an important match, but Takamura thought it was against a small fry. Before they got into an argument, Ippo preferred to relax. Takamura mentioned he brought a gift for them, that he bought in Sweet Shop in Osaka. Ippo planned to save it for after the match, while Itagaki, Kimura, and Aoki ate it after they arrived later.
While Itagaki was in the hospital after his match with Imai Kyōsuke, Hiroko saw Ippo carrying more ice chest than usually. Ippo thought if Itagaki heard that the work was hard while he was away, he would probably insist on leaving the hospital to help out. In order, for Itagaki to rest, he thought he needed to pick up the slack for him to rest peacefully. She agreed. After Ippo's match with Take Keīchi, Hiroko was shocked at Ippo's face. She wondered if Ippo would be able to eat. Ippo thought so since they only need rice and miso soup, since he brought the main course (Mentaiko) from Take home with him.
After returning from a fishing trip, Miyazaki mentioned they was able to catch a lot thanks to crew. They told Miyazaki and the other fisherman to leave their gear and supplies and they will carry it for them. Miyazaki was impressed after seeing Ippo carry it all, where another fisherman thought it normal for the Champion, but Ippo told them he been doing this longer than boxing. When Ippo and Itagaki noticed Hiroko trying to carry the heavy stuff, they told her to leave the heavy lifting to them, while she carried the small stuff. Hiroko thanked him for the day, and thought Itagaki was always cheerful as her back started to hurt. She told Ippo that it was a relief to have Itagaki working there as she went inside. After Miyata called of his match with Ippo, Ippo hang around the pier till Mari talked to him. When he returned home, Hiroko noticed Ippo was soaking wet. Ippo told her he was going to change then head out again. He added that he was sorry, but she didn't know what he meant. After he was done changing and leaving, she asked where he was doing. He told her he was going to box.
After Ippo's injures heal from his match with Malcolm Gedo, he was ready to work again. However, a typhoon arrived where Hiroko told Itagaki the business will be closed a for a few days due to the rough weather as Ippo arrived to help. Itagaki mentioned he had something to show Ippo at Kour Hall. A few days later after the storm, when the boat arrived everyone had a big haul as Ippo and Hiroko saw Nanako greeting them offering to help. Ippo believed it was too heavy for her. Itagaki told her they didn't need her help, but Nanako wanted to stay since Kumi was there.
Ippo was watching a video sent by his next opponent. Hiroko asked him what Ippo was watching so intently. She later thought the ocean in the video look beautiful, where she loved to take a vacation there since she thought they could get all kinds of different fish. She noticed the second half of the video was just monkeys and jungle. Later, she decided to go to bed while Ippo continued to watch it. Later on the fishign boat, Hiroko saw Itagaki and Ippo trying to practice shadow boxing on it during their free time.
When Ippo was invited to a class reunion by Umezawa, Hiroko was surprised he was invited, telling her son to have fun as he left.
Hiroko has a slender build and long untamed dark brown hair that is down to her shoulders. She also has dark brown coloured eyes and visible cheekbones at the sides of her mouth.
She is a very kind and strong-willed woman who cares for her son a great deal. Though she refuses to attend any of Ippo's matches because she doesn't want to watch him get hurt, she supports his boxing wholeheartedly because she knows how much joy it has brought to his life and how it has helped him with his self-esteem. She also would always know when Ippo would hide his tears when he came home from school when something happened to him.
- "You want me to come and watch you get punched? ...I'll definitely come when you won't get punched at all." - Round 14, when Ippo asked her to come to one of his matches (to which Ippo thought, "That's impossible.")
Main Article: Makunouchi Hiroko/Gallery