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Hanahaki Disease

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Hanahaki Disease is a fictional disease where someone begins coughing up flower petals because they have unrequited feelings for someone. The flowers can grow in the stomach, lungs, or heart, though it is traditionally in the lungs. Hanahaki Disease is a painful, slow disease that often develops over months, if not years, and begins with coughing up a few petals, and grows in intensity and pain until the victim is coughing up entire flowers, at which point the disease has reached its final stages. If not treated, the disease is fatal. It's primarily an online phenomenon that appears in Fan Works, but it has appeared in original works as well.

Hanahaki Disease originates from Japanese works. The word "hanahaki" is a fusion of the Japanese words "hana" (flower) and "hakimasu" (throw up). The first usage of the trope is unclear, but it was popularized in Japanese Yaoi Genre fandoms before spreading to Korean fandoms and then other international fandoms.


This trope is popular because it has a lot of melodramatic angst-potential, while also being pretty. Death by Hanahaki Disease is tragic but beautiful. The victim is killed from within by something as beautiful as flowers. Haunted by their unrequited love, the person usually tries to cover up their illness. They'll leave behind trails of bloody flowers, which are both horrific and aesthetically pleasing. Flower Motifs are often used, which adds to the symbolism. The flowers are frequently associated with their unrequited love interest: it could be their favorite flower, their favorite color, a flower they're named after, or something along those lines. (So, for example, if Bob is in love with Sakura, he might cough up cherry blossoms.)

Despite how deadly Hanahaki Disease is, it can be instantly cured if it turns out the other person likes the dying person back. It can also be cured by surgery, but this cure often means that the person will lose their feelings for the person they love (a double-edged sword which amps up the drama). If, for some reason, it can't be cured, it sometimes can be managed with medication (though this is not seen too often), but it never fully goes away.


Sub-trope to Incurable Cough of Death, Hopeless Suitor, and All Love Is Unrequited. Related to Body Horror and Victorian Novel Disease.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The Trope Codifier is the 2009 Shoujo manga Hanahaki Otome, or "The Girl Who Spit Up Flowers", by Naoko Matsuda, which is about a girl with unrequited feelings who begins spitting up flowers. The symptoms are: strong chest pains and flowers coming from the heart or lungs, and then throwing them up.

    Fan Works 

    Web Animation 
  • When The Flower Blooms is an animesque original short based on this trope. It's about a teenage girl who becomes sick with the disease. She begins coughing up bloody cherry blossom petals. It turns out that she's dying of a known terminal illness that comes with unrequited love. She's cured when her Love Confession is accepted, however her best friend gets sick with the disease.

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