Itoshiki Nozomu is the protagonist of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei and the teacher of a class of 32 students. His name contains an unlucky number of characters, and when written horizontally, his name forms the kanji for "zetsubou".
Nozumu appears to be a skinny, pale male in his early 20s. He regularly sports a kimono, with geta sandals and socks. His eye color is blue and his hair is black, with round glasses.
He is regularly an extremely negative and realistic person, going so far to attempt to ruin his whole classes' dreams on a worksheet he designed on future jobs in one episode.
Nozomu is also a pure form of negativity and stress, one example being; when the students ran into him at a hot spring. He refused to get into it due to it removing vital toxins, but was eventually forced into it, only to disintegrate in the water, leaving his robe and glasses behind.
He also commonly and openly suggests death (Example being him giving Matoi and her Ex-Boyfriend a briefcase full of poisons and nooses and quoting it as "Suicide being the ultimate form of love.") and committing suicide.
He has the tendency to attempt it himself for a number of bizarre recurring reasons, though he miraculously manages to survive every attempt; which is shown when he just comes back in the next episode/chapter. Other than that, he cares for his students and often hangs out with them like any other teacher, although being frequently confused by their methods and quirks.
Most of the main girls seem to have feelings for him but only because they misunderstand what he said to each of them (during the episodes introducing them). His negative personality started blossoming when he was in his first year of high school when he 'accidentally' joined a 'Negative' club.
- Nozomu's family name is Itoshiki (糸色). The kanji is "thread" and "color."
- His first name, Nozomu (望) means ambition or full moon.
When the kanji of his family name are combined and places before his given name, it is similar to "despair" (絶望, zetsubou). Other Itoshiki family members have similar puns based on their names.
- Please refer to Nozomu's gallery here.
- He is based upon the main character from Dazai Osamu's No Longer Human, which is both Nozomu's and the author's favorite novel.
- His catchphrase is "zetsuboushita", meaning "I'm in despair".
- After countless of failed suicide attempts, Nozomu now has the ability to see dead people.
- His negativity first sparked during high school, when he joined the Negative Club.
- He carries around a notebook labeled "Suicide Partners", Kiri being one of them; and refuses to marry, even though his family forces him.