Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto is the previous captain of Gotei 13’s 1st division, as well as the previous captain of the entire Gotei 13 fleet. His lieutenant is Chōjirō Sasakibe.

Genryusai Yamamoto

Yamamoto is the most venerable of the Gotei 13 captains. He is depicted as an elderly man with a long beard and long eyebrows. His torso and head bear numerous scars, the most prominent being a pair of long perpendicular marks above his right eye, bearing witness to the countless battles he has fought in the past. He wears the standard Shinigami uniform, although he is considerably larger in stature. What’s more, he lets his hair fall down his back instead of wearing it. Despite his aged, frail appearance, he has an extremely muscular body, which he only reveals when he adopts certain fighting stances, which Shunsui says is quite rare.


As captain of Gotei 13, Yamamoto enjoys immense respect from most Shinigamis, not least Sajin Komamura, who considers him a benefactor who saved his life. The embodiment of conviction, Yamamoto is a strict defender of Soul Society laws and regulations, and expects the same rigor from others. He has no tolerance for insubordination, and speaks out on behalf of those who dare to rebel. He is quick to anger at any potential betrayal, and very aggressive in battle. When in a state of tranquility, he gives the impression of being fragile, to the point of falling asleep standing up while waiting for Shunsui Kyōraku to arrive for a meeting. Thanks to his years of experience, Yamamoto rarely shows signs of distress or surprise, usually contenting himself with half-opening one or two of his eyes, which are often half-closed.

Yamamoto appreciates Eastern cultures and is a master of the Japanese tea ceremony. On the other hand, he hates the “Western” traditions preferred by his lieutenant Chōjirō Sasakibe. Every month, Yamamoto organizes a tea party in the 1st Division’s quarters for all the division’s members. He braids his own beard and shapes it regularly. He also likes to be rubbed with a dry towel when out in the sun on his balcony.

Genryusai Yamamoto


Yamamoto’s combat stats, clockwise. Top: Offense (100), top right: Defense (100), bottom right: Agility (100), bottom: Kidō (100), bottom left: Intelligence (100), top left: Physical Endurance (60). Total: 560/600.


As founder of the Shinigami Academy and with over two millennia of combat experience, Yamamoto is without doubt the most powerful fighter in the entire Soul Society. Few expect to survive a confrontation with him. He is capable of fighting two Shinigami captains simultaneously. His skill with the sword is such that a single precise blow can bring down his opponent.


This basic technique provides a precise cut of extreme strength and speed. It can easily slice through large opponents, even if they are protected by a steel skin and several storeys high. Opponents can be killed by a sword stroke so precise that they don’t realize their defeat until afterwards.

Master of Flash Steps: He’s also renowned for his Shunpo expertise, being able to surpass Shunsui and Jūshirō in terms of speed during a chase through Seireitei. He can easily overtake the two captains and arrive at his destination first, without even being noticed by the others.


Thanks to his years of experience as a teacher, warrior and commander of Gotei 13, Yamamoto is an extremely intelligent man. He is able to adapt quickly to new situations and make swift decisions accordingly. He has a great sense of tactics, as evidenced by his preparations for the battle of Karakura. He is also highly perceptive, as evidenced by his ability to easily detect that Captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi is hiding knowledge about the Montes. His expertise in battle tactics is undeniable, as he has led captains and divisions in battles for several centuries, be they minor or major threats. What’s more, he often gives his subordinates orders that may seem harsh or excessive, but which often produce fruitful results, thanks to the ensuing acts of rebellion, which he had most likely already anticipated.

Genryusai Yamamoto


As one of the most senior members of Soul Society, Yamamoto’s spiritual power has the same characteristics as his Zanpakutō, representing the element of fire. He often emits a flaming aura that has the potential to burn and set his surroundings ablaze without even resorting to the use of his Zanpakutō. Yamamoto possesses an extremely powerful Reiatsu, capable of frightening other captain-level Shinigamis such as Kyōraku and Ukitake, as well as paralyzing Lieutenant Nanao Ise with a single glance. She even fainted, and Shunsui had to pull her safely away from the captain general so she could catch her breath.


In addition to his astonishing appearance for his age, Yamamoto demonstrated extraordinary physical strength, as evidenced by the ease and speed with which he created a huge hole in the Allon monster’s chest, simply using the blunt end of his cane. He also managed to stop one of Allon’s blows and subdue him with a single hand, despite the fact that Allon had increased the size of his arm and increased his strength tenfold.



Despite his advanced age, Yamamoto is able to fight for long periods, even when outnumbered, without showing visible signs of exhaustion.


During his battle against two of the most powerful captains, Shunsui Kyōraku and Jūshirō Ukitake, he emerged unscathed, with no visible wounds. He also took direct attacks unperturbed. We even saw him get impaled by a sword without backing down in the face of the damage inflicted.

Genryusai Yamamoto


Yamamoto’s extensive knowledge of Kidō allows him to perform them without needing to speak their names, while retaining their high power potential, unlike most users who require a name or even a full incantation. He is also able to create extremely powerful barriers to protect himself from all but the most fearsome dangers.


As a seasoned fighter, Yamamoto boasts over a millennium of experience. In addition to his swordsmanship, he also excels in hand-to-hand combat, as evidenced by his ability to easily seize Allon attacks with bewildering speed. Although the breadth of his skills may be altered by his advanced age, he remains a formidable and extremely capable fighter.


For the manifested spirit that appears in the Unknown Tales of the Zanpakutō arc, see Ryūjin Jakka (spirit).


Sa Zanpakutō is one of the oldest and most powerful fire-type Zanpakutō, possessing more attack power than any other Soul Society Zanpakutō. In its sealed form, Ryūjin Jakka usually takes on the appearance of a harmless wooden stick that can be used as a spear. At any moment, Yamamoto can instantly remove this disguise by peeling back the wood, revealing his true form as a standard katana with a dark purple handle and circular hand guard. Its power is such that even the most powerful Shinigami fear it, even in its sealed form.


The command of his Shikai is “Turn all creation to ashes” (万象一切灰燼と為せ, banshō issai kaijin to nase; “All things in the universe turn to ashes” in the English dub). When he releases his Zanpakutō, extreme spiritual pressure is released, affecting everyone in the area and potentially felt for miles across the entire Seireitei.


When released, Ryūjin Jakka’s blade is enveloped in flames. The aura of this weapon can reduce everything Yamamoto strikes with his sword to ashes, turning objects to nothing but dust and engulfing the surrounding landscape in a firestorm, its heat intense enough to scorch the sky. Only powerful fighters like Kyōraku and Ukitake can withstand it, but even in their case, only indirectly. Even in his Shikai, Ryūjin Jakka’s power is enough to take on the Shikai of two other captains simultaneously, who were reputed to be the strongest in Soul Society when they were together. Unlike other Zanpakutō already presented, Ryūjin Jakka’s reversion does not cancel abilities already used against an opponent, as seen when Yamamoto imprisoned Aizen, Gin and Kaname. The flames created by Ryūjin Jakka can be controlled with great precision by Yamamoto to target only the enemies he chooses, and he also has power over the intensity of the flames.


This ability creates an immense wall of flame that surrounds the target, then forming a huge sphere of flame that can imprison enemies. It has proven extremely powerful, capable of keeping three captain-level Shinigami (Aizen, Gin and Kaname) imprisoned for a significant duration.

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