Jirō Kyōraku, also known as Shunsui Sōzōsuke Kyōraku, holds the position of captain of the first division and captain-commander of the entire Gotei 13. He is the rightful successor to the great Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto.

Previously, he was captain of the eighth division, having inherited the position after Seireitou Kawahiru defected over a thousand years ago.

Shunsui Kyoraku


Kyōraku is a powerful, fair-skinned Shinigami with prominent cheekbones, gray eyes and long, wavy brown hair. His hair is tied back in a long ponytail, with bangs framing the left side of his face. He also has abundant hair on his chest, feet and arms. He wears a straw hat called a sakkat and a pink floral kimono, which he slips over his captain’s uniform. Although his haori and obi belt are modest, his roller hairpins are of great value. He wears no tabi with his sandals. He sports a fine beard around his mouth and on his cheeks. Over a hundred years ago, before Aizen’s betrayal, Shunsui wore a beard only on the upper part of his lip.

After the battle against the Wandenreich and the Thousand Years’ War, Shunsui wears an eye patch over his right eye, which was damaged in the conflict. The upper half of his right ear is cut off at a slight angle. When promoted to captain-commander, his appearance remains unchanged, except for the symbol on his haori, which sports the kanji for “first” instead of “eighth”.

In his childhood, Shunsui’s hair was shorter and unkempt. He wore a floral kimono.


“It’s not good to keep forcing this particularity, Espada-san. And if you want to talk about particularity, not having a particular behavior is my particularity.”

-Kyōraku talking with Coyote Starrk.

Kyōraku, the enigmatic frigate captain, embodies the extreme of personality, but ironically, his most striking characteristic is his lack of features. He presents himself as a man who values peace above all else. Flamboyant and laid-back, the modest Shunsui walks around all day as if he had no worries in the world. He invites his fellow officers to drink their favorite beverage, sake, and enjoy sweets like steamed buns and other delicacies. Escaping from his duties and choosing to take a siesta are among his possibilities. He doesn’t hesitate to use his staff to get whatever is on his mind that day. It’s almost impossible to see this man without a smile on his bearded face. Shunsui also considers himself a seducer.

Shunsui Kyoraku

In particular, his frequent interactions with Nanao Ise, whom he affectionately calls “my Nanao-chan”, and Lisa Yadōmaru, both of whom have been his subordinates in the past, testify to his affection for the opposite sex. It’s not uncommon to find this man lounging in Rukongai’s red-light districts, indulging in behavior unbecoming of a team leader or even a Shinigami in general. What ties his playful demeanor together is his blind familiarity with everyone he comes across, whether ally or foe, as evidenced by the way he addresses Coyote Starrk as “Espada-san” and Sōsuke Aizen as “Aizen-taichō”. He shows great respect for those who have gone before him, addressing his colleagues and officers with the honors due them. One might wonder why this peaceful pervert was chosen as successor to the Gotei’s fearsome commander, the sword demon. But there’s a depth to Kyōraku that would greatly disturb those who dare delve into his conscience.

Whatever others may think of him, this peaceful drunkard is only a facade, even a lie that he constantly maintains. Kyōraku is a pragmatist at heart. What’s truly frightening, however, is what exactly his pragmatism is based on. This is where similarities between him and the late Yamamoto begin to emerge. His duty to defend the Seireitei is his top priority. All his actions are guided by this objective.

In his youth, Kyōraku may have had aspirations that matched his own: the love of a beautiful wife, starting a family in a peaceful world and enjoying his sake in the company of his closest friend, Jūshirō Ukitake, whom he considered a brother. But his worldview was cruelly altered when he witnessed the horrors of war.

Seeing loved ones perish like animals on the road and the atrocious acts perpetrated by those who engage in war out of selfish motives and desires, the pain was simply unbearable for both friends. While Ukitake was physically weakened, enabling him to cope with these external scars, Kyōraku internalized his pain, resulting in a transformation of his person. Of course, he might try to conceal these changes with an appearance of peaceful perversity and occasional alcohol consumption, but in the end, Kyōraku was no longer the same person.

Shunsui Kyoraku

After once resisting the horrors of war, Kyōraku began to understand the reasoning behind them. When two sides go to war, they’re both wrong. There is no “good” side. So, as Kyōraku integrated this thinking, he came to the conclusion that atrocities are simply part of the way the world works. When a goal must be achieved, it must be achieved, no matter what evils are necessary to get there. In some ways, he can be seen as darker than his predecessor, Yamamoto himself. Whereas the Gotei founder always forthrightly expressed the evils he had committed, Kyōraku internalized the evils he was prepared to perpetrate. He wore a smile as he brandished his blades, and he made no distinction between a child or a woman he would kill without it weighing on his conscience. He no longer thought of it as a young man; no, he had matured to the point of recognizing the demands of his role as a Shinigami and dismissing any idea of regret. There was no turning back.

This state of mind is also reflected in the way he fights. His pragmatism is evident every time he tries to avoid a confrontation. Unlike his wartime mentor, Kyōraku recognizes that not all confrontations require violence. In this respect, he could be an even greater leader than his predecessor. He advised the young ryōka, Yasutora Sado, to drop his fists and simply join him in drinking sake. A shrewd gesture that escapes many people. Avoiding an unnecessary expenditure of force while maintaining the human’s attention, he made sure to keep him under his control without the latter realizing it. Of course, even when the young man refused to adopt a non-violent approach, Kyōraku refused to take his life.

Many think that this may have to do with a preconceived sense of pity that Kyōraku might still feel. However, they are mistaken. This was an invader, an intruder who had arrived with other criminals, and as such there was still information to be obtained. Moreover, given this man’s reckless actions, Kyōraku could not allow the Seireitei to sustain any more damage. Kyōraku presents itself in a false light, often concealing the true malevolence of its intentions. The truth of this nature only manifests itself in small cracks, like light gradually penetrating a dark room.

Shunsui Kyoraku

Facing the mighty Coyote Starrk, despite having the opportunity to take a non-violent approach to the Espada, Kyōraku didn’t give in to the offer and claimed he simply couldn’t afford it this time. This vandal was part of a rebel army against Soul Society, and as such, he had to be eliminated. Period. The situation was far too serious for easy resolution. What’s more, given the Primera Espada’s power, it was obvious that it wouldn’t be easy to find a flaw in him. In a bid to push Starrk into revealing an opening, Kyōraku even implicitly suggested personally attacking Lilynette Gingerbuck – in effect proposing to kill an innocent, defenseless child – simply because he was convinced that “not even he [Stark] could remain calm if she were in danger.”

However, on the other hand, if he finds it inconvenient, he’ll choose not to leave the children on the battlefield. In addition to his pragmatism, even his emotional state is dictated by convenience. He has reached the point where he can joke and converse with such dangerous opponents as Sōsuke Aizen and Robert Accutrone. Although he is aware of his superiority in terms of power, he downplays his skills in front of his opponents to give them a false sense of security and lead them to underestimate his true abilities, as he hinted to Tōshirō Hitsugaya that he would surpass him in a hundred years.

His words may have been sincere, but even so, their intention was simply to deceive his opponent rather than show humility. Eventually, Kyōraku’s true nature was revealed when he allowed Love Aikawa and Rōjūrō Ōtoribashi to deal with Starrk, even though they were at a severe disadvantage and nearly lost their lives in the process, all in anticipation of an opportunity where Kyōraku could inflict a devastating injury. Afterwards, Love remarked that his habit of ignoring battle conditions hadn’t changed, to which Kyōraku simply replied that captains didn’t have that luxury; in a war, both sides are in the wrong, and Kyōraku is no stranger to this reality.

Kyōraku has also written a romance novel entitled “The Way of Pink Colors”, published in Seireitei Communication, but it is very unpopular. Kyōraku doesn’t receive a single fan letter or birthday present from his readers, but that doesn’t bother him either. Like many other captains, the Shinigami Women’s Association published a collection of photos of Kyōraku. Her collection was entitled “Using Arms as Pillows”. It sold out quickly, partly because it was released in fewer copies than similar collections by other captains. However, it was never reprinted, although Kyōraku has no knowledge of it.

Despite his casual appearance and pleasantries, Kyōraku is a deeply pragmatic and calculating individual. His war experience and the horrors he’s seen have transformed him into someone who understands that sometimes, to achieve a goal, you have to get your hands dirty. He no longer believes in the notion of a “good” or “bad” side in a conflict, because he thinks both sides are in the wrong.

His pragmatism is also reflected in the way he fights. He doesn’t systematically resort to violence, recognizing that not every situation calls for direct confrontation. He’s ready to use ingenious stratagems to gain an advantage or deceive his opponents. However, he also knows when it’s necessary to use force and make tough decisions to protect Soul Society.

Despite his cheerful demeanor and laid-back attitude, Kyōraku is a complex and mysterious man. He conceals his true intentions behind a mask of joviality, and only a few rare moments give a glimpse of his true nature. He’s ready to face the consequences of his actions and accept the sacrifices necessary to defend Soul Society.

At the end of the day, Kyōraku is a respected and feared captain, whose choices and actions are guided by a strong sense of duty to the protection of Soul Society. His pragmatism, tactical intelligence and ability to conceal his true intentions make him a formidable adversary and enlightened leader. But behind this facade lies a man who has been deeply scarred by war, and who carries the weight of his decisions on his shoulders.


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