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Kaien Shiba (志波 海燕, Shiba Kaien) is the former lieutenant of the 13th Division, under Jūshirō Ukitake, up until his death at the hands of a Hollow that also killed his wife, Miyako Shiba. He was the older brother of Kūkaku and Ganju.


Kaien had a youthful appearance and was a fairly tall person. He had aqua green eyes and spiky raven black hair. He wore the normal Shihakushō with his lieutenant badge on his left arm as customary. He had a tattoo of the Shiba family crest on his arm. Some Shinigami, such as Byakuya Kuchiki, have stated that Kaien bears a strong resemblance to Ichigo Kurosaki.


Kaien, a very ethical man, was adored by many members of the 13th Division. He was outspoken and bore a rough disposition, with a down-to-earth attitude. Kaien treated his fellow company members indiscriminately, regardless of their social standing or rank. Because of this, he was popular among aristocrats and commoners alike within his Division.[1] Kaien loved the Shinigami, never speaking out in hatred against them.[2][3] He had a strong sense of duty.[4]

Kaien believed that one's "heart" was determined based on the prospects of fighting and protecting. He was a firm believer in Captain Ukitake's philosophy on fighting, which consists of two types of combat: the fight to protect life, and the fight to protect honor. Kaien took it a step further and believed that they both ended up being the same thing: "Heart." He believed that every time someone connects with another, a little bit of "heart" is born between them. He thought of "heart" as not something inside an individual, but rather what is born whenever one thinks of or remembers someone else. He believed that one's "heart" exists in others, and that it remains with his or her comrades even after death. Having held such views, he believed that people should never die alone.[5]

Kaien's favorite food was ohagi and he liked to take afternoon naps if he could.[1]


Kaien was a member of the Shiba Clan when it was one of the Great Noble Houses. Together with his siblings, Kūkkaku and Ganju, he grew up in Rukongai. While in a mountain area in Rukongai, Kaien found an injured piglet and looked after it. He gave the piglet, Bonnie, a ribbon and she became very fond of him. The door guards of the Shiba family - Koganehiko and Shiroganehiko - were previously the educators of Kaien and his siblings.[6] Kaien later decided to become a Shinigami and he passed the entrance exam on his first try. He was shortly recognized as a prodigy, as he completed the six-year curriculum of the Shin'ō Academy after only two years,[7] and became a member of the 13th Division.


Ukitake coaxes a reluctant Kaien to be his lieutenant.

110 years before the Ryoka Invasion, Kaien was approached by Ukitake, who tried to persuade a reluctant Kaien to become his lieutenant. After Kaien declined, Ukitake mentioned Gin Ichimaru's graduation from the Academy and noted that he was the first genius since Kaien. Kaien denied being a genius and Ukitake told him that Gin graduated in a single year, which impressed Kaien. Ukitake compared his age to Byakuya Kuchiki, whom Kaien started to curse before saying that Gin sounded quite fearsome. He noted that he was even further from being a lieutenant and asked which Division Gin joined.[8] Five years after graduating from the Shin'ō Academy, Kaien became the 13th Division's lieutenant.[7]


Kaien scolds Rukia.

When Rukia Kuchiki joined the Division, he scolded other members of the Division who were watching the newly arrived noble. He introduced himself to Rukia and scolded her over her meek reply, treating her like any other Shinigami. He explained that due to Ukitake's illness, he was usually in charge and told her she could call him "Captain Kaien" if she wished. One day, Kaien brought Rukia a drink and asked her why she looked so troubled. He told her that as long as she was in his Division, he would stand by her even if he died. They were interrupted by Kiyone Kotetsu and Sentarō Kotsubaki, both whom praised Kaien's coolness. Kaien asked them if they were drunk and sent them back to their posts.[9]


Kaien explaining to Rukia about heart.

Kaien trained Rukia in Mt. Koifushi in western Rukongai on a number of occasions. One day while training there, Rukia asked Kaien why she was in the Gotei 13. He told her that it was to fight and protect. He explained Ukitake's philosophy about there being two types of battle to Rukia, but then told her that he thought that both meant to protect the "heart". He explained about his beliefs of the "heart" to Rukia and told her not to die alone, as when one dies, the heart is left with one's companions, where they would live on.[10]


Kaien loses Miyako.

Kaien was married to the third seat of the 13th Division, Miyako Shiba. When Miyako was killed by the Hollow, Metastacia, her body was brought back. Despite not knowing the name, appearance or powers of the Hollow, Kaien insisted upon going after it rather than waiting for an assault squad to be formed. Ukitake and Rukia accompanied him to the Hollow's lair.[11]


Kaien fused with Metastacia.

Upon seeing the Hollow, Kaien asked for permission to fight it alone, which Ukitake granted. Kaien asked the Hollow how many Shinigami it had eaten and if it had ever felt sadness or regret about killing. When the Hollow replied that it had regretted not eating the head or torso of a female Shinigami the previous night, Kaien calmly attacked it. However, after Kaien touched one of the Hollow's tentacles, his Zanpakutō disintegrated when he tried to activate his Shikai. Kaien wonders how such a thing is possible, but continued to fight with his bare hands until Metastacia used its Spirit Body Fusion ability to take control of Kaien's body.[12]


Kaien thanks Rukia for the chance to fight for his honor before appearing to die.

The Hollow then used Kaien's body to attack Rukia, but Ukitake stepped in and fought it. When Ukitake realized that the Hollow could not be separated from Kaien, he attacked the Hollow. However, Ukitake was struck by his illness at that moment and the Hollow attacked Rukia again. Rukia stabbed Kaien as he leapt at her. Kaien’s consciousness resurfaced and as his body began to disintegrate, he thanked Ukitake for letting him fight alone. He also thanked Rukia and apologized to her for dragging her into the fight. He said that she must be torn apart by this and told her that it is thanks to her that his heart could stay here.[13]

Rukia took Kaien’s body back to the Shiba house to entrust him to Kūkaku and Ganju, saying that she killed him.[14] Kaien's body, with Metastacia still inside it, decayed and returned to Hueco Mundo, where it was devoured and became a part of Aaroniero Arruruerie.[15]

Powers & Abilities[]

Genius Intellect: Kaien was a prodigy when he was younger, although he was modest about the level of intellect and skill he possessed. He entered the Shinigami Academy on his first try where he received high marks and showed an innate aptitude in the Shinigami skills. These talents allowed him to graduate at the top of his class in two years.[7]

Expert Swordsman: Kaien was a skilled swordsman, evident from when he trained Rukia, and somewhat shown by Aaroniero when he was fighting Rukia based on Kaien's memories. Kaien's techniques and form are revealed during the battle, and are described by Rukia as "His upper-body stance. Spear technique reminiscent of a dance, using one wrist as the center of its rotation. Then crushing the opponent between the spears thrust and the rising waves."[16]

Shunpo Expert: Kaien was able to effectively use Shunpo, which he did to cut off a couple of Metastacia's arms, taking the Hollow by surprise.[17]

Kidō Expert: Even when disarmed in combat, Kaien can still fight via the use of Kidō.[18] He was able to use mid-level Kidō without incantation in rapid succession while still retaining their effectiveness.[19]

High Spiritual Power: According to Ganju, even by the standards of the Noble Clans, Kaien had naturally high spiritual energy. By the time he entered the Shinigami Academy, his spiritual energy was already comparable to a lieutenant.[7]


Nejibana (捩花, Spiranthes; Viz "Twisted Flower"): Kaien's Zanpakutō is sealed in an average katana with a rectangular cross guard with smooth rounded edges and a dark blue hilt.


Nejibana's Shikai used by Espada Aaroniero Arruruerie.

  • Shikai: Its Shikai command is Surge, Water and Heaven (水天逆巻け, suiten sakamake; Viz "Rage Through the Seas and Heavens"). Kaien holds Nejibana upside down and begins to twirl it in his hands as it glows, transforming it into a cross between a trident, a bishamon-yari (a Japanese spear), and a ji (a Chinese halberd) with a crystalline appearance. Like the ji, it bears a horsehair tassel, although it is blue instead of the traditional red; similarly the two side blades are straight with concave edges as opposed to the usual crescent blades of the bishamon yari. The end of Nejibana turns into a corkscrew/drill shape. Water flows freely from both the trident and the end.[20]
Shikai Special Ability: Nejibana's ability lies in the manipulation of water. Being hit with it is reminiscent of being hit by crashing waves, as water constantly flows from it and the surrounding area. Nejibana's tip is constantly flowing with water with every arc and slash, and each crushing blow creates large waves.[21]

Appearances in Other Media[]

Video Game Appearances
Blade Battlers
Blade Battlers 2nd
The Blade of Fate
Dark Souls
The 3rd Phantom
Flame Bringer
Tasogare ni Mamieru Shinigami
Shattered Blade
Versus Crusade
Heat the Soul
Heat the Soul 2
Heat the Soul 3
Heat the Soul 4
Heat the Soul 5
Heat the Soul 6
Heat the Soul 7
Soul Carnival
Soul Carnival 2
Hanatareshi Yabou
Bleach Advance: Kurenai ni Somaru Soul Society
Erabareshi Tamashii
Soul Resurrección
J-Stars Victory Vs
Brave Souls
Paradise Lost
Jump Force
Rebirth of Souls

BTTPFifth Division Kaien

Kaien as he appears in Bleach: The 3rd Phantom.

BBSSpirit Society Kaien

An alternate-universe Kaien from the Spirit Society.

  • Kaien is playable in several forms in Bleach: Brave Souls, most recently as an alternate-reality version of himself from a yōkai-themed version of Soul Society known as the Spirit Society, where his design is based on Raijin. In this form, Kaien is a melee character with the "Technique" Attribute and the "Arrancar Killer" ability who has a chance to inflict Paralysis with every attack. His unlockable skills are "Berserker +20%", "Bruiser +20%", "Debilitator +5 secs.", "Devastation +40%", "Frenzy", "Havoc +20%", "Paralysis Duration -100%", and "Sprinter +1". His Soul Trait is "Strong Attack Recharge Time -12%". Kaien's special is Kaien-Style Roaring Thunder (志波式戦打・迅雷轟花, Shiba-shiki Senda: Jinrai Gōka; Japanese for "Shiba-style Battle Strike: Thunderclap Roaring Flower"), where his drumming creates bolts of lightning that inflict immense damage and Paralysis.
BBSNew Year Kaien

Kaien wearing a New Year outfit.

  • Kaien is also playable in a New Year form. In this form, Kaien is a melee character with the "Mind" Attribute and the "Hollow Killer" ability. His unlockable skills are "Blast Zone +30%", "Bruiser +20%", "Devastation +40%", "Frenzy +1", "Havoc +20%", "Long Reach +20%", and "Sprinter +1", while his Soul Trait is "Strong Attack Recharge Time -12%"; when Resurrected, his Soul Traits are "Strong Attack Recharge Time -12%" and "Paralysis Duration -55%". Meanwhile, his Arena Traits are "Strong Attack Damage +13%" and "Attack +45", while his Arena Abilities other than "All Stats +5%" are "Normal Attack Damage +10%" at level 5 and "Normal Attack Damage +20%" at level 10. Kaien's special is Nejibana (捩花, Spiranthes), where he unleashes a vicious wave of water that inflicts immense damage to any enemy it hits.


  • After Kaien cut off Metastacia's arms, the Hollow wasn't shown bleeding profusely in the anime compared to the manga.[24][25]
  • When Kaien was hit by one of Metastacia's tentacles, he wasn't bleeding profusely from his right side in the anime, as he was in the manga.[24][26]
  • In the anime, when Jūshirō slashed a Metastacia-possessed Kaien's, the latter's throat and neck weren't grievously wounded, producing a profuse amount of blood,[24] compared to the manga.[27]
  • When Rukia impaled a Metastacia-possessed Kaien, there was less blood on her Zanpakutō, and the latter didn't lose as much skin in the anime compared to the manga.[24][28]


  • "Kaien values friendship above everything else. His spirit of kindness lingers on today." - Tite Kubo[1]
  • The theme song that Kubo chose for Kaien is "Kantsubaki" by the band MSRW Commissioner.[29]
  • Kaien was voted the 33rd most popular character in the third character popularity poll, 26th in the fourth, and 22nd in the fifth.[30]
  • Nejibana ranked 18th in the first Zanpakutō poll and 22nd in the second.[31]
  • In the second best bout poll, Kaien's fight with Metastacia was ranked 60th and his fight with Rukia Kuchiki after being possessed was ranked 68th.[32]
  • In Episode 49 of the English dubbed anime, Nejibana's release command is "Rankle the seas and the skies". However, when Aaroniero Arruruerie utilizes Kaien's Shikai later, it was dubbed as "Rage through the sea and the heavens".
  • Despite various people noticing the resemblance between him and Ichigo in terms of looks and personality,[33][34][35] neither Ganju nor Kūkaku, Kaien's siblings, have commented on that.


  • (To Rukia Kuchiki) "Because our captain is weak and sick, I'm usually in charge of everything! Therefore you may call me "Captain" Kaien if you like!"[36]
  • (To Rukia Kuchiki) "Remember that as long as you're in my division, I will stand by you even if I die."[37]
  • (To Rukia Kuchiki) "Every time you and I connect with each other, a little bit of heart is born between us. Heart isn't something inside you. But whenever you think, whenever you remember someone, that's when heart is born. If you were the only one alive in the whole world, heart wouldn't exist now, would it?"[38]
  • (To Rukia Kuchiki) "Whenever you fight from this point on, there is one thing that you must never do. And that is to die alone. Our bodies are composed entirely from Reishi. If we die, our bodies will disintegrate and become part of the reishi that makes up Soul Society. And when that time comes, where will your heart go? Your heart will be passed on to your friends. If you pass it on to your friends, then your heart will always live on within them. Kuchiki, that's why you must never, ever, ever die alone."[39]
  • (To Rukia Kuchiki) "I dragged you into this. My stubbornness has caused you pain. I'm sorry. You must be torn apart inside. Thanks to you, my heart can still stay here."[40]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Bleach Official Character Book Souls, page 170
  2. Bleach manga; Chapter 80, page 19
  3. Bleach manga; Chapter 83, page 15
  4. Bleach manga; Chapter -105, page 15
  5. Bleach manga; Chapter 268, pages 9-15
  6. Bleach Official Bootleg, page 117
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Bleach manga; Chapter 83, page 14
  8. Bleach manga; Chapter -105, pages 14-17
  9. Bleach manga; Chapter 134, pages 7-13
  10. Bleach manga; Chapter 268, pages 2-15
  11. Bleach manga; Chapter 134, pages 14-19
  12. Bleach manga; Chapter 135, pages 1-19
  13. Bleach manga; Chapter 136, pages 1-18
  14. Bleach manga; Chapter 115, pages 14-15
  15. Bleach manga; Chapter 267, pages 8-10
  16. Bleach manga; Chapter 266, pages 8-9
  17. Bleach manga; Chapter 135, pages 9-10
  18. Bleach manga; Chapter 135, page 16
  19. Bleach anime; Episode 49
  20. Bleach manga; Chapter 265, pages 19-20
  21. Bleach manga; Chapter 266, pages 4-8
  22. Bleach video game; Bleach: The 3rd Phantom
  23. Bleach video game; Bleach GC: Tasogare ni Mamieru Shinigami
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 Bleach anime; Episode 49
  25. Bleach manga; Chapter 135, page 8
  26. Bleach manga; Chapter 135, page 11
  27. Bleach manga; Chapter 136, pages 8-10
  28. Bleach manga; Chapter 136, pages 14 & 16-17
  30. 13 BLADEs., page 253
  31. 13 BLADEs., page 254
  32. 13 BLADEs., page 255
  33. Bleach manga; Chapter 56, page 10
  34. Bleach manga; Chapter 117, pages 4-6
  35. Bleach manga; Chapter 167, pages 10-11
  36. Bleach manga; Chapter 134, page 10
  37. Bleach manga; Chapter 134, page 12
  38. Bleach manga; Chapter 268, page 12
  39. Bleach manga; Chapter 268, pages 13-15
  40. Bleach manga; Chapter 136, pages 16-17


Preceded by
Lieutenant of the 13th Division
? - ?
Succeeded by
Rukia Kuchiki