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"Kaien values friendship above everything else. His spirit of kindness lingers on today." - picture caption by Tite Kubo[1]

Template:Translation was the 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 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 uniform with his lieutenant badge on his left arm as customary. He had a tattoo of the Shiba family crest on his arm. It is stated that Ichigo Kurosaki closely resembles Kaien in appearance. Byakuya Kuchiki has also noted the resemblance. Kaien's siblings, Ganju and Kukaku, do not remark upon or even openly notice Ichigo's resemblance to Kaien.


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.[2] Kaien loved the Shinigami, never speaking out in hatred against them.[3][4] He had strong sense of duty.[5]

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: 1) the fight to protect life, and 2) 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 you, but rather what is born whenever you think of or remember 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.[6]

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.[7] 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 Shinō Academy after only two years,[8] and became a member of the 13th Division.


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.[9] Five years after graduating from the Shinō Academy, Kaien became the 13th Division's lieutenant.[8]


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.[10]


Kaien trained Rukia in Mt. Koifushi in western Rukongai on a number of ocassions. 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.[11]


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.[12]


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.[13]

File:Kaien Dies.jpg

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.[14]

Rukia took Kaien’s body back to the Shiba house to entrust him to Kūkaku and Ganju, saying that she killed him.[15] 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.[16] Template:Clear


Hueco Mundo arcEdit


Aaroniero encounters Rukia and leads her into a dark tower. Once inside, he explains that he cannot stand sunlight and takes off his mask while introducing himself as the 9th Espada Aaroniero Arruruerie, revealing Kaien's form.[17][18] Aaroniero pulls out a cushion and tells the confused Rukia to sit as they have much to discuss.[19]

Aaroniero tells her that Metastacia was one of Sōsuke Aizen's experiments and that every time it was destroyed, it would come back to Hueco Mundo and regenerate. However, since the Hollow had fused with him, the regeneration restored his body, but instead of the Hollow being in control, he was. He took the place of an Espada and awaited an opportunity to strike at Aizen. Aaroniero states that the blue sky outside is the dome of Las Noches, created by Aizen. He claims that the light of the blue sky allows Aizen to see anywhere he wishes.[20]

He then tells her there is a mission of great importance that only she can carry out and they will talk further in a different location. He then takes out his Zanpakutō and attacks her.[21] He speaks about her involvement in Kaien's death and asks her if she will offer her life as atonement for killing Kaien. Rukia states that she has come here to save Orihime Inoue and that until she does, she cannot give her life to him.[22]


He tells her that he was only joking, but then asks her to kill her friends. Rukia claims that Kaien would never ask her to do such a thing and releases her Zanpakutō to fight him.[23] The two engage in battle, with Aaroniero goading her with his knowledge of her fighting style. He then releases his Zanpakutō and begins to relentlessly attack Rukia.[24][25]

In the middle of the battle, Rukia uses Kidō to expose him to the light outside, which causes Aaroniero's true face to be revealed. Rukia then learns that the original story he gave her about what had happened after Kaien's spirit died was partially true. In fact, Aaroniero consumed the Hollow Metastacia and absorbed its ability. It was through eating that Hollow and gaining its abilities that he gained access to Kaien Shiba's body. He, in fact, is revealed to be using the spirit body of Kaien Shiba and all his experiences and memories are still intact. Aaroniero was using them to impersonate Kaien and manipulate Rukia in turn. Rukia, realizing this, cannot bring herself to attack the impostor so long as a shred of Kaien remains alive.[26] As the fight continues, Rukia eventually kills Aaroniero.[27] Template:Clear

Powers & AbilitiesEdit

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.[28]

Expert Swordsmanship Specialist: 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."[29]

Shunpo Expert: Kaien has been shown to be able to effectively use Shunpo, which he did to cut off a couple of Metastacia's arms, taking the Hollow by surprise.[30]

Kidō Expert: Even when disarmed in combat, Kaien has shown that he can still fight via the use of Kidō. He was seen using mid-level kidō without incantation in rapid succession while still retaining their effectiveness.[31]

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.[32]


Template:Translation: Kaien's Zanpakutō is sealed in an average katana with a rectangular cross guard with smooth rounded edges and a dark blue hilt.

  • Shikai: Its Shikai command is Template:Translation. Kaien holds Nejibana upside down and begins to twirl it in his hands as it glows, transforming it into a cross between a trident 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 blade. The end of Nejibana turns into a corkscrew/drill shape. Water flows freely from both the trident and the end.[33]
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.[34]


Appearances in Other MediaEdit

File:Kaien shiba.jpg

On the Bleach Beat Collection (a CD released by Sony demonstrating Bleach characters' personas through music) Kaien sings Nimorebi. On another track (along with his former Captain Ukitake) he sings Fuu~Inochi to Hokori. He also appears in Bleach: The 3rd Phantom as a member of the 5th Division, greeting the character as you enter the Gotei 13. Template:Clear


  • 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".


  • (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!"[35]
  • (To Rukia Kuchiki) "Remember that as long as you're in my division, I will stand by you even if I die."[36]
  • (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?"[37]
  • (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."[38]
  • (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."[39]


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