Although Tite Kubo’s Bleach mainly focused on the current timeline and its Captains, a bit of history was revealed throughout the volumes of the manga and the other works, including the light novels. Some of that history is related to the history of the 11th Division, whose Captains have been discussed throughout the series. With Kenpachi Zaraki being the most famous one, there was never a lot of space for other Captains, but Zaraki’s predecessor, Kenpachi Kiganjō, was mentioned in the manga, and in this article, we are going to tell you everything we know about him.
Kenpachi Kiganjō was the former Captain of the 11th Division before Kenpachi Zaraki defeated him and killed him in a trial by combat; he was also the 10th Kenpachi. Not much is known about him except that he was a big and powerful fighter, feared within the Soul Society for his raw power and his brute strength. He was, however, not as strong as Zaraki.
The rest of this article is going to focus on the history of the Gotei 13 and the story of how Kenpachi Kiganjō was replaced by Kenpachi Zaraki as the 11th Division’s Captain. We are also going to tell you a bit about his powers and abilities from the story, those that are known, at least. This article is going to contain a lot of narrative elements from Kenpachi’s history, so if you don’t know every detail, we have to warn you about impending spoilers.
Who was the 10th Kenpachi, Kenpachi Kiganjō?
Kenpachi Kiganjō was the Captain of the 11th Division many years ago and was thus a predecessor of Kenpachi Zaraki, as well as the 10th Kenpachi. He is the same one killed by Zaraki before he became the Captain of the 11th Division. Kenpachi Kiganjō was a tall, broad-set, middle-aged man with dark skin, long black hair, and a full beard. There are two arrowheads under his mouth. Not much is known about Kiganjō, but 110 years ago, he didn’t seem to have been particularly popular, as Shinji Hirako, Captain of the 5th Division at the time, slandered him. He was always absent from various Captain’s meetings, even when the new Captain of the 12th Division, Kisuke Urahara, was inducted.
As stated, his story is unknown for the most part, especially his history. At one point, he appeared in front of the Gotei 13 and challenged the 9th Kenpachi to a trial by combat and killed him, thereby proving his skills. He then became the new Captain of the 11th Division but was, save for his raw power, a very bad Captain. As we’ve mentioned, he was absent from the mandatory Captain’s meeting, during which Kisuke Urahara was introduced as Kirio Hikifune’s successor as the 12th Division Captain.
During the meeting, Shinji Hirako commented that it was nothing unusual for him and that he was a lazy person who wasn’t good at anything save for fighting. That had not been the first time that Kiganjō was absent from such meetings, which is why he was disliked by most, if not all, Captains of the Gotei 13 of the time; it is not known that any of the Captains liked him. When Shinji wondered how Kiganjō even became a Captain, Love Aikawa replied that they couldn’t do anything about that because the 11th Division has its own special rules and that Kiganjō simply did what he had to become the Captain; Aikawa concluded that if anyone was to blame for Kiganjō being Captain, it is the 9th Kenpachi who was too weak to defeat him and with that, the discussion ended.
At some later point in time, Kenpachi Zaraki arrived and challenged Kiganjō to a duel. Kiganjō was not impressed by the challenger, but he was ultimately killed by him, thus ending his term in charge of the 11th Division. This was further explored in the anime-only Bount filler arc, where we found out that Maki Ichinose, who was Kiganjō’s Lieutenant, loved the former Captain very much and that he was furious with Zaraki; he fleed the Division and joined the Bounts so that he could take his revenge on Zaraki, but was ultimately killed by the latter in direct combat.
What were his powers and abilities?
Before we explain his powers in more detail, there is something you need to know about the ideals of the 11th Division, which is going to explain his powers and abilities a little better. As per Bleach Wiki, the task of the 11th Division includes combat operations. The Eleventh Division is a direct combat division with a specialization in sword fighting, leaving aside the other Shinigami arts and thus being one of the most specialized divisions in the Gotei 13. Thus, it is common practice for members of the division to charge your Zanpakutō at all times. They frown on Kido powers.
The division’s doctrine of combat dominance is what draws its members; they see combat as what makes life worth living. This is what separates the Eleventh Division from the rest of the divisions and makes it the strongest division. All members of this division are highly skilled in combat. They believe that if they are going to die at all, they have to die fighting gloriously.
Now, having said all of this, we have to conclude that Kenpachi Kiganjō was a true embodiment of the 11th Division’s ideals. Standing at an incredible 216 cm with 316 kg, he was a walking powerhouse, and it made absolute sense that he was so powerful. He loved fighting and was the undisputed leader of the 11th Division until the arrival of Kenpachi Zaraki. He was physically imposing, but there was more to him, definitely.
Kenpachi Kiganjō was a master swordsman and was one of the best. Namely, he was so skilled that he was able to defeat and kill his predecessor, who must’ve been strong as well. Also, being the leader of a Division that frowned upon Kido techniques and specialized in sword-fighting, Kenpachi Kiganjō was definitely one of the best of his generation. Still, not much is known about his Zanpakutō, save for the fact that it had a large, black ring inlaid with gold on the end that could easily fit in his giant palm. It was attached to the end of the handle, which also had a gold rim, through a small red sash.
As for his Spiritual Pressure, it must have been exceptionally high since he was a Captain, but the exact values are unknown. Now, Kenpachi Kiganjō definitely was strong, but he wasn’t as strong as Kenpachi Zaraki, and that was proven when Zaraki faced him and killed him in a trial by combat, after which he succeeded him as the Captain of the 11th Division and the 11th Kenpachi.