If you know your Bleach history, you’ll probably remember when the scene when Grand Fisher returned to the World of the Living to kill Ichigo but found Kon in Ichigo’s body and attacked him. Kon then had help from Ichigo’s father, Isshin Kurosaki, who appeared in Shinigami uniform. This was one of the most shocking revelations in the story but the most recent episode of Bleach, which supplemented the canon, gave us an even better revelation. Although we knew they were related, we can now finally explain how exactly Isshin, Kūkaku, Ganju, and Kaien are related in Bleach!
Kūkaku, Ganju, and Kaien Shiba were the most famous and best-known members of the Shiba Clan, one of the four noble families from the world of Bleach. Isshin Kurosaki was later revealed to be Isshin Shiba, but although we knew they belonged to the same clan, it was not known how they were related. In the Thousand-Year Blood War anime, it was revealed that Isshin is actually their uncle, which means that they are close relatives of Ichigo.
The rest of this article is going to bring you the story of Isshin Shiba, or Isshin Kurosaki, whichever you prefer. We are going to tell you about his history, about the Shiba Clan in Bleach, and about his relation to Kūkaku, Ganju, and Kaien Shiba, first introduced during the original Soul Society arc. This article is going to contain a lot of spoilers so be careful how you approach it.
Is Isshin related to Kūkaku, Ganju, and Kaien Shiba in Bleach?
Kūkaku, Ganju, and Kaien Shiba were first introduced early in the Bleach story when Yoruichi went to Kūkaku for help to get Ichigo and the others inside the Seireitei; the night before. Ganju was introduced when he and his gang, along with their boars, met Ichigo and the others and Ichigo and Ganju brawled. Kaien Shiba was later revealed to be their brother after his tragic story – which is connected to Rukia and Ukitake – was revealed.
Now, at that time, we knew two things – first, they were members of the Shiba Clan, one of the four noble families of Soul Society, and that Ichigo’s father was called Isshin Kurosaki. Since Ichigo’s last name was Kurosaki, it made sense that he got it from his father. But, as the story progressed, we learned that Ichigo actually got his last name from his mother, Masaki Kurosaki, that Ichigo’s father was actually the former 10th Division Captain and that his real name is Isshin Shiba.
Kubo, of course, confirmed that the Shiba was of the famous Shiba Clan, which confirmed that Isshin Shiba was actually genuine Soul Society nobility. This was a shocking revelation because Isshin looks like anything but a nobleman, but Kubo confirmed that the information was canon, which also implied that he was related to the siblings Kūkaku, Ganju, and Kaien Shiba.
At the time, it was thought that Isshin was a member of a lesser-important branch of the Shiba Clan and that he was only a distant relative of the siblings Kūkaku, Ganju, and Kaien Shiba. There were no references to their family ties and while they did help Ichigo, it did not seem like they felt any real closeness to him. But, the Thousand-Year Blood War anime changed that; namely, Kubo had confirmed that the anime would have some additional scenes and that it would expand the canon a bit, as he never had enough time to fully realize the manga as he wanted.
One such scene happened in a recent episode of the anime, where Kūkaku helped the Royal Guard and Ichigo return to the Soul King realm. After she sent them away, she said that they had to help Ichigo at the time in order to survive a second invasion, despite the fact that it would make uncle sad, while an image (see above) of Isshin together with Kūkaku and Ganju appeared. She, thus, confirmed that Isshin was actually a very close relative (he was their father’s brother, probably), which also means that Ichigo is closely related to the Shiba siblings. This was a new canon revelation, as the exact family tie between them was not known before.
Who are the Shiba Clan in Bleach?
The Shiba Clan was the fifth noble family of the Soul Society. It had great prestige, ranking on a similar level to the Kuchiki and Shihōin Families. The reason why they lost their status and nobility was that Isshin Kurosaki, their leader at that time, fled to the Human World when he rescued Masaki Kurosaki and lost his powers. The clan’s symbol is known as the “Collapsing Whirlpool of the Crashing Heaven”, and can be seen on the clothing of some of its members
It is known that the Shiba Clan was a former noble house, and is now in charge of the fireworks in the Rukongai, as Kūkaku is the fireworks expert of the entire Rukongai. The clan owns a large cannon with which Ganju, Ichigo, and their friends manage to enter the Seireitei. The gatekeepers of the clan are Koganehiko and Shiroganehiko. As for the members, they include:
NOTE: Those in italic are former members of the clan.
|Kūkaku Shiba||Head of the Shiba Clan||Sister of Kaien & Ganju||Alive|
|Ganju Shiba||Former Nobleman||Brother of Kaien & Kūkaku||Alive|
|Kaien Shiba||Former Head of the Shiba Clan||Older Brother of Kūkaku & Ganju||Deceased †|
|Miyako Shiba||Former Lady of the Shiba Clan||Wife of Kaien||Deceased †|
|Isshin Shiba||Former Head of a Branch of the Shiba Clan||Uncle of Kaien, Kūkaku, & Ganju||Alive|
Sadly, this is all we have on the clan. Namely, although Kubo did introduce the noble families into the story and explained their importance, he never really dug too deep into that lore so a lot of information is still unknown and can only be speculated. This is why we don’t have any additional information for you, save for what we have written here.
Is Ichigo related to Kūkaku, Ganju, and Kaien Shiba in Bleach?
The revelation from the anime actually confirmed, officially, that Isshin was the uncle of the Shiba siblings, which means that Ichigo, as his son, is also closely related to them and that he is, actually, a relative of theirs, and a very close one, at that. Initially, when they met, we were not aware of the fact, although it could retrospectively be said that Kūkaku was the only one aware of that.