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Gotei 13
Kanji 護廷十三隊
English 13 Court Guard Squads
Romaji Goteijūsantai
Founder(s) Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto
Headquarters Seireitei (Soul Society)
Leader(s) Captain-Commander
Senior Member(s) Captains of the Gotei 13
Other Members
Affiliation Soul Society
Purpose Primary Defense/Offence Force of Soul Society
Keeping the balance of souls amongst the worlds

The Gotei 13 (護廷十三隊, Goteijūsantai; 13 Division Imperial Guards, 13 Court Guard Squads in the English dub, 13 Court Guard Companies in the English manga) is the primary military branch of Soul Society, and one of the successors to the Balancers of Souls.


(Coming Soon)


The Gotei 13 serves as a military force with its primary responsibilities consisting of:

  • The defense of the Seireitei, the center of Soul Society.
  • The deployment of Division members into enemy territory for combat operations.
  • The deployment of Task Forces as defensive measures in the world of the living.
  • The guiding of souls to the Soul Society.

General Operation

The Gotei 13, in contrast to the normal operations of modern-day military organizations, does not operate as a cohesive unit normally. The command of the divisions are generally left to the discretion of its particular Captain, who commonly runs it whatever way he or she sees fit, allowing for the change of a division's traditional duties to an entirely new set and even the creation of a separate institution connected to the division. The Gotei 13's main duty is to defend the Seireitei, but they are also allocated districts in Rukongai to defend. In addition to these duties, Shinigami also have to deal with the business of being assigned to the Human World.

The only general authority to call forth a combined front would be that of an edict from the Central 46 Chambers, or more often the Captain-Commander. It is not uncommon for captains to not see each other as a whole group for long periods of time, except for cases involving a threat to all of the Soul Society, a captain's punishment, or to a lesser degree, a captain's promotion. On a regular basis, the captains are spread out all across the Soul Society doing their divisions' duties, whatever they may be. They are, in fact, so far spread out that getting the Captains together as a group, or even getting their lieutenants together as a group, could normally take a day to accomplish.

Unless specifically ordered by the Captain-Commander, captains can choose whether or not to attend meetings (at their own risk) or not even involve themselves in the daily situations of the Soul Society. Captains are not allowed, without permission, to carry out activities outside of their normal jurisdiction or their division. The captain of one division cannot punish the subordinates of another captain.

Specific Duties

  • 1st Division: Made up entirely of elite Shinigami with an aptitude for instilling knowledge in others, every member in the Division is a capable teacher, as a result they are the primary operators of the Shin'ō Academy.
  • 2nd Division: Prison guards of a sort, they are responsible for maintaining the Nest of Maggots located within the 2nd Division's grounds in the Seireitei, as well as maintaining the penal colony within the Dangai Precipice. Members of the division are the guards of the prison and the responders to situations concerning it.
  • 3rd Division: Hunters. Assassins that operate on the books. They are charged with eliminating threats before they actively become an issue, they do not wait until the crime has been commited to act, and instead act ahead of time. They pursue Hollows aggressively, actively seeking them out and cutting them down, with rare expeditions into Hueco Mundo in order to cull out their numbers.
  • 4th Division: They handle supply and medical attention through out the Seireitei. Members are split up between doctors, field medics, and supply carriers, with the former operating out of the Division barracks while the latter groups take to the field. They are responsible for keeping the other Divisions supplied with necessary equipment and resources, especially during a prolonged battle situation where they must form and maintain adequate supply lines for the Gotei 13. As the doctors and field medics, they provide healing and aid to their fellow Shinigami through an assortment of medicines, and techniques, such as Healing Kidō.
  • 5th Division: The ranged specialists. They are masters of Kidō and Magic, paralleling the 11th Division who specialize in the melee arts.
  • 6th Division: Alongside the 7th, 8th, and 10th Divisions, the 6th are charged with governing the Rukongai districts. Members patrol the streets for any unusual activity and typical act as peacekeepers, enforcing the laws set by Central 46 and acting upon them. They are not only responsible for defending the Souls from occassional Hollow attacks, but also from themselves, as such they can be considered a police force. While the decision to kill people in the Rukongai to protect the balance of souls between worlds lies solely with the Captain-Commander, members of this Division, 7th, 8th, and the 10 are the ones with the duty to carry it out. The 6th is in charge of the Northern Rukongai Districts.
  • 7th Division: Same as the 6th. They are in charge of the Western Rukongai Districts.
  • 8th Division: Same as the 6th. They are in charge of the Eastern Rukongai Districts
  • 9th Division: While the Onmitsukidō deal with the internal security of Soul Society as a whole, the 9th Division are responsible for the internal affairs of the Gotei 13. Its members act as investigators and interrogators, dealing with suspicious situations in order to resolve any unusual matters occuring within the ranks of the organization. They have the authority to arrest other Shinigami on the suspicion of a crime, and have the right to interrogate those persons for information on the subject whether they have defining proof or not. When evidence can be provided, they then defer to the Onmitsukidō and Central 46 on how to handle the perpetrators of a crime.
  • 10th Division: Same as the 6th. They are in charge of the Southern Rukongai Districts.
  • 11th Division: They are the melee specialists of the Gotei 13 focusing on Zanjutsu and Hakuda, a direct contrast to the 5th who focus on the arts of spellcraft. Their members are typically comprised of the best fighters in the Seireitei, though they are known for being hot headed and aggressive. Typically, Kidō-type Zanpakutō wielders, and Kidō practitioners are shunned from the ranks of the Division.
  • 12th Division: This Division is charged with the scientific research and development in all fields to further the growth and abilities of the Gotei 13. Its members are not divied up into groups, and instead act individually in whatever branch of science they choose, though they aren't restricted from working together. Its Division is responsible for all sorts of creations, be they devices or techniques, that are employed and supplied through out the entirety of the Gotei.
  • 13th Division: While all Divisions operate in the Human World to a certain extent, its protection is primarily the duty of the 13th. All Shinigami operating in the World of the Living are the responsibility of the 13th's Captain and all of its members have specific postings across the world. At a moment's notice they can be converted into an expeditionary force, trained in weathering foreign worlds and dealing with unexpected situations, they are the Division that leads the charge if a threat is posed outside of the Soul Society.



The Gotei 13 is made up of thirteen components: They are split into thirteen divisions (hence the name), with several divisions having certain specializations.

The Gotei 13 is led by the "Captain-Commander", who has the statuary authority to conduct all the affairs of the Gotei 13; while deferring to the authority of the Central 46 Chambers in matters involving Soul Society.

As with any army, the Gotei 13 has ranks. There are 20 ranks for officers but no ranks for non-officers. The lower the number is, the higher the rank. The ranks and their descriptions are below, from highest to lowest in terms of strength. The Court Guards are an organization with a merit-based hierarchy. They have disposed of the system of rank based on seniority. Abilities are the only thing used to determine one's rank.

Captain's Council

The Captains congregate together in the main hall of the First Division Headquarters to discuss important issues involving their specific divisions and matters that affect Soul Society. This council is highly formal with the captain-commander leading its proceedings. All captains are considered equal (with the exception of the captain-commander) and determine the course of their individual division unless dictated otherwise by the captain-commander. Votes are carried out via a unanimous consensus.

  • The Captain-Commander (総隊長, Sōtaichō; Viz "Captain-General"; Captain-Commander, Head-Captain in the English dub) is the supreme leader of the Gotei 13. The position requires the Captain-Commander to oversee the overall operations of the Gotei 13, Onmitsukidō and Kidō Corps when the well being of Seireitei and Soul Society is at stake. The only power the Captain-Commander is answerable to is the Central 46 Chambers, who also elect the successor of the current captain-commander in the event of their death. The current holder of this title is Captain Eijisai Shigekuni Yamamoto of the 1st Division, who has held that post since founding the Gotei 13.
  • A Captain (隊長, Taichō; lit. Unit Commander) is the leader of one of the thirteen divisions (with the special case of the Captain-Commander).

Captains are generally the most respected Shinigami within the Soul Society, with the Kidō Corps, and Onmitsukidō leaders possibly being on equal status. With one exception, all captains are able to utilize the final stage of their Zanpakutō, and are far more powerful than even their lieutenants. Knowing Bankai gives captains an average of five-to-ten times the strength of Shinigami who are unable to perform it. They have also extensively-trained, if not mastered, their Bankai, allowing them to actually use the enormous power effectively in battle. Most captains are also skilled in the use of Flash Steps, Kidō, and generally have extensive knowledge of Shinigami history and battle tactics. All of these factors create a vast power-gap between captains and lower-ranked officers.

They function as Chief executive officers and they determine the course, organization, tactics and policy of their division. The power a captain has over his/her division is absolute and cannot be questioned by subordinates or the captains of the other divisions. A captain can choose to change the division specialty. Due to captains having supreme authority in their respective division the divisions have become separate entities and not a cohesive military. In this way they only have the right to punish the actions of their subordinates and not those of other divisions unless in the instance that the division in question has no current captain or the subordinates actions are against the laws or rules of Soul Society.

Although not commonly stated, the true power of the Soul Society lies in the captains of the Gotei 13, as they are the leaders of its military arm. With them at full strength, the Soul Society is safe and almost unbeatable. If they are broken, their strength dwindles, making them highly vulnerable.

There are three different ways to become a Gotei 13 captain:

  1. Captain Proficiency Test (隊首, taishu): A test which requires the ability to perform Bankai. Nearly all Shinigami become captains using this method. At least three existing captains, including the Captain-Commander, have to witness the test.
  2. Personal Recommendation: To have personal recommendations from at least six captains and approval from at least three of the remaining seven.
  3. Trial by Combat: To defeat a captain one-on-one with at least 200 witnesses from the captain's division. This method is seen as being the exceedingly rarest of the three as well as the least refined. The method is commonly looked down upon by some captains as barbaric compared to the other refined methods. This method also allows one to bypass having the mastery of Bankai or other possible abilities that a captain would otherwise be required to have knowledge of, as it allows no judgment from captains who would require those skills as a prerequisite to join their ranks.


  • A Lieutenant (副隊長, fukutaichō; Viz "Assistant Captain"; vice-unit commander, often translated as vice-captain) is the 2nd seated officer in a division.

Lieutenants function as executive officers for their division, taking care of or supervising day-to-day operations. They (along with their captains) are not assigned to one specific squad. They generally only know the Shikai of their Zanpakutō, but are still the second strongest in their division. In the case of a division captain's death, departure, or other circumstances making him unable to perform their duties, the lieutenant acts as the "substitute captain" until another can be assigned.

The authority to appoint or dismiss a lieutenant lies solely with the captain of the respective division, a privilege that was granted to them with the support of the Central 46 Chambers. However, though rarely exercised, any potential candidate retains the right to decline the nomination.

Seated Officers

Seated officers are the remainder of the officers in the Gotei 13 that hold ranks at or below 3rd Seat. Captains and lieutenants have the ranks of 1st and 2nd Seats, respectively. Next to that, there are 18 more seats (3rd-to-20th). These ranks are somewhat analogous to junior officers or non-commissioned officers in modern military. There seems to be a distinction between senior and junior seated officers, just like in real-life armies. In the Gotei 13, only one person can hold a senior officer rank (such as 3rd or 5th seat), but there are several holders of junior officer ranks (e.g. 20th seat). This may vary from division to division however, as there are two 3rd Seats in the 13th Division. Seated officers often lead subunits within each division.



(† = confirmed death)

Division Name Zanpakutō Status
1st DivisionEijisai Shigekuni YamamotoRyūjin JakkaActive
2nd DivisionNephthysKagemoriActive
3rd DivisionEskengai SegomariKansenActive
4th DivisionYūnagi KoromogaeKaeribanaActive
5th DivisionXiuhcoatlKishinActive
6th DivisionTiberius Regulus ArmigerHyakunintaichōActive
7th DivisionJohnny LawHōjisanActive
8th DivisionBranunn SölmundsdóttirTensenkōActive
9th DivisionIcía Cabaleiro do ValKokutenActive
10th DivisionHanashi SaikaYaoActive
11th DivisionAltan KartalHassōActive
12th DivisionJaromira DraganOmochakoyaActive
13th DivisionSeia Tulia HonoriaRairyōkenActive


(† = confirmed death)

Division Name Zanpakutō Status
1st DivisionChōjirō SasakibeGonryōmaruActive
2nd DivisionAsushi ShihōinKochiActive
3rd DivisionIsayo KasumiōjiUnknownActive
4th DivisionRetsu UnohanaMinazukiActive
4th DivisionHotaka NakanoUnknownActive
5th DivisionShūYōsukōActive
6th DivisionAiken KuchikiDōshōkiraActive
7th DivisionKōsetsuHaishoActive
8th DivisionKanri JinzaiNoneActive
9th DivisionSōkan ShibaYomotōkiActive
10th DivisionOten IesujiHakuryūActive
11th DivisionDanko KakanzakiNoneActive
12th DivisionSatoru KyōfuAkigakuruActive
13th DivisionKaro TōsenTōkukaraActive

Size and Recruitment

Each Division is made up of around 350 Shinigami, with the Gotei 13's total standing force being just over 4700 troops, this number would fall to a little over 3000 following a long term of recovery at the end of the War of Eight Seasons. The Shinigami are typically recruited through the Shinigami Academy. However, it must be noted that not all graduates make it into the Gotei 13. Graduates from the Academy are required to sit an entrance exam for the Gotei 13 and only those who pass are allowed to join. The entrance exam can be taken multiple times. Recruitment is primarily handled by the Central 46 Chambers, who assign individual Shinigami to ivisions, though individual Shinigami are allowed to attempt to join a division of their choosing and the division itself can even reject applicants as evidenced by recruitment advertisement and methods of recruitment unique to each division. Offers do not need to spend their entire life in a single division, it is customary to transfer to a new division after gaining a certain degree of experience. Often accompanied with a promotion in rank.

Uniforms and Insignias

Each of the 13 divisions in the Gotei 13 have their own symbol that represents the division's primary role, which all seem to be based on flowers. When a power limit is placed on a captain or lieutenant, their symbol appears on a certain part of their body until the limit is lifted. Each symbol also has a specific meaning.

Most Gotei 13 personnel wear the standard Shinigami uniform, called a Shihakushō (死覇装, Garment of Dead Souls) - a white shitagi, a black kosode, a black hakama, a white hakama-himo, white tabi, and waraji. The black kosode also has its owner's division insignia emblazoned on the inside, though it does not appear to have any significant reasoning other than minor security authorization. Lieutenants sometimes also wear an armband which carries their division symbol and its number, usually on their left arm. They are required to do this when they are summoned to a meeting but apart from this it seems that it is rarely compulsory; at the time the series takes place, the use of the armbands was noted to have fallen out of fashion.

Captains wear a white haori over the usual black Shinigami clothes, with the number of their division on the back, inside the Gotei 13 symbol (a rhombus). Some captains have long sleeves, while the others do not. It also seems that the color of the underside is division--or at least captain-specific--as every captain has a different color of it.

See Also

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