"The reason that Shinigami are given their name is because they literally are gods of death. This is because they not only transcend death but it is also because they alone possess the means of protecting others from death as well. Everything is alive in this world; our souls, our swords, and even our ideals. So those that wish to protect others from death, or wish to protect their ideals from dying out, or even those that wish to protect one's soul from corruption and decay... are all true examples of Shinigami. So long as they carry a desire within their hearts to protect something from death, even without some commander or ruler to serve, they can each develop into their own idea of Shinigami."
|Manga - Anime|
|Previous Affiliation||Shōyō's Master|
|Previous Occupation||Co-Founder of Shinō Academy|
Captain of the First Division
Captain-Commander of Gotei 13
|Previous Team||Shinō Academy|
|Previous Partner||Hanzei Kurokami|
|Base of Operations||Seireitei (former)|
|Relatives||Tsuyuri Kawahiru (daughter)|
Kamui Kawahiru (grandson)
Seireitou Kawahiru (grandson)
|Education||Seventeenth Master of Seiten Shiranui-ryū|
|Bankai||Not Yet Revealed|
Shōyō (松陽, Shouyou) was a legendary Soul that served as the founder and first head instructor of the Shintai Sonjuku, a school where he would be able to educate others in both combat and academics. He was able to pass on his own unique ideal of what he believed it meant to be a Shinigami, in a time that preceded the Gotei 13. Shōyō was known to be the most prominent during the Warring Souls Period of Soul Society's history; possessing a degree of wisdom and skill in all crafts went beyond the scale of others around him, with many calling the man a living god. Even in the modern age, Shōyō is still regarded as the "Great Master" (大師匠, Daishishō). He was also eventually gifted with the title Shakyamuni (釈尊 (シャキャムニ), Shakyamuni; Japanese for "Humane Sage"). Unlike conventional instructors at the Shinō Academy founded by Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto, Shōyō taught his students personally but would very rarely choose students. It was sometime after the academy's creation that he took to his teaching as an individual practice, normally taking on students from the academy under his guidance. Those students that trained under him, the most prominent being Seireitou Kawahiru and Raian Getsueikirite, were regarded as the "students of Shōyō" (松陽の学生, Shōyō no Gakusei) and grew to be feared as well as respected.
In actuality, he was born under the name Shōyō Kawahiru (河昼倡佯, Kawahiru Shōyō), regarded as one of the most powerful beings of his time. So great is his power that, even in death, Kurama Kawahiru and L'Obscurité fear his legacy. Shōyō was the father of Tsuyuri Kawahiru, making him the grandfather of Kamui Kawahiru and Seireitou Kawahiru.
Shōyō had a rather relaxed appearance, identifiable by his personality traits. He had similar long hair to Seireitou Kawahiru, though the former's was more grey in coloration. Shōyō's eyes were normally hidden from sight, though when shown, they were light brown. In terms of clothing, Shōyō wore a kosode that was light lavender, along with a kimono wrapping around it. He also wore Hakama meant for relaxation, despite fighting with this attire at times, remaining a testament to his superior abilities. While he was normally without it, Shōyō often kept his Zanpakutō around his hip with an obi.
When his entire face is revealed, it is shown that he bears a similar facial appearance to that of Raian Getsueikirite, while his hair is almost exactly identical to Seireitou's. Hanzei, as well as several others that knew of Shōyō, commented on how Seireitou bears an striking resemblance to the fallen master.
Considered the most powerful Shinigami (in his time) in the world, Shōyō was benevolent and eccentric, an archetypal good shinigami. He almost constantly gave off and aura of calmness and composure, rarely displaying intense emotions of anger or fear; instead he appeared content and whimsical throughout. Yet despite his benign nature, it is said that Shōyō was the only shinigami that Datara Kawahiru ever truly feared.
As a supremely talented shinigami, Shōyō showed numerous examples of extraordinary powers. His abilities as a shinigami were combined with a kind of cunning and subtlety of mind that allowed him to comprehend human nature and turn the better aspects of humanity (trust, love, and friendship) to Myoken's disadvantage in particular. Yet despite his many talents and accomplishments, Shōyō was never in the least arrogant, self-important or pompous and in this he stands above the other great shinigami of his day. Despite this fact, however, Shōyō was quite aware of the fact that his power outmatched everyone else's and would not hesitate to remind others of this fact, if the situation demanded it. However, in the end, Shōyō was a man of peace.
Shōyō refused to fight, even deciding to hold back during his fight with Sōkudo. He lived, and passed on to his students the idea of, believing that the art of battle was meant, not to defeat an opponent, nor to protect one's self, not even to cut away one's weaknesses, but to protect one's soul. Subsequently, he meant to protect one's own soul; their pride, their morals, and their beliefs; to never yield to another's will. But most of all, to protect the fragments of one's soul, passed on to those that one would form bonds of friendship with.
- "I arrived here after hearing about a corpse-eating demon... Would that be you? A rather cute demon. Did you also take that from a corpse? A lonely child stealing from corpses in order to protect himself, is it? That's very impressive. However, you will no longer need that sword. A sword that is swung only in self-defense, while fearing others, should be thrown away. I shall give you my sword. If you wish to properly learn how to use that sword... then come with me."
- —Shōyō speaking to a young Seireitou, when they first met.
Powers & Abilities
- "He would've been the only one capable of completely crushing us and our plans. Shōyō was known to be the only one to have ever gained the highest level of proficiency in all aspects of combat, holding the status of a true Grandmaster. Without him, it is said that the Soul Society would've continued to exist as nothing more than a collection of uncivilized huts. No one, whether they came before or after his time, has ever come anywhere close to his level of power... nor his intellect. It is no surprise that his final students turned out to become as powerful and feared as they are now. Shōyō left his legacy in both of their hands... and each carry a piece of that man's supreme greatness."
- —Kurama Kawahiru speaking of Shōyō.
Unrivaled Spiritual Power: Shōyō possesses a considerable amount of spiritual energy, being both the most respected teacher in all the Soul Society, as well as holding the position of Captain-Commander of the Gotei 13, if only for a short while. Seireitou and Hikaru were able to sense its strong presence from several kilometers away. Raian was also stunned by the level of Shōyō's power when he was near the latter during a battle, watching as Shōyō killed several powerful Hollows with one swing of his sealed Zanpakutō. When releasing his spiritual pressure, it can cause a shockwave strong enough to affect a considerable radius. Shōyō's spiritual power has the same effect as his Zanpakutō, as it is elemental representative of fire. He would tend to glow with a destructive white aura which has the potential to destroy and disintegrate everything around him even without the use of his Zanpakutō. However, with his innate peaceful persona, he would rarely ever allow his spiritual power run rampant.
Genius Intellect & Wisdom: Shōyō was not only arguably the most powerful Shinigami of his time, but was also a genius whose intellect and perception had no equal; capable of devising elaborate plans to defeat seemingly unbeatable foes. His vast and extensive knowledge on subjects such as love and his acceptance that there are worse things than death makes him wiser than the Captain-Commanders of the past by vast amounts. He was very knowledgeable in regards to various techniques, able to quickly recognize and how to undo them. When the sword demon known as Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto threatened to destroy him and all he held dear if he did not submit to his group, Shōyō could deduce only two possible responses. The first was to hand himself over, to protect the lives of his students in turn, and the second was to stand against the man and fight him. In truth, the second option was actually quite possible. Shōyō bested the powerful Yamamoto in combat prowess, and victory would assuredly be his in a fight between the two, but the gap between them was not so great that Shōyō would be able to defeat the General without severe repercussions in the process. He was wise enough to determine that the death of Yamamoto to someone like Shōyō, who had no intention of procuring the territories that the sword demon had already conquered in the wake of his military campaign, would create a massive power vacuum in the Soul Society and chaos the likes of which had never been seen in the past several centuries would run rampant in the spiritual realm, for those factions originally suppressed by Yamamoto would rise once more to fight for control of Soul Society. All that would result in was a world far more dangerous for those he loved, especially his dear students, which is why he decided upon handing himself over willingly. Raian Getsueikirite often noted that his master was never the one to behave rashly and his actions were always conducted as though they were perfect; never a movement was wasted and nothing was ever overlooked, for Shōyō could discern all things with very little effort.
Ryūsei Kentaibu (流精体剣舞, "Flowing Soul, Sword and Body Dance"): That which is known to have made Shōyō so prominent as a true master of the four Shinigami combat fields, the Ryūtai Kenbu is a form of physical combat that perfectly merges together both the highest levels of Hakuda and Zanjutsu mastery into one unstoppable fighting force. It was due in part to this unique style that Shōyō was able to acquire the Yonkō of Hakuda title from its previous holder, for it was said to be a style in which the sword was used as a "stand-alone sharpened fist" while the rest of the body behaved as one would normally fight as a martial artist. It was often remarked upon by those enemies who witnessed it in use as the "black ship" (黒船, Kurofune) of the enemy forces, due to being believed to be able to secure victory for whichever side wielded it. Wielding his sword in one hand, Shōyō fought with his entire person, displaying a medley of advanced acrobatic kicks and single-handed strikes which accompanied his sword strikes as well. This was considered highly unconventional by specialists in the two aforementioned fields, but its effectiveness could never be questioned for even the most skilled of those specialists fell before it. Shōyō taught the Ryūsei Kentaibu as the primary style of the Shintai Sonjuku, and most prominently, his students Seireitou Kawahiru and Raian Getsueikirite were said to have taken the original craft and altered it to better suit their individual fighting styles; in particular, the Ryūsei Kentaibu was said to have laid the groundwork for the creation of the former's Shōin Shiranui Style.
For the manifested spirit of Seohak, see Seohak (spirit).
Seohak (천주학 (睿智天の原), Sōhaku; Korean for "Heavenly Learning"; Japanese for "Wisdom of the Heavens") is the name of Shōyō's Zanpakutō, the spirit of which is Benzaiten, the goddess of all things that flow; water, words, music, and even knowledge itself. It's sealed state consists of a dark brown hilt with a white diamond design, going up and down the hilt. It's guard is shaped like four gold flower petals, circling around in-between the blade and the handle. It is a standard katana when sealed.
- Shikai: Under Construction
- Shikai Special Abilities: Under Construction
- Shinuchi: Not Yet Revealed
- (To a younger Seireitou) "If you wish to properly learn how to use that sword... then come with me. From now on, you will not swing your blade to cut down your enemies... Not to cut away your weaknesses and protect yourself. But to protect your very soul."
- "Monsters are destined to rampage until the very end. People who become monsters are no longer people. But those who have become monsters can become people once again. That which cuts away their sins and saves their soul... is another person. Even I, as a monster... It was because of people like you and Raian-kun that a monster such as me could become a person once more."
- "There is light and dark inside everybody. It is the part we act on, that shows us for who we truly are."
- (Addressing his students) "Everyone... After this, you will be forced to shoulder great responsibility. If you merely continue walking, you will find many things barring your way. What you do when that happens, is entirely up to you. I will not be able to guide you forever. So for now, I offer you these words. Fearing others, and picking up your sword to protect only yourself... Leave such thoughts behind. Wield your sword, not to defeat your opponents, but to protect your very soul. The soul that is within you... and the soul that you leave with those you love."
- (To Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto) "I know what you are known as... and what you call yourself now. But to me, I'm afraid, you will always be Eijisai-kun. It is one of the irritating things about us old teachers. I am afraid that they never quite forget their charges' youthful beginnings."
Behind the Scenes
His name, Shōyō (倡佯), literally translates as "wanderer".