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At the beginning of chapter 117 of Bleach, Juushirou Ukitake says, "Byakuya... Who is he?" (referring to Ichigo) and Byakuya replies, "He's not related. At least not ... to the one you're thinking of. He's no one. Just a ryoka. I'll dispose of him. And then... this trifling conflict... will come to an end."

Who is Byakuya referring to when he says, "He's not related. At least not ... to the one you're thinking of."? Or another way to say it, who did Juushirou Ukitake think that Ichigo was related to?

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He's referring to Kaien Shiba, the former lieutenant of Jūshirō Ukitake's squad.

In the anime, his wife Miyako who was the 3rd Seat was possessed and devoured from the inside by one of Sōsuke Aizen's Hollows Metastacia. Kaien decided to track her down and kill her. However, Rukia followed him and saw him becoming possessed by the Hollow which leads to her having to reluctantly kill him and then deliver his body to the Shiba clan.

This begins Ganju's hatred for Soul Reapers as Kaien was his brother and he knew a Soul Reaper killed him because of the sword wounds on his body. However, Kūkaku knew full well it was Rukia who killed him and knew why she did and vowed that should she confront her about Kaien and apologize she would forgive Rukia.

Now, what Jūshirō Ukitake talking about is Ichigo's appearance in relation to Kaien's as they both look similar which in some cases may explain Rukia's actions as she's always felt guilty having been the one to kill Kaien, one of the 2 people who didn't treat her differently because she was Byakuya sister, the other was Miyako.

Ichigo

Ichigo

Kaien

Kaien

I should point out that this is from the Anime. From my understanding, apart from fillers, the anime is faithful to the manga.

  • Thank you so much! I have been wondering about this for the entire series. – Cyberson Feb 4 '14 at 23:30
  • On a related note, we do find out why Ichigo Kurosaki and Kaien Shiba look similar in the 1000 year bloodwar. They are cousins of some kind, being that Isshin Kurosaki was formally known as Isshin Shiba. I cant specify which part is which (filler or actual story), but for sure Ukitakes line was meant to foreshadow this relationship which is confirmed canon. – Ryan Sep 19 '17 at 17:05
  • @Ryan that's quite possible though i suspect Tite Kubo didn't think that far ahead. in a previous deleted answer said it was Isshin which your comment would support however i recall reading that the Shiba Clan was formally the 5th Noble Clan and you would think that the Kuchiki's would know about. if Ukitake was talking about Isshin then he knew the connection between Kurosaki and Shiba which Byakuya does not which further adds support to my thinking that Tite Kubo had yet to think that up – Memor-X Sep 20 '17 at 1:39
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    No one in the 13 court guard squads knew about Ichigo and Isshin's connection as father son, or even thought about it. As you pointed out in the answer here, Ukitake was talking about Kaien, remarking on how Ichigo looks similar (borderline like a twin brother with orange hair). Of course, Byakuya knew this random soul reaper was not in fact a real soul reaper, and so couldn't possibly be related to the All soul reaper Shiba clan, he was a Ryouka from the human world. I mean, sure it could still have been random coincidence, but THE Kubo making only 2 out of over 100 characters look alike... – Ryan Sep 20 '17 at 2:20

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