Many shinigami are not overly familiar with the human world, especially those younger ones who have not yet visited. For this reason, the 8th division has the special purpose of training and familiarising shinigami with human ways, as well as handling events in the human world which may get out-of-hand and provoke suspicion.
Captain: Kyouraku Shunsui
Known to be one of the more powerful captains in Soul Society, Captain Kyouraku is nonetheless a laidback and flamboyant man, evident in his style of dress and general attitude. He wears a straw hat and a pink flowered haori over his captain's uniform, giving a himself a deliberately "cheap" image. In his off time, he can be seen drinking sake and napping, or chasing women. Kyouraku has a familiar, informal manner which tends to surprise his subordinates and annoy his peers and superiors.
Kyouraku is the second son of the high-ranking noble Kyouraku family. Despite being of such old and prestigious lineage, he disliked studying and training, and because of his behaviour was sent against his will to the shinigami academy. Although not much else is known about Kyouraku's history, it is assumed that he and Ukitake Juushirou are the oldest captains in the Gotei 13, with the exception of General Yamamoto. Along with Ukitake, he was the first to become captain as a result of training in Yamamoto's academy, which sheds some light on his unexpectedly casual interaction with the 1st division captain.
Zanpakutou: Katen Kyoukostu (lit. Flower Heaven, Crazy Bone)
Kyouraku's zanpakutou is unique, in that it exists as two completely separate swords even when it isn't released (a daisho sword pair, katana and wakizashi). Its shikai command is not a word, but a short verse: "flowers are disturbed, god of flowers weeps, winds of Heaven are disturbed, demon of Heaven laughs."
In Katen Kyoukotsu's shikai, the swords transform into two large scimitars or falchions. Whilst the ability possessed by the swords are not widely known, it is said that they have wind-related powers.
Vice-captain: Ise Nanao
A very serious and pragmatic person who often expresses exasperation at her captain's silly antics. On the surface, they function almost in opposition to their ranks; Kyouraku is irresponsible and carefree, while Nanao is dutiful and sensible, even scolding him on frequent occasions. It is clear, however, that there is a great deal of respect between the two; when Kyouraku gives a serious order, Nanao follows without hesitation.
Nanao is an attractive but severe young woman who is rarely seen without her spectacles and a heavy book. Urban legend amongst the shinigami implies – only half in jest – that when she removes her glasses, something terrifying happens. She is also known to be a kidou master.
Not much is known about Nanao's zanpakutou, but it is widely said to be a short sword (such as a wakizashi) or a tantou, which is normally concealed in her sleeve.