Jūshirō Ukitake is the captain of the 13th Division in the Gotei 13. He is one of the first two graduates of the Shinigami Academy founded 2000 years prior to the onset of the main plot, and one of few remaining older generation shinigami who still serve in the Gotei 13 until now. His lieutenant was Shiba Kaien, who died in an encounter with the hollow Metastacia. Rukia Kuchiki is also one of his subordinates, though not a seated officer.
Jūshirō appears as a middle aged man with long, white hair and brown eyes. He wears the standard shinigami uniform and a white haori, common to all captains, with the Gotei 13 insignia and number of his division on the back.
Jūshirō is generally soft-spoken, modest, and laid-back; personality traits that he shares with his close friend and former colleague Shunsui Kyōraku. However, his usually jovial behavior hides his body's declining health as he suffers from tuberculosis. Jūshirō's debilitating illness has prevented him from performing some of his daily tasks and responsibilities as a captain, thus leaving them to his 3rd Seats, Kiyone Kotetsu and Sentarō Kotsubaki, to fulfill them. He often acts as a mediator, particularly between his 3rd Seats who almost constantly quarrel and fight for his attention. In emergency situations, Jūshirō generally works in the backdrop, analyzing the matter at hand and meticulously searching for any piece of information relating to the issue. He has shown to be lenient towards his enemies, especially those that are, or appear, to be adolescents or younger, and would rather avoid fighting altogether if possible.
Due to his illness, Jūshirō seldom participates in battle or any sort of outdoor activity that puts a strain on his body. However, in the few times he has been shown engaged in battle, Jūshirō has displayed praiseworthy skills and abilities deserving of an experienced captain. Additionally, he also seems to have a craft for accurately observing spirit particles, though probably not to the same degree as someone of Kisuke Urahara's caliber.
- Expert Swordsmanship: Being one of the oldest and therefore more experienced captains, Jūshirō is presumably one of the most proficient swordsmen in Soul Society, which is evident by him maintaining himself well against Captain-Commander Yamamoto.
- Flash Step Master: Jūshirō has demonstrated to be excellent in the art of flash stepping, as shown when he managed to cover substantial distance when he was pursued by Captain-Commander Yamamoto.
- Kidō Master: As expected of a captain, Jūshirō has been shown to have above average knowledge of kidō as well as spirit energy altogether. He has occasionally opened a senkai gate and he easily created a small shield on his arm when Lilynette attacked him.
- Tremendous Spiritual Power: Being one of the oldest captains, it is safe to assume that Jūshirō has incredible spiritual power. He was unaffected by Captain-Commander Yamamoto's intense spiritual pressure and he was able to hold his own against a released Starrk while in shikai.
The name of Jūshirō's zanpakutō is Sōgyo no Kotowari (lit. Truth of Pisces). It represents a rarity among zanpakutō as it is one of only two dual bladed zanpakutō in existence--the other being Shunsui Kyōraku's Katen no Kyōkotsu. In its sealed state, it appears as a normal katana with a dark red hilt and a bronze, rectangular crossguard. Unlike most zanpakutō, the release command of Sōgyo no Kotowari is more like a chant consisting of two imperative phrases, which is "All waves, rise now and become my shield. Lightning, strike now and become my blade" (nami kotogotoku waga tate to nare, ikazuchi kotogotoku waga yaiba to nare).