|"Only justice will bring peace."|
|— Kyoshi advising Aang.|
Kyoshi was the Earth Kingdom-born Avatar immediately succeeding Avatar Kuruk of the Northern Water Tribe, and preceding Avatar Roku of the Fire Nation. She died at the age of 230, making her the oldest known human. Kyoshi was a tall woman, towering over most people, and also possessed the largest feet of any Avatar. Her traditional weapons were golden metal fans which, in addition to her manner of dress and style of fighting, were adopted by the Kyoshi Warriors of Kyoshi Island, her homeland.
Unlike her successors, Roku and Aang, Kyoshi was determined that only true justice could bring peace and had no qualms about killing enemies to achieve this goal. Employing these methods, she was a generally effective Avatar. However, some of her actions also caused long-term problems for the Earth Kingdom; while ushering the world into a 233-year-long era of peace, the death of Chin the Conqueror and her foundation of the Dai Li would lead to the decline, corruption, and fall of her home country. Because of this, Kyoshi later came to deeply regret the creation of the Dai Li.
Kyoshi was born in the year 312 BG on a peninsula off the tip of the southwestern Earth Kingdom that would one day become Kyoshi Island. She, like all Avatars, mastered all four elements and the Avatar State. When Kyoshi visited the ports of her homeland, she constantly had to put carousing men in their place after they caused trouble to the female villagers. Eventually, she decided to train the women in defensive combat so that they could defend themselves. These women later formed the first band of Kyoshi Warriors.
Stopping Chin the Conqueror
During Kyoshi's life, the 46th Earth King's rule was unpopular among the populace of the Earth Kingdom. Using this to his advantage, a warlord named Chin launched a war to conquer the continent. He was successful until he reached the peninsula where Kyoshi lived, finding the Avatar waiting for him. Standing before his army, Chin demanded their immediate surrender, and Kyoshi warned him that she would not sit idly by as he took her home. When he refused to back down and assumed a challenging earthbending stance, she unfurled one of her fans and fired a powerful air blast at him, leaving the humiliated warlord down to his underwear. Kyoshi subsequently entered the Avatar State and separated the peninsula from the mainland by using a combination of earthbending, lavabending, and airbending, forming Kyoshi Island and thereby protecting her homeland from subsequent threats. An indignant Chin was left standing on the edge of the newly-formed cliff, which began to crumble beneath his feet and, as he refused to budge from his unstable position, caused him to fall into the sea and drown. His death ushered the world into a great era of peace.
Because of Kyoshi's act, the people of Chin Village on the mainland founded Avatar Day to vilify Kyoshi, and all succeeding Avatars, for the death of their leader. The people of Kyoshi Island, meanwhile, founded "Kyoshi Day" on the same day as Avatar Day, to honor her creation of the island and the restoration of peace to their village. They also erected a large totem, topped with a statue of Kyoshi in her memory.
History with the 46th Earth King
Sometime after her final confrontation with Chin, Kyoshi was summoned to Ba Sing Se upon the request of the Earth King, since his unpopular rule had led to a peasant uprising in the city. By the time Kyoshi reached the city, the peasants had already destroyed everything that represented the "old government", including ancient and valuable artifacts that held historical and cultural importance. The King demanded that she stop the uprising by whatever means necessary. However, Kyoshi staunchly refused, stating that it would not be right for her to do so. Incensed by her defiance, the Earth King ordered his guards to arrest her. However, the King was left cowering on his throne as Kyoshi dispatched his guards with ease and admonished him in turn for daring to defy the Avatar. Held at the point of Kyoshi's war fan, the quivering monarch agreed to a compromise: the Earth King would give the peasants a voice in his ruling, while Kyoshi in turn agreed to protect Ba Sing Se's cultural heritage from further desecration. She proceeded to train an elite platoon of earthbenders, though their subsequent corruption weighed heavily on Kyoshi in her afterlife.
Kyoshi died in the year 82 BG at the age of 230, making her the oldest Avatar and human in history. Her daughter Koko succeeded her as the leader of Kyoshi Island, and she reincarnated as Fire Nation noble, Roku.
Appearances in Aang's life
During his trip to Kyoshi Island, Aang observed the statue erected in her honor. She thereafter appeared in a vision as the most recent Earth Kingdom Avatar when Avatar Roku was explaining the nature of the Avatar State to Aang. Kyoshi later manifested herself through Aang to testify in a trial proving the Avatar's innocence, though she confessed to killing Chin while doing so.
When helping Aang to reconnect with her and his other predecessors after being shot down by Azula's lightning, she apologized to him for the wrongful murder charge in Chin Village and explained that after Chin's demise, she helped the world live in balance; she accomplished a lot of good but also made mistakes, one of which being the creation of the Dai Li, as she could never have foreseen how corrupt and cruel they would become. Kyoshi imparted Aang with the wisdom that all their action have consequences, even if they do not manifest in their own lifetime, and sent him to find her predecessor.
Before the arrival of Sozin's Comet, Aang summoned Kyoshi's spirit, seeking advice on how to defeat Phoenix King Ozai without killing him. Kyoshi reminded him that her forceful ending of Chin the Conqueror's war for dominance brought a great era of peace. Aang pointed out that she was not directly responsible for Chin's death, arguing that it was a result of his own arrogance. Kyoshi said she saw no difference in this, and told him that she would have done anything to stop Chin. She left Aang, telling him that only justice would bring peace. Aang regretted consulting Kyoshi on this complex matter after hearing her advice.
While Aang was trying to establish contact with Avatar Yangchen for a solution to the situation with General Old Iron, Kyoshi appeared in a vision which represented Aang's restored connection to his past lives after restoring his link with Roku.
Appearance in Korra's life
Kyoshi, alongside many other past Avatars, appeared to Korra after she had lost her bending to Amon. This appearance was representative of Korra's ability to establish a connection with her spiritual side and for the purpose of having her bending restored.
After Korra had lost her memory, Kyoshi appeared before her, taking over from Avatar Roku, and informed the young Avatar that if she did not reconnect with her Avatar Spirit, darkness would engulf the world and she would die, ending the era of the Avatar.
While Unalaq was attacking Raava, Korra envisioned Kyoshi as part of the Avatar lineup, which she had seen prior to regaining her bending; however, the latter's connection to Korra was severed due to Unalaq's assault on and subsequent destruction of the light spirit.
As the Avatar, Kyoshi was able to bend all four elements and enter the Avatar State at will. Her most spectacular known feat was using the Avatar State to separate her home peninsula from the Earth Kingdom mainland and push it far out to sea to create Kyoshi Island. To do so, she first cut down to the earth's mantle with earth and lavabending to sever the landmasses, followed by airbending to push the island out to sea. This is one of the two known instances in which Kyoshi used the noncontinuous Avatar State, the other being when she levitated two massive badgermole statues.
Apart from the elements, Kyoshi was a skilled warrior and well-versed in the art of tessenjutsu, wielding a pair of golden metallic war fans with great skill and dexterity. She was also known to use these weapons to augment her bending, as demonstrated when she separated Kyoshi peninsula from the mainland.
- On the golden button on the right arm guard of the Kyoshi Warriors and on the fan that the statue of Avatar Kyoshi held to her face is the word 京. On the other fan, the one on her outstretched arm, is the word 士. In Japanese, 京士 is pronounced kyōshi and translated as "capital samurai". However, on the mural in her shrine, her name appeared as 虛子, a proper Japanese name which is pronounced kyoshi, a near-homophone with 京士 but with a shorter 'o' sound.
- In the episode "The Southern Air Temple", Kyoshi was seen to the right on the painting in the Earth Kingdom's Avatar Temple. However, the statue that preceded Roku's statue in the Southern Air Temple is not Kyoshi's.
- In a concept piece for the episode, however, an early depiction of Kyoshi does stand after Kuruk.
- Kyoshi also had the largest feet of any Avatar, and was the largest known Avatar in terms of physicality; when seen confronting Chin the Conqueror in "Avatar Day", and the time she faced the 46th Earth King's guards, she clearly appears several heads taller than them.
- In a chibi comic, Kyoshi was portrayed as a gym teacher. This can be a reference to the meaning of her name, "teacher", and the fact that she began two different factions of warriors, training them in two different fighting styles.
- Kyoshi is the first known Avatar to have had descendants. Kyoshi's only known child and daughter, Koko, succeeded her as governor of Kyoshi Island and eventually became famous in her own right, having had children named after her over three hundred years later.
- Avatar Kyoshi's legacy and work as Avatar has started two groups: the Kyoshi Warriors and the Dai Li, both of which Azula made use of to conquer Ba Sing Se.
- Kyoshi, Roku, Aang, and Korra are all known to have defied the leaders of their respective nations: Kyoshi, at first, refused to aid the 46th Earth King when he asked her to intervene in the peasant uprising in Ba Sing Se; Roku nearly killed Fire Lord Sozin in an attempt to put a stop to his imperialistic endeavors; Aang did not move to the Eastern Air Temple as he was instructed and instead ran away; and Korra started a civil war against Chief Unalaq.
- Kyoshi has never been seen without her signature makeup.
- Kyoshi is shown as the earthbender in the opening sequence of The Legend of Korra, making her the first person to be seen in the series.
- Kyoshi was the first Avatar to create a new landmass via her bending when she separated her peninsula from the mainland, creating Kyoshi Island.
- Kyoshi is the only known person to have been alive for three passings of Sozin's Comet.
- Kyoshi is rumored to have taken down a shark squid with one hand.
- Kyoshi is the only known female capable of lavabending.
- Known to have had romantic relationships with both men and women, Kyoshi is, along with Aiwei, Asami, Korra, and Kya, one of the few known LGBTQ+ individuals in the Avatar universe. She was also the first known LGBTQ+ Avatar, with Korra being the second.
312 - 82 BG
| Succeeded by|
|Head of the Dai Li|
Unknown - before 82 BG
| Succeeded by|
Unknown, eventually Long Feng
|Governor of Kyoshi Island|
Unknown - before 82 BG
| Succeeded by|