|Manga||Volume #69, Chapter #660|
|Anime||Naruto Shippūden Episode #392|
|Appears in||Anime, Manga|
|Tailed Beast||Shukaku (Forms)|
Before the distribution of the tailed beasts amongst the Five Great Shinobi Countries, Shukaku fell into the possession of Sunagakure. The beast was sealed into Bunpuku when he was born, making him its first jinchūriki. Bunpuku was feared and despised by his fellow villagers and was kept jailed and under constant guard. In fact, the villagers believed him to be Shukaku itself, and had all but forgotten his true name.
During a conversation with Shukaku, the tanuki asked its host if the fact that all the villagers shunned him and he could only talk with it didn't upset him any at all. The priest noted that if he were to be separated from Shukaku, he would be dead because he was a jinchūriki. Shukaku told the priest that he reminded it of the Sage of the Six Paths, bringing the elderly priest to tears. He thanked the tanuki and noted that those were the kindest words he had received so far. He later said to Shukaku that there will be someone who will save and guide it in the future. Eventually, Shukaku was extracted from him, resulting in his death. Over the years, the people of Sunagakure came to believe Shukaku was this priest's living incarnation.
Bunpuku was a kindhearted and wise man. Though shunned by the villagers because of the tailed beast inside of him, he still thought of Shukaku as his friend, and bore no ill-will towards the beast. When the Sunagakure guards who guarded him insulted him, Bunpuku never insulted them back, being a pacifist who believed that people could accept and understand each other, even if one of them is a beast. Shukaku also noted that Bunpuku reminded it of the Sage of the Six Paths, due to treating a tailed beast with much respect.
Bunpuku was an elderly man and like most priests, his head was bald. He had a long, bushy moustache and beard and also had black rings around his eyes. His attire was one generally worn by priests with over-long white sleeves and a purple-coloured kimono-vest over it. In his palms, he had the kanji for "accept" (受, ukeru) and "heart" (心, kokoro) encarved by his master.
As Shukaku's jinchūriki, Bunpuku was blessed with the immense reserves of especially strong chakra and access to Shukaku's abilities such as sand manipulation. Bunpuku was able to keep the beast under control for a long period of time without extra support such as a cage to contain the beast. Also, Bunpuku never succumbed to the mental degradation induced by being Shukaku's jinchūriki, having a better relationship with his tailed beast. In the anime, he was said to be a powerful fūinjutsu user as well, as he managed to seal Shukaku inside a tea kettle, and, according to Hōichi, had the power to mould currents along with the ability to use Dharma Power Sealing Technique: Sen no Rikyū. Given his unique fūinjutsu, it is highly plausible that he was skilled in playing a biwa.
In the anime, Bunpuku's revered fūinjutsu was mastered by Hōichi. Despite never mastering Shukaku's power himself, Bunpuku's words resonated with Shukaku years later, allowing the tanuki to make peace with its most recent jinchūriki, Gaara.
- His name is a reference to Bunbuku Chagama, a Japanese folktale about a tanuki that uses its shape-shifting powers to reward an old man who rescued it for his kindness.
- Gaara, Shukaku's latest jinchūriki, has the kanji for "love" (愛, ai) engraved on his forehead. The two kanji in the priest's hands combine to make the word "love".
- In the anime, he was referred to as Shukaku's first jinchūriki.
- In order to prevent the jinchūriki from turning traitor, it is tradition for the host to be selected from the family of the village's own Kage. It might be that Bunpuku somehow was connected with one of the Kazekage.
- (To Shukaku) "The human heart is like the reflection on the water's surface… The mouth says things opposite to what the heart really feels… But in truth, the hidden heart wants people to accept each other. Even when one of them is a beast…"
- (To Shukaku) "Humans and beasts… There is no need to make a distinction."