The One-Tailed Shukaku (一尾の守鶴, Ichibi no Shukaku) is a monster tanuki. It was sealed within Gaara of Sunagakure since his birth. It has been captured by Deidara, then extracted and sealed by Akatsuki.
According to Madara Uchiha, the One-Tail came into being in the waning days of the Sage of the Six Paths' life; to prevent its resurgence, the Sage split up the chakra of the Ten-Tailed Beast into nine separate, monstrous constructs of living chakra, which would become known as the tailed beasts. Citizens of Sunagakure believed that "Shukaku", as the One-Tail came to be called, was a living ghost (生霊, ikiryō), the corrupted spirit of a Suna priest that turned into a demon. It was originally sealed inside a tea kettle, and then placed inside a jinchūriki.
When Karura, the wife of Fourth Kazekage, became pregnant, her husband ordered Chiyo to seal Shukaku inside an unborn Gaara, but only after being removed from the second jinchūriki. Karura died as a sacrifice for the sealing process, and cursed all the people of Suna, including her husband, for what they had done. Apparently, one of Shukaku's former jinchūriki was the one who inspired the Third Kazekage to create the Iron Sand technique
Shukaku is intelligent, but also incoherent, giving it the demeanor of a drunkard, which fits well with the typical depictions of tanuki in Japanese folklore. Shukaku itself translates to "drunk" in Japanese. Like other tailed beasts, its innate rage and bloodlust influences its behavior. According to Gaara, Shukaku relishes the opportunity to kill anyone in sight, even more so during a full moon. Gaara knows how to control it sometimes, but most of the time it simply forces him to let it out.
Activity inside Gaara Gaara and Shukaku.As Shukaku's jinchūriki, Gaara has the ability to move and levitate sand at will. In addition, Shukaku protects him at all times with the Shield of Sand, regardless of his will (even self-inflicted injuries are prevented by the sand). He also suffers from lifelong insomnia, a side-effect of being Shukaku's jinchūriki. Whenever he fell asleep, Shukaku would eat away his personality, turning him into a monster.
When angry or in a state of bloodlust, Gaara can use the sand in his gourd to take on the form of a miniature Shukaku, or even create a giant copy of Shukaku's body. It is only when Gaara begins to take on Shukaku's form that he is allowed access to its wind element, such as Wind Release: Drilling Air Bullet. Gaara can even allow Shukaku to take on the full Shukaku form by going asleep, but is left vulnerable, as his sleeping body is left unprotected on Shukaku's head
During the Invasion of Konoha, Gaara transformed into his full Shukaku form during his fight with Naruto Uzumaki, who later summoned Gamabunta. When Gaara exposed himself on top of Shukaku's head and used the Feigning Sleep Technique, Shukaku took full control of its body and battled them. Shukaku's power was too much for Gamabunta to handle, resulting in Naruto using the Combination Transformation to take the form of a giant fox (the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox in the anime), which allowed Gamabunta to grab Shukaku in order for Naruto to punch Gaara in order to wake him up, which suppressed Shukaku's power.
Rescue Gaara arcEdit
During Gaara's time as the Fifth Kazekage, Deidara and Sasori from the organization Akatsuki were assigned to capture Shukaku. After Deidara defeated Gaara in combat and took him to Akatsuki's lair in the Land of Rivers, Shukaku was forcefully extracted from Gaara, thus killing him. Gaara was resurrected through a combination of Chiyo's life-transferring technique and Naruto's chakra. Even though he is no longer the host of Shukaku, Gaara is still able to control sand.
Tanuki (狸) is the Japanese name for the raccoon dog (Shukaku, however, is a monster tanuki (化け狸, bakedanuki)). The tanuki has been renowned for its mischievous nature and abilities to shape-shift and bring good fortune. Shukaku has ties to several tanuki archetypes. One is the Bunbuku Chagama tale, where a tanuki sealed inside a tea kettle is then placed inside its first host. In the series, Shukaku was reported to have been sealed within a tea kettle. Some tales state of a shrine priest being a tanuki in disguise, which ties into how, early in the series, Shukaku was reportedly a corrupted Suna priest.
- Since Gaara was infused with Shukaku prior to his birth, it would seem that the demon's abilities melded with Gaara's own; however, it's unclear if Gaara's control of sand and the wind element is a result of his own chakra or Shukaku's.
- Shukaku is the only known tailed beast with an actual name.
- Shukaku is the only tailed beast known to have had more than one jinchūriki.
- In the English dub Shukaku has a wild southern accent and is very stubborn, while in the Japanese version he has a much calmer voice.