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Yona-0
Yona
Kanji ヨナ
Rōmaji Yona
Alias Lena/Rina
Characteristics
Gender Female
Age 16
Height 157 cm (5'1”)[1]
Weight 42 kg (92 lbs)
Birthday April 7 (Aries)[2]
Hair Color Crimson Red
Eye Color Violet
Professional Status
Occupation Princess
Reincarnation of King Hiryuu
Previous Occupation Princess
Partner(s) Hak
Yoon
Kija
Shin-Ah
Jae-Ha
Zeno
Previous Partner(s) Soo-Won
Affiliation(s) Sky Tribe
Hiryuu Castle
Kuuto
The Dark Dragon and the Happy Hungry Bunch
Personal Status
Status Alive
Relatives Emperor Il (Father, Deceased)
Kashi (Mother, Deceased)
Yu-Hon (Paternal Uncle, Deceased)
Yong-Hi (Paternal Aunt in law, Deceased)
Soo-Won (Paternal Cousin)
Joo-Nam (Paternal Grandfather, Deceased)
Mei (Paternal Grandmother, Deceased)
King Hiryuu (Reincarnation)
Debuts
Manga Debut Chapter 01
Anime Debut Episode 01
Portrayal
Japanese Voice Chiwa Saitō
English Voice Monica Rial
Image Gallery

Yona (ヨナ, Yona) is the titular protagonist of the manga and anime series, Akatsuki no Yona. She is the princess of Kouka Kingdom, the only heir of Emperor Il and Queen Kashi, and the reincarnation of King Hiryuu.[3] On her 16th birthday, she was forced to flee Hiryuu Castle as a fugitive after her father was murdered by Soo-Won.

Yona had a sheltered, pampered upbringing. But all of that changed when she witnessed her father's murder at the hands of Soo-Won on the night of her 16th birthday. After her father's death she and Hak were forced to flee from the Hiryuu Castle and traveled all the way to Hak's homeland the Wind Tribe for safety. During her journey, Yona started to realize that not everything was perfect during her father's reign as king and had came to terms why he was murdered. So this tragic event and the resolved to fight for herself, throne and kingdom later led to her search for the legendary four dragon warriors who help create the Kouka Kingdom 2,000 years ago. As time goes on her journey she forced Hak to train her how to fight so that she could defend herself in a fight. Along the way she slowly discovers the meaning of friendship and its true purpose in life; which is to protect her love ones and the people of her country.

AppearanceEdit

Yona appearance
Yona is considered an attractive girl for her age, often called pretty and cute. She is a slender girl of short stature with fair skin. She has closely resembles her mother Kashi having the same large, round violet eyes and facial features, however unlike her, Yona was born with curly red hair, which she hated very much, as red hair was rare and made her stand out from others. Later on it is revealed that she has red hair, not because of any genetic inheritance (both of her parents have black hair), but because she is the reincarnation of King Hiryuu. At the beginning of the series, her hair is grown long, but after the series of events when she confronts Kan Tae-Jun, she slices her hair off with a sword to prevent being captured and to save Hak in the process.[4]

Yona now wears her hair short, which is slowly growing back. Her current outfit is made up of a white gown and a red vest with dark burgundy borderlines and a light pink sash tied around her waist. The outfit she wears well as the majority of the characters, is based and resembled off the hanboks at the time of the Goryeo Dynasty in Korea. She often wears a cape with a hood to hide her full appearance, particularly her red hair.[5] She is also never seen without the same pair of elegant, long earrings, which belonged to her mother Kashi. Until, for some unknown reason, she stopped wearing it after being kidnapped by the sen province and was never seen to wear it ever since[6]

Throughout the series, Yona's eyes suddenly appear to have a fiery, determined look in them whenever her friends' lives are in danger, or she sets out to accomplish something, marking her nobility status and dignified air as Kouka's Princess and King Hiryuu's reincarnation.

PersonalityEdit

Yona is very adaptable, has a sweet demeanor, and has a strong sense of conviction. On her journey, she shows an absolute willingness to learn, but she can still be idealistic even if she realizes that something is harder than it sounds. She can be selfish and demanding of others in her pursuits, which is first noted when Yoon scolds her for not thanking him for taking care of Hak.[7] She does, however, constantly show appreciation of others through her travels. Despite what had happened to her, Yona continues to have a positive outlook on life and wants to help those in need wherever she goes. As time goes on her journey Yona later becomes more mature and self-confident and losing much of her insecurities about herself and started to realize what is most valuable in life during her journey with Hak, Yoon and the four dragons.

When she was still living in Hiryuu Castle, Yona was ignorant and oblivious to everything happening around her and only cared about herself or her love. She didn't take the initiative to know the events unfolding around her country despite being a princess. Because of this she is struck by the hard truth of people hating her father and his leadership,[8] also the fact her father was a coward that deeply loathes weapons and violence, as well as how ignorant she had been of her duty when she was chased out from her home. To compensate for her lack of concern for her citizens and to protect the place her father once protected, she vowed to mend the conflicts within Kouka little by little. With her sincerity to this oath, she manages to sway and surprise others to the point that they can’t help but support her regardless of the risks. It is also the reason why she can perform certain feats in spite of her previously hardship-free lifestyle, such as standing up to several armed soldiers or scaling a dangerous cliff for a rare herb. Additionally, these kinds of threats don’t scare her anymore because she thinks that there is nothing scarier than what she witnessed on the night of her birthday.[9]

One of her biggest gags throughout the series is her tendency to say things that can easily be misunderstood or thought of in a romantic nature. Hak usually tends to take the brunt of the humiliation when he expects more, but is also the most used to it. Thus, Yona is very dense when it comes to romantic or intimate situations. Whether it's because of her very strong dedication to Soo-Won since childhood or the experience of Tae-Jun's courting, or the fact that even two of the dragon warriors Kija and Jae-Ha also harbor romantic feelings for her as well, buy Yona does not notice when others seem to be attracted to her. Ironically enough, she does understand the adult interactions between men and women, as shown when she says that even Hak needs some time to fool around with girls.[10]

Yona was heartbroken and traumatized with Soo-Won's betrayal which forced her to flee for her life and she kept the hairpin that he gave her as a reminder and out of normality of what happened that night on her 16th birthday. But after a long run of emotional healing and accepting of what happened she finally gave away the hairpin to get information in order to save her friends from the first princess of the king of Xing and this also means that she has finally moved past her feelings for Soo-Won as well. Yona grieved greatly after her father's murder at the hands of Soo-Won and she stated that she will never forgive for that, but she has decides she does not want to seek revenge against him because she doesn't want to live her life in the cycle of revenge and just wants to help her people in the Kouka kingdom.

When talking to Lili in chapter 110 about her feelings for Soo-Won now after everything had happened she stated that even though she will never forgive him for what he had done and that even in the beginning she wanted to get revenge for what he had done. However, as time went to she realized that if she were to ruin Soo-Won that it would cause chaos in the country and also isn't a necessarily evil person and in fact a good influence in the kingdom and can make it a better place for the citizens. In order to keep her father's memory alive she asked Hak to only call princess instead of her real name so that she and no one else will forget that she is the true heir to the throne and who her father was before he was killed. In Chapter 179 once Yona returns back to the castle due to the deal that she made with Kye-Sook in order to keep her and her friends safe and not to start a civil war in the kingdom. However, she still suffers from the trauma of her father being killed and her attempted murder as well this is shown when she came back to the castle and her PTSD came back.

In addition to while talking with the Fire Tribe General Kan Kyo-Ga about the conflict between her and Soo-Won for the throne. Even though she had helped the people of the land he stills wonder if she would take her revenge on Soo-Won and that as General he must remain loyal to the crown in which she understands. However he realized that the people of the Fire Tribe truly believed that she is the reincarnation of King Hiryuu from the legends and that the dragon warriors are Gods as well. Yona's answer shocks him and her friends by stating that even though what Soo-Won did was horrible that she is justified in wanting revenge against him and that it is her birthright to sit on the throne as well as she will never forgive him. She later came to the conclusion that she doesn't want to live a life revenge and that she just wants to live in peace and help those around her. This answer further shows her maturity about revenge isn't the answer as well as her strong conviction and strength of character. This conviction is also most noticed by Hak and he realized that Yona would be able to face Soo-Won without fear or anger.

BackgroundEdit

Yona is the sole princess and heir of the Kouka Kingdom. Her mother was assassinated when she was young,[11] leaving her in the care of her kind and loving father, Emperor Il. Throughout her life in sixteen years, Yona grew up without a care in the world; never knowing of strife or unhappiness save for her mother's death. As she was the princess, she was forbidden to go outside for her safety. Due to living inside, she remained oblivious to the affairs of the country though also even to the happenings in the palace.[12] As displayed in many flashbacks, Yona was very close to Hak and Soo-Won. She has been in love with Soo-Won since she was little due to the fact he was there to comfort her in times of need.

AbilitiesEdit

At the very beginning of the series, she lacks any sort of fighting skill and has to rely completely on Hak for protection. After his near-death in the fugitive arc, Yona insists on being taught self-defense so that she can protect both herself and her companions.

Yoon teaching Yona archery

Yoon teaching Yona archery

  • Archery: She begins practicing with the bow and arrow, with first Hak[13] and then Yoon as her teachers.[14] Her abilities with archery were at first at a beginner's level, but after consistently practicing every day (and secretly every night), she eventually reached the point where now she can fire off 200 arrows in a single session [15]. She also gained better accuracy with her aiming, and is now able to kill animals (and a person) with one shot.
  • Swordsmanship: After months of trying to get Hak to instruct her,[16] Yona eventually begins to learn swordsmanship. She is still a novice in this skill, and most of the time she only practices with a wooden sword. Yet, in the later chapters of the Nadai arc, she could be seen emerging as the victor in a sword fight against a man but only to sliced on the back when protecting Lili.
  • Observation: Even though she has been sheltered for the majority of her life, Yona has good observation skills. She can detect how people are feeling; for example, when she was in Awa she was able to tell the townspeople had "no light behind their eyes". In the manga she again showed her observation skills when she could tell who had taken the drug 'Nadai' by the bloodthirst in the peoples' eyes.
  • Charisma: In chapter 138 of the manga, Min-Soo explains that, although she only tries to help her own friends, "the people around her, in hopes of doing something for her, stretch out their hands." Yona, by earnestly protecting the ones whom she loves, earns the hearts and support of everyone she meets. Min-soo goes on to describe this, saying, "Isn't this a terribly formidable power?"
  • Music: During the series, it has been noted that Yona can play the Koto (a Japanese zither, it was mis-translated as a harp) and dance, as she stated in episode 23 of the anime. Also, in the Nadai Arc, she was disguised as a dancer to lure the drug addicts out.

QuotesEdit

  • (To Hak) "I want to move forward somehow. I will become stronger. Teach me to use a sword and bow. I’ll learn. I don’t want to die in this absurd state. Even more, I don’t want to lose you! To prevent that, I will acquire even the power of the gods."
  • (To Ik-Soo"For the first time, I spoke with people outside the castle. I walked myself ragged, carrying the weapons my father had forbidden. I heard their bitterness toward the reality that hadn't changed since my father's rule. It was mortifying. My father loved peace above all, but his country wasn't happy. The more I learned, the more powerless I was. But when I reached out in desperation, someone reached back. I wasn't strong enough to pull myself up, but others pushed me from behind. There are many in this country I want to protect. I do not regret shooting Kum-ji, Lord of Awa. Since then, I've been thinking. There must be cities in Kouka like Awa. So from now on, I will gaze across the country, and help those in distress!" 
  • (To Emperor Il"Father, forgive me. I will take up weapons to protect your country. I cannot return to the castle right now, because there is something I must do."
  • (To Hak) "Hak, you did nothing wrong. So you should not have to feel responsible for every one of my injuries. This is mine. This is my injury."
  • (To Kye-Sook) "Don't you dare give me that. War looms before you, and yet you refuse to listen to the words of an emissary from Xing Kingdom. And now you wish to kill me? Why must I be subject to such irrationality? Is this what you wanted? Is this what you killed my father for? So you could pull off schemes like this?"
  • (To Tae-Jun) "I may be an ignorant princess, but I haven't fallen so low to blindly follow the orders of someone who doesn't understand the reason!" [17]
  • "Even if my throat is dry, so parched, even if my sanity is about to burn away, my field of view is lit red from my burning anger. Even if my hands and legs are burnt to ashes by this fire, I will destroy this rotten place. And I will protect Lili."
  • "If I can't run... then I must fight!"
  • (To Hak) "If it’s to protect you, I want to take up a weapon! Even if I have to sacrifice someone!" [18]
  • (To Shin-Ah)"Your hand was very warm. I don’t know what kind of curse you have, but if that was the hand of someone cursed, then I don’t care that you have a terrifying curse at all."[19]
  • (To Hak) "Only you must call me 'Princess'. Please don’t forget that I am my father’s - Emperor II’s -daughter. Even if everyone in the country forgets, please… at least you must remember."[20]
  • "If they desert impoverished children and the sick in order to protect themselves from danger, they have their priorities backward."
  • “I know that I have no strengths to offer. It irritates me how weak I am. But let me protect them!”
  • “Before I question the gods, there are questions I should ask myself!”
  • (To Hak) "I.. I love you, Hak. I was finally able to say it."
  • "I was just entranced. Hak, Soo-Won, if you two were allies, I wonder how much you two could have accomplished together? Right now, I wonder... why... why did we turn out like this?"
  • (To An Lili about Soo-Won) "After Father was killed and I escaped from the capital, all I did was grieve. I thought that I would never be able to forgive him. I thought, "why would such a gentle person do this?" But after learning more about our country, witnessing the Fire Tribe's betrayal, and meeting him at Sensui, I began to think that, perhaps, Soo-Won wanted to protect this country using a different method than my father."
  • "Hak will probably never forgive Soo-Won. Even if Soo-Won is seen as a rightful ruler to this country, since Hak trusted Soo-Won more than anyone else, more than anyone else... his grief will never be healed."
  • "This country needs a strong leader. If I fight against Soo-Won because of my personal feelings, it will only plunge the country into chaos. If Soo-Won created a tyranny because of his own greed, I might have fought against him, but right now, what I have to do is not seek revenge. I too, did once think I had to seek revenge. But the truth was, even I can never forgive Soo-Won, I never truly wanted to kill him. No matter what, I can't believe that the kindness that person has shown to me and Hak was all a lie."
  • (To An Lili about Soo-Won) "Right now... I want to understand him. What is that person thinking, what does he want to achieve? What should I do then after I know all this? I want to understand him, but it's different from the way I felt in the capital."
  • “Drawing a bow means taking and losing lives. My father hated pain. But, Father, if I do not take lives, I cannot live.”
  • "I always wanted to become stronger. At first it was to protect myself. Next, it was to protect Hak, who gave up everything for me. Now, it's to repay my friends, who enabled me to live."

TriviaEdit

  • She placed 2nd in the character popularity poll conducted by Hana to Yume in December 2014. She scored 2,289 votes in total.[21]
  • Aside from dancing, Yona can play a Koto; a Japanese stringed instrument of Chinese origin.[22]
  • Yona's earrings were originally red but were re-colored in the fourth volume to yellow.
  • Throughout the manga, Yona's hair steadily grows after she cuts it. Originally, it ran all the way to her back. Currently, it is around shoulder length. In the anime, this is only made clear in the OVAs.
  • The first chapter in the manga glimpses at a time skip to sometimes unknown in the future where Yona is self-composedly standing outside Kouka in the cold mountains at dawn, with an unknown companion, a jade-hilted sword, and her hair grown fully back. 
  • The name Yona is a girl's name of Hebrew origin meaning "dove". 

ReferencesEdit

  1. Akatsuki no Yona Chapter 43, Page 7
  2. Akatsuki no Yona Volume 17
  3. Akatsuki no Yona Chapter 101, Page 12
  4. Akatsuki no Yona Chapter 10, Page 12
  5. Akatsuki no Yona Chapter 15, Page 3
  6. Chapter 176: Could You Hear Me?
  7. Akatsuki no Yona Chapter 12, Page 7
  8. Akatsuki no Yona Chapter 26, Page 11
  9. Akatsuki no Yona Chapter 18, Page 30
  10. Akatsuki no Yona Chapter 28, Page 2
  11. Akatsuki no Yona Chapter 1, Page 33
  12. Akatsuki no Yona Chapter 12, Pages 6-7
  13. Akatsuki no Yona Chapter 15, Page 9
  14. Akatsuki no Yona Chapter 18, Page 22
  15. Akatsuki no Yona Chapter 19, Page 20
  16. Akatsuki no Yona Chapter 52, Page 19
  17. Akatsuki no Yona Anime: Episode 5
  18. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Y1
  19. Akatsuki no Yona Manga: Chapter 23, Pages 9-10
  20. Akatsuki no Yona Manga: Chapter 25, Page 21
  21. Hana to Yume (花とゆめ), 2015/1 edition
  22. Akatsuki no Yona Manga: Chapter 38, Page 15

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