|Birthday||April 7 (Aries)|
|Hair Color||Crimson Red|
Reincarnation of King Hiryuu
|Affiliation(s)||Sky Tribe |
The Dark Dragon and the Happy Hungry Bunch
|Relatives||Emperor Il (Father, Deceased) |
Kashi (Mother, Deceased)
Yu-Hon (Uncle, Deceased)
Joo-Nam (Paternal Grandfather, Deceased)
King Hiryuu (Ancestor)
|Manga Debut||Chapter 01|
|Anime Debut||Episode 01|
|Japanese Voice||Chiwa Saitō|
|English Voice||Monica Rial|
Yona (ヨナ, Yona) is the titular protagonist of the manga and anime series, Akatsuki no Yona. She is the princess of the Kouka Kingdom, the only heir of Emperor Il, and the reincarnation of the Red Dragon King Hiryuu. On her 16th birthday, she was forced to flee Hiryuu Castle after her father was murdered by Soo-Won.
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. She does, however, constantly show appreciation of others through her travels.
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, 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.
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, 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.
Yona is the sole princess and heir of the Kouka Kingdom. Her mother was assassinated when she was young, 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. 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.
Yona asks her father if he finds her hair weird, to which she receives an answer that describes her beauty as surpassing a gem. Even though she agrees with her father’s answer, she’s unsatisfied with her unruly hair and wonders why it is a different color than her parents'. Il continues to assure her that there is nothing wrong with her hair and even asks Hak for assurance of his statement; however, the latter thinks that her head is the one in question. She tries to silence Hak, but he reminds her that she must prepare as Soo-Won is already at the palace. Upon hearing this, she rushes outside to greet Soo-Won and eventually bumps into him in the hallway. They have a little talk, but she notices she is still being treated like a child by him which flusters her.
The next morning Yona goes to Soo-Won’s room to invite him for a little snack time, however, she only finds Min-Soo, who is currently cleaning the room. Min-Soo tells her that Soo-Won is together with Hak on the training grounds and she immediately goes there. On her way, she meets up with her father midway. On the grounds, she watches her childhood friends competing against each other in archery. While she focuses on Soo-Won she suddenly becomes motivated to learn archery which makes Il worry. Soo-Won then invites her to come down and ride the horse with him. When she is already on the top of the horse together with him, she asks him about his engagement proposals and this leads to an awkward moment where she has to lie about Hak being her betrothed. To her surprise, Soo-Won congratulates her and she ends up sulking in her room afterwards. Il tells her that she will also have to discuss about her future engagements and Soo-Won will not be her option. Yona is strongly against this, but her father insists that he will be the one deciding her partner, for the sake of Soo-Won not meeting the same fate he has.
In disbelief, Yona runs out of her room and stays in a hallway while contemplating the things she has heard. All of a sudden, an unknown man looms at her and, fearing that he is an insurgent, she dashes away from him. She goes into a room, which luckily belongs to Soo-Won, and there she is calmed down by her cousin. However, she becomes worried over the chance that Soo-Won will get involved if she stays with him any longer and she tells him that she shouldn't be in his room. Unfortunately, Soo-Won gets the wrong idea and thinks that she wants to be by Hak’s side which forces her to tell the truth about her engagement and her feelings for him. Soo-Won tries to ignore her as he still believes that he misunderstands her but Yona asks him what his reaction would be if it is not a mistake. This makes Soo-Won confess that he suddenly sees her as a woman. However, as he is inexperienced in love, he is unable to reciprocate her love. Despite this she is still satisfied with the outcome of her confession as he is now even a little bit aware of her feelings.
Five days later, Yona celebrates her 16th birthday, but her hair is still the only thing weighing on her mind much to her father’s disappointment. Soo-Won calls her and gives her a hairpin as a gift. He explains that it suits her red hair and because of this, Yona suddenly learns to love the hair she doesn't like. In the midst of their conversation, Hak appears and tells her that her father is looking for her. Later that night she decides to fight for her love and goes to her father’s room to talk to him. But upon arriving there, she witnesses the murder of her father at the hands of Soo-Won. Unable to process what she has seen, she asks Soo-Won to call a doctor as she hugs her father’s corpse, but her cousin tells her outright that he killed him as revenge for the death of his father, Yu-Hon. Shortly after Kye-Sook and some of the guards enter the room. Without hesitation, the former demands that Soo-Won must kill Yona. Terrified, she escapes from them, but she is eventually caught and pinned down by the guards. As she is about to be killed, Hak comes to her rescue and defends her, though in the end he is also cornered. Suddenly, an arrow shot distracts everyone and Hak grabs her to flee.
They meet up with Min-Soo, the person who shot the arrow, behind the bushes. While they are hiding, Yona cries as she expresses her regret of being unable to express her gratitude to her father. Min-Soo then tells them that he will disguise himself as the princess so that they can get away from the castle. As they carry out the plan, she and Hak manage to escape, but Min-Soo is shot by an arrow. They continue to hide in the mountains, but at one point she loses the hairpin she got from Soo-Won. She frantically looks for the hairpin, but during her search she ends up in a snake’s den. She is quickly saved by Hak, but he suffers a venomous bite in the process. After that she receives her missing hairpin from him.
The next day Yona checks Hak’s condition but the latter tells her that he is alright. She then asks him where they are going and learns that they are going to Fuuga, the capital of the Wind Tribe and Hak’s hometown. Upon arriving there, she collapses from exhaustion and is brought into a room where Tae-Yeon, Hak’s younger brother, continually checks on her. After she awakens, Tae-Yeon feeds her and asks her about her relationship to his brother to which she answers that they are friends. Shortly after giving her answer, Tae-Woo and Han-Dae comes into the room while laughing about Hak’s unrequited love. Hak follows, beats Tae-Woo and Han-Dae, and asks her about the “friends” she mentioned. Yona is about to rephrase her answer when Hak stops her and tells her to keep a low profile and tells her to go by a new identity, Rina (pronounced "Lena"), a court lady in training. Following this, chaos ensues between Hak, Tae-Woo and Han-Dae, though it's more like the casual joking between family members. This makes Yona smile for the first time after her father’s death.
When she finally regains her strength, she is asked to do laundry and Hak guides her to the river. However, she is unable to do her chore as there is no water in the river. Hak immediately orders Han-Dae to investigate. Soon after, Mundok returns; she immediately goes to his side and he gives her a hug. However, her moment of happiness is quickly cut off when Han-Dae comes back and reports that the Fire Tribe is blocking the water stream on their river. She learns from Mundok that this is a warning from the Fire Tribe as they are trying to make Soo-Won the next king.That night, Tae-Yeon suffers an asthma attack. To make matters worse, the merchant who is supposed to bring Tae-Yeon's medicine is attacked by the Fire Tribe. She worries about Tae-Yeon, but she is soon calmed down by Han-Dae who volunteers to run to the east forest to buy the medicine from the healer living there. After everyone’s anger is subsided by Hak she asks him what she can do, but he tells her to rest. The next day, Tae-Yeon has recovered thanks to the medicine Han-Dae brought and they are all relieved. Yona then goes to the infirmary to see the injured merchants. When she sees them, she questions the Fire Tribe's and Soo-Won’s reasons for doing such horrible things to their people. Han-Dae accidentally bumps into her and notices how she is close to tears. He comforts her by telling her that Hak and Mundok will protect them all as they are all part of their family. Upon hearing these words, Yona finally cries. However she decides to leave Fuuga at once as she doesn't want anyone else to get hurt.
She goes out to search for Hak. She finds Tae-Yeon first and sees him talking to his brother, though Hak leaves just as she arrives. Before setting out to follow Hak, she first thanks Tae-Yeon for everything he did for her. Tae-Yeon then cries and she can’t help but hug him while saying that she will not forget him or the others. She continues her pursuit of Hak and manages to catch up with him at the entrance gate. She orders him to let her go with him, but Hak refuses as he already surrendered his title and his surname. She persists in asking him despite his efforts to make her stay at Fuuga, and in the end she wins their little fight. Mundok appears before them and bids them farewell, but not before telling them that somewhere in the mountains along the Wind Tribe's border with the Fire Tribe lives a priest from whom she can seek advice.As the two of them set out to find the priest, they encounter Tae-Jun and his troops on a cliff; Hak protects her from them. During the fight, Hak uses himself as a shield to prevent her from getting shot by a poisoned arrow. She is then hidden behind some bushes and is ordered to stay put. However, she sees Tae-Jun and his subordinate near her hiding spot and overhears their plan to kill Hak. At first she remains still, believing that Hak will manage by himself; however, she remembers the reason she left Fuuga, and finds the resolve to take action to stop Tae-Jun’s plot. She pushes his subordinate off the cliff and confronts Tae-Jun. He attempts to persuade her to go back to the castle so that they can dethrone Soo-Won. Instead of listening to him, she questions his reasons behind his decisions to attack innocent people just to get her, to which Tae-Jun tells her that he is merely following orders. This prompts Yona to tell him that, despite her ignorance, she has not yet become a mindless person who blindly follows other people’s orders.
Hak continues to fight below; however, as the poison gets the better of him, he loses focus and is successfully attacked, wounding him and leaving him hanging on for dear life to the edge of the cliff. Yona runs to help him but is stopped by Tae-Jun grabbing her hair. She refuses to let this stop her and takes Tae-Jun’s sword to cut away the portion of her hair that is holding her back. After she sets herself free, she goes down to the cliff and tries to drive away the soldiers who are attempting to kill Hak. She then grabs Hak's hand and tries to get pull him back up. Unfortunately as Tae-Jun’s soldiers are approaching to separate the two of them, she loses her grip and they ultimately fall.
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.
Archery: She begins practicing with the bow and arrow, with first Hak and then Yoon as her teachers. 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 . 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, 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.
Relationships Edit as Il didn’t want her to have him as her husband and because Il disliked weapons. After she witnesses her father’s death, she deeply regrets not being able to say thank you to him for her wonderful birthday.
Hak and Yona often playfully bicker, having done so ever since they were children. However, despite these antics, she considers him as someone special (she denies any kind of help if Hak will be the payment for it) and greatly relies on him whenever she is in a dire situation. However, she started to change her dependent attitude when they became fugitives. As Hak is the only person she has left, she fears for his safety when he is protecting her, and this motivates her to become stronger so that she can protect him in turn.
Because of their relationship and the past they share, he is the only person she wants to still call her ‘Princess’ in order to keep the fact that she was once the princess of Kouka and the daughter of Emperor Il a reality. Even though they are close to one another, she is unaware of Hak’s feelings for her and often sees his romantic attempts as jokes or as annoying. Lately though, she has been showing some signs that she is slowly developing feelings for him.
While wandering around during the night, Yona happens upon Hak sitting alone. She leaves briefly but upon her return she gives him a protection charm that she had bought earlier, wishing that it would bring good fortune to him. Hak replies, "Princess, if you can be happy then to me that is the greatest happiness". Soon after hearing these words she returns to bed. She suddenly starts crying, thinking to herself that his words made her so happy yet so sad. With this she begins to realize that she has fallen in love with him but wonders when he became so special to her. In chapter 111, she attempts to confess but, thinking that he would definitely make fun of her, she stops in embarrassment.
Later, Yona confesses to Lili that she has feelings for Hak, also admitting that she is too embarrassed to confess, to "start over" as she puts it, given how well and for how long she has known him. Midway through the Xing arc, she suddenly grabs hold of his cloak and kisses him just before departing to get Tae-Jun's help in holding up Soo-Won's army from marching toward Xing. Leaving him stunned and confused, she admonishes herself for giving into her impulse and kissing Hak without his permission.
Once the conflict is wrapped up, she overhears a conversation between him and the Wind Tribe about his supposed fiancee Ayame, and decides to tell him he has the freedom to return home if he wanted to. Hak, misunderstanding this to mean he's no longer needed, is hurt and grows outwardly glum. After intervention from the others, she clears up the misunderstanding--stating how he's important to her and asking him to stay. Fed up with her misunderstanding how he feels about her and the Wind Tribe, Hak angrily blurts out a love confession to Yona. This prompts her to fall to her knees in shock, blushing fiercely at his proclamation. Even though her actions obviously show affection towards him in the next few chapter, Hak is still oblivious to her feelings and is noted many times as "the ill effects of unrequited love".
From an early age, Yona had a crush on Soo-Won. Over the years, she increasingly grew frantic over her appearance (especially over her hair that she hated) during his visits to Hiryuu castle and blushed upon any physical contact they made or even from just a simple compliment. Though she understood that Soo-Won only saw her as his little sister, this didn't stop her from trying to convince her father, who was strongly against the idea, to let her marry Soo-Won. 
Her deep affection for Soo-Won ultimately becomes the cause of her breakdown after his betrayal. Since then, their relationship has become very complicated. Yona clearly shows hostility towards Soo-Won whenever they meet but she still finds it hard to move on from her feelings, as evident by the fact that she is unable to discard the hairpin Soo-Won gave to her on her birthday. However in Chapter 136, she finally parts with it, giving it to Master Ogi as payment for Information.
In Chapter 110 that the kindness and gentleness that he showed in the castle when he was with her and Hak was all a lie. She then explains to Lili that now, using a feeling other than the love she had for him before, she wants only to understand him and to understand what he wants to achieve.
The two of them did not have a smooth relationship at first because of how Yoon despises royalty. Yona is criticized by him for her ignorance and selfishness, which she acknowledges. Despite their small quarrel, due to her nature, Yona sees Yoon’s kindness behind his sharp tongue and through his caring actions and quickly forgives him. This helps her settle their differences before leaving Ik-Soo's home. They become friends over time and she learns various things from him, throughout which she praises his knowledge. As much as Yoon is constantly looking out for her, she does the same for him even if she will get hurt in the process. She graciously accepts Yoon’s apology for his behaviour when they first met, and allows him to call her by her given name. They promise to each other that they will grow strong for the sake of Kouka’s people.
She sees Kija as a beautiful man, and is always fond of his appearance due to her love of pretty things. Even though Kija considers her as his master, she doesn’t think the same and considers him as her friend rather than as a servant. She trusts Kija and his abilities, even when he is in doubt of his usefulness, and reassures him that he is helpful to her and that he can never be replaced. When Kija tells her to give up Hak she swiftly refuses and Kija gets jealous.
As with Hak, she is oblivious to his feelings. However, with Kija she is aware but doesn’t feel the same way.
Yona believes that Shin-Ah is a very kind person despite what the villagers said against him. She is not afraid to help him when he loses control of his power, and meets him head on despite the possibility of him devouring her. Seeing Shin-Ah cooped-up in the darkness, Yona relates to his situation and promises him that both of them will break out from their small worlds. Yona also finds Shin-Ah's eyes breathtakingly beautiful. As he is nameless before meeting her, she gives him the name "Shin-Ah" which symbolizes how he became the moonlight for her in the darkness.
Because Jae-Ha is running away from his sealed-in-a-stone fate, Yona has a hard time recruiting him. However, she is able to become close to him and indirectly change his mind because of her personality. When Jae-Ha flirts with her, she misunderstands it as some sort of bullying and compares him to Hak. He often gives her hints about Hak’s affections for her, but she doesn’t get what he means most of the time. However, several scenes in the manga suggest that he has feelings for her as well.
Despite everyone’s doubt of Zeno being the Ouryuu, she instantly believes that he is the yellow dragon warrior and welcomes him without any hesitation. To her, being around him is warming, as if he is a golden ray of sunshine. When Zeno saves her from being killed by enemy soldiers and slumps, corpse-like, to the ground,Yona cries as she rues her lack of strength to protect him. However, Zeno's power prevents him from dying, therefore making him the first and last Ouryuu.
In the beginning, she is annoyed by Tae-Jun's frequent flirting with her and would go as far as claiming that she and Hak were in love to avoid him. She hated how selfish he was and how rude he would be just to get anything he wanted. However, when she eventually meets him again after their encounter on the cliff and they spend some time together, she is able to change some views of his life, especially in regards to enlightening him about the grim situation of the Fire Tribe. This makes her glad as she sees how much Tae-Jun has changed from an arrogant man to a responsible and good person. As such, she entrusts the job of saving the Fire Tribe to him.
Gi-Gan is like a mother to Yona; she finds her strictness and kindness to be a very nostalgic and sad feeling as she has little to no memories of her real mother who died when she was very young. As Yona takes care of the villages in the Fire Tribe, she imitates Gi-Gan’s way of speaking in her threats to the government officials.
Yona met Lili for the first time in a bar while disguised as a dancer to gather information. They became fast friends and have helped each other on several occasions. Yona inspired Lili to have more courage in her own words and Lili aspires to become like her. She showed courage and acted as bait so that Yona could escape from the Sei troops.
Upon on the first meeting of Yona and Ao, when Yona was convincing Shin ah to join in their group, Ao instantly liked her. They became good friends and a companion.
- "I am the proud princess of Kouka Kingdom, so I should not complain but do something about it myself."
- (To Tae-Jun)"I may be an ignorant princess, but I'm not desperate enough to listen to someone who doesn't understand reason!"
- (To Hak) "If it’s to protect you, I want to take up a weapon even if I have to sacrifice someone!"
- (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."
- (To Hak)"Only you must call me 'Princess'. Please don’t forget that I am my father’s... that I am Emperor II’s daughter. Even if everyone in the country forgets, please… you have to be the only one who does not forget."
- "If they desert impoverished children and the sick in order to protect themselves from danger, they have their priorities backwards."
- (To Kye-Sook) "Is this what you wanted? Is this what you killed my father for? So you could pull of schemes like this?"
- “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!”
- “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."
- She placed 2nd in the character popularity poll conducted by Hana to Yume in December, 2014. She scored 2,289 votes in total.
- Aside from dancing, Yona can play a Koto; a Japanese stringed instrument of Chinese origin.
- Yona's earrings were originally red, but were re-coloured in the fourth volume to yellow.
- Throughout the manga, Yona's hair steadily grows and is currently a little more than shoulder length. In the anime, this is only made clear in the OVAs.