|"I created Kyoshi Island so my people could be safe from invaders."|
|— Avatar Kyoshi to the people of Chin Village.|
Kyoshi Island is located off the southern coast of the Earth Kingdom and dotted with many small villages. Predominantly a fishing port, this small island in the South Sea is a popular destination among traders and travelers.
It is well known as the adopted home of Avatar Kyoshi and the residence of the elite Kyoshi Warriors, an all-female fighting outfit. As a result, every village on the island hosts a statue of its revered Avatar, and one of the villages has converted a temple into a shrine dedicated to her. The island is characterized by its relative seclusion and temperate climate.
The area that later became Kyoshi Island was originally a peninsula whose most prominent settlement was Yokoya Port. This village was an impoverished community of farmers and fishers whose hard lives were marked by monotonous work and a stubborn sense of xenophobic pride. The peninsula was strategically and economically unimportant: merchant ships usually circumvented it due to the prevailing winds and currents of nearby Whaletail Strait, and the Earth Kingdom's government consequently had no interest in actually governing the area. The people of Yokoya thus existed in relative isolation, safe for occasional contact with the town of Qinchao further inland or passing travelers.
Around 308/307 BG, Jesa and Hark arrived at the village, paid a local farmer to care for their daughter, Kyoshi, and left. Contrary to the agreement, however, the farmer threw the young girl onto the streets. Since the Yokoyans were poor and generally unsympathetic toward outsiders, they left Kyoshi to die from starvation.
In 305 BG, Yokoya was visited by the elders Jianzhu and Kelsang in their quest for the successor of Avatar Kuruk. They presented the Avatar relics to the local children, to no avail. Kelsang ran into Kyoshi during this time and, realizing that she had been abandoned, provided for her from then on. A few years later, a boy named Yun was identified as Avatar, and Jianzhu purchased some land near Yokoya Port to erect a fortified mansion to house and train him. Kyoshi became a servant at the mansion.
Over time, several locals began to regard the mansion and its inhabitants with suspicion, feeling envious of their wealth and regarding the sale of their lands to Jianzhu as a mistake. Despite these feelings, Yokoya profited economically from the mansion's presence. In addition, Jianzhu became Yokoya's official sage and began to serve as the region's guiding force. Under his leadership, the Avatar mansion of Yokoya became home to a small but cosmopolitan and affluent population from the four nations. Though most of these were temporary residents, some lived permanently at Yokoya. Many of the migrants, most importantly the servants, also regularly interacted with the native Yokoyans.
After Father Glowworm confirmed that Kyoshi was the true Avatar, she returned to Yokoya after witnessing Jianzhu kill Kelsang and sacrifice Yun. By the time Jiazhu returned to the peninsula as well, Kyoshi and Rangi had already left the area and headed to the chaotic inner provinces of the Earth Kingdom. Concluding that his reputation would take an unavoidable hit, he tried to track them down but failed. Returning to his estate, Jianzhu discovered that Hui and his supporters were approaching Yokoya, outraged about the Avatar's loss to outlaws. Before a vote could take place on whether to remove Jianzhu as the Avatar's guardian, the sages were poisoned and killed en masse.
Decades later, a warlord known as Chin the Great conquered the entire Earth Kingdom with his armies, Ba Sing Se and Yokoya peninsula being the sole exceptions. When the warlord marched his armies down to the neck of the peninsula in 270 BG, Avatar Kyoshi avoided a battle and managed to keep her people safe from invasion by using a combination of different bending techniques to separate their peninsula from the mainland and form Kyoshi Island. Kyoshi consequently assumed responsibility for governing the newly formed island, becoming its governor. Following Kyoshi's death, the island remained closely associated with her in popular memory, and some people such as Avatar Aang even falsely believed that she had been born there.
However, Oyaji's village suffered considerable damage in late 99 AG, when Prince Zuko and his men invaded the island in search of Avatar Aang. The inhabitants of the island had no intention of inviting unwanted attention, and as a result were often hostile toward outsiders, fearing Fire Nation spies. However, inspired by Avatar Aang's arrival on the island, the citizens gained new hope and adopted a more welcoming attitude. Additionally, the Kyoshi Warriors left to join the war effort in hopes of making a difference.
In 100 AG, Kyoshi Island was again visited by Sokka and Katara, who arrived riding on Appa and were welcomed by a large number of the island's inhabitants. The two siblings intended on acquiring the necessary information about Kyoshi that would prove both her and Aang innocent, as the latter was being held prisoner in Chin Village for the murder of Chin the Conqueror. Due to his imprisonment, Aang was not able to be present during the visit, much to inhabitants' disappointment, namely Koko and foaming mouth guy. Sokka and Katara proceeded to Kyoshi's shrine, led by Oyaji whom they had informed of the accusation against the Avatar. After having analyzed Kyoshi's relics and having been told of the history of Kyoshi Day, the two deduced that Kyoshi was not responsible for Chin's murder and left the island, returning to Chin Village thereafter.
A year later, Kyoshi Island had taken on a more active stance in politics. Upon Mai's request, the Kyoshi Warriors took on the role of becoming bodyguards for Fire Lord Zuko after several attempts to assassinate him. The Kyoshi Warriors additionally helped train the first nonbending police force in Cranefish Town.
Every village of Kyoshi Island has a local civil leader and a band of female warriors to provide protection. Before the separation of the island from the mainland, Yokoya was led by a village captain who could be either male or female.
The inhabitants of Kyoshi Island have a relatively egalitarian culture, based on economic self-sufficiency. They mostly live from fishing and farming, though some are also active as traders. Their homes are made of wood and have steeply pitched thatched roofs to prevent the accumulation of snow. Despite their unsophisticated economy, the Kyoshi Islanders are relatively well off, especially compared to the poverty of Yokoya peninsula before its separation from the mainland.
The locals already had a high level of gender equality when the area was a peninsula, which only became even more profound and firmly rooted in the local culture under the governance of Avatar Kyoshi. Locals display a preference for donning themselves in hues of blue, with documented cases going back as far as the 4th century BG, as well as present times. Some attribute their affinity for the color to the area's isolation from the rest of the Earth Kingdom.
The Kyoshi Warriors are several all-female groups of fighters that are fiercely protective of the island and its people, with the most notable group led by Suki. While each village has its own forms and traditions, their fighting style with metal fans and clothing generally mimic those of Avatar Kyoshi. Their fighting philosophy emulates that of waterbenders, as it is based on the principle of using their opponents' force against them. The female warriors do not take kindly to training outsiders, especially men, in these unique methods.
Due to their home's isolation, the islanders grow and catch most of their own food. Rice forms the staple of the Kyoshi Island diet, as well as fish; various kinds of sushi are available. In the nearby sea, there are elephant koi which serve as the island's main source of commerce, and a giant eel known as the unagi. In the market of Suki's village, cucumbers, eggplant, wild nuts, taro root, apples, scallions, and daikon radishes were available.
They also had an assortment of desserts, varying from cakes to iced pastries, indicating the existence of wheat fields and sugar canes.
Kyoshi Day is the most important holiday on the island. This celebration commemorates the day Avatar Kyoshi created the island in defense against Chin the Conqueror. A famous mural of Kyoshi at sunset was painted on the first Kyoshi Day and now resides in a shrine to the Avatar on the island. Kyoshi Day coincides with Avatar Day.
- Kyoshi Island is largely reminiscent of Japan, as it is part of an archipelago separated from the larger main continent. The warriors also wear armor similar to ancient Japanese armor, along with face paint similar to the face paint used in Japanese Kabuki. Furthermore, their food is based on traditional Japanese cuisine, they have Japanese-sounding names such as Suki and Oyaji, and use Japanese terms like kimono.
- Kyoshi Island is the first known landmass created through man-made means, as Kyoshi forcibly separated it from the mainland using her bending abilities.
- Even prior to Kyoshi Island's separation from the Earth Kingdom mainland, its residents faced a recurring problem with citizens who came to the seaside port and caused trouble. During her time, Avatar Kyoshi herself would visit the port and put the carousing men in their place, though the succeeding Kyoshi Warriors continued to have problems with disorderly visitors.