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This article is the character with treelike features in The Legend of Korra. For the character from Hama's village in Avatar: The Last Airbender, see Yao (vendor).

Yao was Wan's friend, who possessed some tree-like qualities after a spirit possessed him, making him a social pariah. He was one of the first people in the world to voluntarily leave the safety of a lion turtle city for the hazards of the Spirit Wilds. Along with the other impoverished citizens from his city, Yao ventured into the wilds to start a new life and escape the tyranny of the Chou family.[1]


Many years before Wan was banished from the fire lion turtle city, Yao visited the Spirit Wilds and was attacked by an ancient spirit who turned part of him into a tree.[3] Shamed and afraid, Yao retreated from society and lived with his friends in a tree house on the outskirts of the city that was built on top of a lion turtle who could bestow the ability to bend fire. Like Jaya, he was originally resigned to his fate as a commoner, depending entirely on food that Wan stole in order to survive. He warned Wan to be wary of his actions as to avoid banishment into the Spirit Wilds, recalling how a spirit once possessed him and caused his disfigurement. Wan later returned, revealing that he had stolen firebending from the lion turtle, much to Yao and Jaya's astonishment, as use of the element was forbidden in the city.

Jaya and Yao

Yao and Jaya were shocked, though relieved, upon finding out that Wan managed to survive in the Spirit Wilds.

After a raid on the Chou palace which led to Wan's detainment, Yao and Jaya witnessed Wan's banishment into the Spirit Wilds, and lamented over his fate, under the belief that he would die within a day. Sometime later, Yao was alongside Jaya when a survivor of the expedition of hunters returned and confirmed that Wan had been living among the spirits and protecting the Spirit Oasis. Shortly afterward, deciding to follow Wan's example, Yao joined Jaya's mass exodus from the city.[1]

In the time he spent in the wilds, Yao engaged in several conflicts against hostile spirits, one of which led to his death.[2]


The Legend of Korra[]

Book Two: Spirits (神靈)[]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Heck, Colin (director). (October 18, 2013). "Beginnings, Part 1". The Legend of Korra. Book Two: Spirits. Episode 7. Nickelodeon.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Hedrick, Tim (writer) & Graham, Ian (director). (October 18, 2013). "Beginnings, Part 2". The Legend of Korra. Book Two: Spirits. Episode 8. Nickelodeon.
  3. The Legend of Korra—The Art of the Animated Series, Book Two: Spirits, page 97.
  4. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 21, 2020). Chapter Five, "Cultural Diplomacy". The Shadow of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  5. DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer), Koh, Irene (artist), Piekos, Nate; Blambot (letterer), Campbell, Heather; Bak, Jane (cover), Ng, Killian (colorist). Turf Wars Part One (July 26, 2016), Dark Horse Comics.