Hideo Kuze is one of the members of the terrorist group known as the "Individual Eleven". During a mass suicide by the Individual Eleven, Kuze alone survived, leaving and hiding out in the Refugee Residential District. He spearheads a revolutionary independence movement by the refugees in Japan.
During his childhood years, Kuze was involved in a plane crash at the age of six. He was one of two survivors that did not eventually die in the hospital, the other being Motoko Kusanagi. Kuze was paralyzed and his left arm was his only functional body part. As he laid in the hospital bed, he began to feel sorry for the girl who laid in a bed next to his. He knew she would never recover, so he learned how to fold origami cranes with his only functional body part. In Japanese Culture if a thousand cranes are folded, then a wish will come true. The girl underwent a procedure to replace her damaged body for a fully cyberized one.
After the procedure, the girl visited Kuze while he was still recovering from his injuries, although Kuze did not know who she was, believing the girl had died. During one of the visits, Kuze asked the girl if it was possible to fold cranes with a cybernetic body. The girl tried and failed, unable to adeptly manipulate the fine motor skills of her prosthetic parts. She soon left, saying she would return when she was able to fold cranes for him prompting him to realize who she was; he never saw her again. A few days later, he underwent the same full cyberization procedure as the girl.
During a visit to a university, Kuze found the girl's empty body in one of the laboratories. He knew this was the girl he had been looking for since he was a child. Years later, while Section 9 was testing out their new recruits, Major Kusanagi wandered into another part of town. When she entered an antique shop, she found her cybernetic body from when she was a child. The boy's body sat beside her. The shop owner told her that years after the girl's body was found, the boy tried to locate her but was unsuccessful. At the end of the episode the Major reveals that Kuze was the first person she ever loved.
The relationship between the Major and Kuze is heavily implied throughout 2nd Gig. After diving into Kuze's cyberbrain, the Major becomes bothered by the suspicion that she knows him from somewhere. Both characters are shown folding paper cranes single-handedly in several episodes.
The Peninsular War
Before joining the Individual Eleven, Kuze was a former soldier for the SDF. In 2024 after World War IV, The American Empire deployed UN troops to where internal conflict continued in North Korea. Japan was offered excavation rights if they deployed their JSDF troops. Kuze, in a mechanized infantry unit, was stationed with the PKF-issue hybrid cyborgs, they were ordered to circle north of Shinuiju and launch a preemptive strike on the People's Army. During the ascent of the mountain, Kuze's platoon found a refugee camp along a river located on a border. The area was not mentioned in the intelligence report issued by the SDF.
At the time, the camp was being looted by the soldiers of The People's Army whose intentions were to become bandits. Seeing this, Kuze's platoon engaged in combat and, one by one, soldiers of the People's Army began surrendering. Kuze's men saved the remaining villagers in a very lopsided battle between crack cyborg commandos and starving People's Army soldiers, which turned out to be the only real combat they ever saw. After fighting the People's Army, the platoon were advised to be aware of possible guerrilla attacks on the camp.
A problem later arose in the platoon camp, when the soldiers began suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder due to the experience of gunning down people in their first battle. Most of the soldiers who retained most of their original body organs began drinking alcohol and using drugs smuggled in by the refugees to escape the nightmares of the massacre.
When order began breaking down in the SDF, the Japanese media began pelting insensitive comments at the platoon. The criticism of the platoon's behavior was more severe due to censorship of the massacre which hadn't reached the media. The soldiers' freedom was later restricted due to policies designed to prevent further disgrace. Many of the soldiers were barred from returning to Japan. Some footage of the refugee camp massacre was leaked to certain broadcast stations.
A false rumor began to spread that the JSDF executed the massacre. Riots broke out demanding an explanation to the massacre, while soldiers couldn't defend themselves from an outbreak of rumors. One day while a journalist was commenting on one of the soldiers, Kuze approached him and agreed with the man's remarks of foreign invasion. Kuze demanded to trade his assault rifle in for the journalist's camera. When the journalist handed over his camera, Kuze walked into the refugee camp and was not seen by any of his platoon scouts again.
Kuze became a refugee after not returning back to Japan. He walked from camp to camp, observing the life of refugees by taking pictures. While traveling through the camps, the elderly became interested in Kuze and offered him drinks, while the children asked him to fold paper planes. Men and women stood in lines, telling their life stories to Kuze, who never spoke a word. He often smiled at them and took their photographs.
Three months later, the People's Army surrendered, the SDF was cleared of its obligations, and the media stopped talking about the massacre. A day before the SDF was to withdraw, Kuze disappeared from the camp, leaving behind only a photograph. He was believed to have crossed the border and headed west into Taiwan. While investigating the "Individual Eleven" case, Ishikawa mentions he met a man who has seen Kuze in the Taiwanese refugee camps.
The Individual Eleven Events
Kuze was one of the original core group of infected "Individual Eleven" terrorists. He tried but failed to assassinate the Japanese Prime Minister. Though he failed, the high profile of his target resulted in him gaining particular notoriety. Eventually, the core group of the "Individual Eleven" committed suicide on live TV on a rooftop helipad, by decapitating each other with katana swords. Kuze, however, in the middle of the grotesque display fought off his fellow Individual Eleven member, then ran away.
As the only surviving original member of the "Individual Eleven", Kuze then became the focus of Section 9's investigation.
The entire "Individual Eleven" movement was actually a new Stand Alone Complex created by Gouda. The infamous earlier SAC, The Laughing Man, was a meme that compelled people to become copycats and commmit acts of corporate vandalism. The Individual Eleven virus compelled people to commit suicide; when it infected people with strong political beliefs, it made them commit suicide terrorists attacks and bombings. However, Gouda predicted the rise of one "Hero" which would serve as the center of the "hub" of the spreading virus.
End of 2nd Gig
During the last episode of 2nd Gig, Motoko Kusanagi and Kuze are both trapped underneath rubble together. Motoko asks Kuze if he can still make paper cranes with only his left hand. Kuze realizes that the Major was the little girl who was in a coma in the bed next to him, when he was hospitalized after being the only survivors of the plane crash which forced both of them to undergo full cyborgization when they were children. Both are later rescued by Batou.
Aramaki later corners Gouda with a few Section 9 operatives. When Gouda tries to escape in an elevator, the Major is waiting for him inside with her optical camouflage activated. She shoots Gouda down and realizes that the American Empire is going to target Kuze. She rushes away and jumps out the building, desperate to get to Kuze before he is killed. She is too late to save his body from contamination by micromachines, but Kuze's last words imply that he may not have been killed after all. He says "I'll go on ahead". Adding further support to this claim is from the helicopter scene, the fact that Motoko was momentarily surprised and murmured "You..." while Kuze, incapacitated by a cyberbrain lock, is shown holding a bitten apple. A possible explanation is that Motoko was contacted by Kuze when she was engaging on the cybernet.
Kuze's plan for a revolution was to lead the refugees into cyberspace and leave their bodies behind. "I'll go on ahead" may mean that he already went into cyberspace ahead of the others in order to start the revolution. It is possible that, after the conclusion of the last episode, the ghost of Kuze exists on the net as a distinct entity. It has been speculated that the Major's failure in saving Kuze may have sparked her departure from Public Safety Security Section 9. The Major has been away from Section 9 for 2 years in Solid State Society. Following the public explanation of director Kenji Kamiyama, it definitely was the crucial reason.