The Japanese shows that we like so much often have names that have a lot of depth in their meaning in their original language. This depth is frequently lost in translation when Japanese series come to the West. An example of this is Kimetsu No Yaiba.
Kimetsu No Yaiba’s meaning is:
- No: is a possessive form we can interpret as “of.”
- Yaiba: this word means “sword or blade.”
- Kimetsu: this word has two kanji; the first means “demon,” and the second means “destruction.”
You can translate the title as “The blade of demon destruction.”
The universe of Kimetsu No Yaiba is vast and deep; this is one of the many reasons for its success. The more we delve into each of its symbols and messages, the more we like it. Today we will learn some curiosities like the meaning of its original title, the explanation of Tanjiro’s earrings, the interpretation of the colors of the swords, and much more.
It is no secret that Japanese is a very complex language to speak and write. In Japan, there are three different kinds of writing:
Katakana, together with Hiragana, are phonetic alphabets, which means that each letter is a syllable. Unlike the other alphabetic systems, Kanji is a series of ideograms, meaning each symbol has its meaning.
Surprisingly, the creators of Kimetsu No Yaiba did it in Kanji, which makes its meaning much more complex to interpret.
To find out what the title “Kimetsu No Yaiba” means in a more precise way, let’s analyze each of its words to get the closest meaning to its original intention.
This first word is a particle that represents a possessive form. This form is equivalent to the English possessive preposition “of.” This possessive particle indicates that the word that follows it belongs to the word that begins the sentence.
The second word to analyze is “Yaiba,” which in English would mean “blade” or “sword.” We would already have something like “The Blade of,” making the Japanese title more sense with these two words.
The third word, “Kimetsu,” is a composition of two kanji:
- The first kanji represents an “Oni.” An “oni” is a kind of monster present in Japanese culture. It has a similar meaning to a western ogre or demon.
- The second kanji represents “destruction, elimination.”
When we put all the deciphered words together, we understand that the series title means “The Blade of Demon Destruction.” When we check the title of the series in English, “Demon Slayer,” we can see that it changes the meaning quite a lot concerning the original purpose.
Perhaps some people do not find so many differences between one title and another, and it is where the differences between Eastern and Western cultures stand out. The original title contains a kind of respect and reverence towards the object that represents the sword or blade, a sense that is different from the English title.
As a peculiarity of this successful series, many rumors indicate that originally its title was going to be “Kisatsu No Yaiba.” The problem was that “Kisatsu” means “to kill,” and the creators thought it would be too strong. Another fascinating curiosity is that Tanjiro has a kanji in his name that means “coal,” which coincides with his trade at the beginning of the series.
The earrings in Kimetsu No Yaiba are those worn by Tanjiro throughout the series. These Hafanuda earrings are passed in the family from generation to generation. One of the wearers of these earrings is Tanjiro’s father, Tanjuro, and the first wearer of the “Breath of the Sun.”
The earrings are very similar to paper talismans. These earrings have a red circle at the top and several lines coming from the circle in various directions to form a flower. Below these lines, we can see a gray semicircle.
The design of the earrings has the particularity that on one side, it looks like the sun and its rays extending over the horizon. On the other side, it looks like a flower. We should know that the producers changed the design of the earrings for the transmission of the series in China. This change was due to the resemblance of the design with the flag of the rising sun and the negative connotations associated with Japanese imperialism.
Hanafuda is playing cards of Japanese origin; they are Japanese cards in different games. The name “Hafanuda” also refers to flower cards. The history of Hafanuda cards came from the Tokugawa shogunate when Catholic missionaries began to arrive in Japan.
These missionaries brought these playing cards that made the card games gain popularity. Today, the Nintendo company manufactures these cards in Japan that people use in different types of games.
If you have watched this anime, you must know that Tanjiro’s father is not an ordinary man. Although he looks weak and sickly, he can perform a dance called Hinokami Kagura every New Year. Tanjiro himself is amazed and asks his father how he can move like that in such cold weather, and his father replies that he does it thanks to a unique breathing technique.
Later in the story, we discover that this technique is the “Breath of the Sun.”
This story is essential to understand the meaning of the earrings. These earrings are unique because only people who have the power of the “Breath of the Sun” can wear them. This technique is important because it can kill Muzan, the demon that killed Tanjiro’s family.
There is speculation that Muzan killed Tanjiro’s family because he did not want this powerful technique to reach a new generation. Muzan thought he would kill the “Breath of the Sun” by killing all the descendants.
The Nichirin swords of Kimetsu No Yaiba are unique weapons. Each forger makes them according to the techniques of each demon slayer to achieve the perfect blade. The swords change color because they have unique minerals found in Sunlight Mountain. In addition, these swords remain a whole year under the sunlight to absorb their energy and thus achieve the strength to exterminate the demons. The primary colors of Nichirin swords are:
- White. This sword symbolizes the fog. Its owner is Miuchiro Tokito, who has a calm temperament that perfectly matches the blade’s color.
- Gray. The color of this sword symbolizes stone. Gyomei Himejima wields this sword.
- Yellow. This sword symbolizes thunder. Zenitsu Agatsuma is the bearer of this sword. This sword has the particularity that it can form a yellow thunder along its blade.
- Indigo Gray. This color symbolizes a beast. Its bearer is Inosuke Hashibara, who has a bad temper, is proud, and always wants to fight with the strongest.
- Pink. This color symbolizes love. Mitsuri Kanroji is the bearer of this sword, who combines passion and courage as the main traits.
- Light Pink. It is the symbol of flowers. Kanae Kocho and her sister Nanao Tsuyurii wield this sword.
- Green. It is the symbol of the wind, and Sanemi Shinazugawa is its owner.
- Red. It is the symbol of fire. This color captures the personality of Kyojuro and Zenitsu, who always bring out their fury.
- Blue. It is the symbol of water. Giyu Tomioka wields this sword. Giyu reflects a fluid and calm personality.
- Lavender Blue. It is the symbol of the insect. Shinobu Kocho is its bearer and has a fast and lethal fighting style.
- Black. This color is strange for a sword. So, the masters do not know much about its characteristics and properties. What is a fact is that it is an exceptional sword, and its bearer is Tanjiro Kamado.
Today we can understand more in-depth the original meaning of Kimetsu No Yaibo. We also reviewed several curiosities of the series. Such as the explanation of Tanjiro’s earrings and the interpretation of the colors of the swords. This anime will catch you in its story from the first moment, and all its mythology makes us love it even more every day.