Daki refers to one of the two 6th Upper Moon demons in Demon Slayer in the Entertainment District Arc. She is the younger sister of the 6th Upper Moon demon, Gyutaro. Both Daki and Gyutaro share the 6th spot of the upper rank among Muzan’s demons and work together as one in the Yoshiwara area.
The name Daki which refers to the 6th Upper Moon Demon in Demon Slayer, means Degenerate Princess. Her name is composed of two kanjis: 堕, which is read in On-Yomi (Chinese reading) as /Da/, meaning degenerate, fall, and indolent; the other kanji is 姫 which has a Kun-Yomi (Japanese reading) /Hime/ but can also be read as /Ki/, meaning princess. Thus, her name /Daki/ means degenerate princess.
Where does the name Daki come from
Gyutaro has always been proud of his sister’s beauty, and Ume also likes to be treated as a princess. Unfortunately, Gyutaro despises one thing about his sister, and her behavior causes them several problems as a human and eventually leads them to almost die together.
Gyutaro is aware that his sister is not the sharpest tool in the box. Even though he tries his best to help her understand better how to do things in a smart way, it only ends up causing more problems for Gyutaro. Her foolishness is the very reason why they always end up in trouble as children.
Nonetheless, Gyutaro loves his sister more than anything in the world. So she named his sister Daki, meaning “Degenerate Princess,” after they turned into demons.
Daki’s Human Name
As a human, Daki had a different name. She was called Ume before she became a demon. Her name Ume has a kanji 梅 which refers to the Japanese Apricot. However, Daki’s human name didn’t come from the Japanese Apricot but from the disease that killed their mother.
Where Ume is named after
Ever since the Edo period –even during the Taisho era, which is the setting of Demon Slayer—Syphilis was a very common and deadly disease because of the rampant prostitution during these times.
When Gyutaro was still a human, her mother worked as a sex worker. Because contraceptives and other reproductive health measures did not exist in the past, eventually, Gyutaro’s mother got pregnant by one of her patrons. The pregnancy gave birth to a very beautiful girl. However, Gyutaro’s mother died because of Syphilis.
Gyutaro’s mother was sick with Syphilis even before Ume was born, which is why Gyutaro and his mother lived in the lowest region of the red-light district, where prostitutes with incurable diseases are left to die.
It is unclear why Gyutaro named his sister Ume, but one thing is for sure, Ume is named after one of the kanji for the illness Syphilis in Japanese, 梅毒 which is read as /Baidoku/ meaning plum (梅) and poison or germ (毒).
Gyutaro used the first character of 梅毒 (Baidoku)–which is 梅–and used the Kun-Yomi of the kanji 梅, which is /Ume/ rather than its On-Yomi /Bai/.
The representations behind the Upper Moon ranks
All upper-ranked demons represent a disease that plagued Japan in earlier years. These are embodied by each of the Upper Moon Demons themselves. Here are the Upper Moon demons and the illnesses they represent:
- Upper Moon six, Daki and Gyutaro, represent Syphilis which affected both their lives. Gyutaro seems to be a child with congenital Syphilis, which resulted in deformities on his body. While Daki didn’t have Syphilis, her human form was named after the illness that killed her mother, which is Syphilis.
- Upper Moon five, Gyokko, represents Amoebic Dysentery. Most patients with dysentery have pot-shaped scabs inside their intestines. When Gyokko changes his form, his body seems to look like an intestine.
- Upper Moon Four, Hantengu, represents Leprosy which can deform a body in severe cases. The base form of Hantengu looks like an old man with a deformed face. His head is partially balled, and his veins are popping out abnormally, which are symptoms of Leprosy.
- Upper Moon Three, Akaza, represents Measles. While there is no proper explanation why Akaza represents measles, his red hair and haori seem to signify the purple-red spots that occur when a patient acquires when infected by the illness.
- Upper Moon Two, Doma, represents Tuberculosis. Doma’s blood demon art which creates icy air can severely damage lung tissue when inhaled, which can cause the victims unable to breathe, resembling how the tuberculosis bacteria commonly targets the lungs. Not only that, but Doma also absorbs his prey through his own body, which is very similar to how the Tuberculosis bacteria consume infected human cells.
- Upper Moon One, Kokushibo, represents the Bubonic Plague. His demon name, Kokushibo, is one letter away from the romaji of the Japanese word for the Bobunic Plague, Kokushibyo. The kanji for his name also has one character different from the kanji for the Japanese name of the said disease. Kokushibo is written in kanji as 黒死牟, while the kanji for the Bubonic Plague in Japanese is 黒死病.
Article by John Salinas.
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