- What does Kamado Nezuko mean in Japanese?
- Nezuko’s backstory
- Nezuko’s first appearance in Demon Slayer
- Nezuko’s relationship to other Kimetsu no Yaiba characters
- Nezuko & Kamado Tanjiro
- Nezuko & Urokodaki Sakonji
- Nezuko & Agatsuma Zenitsu
- Nezuko & Tomioka Giyu
- Nezuko & Yushiro
- Nezuko & Tamayo
- Nezuko & Uzui Tengen
- Nezuko & Shinazugawa Sanemi
- Nezuko’s Abilities and Powers
- Nezuko’s notable scenes
- Nezuko’s appearance
- Nezuko – in conclusion
Nezuko Kamado (竈門 禰豆子 Kamado Nezuko) is the deuteragonist (character who accompanies the protagonist) of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba.
Nezuko is a demon and the younger sister of Tanjiro Kamado and one of the two remaining members of the Kamado family. Formerly a human, she has been attacked and transformed into a demon by Muzan Kibutsuji at the start of the Demon Slayer saga.
What does Kamado Nezuko mean in Japanese?
We discuss, in detail, the different theories as to where the name “Nezuko” comes from here and look specifially at the name kamado here. Basically, there are theories that the name “Nezuko” comes from a plant of the same name (鼠子which is “Japanese Arborvitae” in English) or that it comes from the “Sleepless Girl” (寝ず子).
Given that flowers such as the Red Flower Lily feature in Demon Slayer, there is a strong argument to made that Nezuko’s name originally comes from a plant.
The actually name in Demon Slayer is written using different kanji characters as 禰豆子. These characters mean:
禰 = ancestral shrine or mausoleum
豆 = bean, pea
子 = child
At first glance to a non-Japanese speaker the combination of “mausoleum, bean, child” seems pretty bizarre.
But to a Japanese person there is a sort of sense that is evoked.
The most obvious part of this for a Japanese person is perhaps the 豆 “bean/pea” part of this.
Beans are commonly associated with being used to cleanse spaces of evil spirits in Japan.
Chants of 鬼はそと福はうち (oni wa soto fuku wa uchi) can be commonly heard in rituals throughout Japan around the festival of “Setsubun” as people toss dried peas out their window. The chant means something like “Out with the demon, in with the happiness”.
Interpreting the characters of Nezuko 禰豆子 in English
So, the first character of her name 禰 ne is associated with death (mausoleum/shrine) and the second 豆 (mame) with fighting evil spirits. The 子 “Ko” part of it, literally meaning “child”, is a common ending for womens names (perhaps most famously in, say, Yo-ko Ono). So putting “ko” on the end of “Nezu” turns a word that sounds decidedly un-name-like into something that plausibly sounds like a girl’s name.
In this way you could interpret “Nezuko’s” name as something like “Death-shrine, cleansing talisman, child”. This starts to make a lot more sense when you consider that she is a sort of “nearly undead, quasi-demon in purgatory” character.
What does Kamado mean?
Kamado 竈門 in Japanese characters literally means oven/furnace door.
Kama (竈) means oven or furnace.
Do (門) means a gate, door or entrance.
So Kamado gives us a sense of a family that is associated with ovens or furnaces. This gives an interesting parallel with Tanjiro’s 炭治郎 name which can be interpreted as “second son of coal”.
For a more full explanation of the meaning of Demon Slayer’s title, see here.
Nezuko was born into a poor yet happy family. The second born of the six Kamado siblings, Nezuko maintained a strong bond with her mother and siblings. Tragically, however, a demon, Muzan Kibutsuji, came to the Kamado household one day, murdering everyone present.
The only survivors of this massacre were Nezuko and her older brother Tanjiro who had been away at the time. Although she had survived the massacre, Nezuko had been tragically transformed into a demon. She attacks Tanjiro when he returns home from being stuck overnight in a terrible snowstorm.
Nezuko has acquired a taste for blood. Fortunately, her hunger subsides when Tanjiro protects her from the Water Hashira, Tomioka Giyu. Giyu had arrived too late to stop the murdering of the Kamado family but not too late to try to exterminate the newly “demonized” Nezuko.
After witnessing Tanjiro and Nezuko’s sibling love and care, Tomioka decides to spare Nezuko. He recommends Tanjiro to his master to be taught the way of the sword and become a Demon Slayer. Tanjiro begins his quest to find a cure for Nezuko and tends to her while she is in her current form.
Nezuko’s first appearance in Demon Slayer
Nezuko’s debut in anime is during the first episode of the series. In the manga she appears right in the manga’s first chapter. She is introduced as a fair-skinned young girl. She has long dark brown hair that reaches just below her waist, where it starts to take on a vermilion color. A pink ribbon to the side ties her bangs together and reveals her forehead.
She is later revealed by Tanjiro to be something of a “known beauty” in their hometown.
Nezuko’s relationship to other Kimetsu no Yaiba characters
Nezuko & Kamado Tanjiro
Nezuko is a younger, loving sister to Kamado Tanjiro and a big sister to her three younger siblings.
Tanjiro fiercely cares for Nezuko. She comes to be the only family he has after the death of their mother and three younger siblings.
Together Nezuko and Tanjiro travel to find a cure and a way of turning Nezuko back to human form again.
Eventually, with a lot of help from the character of Tamayo and various medicinal treatments, she is able to regain her original humanity. She proves her humanness by showing herself impervious to the rays of the sun, a feat that can not be performed by demons. In so doing, she has achieved a goal that even the powerful Muzan had never been able to do, despite his best efforts to acquire a body capable of standing in sunlight.
Nezuko & Urokodaki Sakonji
Former Water Hashira, Urokodaki Sakonji took care of Nezuko while Tanjiro was away for taking the Final Selection to become a Demon Slayer. He was looking after her during her deep sleep from her battle against her own longing to kill and absorb human blood. He also put Nezuko into a spell which tells her subconsciously to protect humans and her family from other demons.
Nezuko & Agatsuma Zenitsu
Agatsuma Zenitsu first encounters Nezuko during a rest from a mission, together with Tanjiro and Hashibira Inosuke.
Zenitsu cottons on that Tanjiro is humping a demon on his back and asks Tanjiro what he is doing.
Just as he asks, the box makes a noise. This startles him so much he runs to the opposite wall of the room. But the moment Nezuko leaves the box, Zenitsu is smitten. Overwhelmed by her beauty he forgets that Nezuko is a demon. From that moment on, Zenitsu is depicted as being head over heels for the Nezuko’s demonic beauty.
Nezuko & Tomioka Giyu
When Tomioka Giyu appears at the murder scene of the Kamado family, he tries to exterminate the newly demonized Nezuko. He captures her and nearly kills her. Tanjiro begs him to spare her.
Giyu is surprised when Nezuko does not eat her brother but rather protects him.
Despite his fundamental hate of Demons, Giyu decides to give Nezuko and Tanjiro a chance. He sends them to his master Sakonji for training.
Nezuko & Yushiro
Yushiro initially sees and describes Nezuko as “unsightly,”. His personal belief is that all Demons are fundamentally disgusting and grotesque with the sole exception of the character of Tamayo. Tamayo is Yushiro’s master and the object of his undying love.
However, after Yushiro and Nezuko fight side-by-side during an attack by Yahaba and Susamaru on their hidden clinic, Yushiro revises his opinion of Nezuko. Now, he calls her “beautiful”. Nezuko, in turn, comes to see Yushiro as one of her younger siblings. She begins patting his head, much to Yushiro’s dismay.
Nezuko & Tamayo
Nezuko is seen to be at ease around Tamayo, acting more childish than she otherwise does. She sees Tamayo the same way she views all humans: a part of her family, specifically an individual similar to her mother. This endears her to Tamayo. Tamayo is touched by the fact that Nezuko views her as a normal person, despite her past sins and status as a demon.
Nezuko & Uzui Tengen
Nezuko meets Tengen in the Entertainment District. At first, Tengen doesn’t accept Nezuko and wants to kill her, along with Tanjiro for breaking the corps rules.
When Nezuko uses her Blood Demon Art to burn poison out of Gyutaro’s body, Tengen expresses gratitude. Nezuko has saved Gyutaro’s life. Tengen’s wives show various signs of gratitude too.
Nezuko & Shinazugawa Sanemi
In their initial encounter, Sanemi holds a deep hatred towards Nezuko (sounds familiar doesn’t it?).
Sanemi taunts Tanjiro by stabbing Nezuko multiple times from within the box with his nichirin blade. He tries to prove to Kagaya Ubuyashiki that all demons hold a deep desire to eat humans. He tries to show Nezuko up as a threat. He tempts Nezuko to attack him by cutting his arm. He possesses special “marechi blood”, a blood that manages to even hinder the powerful Upper Moon One in battle. He believes Nezuko couldn’t possibly resist.
Unexpectedly, Nezuko turns her head away. She refuses to take the bait marechi, or no. Nezuko is nothing more than irritated. She displays a mad expression towards Sanemi as she retrieves her box.
During Nezuko’s transformation back to human, she remembers the moment where Sanemi was trying to get her to devour him by flaunting his wounded arm.
Nezuko’s Abilities and Powers
Nezuko’s Blood Demon Art is “Pyrokinesis”. This allows her to generate and manipulate special demonic flames created from her blood that are pinkish in color. Nezuko does this by igniting her blood, or by conjuring it from thin air.
Nezuko’s flames have a special property which makes them harmful only to demons and objects of demon origin. The flames present as completely harmless to humans and other objects. This is shown during a fight with Rui, the Thread demon and a Lower Rank Five. She is further able to burn the poisons from Uzui Tengen’s body after he has fought with Upper Rank Six Kizuki member Gyutaro
Nezuko has enhanced regenerative abilities. These allow her to heal in a blink of an eye, faster than an average demon and almost on par with anyone affiliated with the Twelve Kizuki.
These healing abilities are showcased during her attempt to help Tanjiro against Daki. She prevails by reattaching her dislocated body parts back to herself.
Body size manipulation
Nezuko can alter her body size and height. She first showcases this when Tanjiro urges her to be smaller so that she can fit in the basket Tanjiro has made for her to protect her from the sun. She also alters her size during her fight against Daki. This makes her taller and her body much more mature to look at.
Nezuko also possesses naturally enhanced physical strength as a demon. Even at the start of the series when she has first become a demon, she is strong enough to decapitate other demons with just a kick. Nezuko also punches the Swamp Demon so hard that he coughs up blood. She overwhelms the demon with powerful punches and kicks.
She further showcases her strength during a fight against Susamaru. She overwhelms Susamaru’s deadly handballs with her kicks.
Nezuko’s notable scenes
Nezuko has several notable and unforgettable scenes throughout the Demon Slayer anime seasons.
Nezuko’s first kick
One is during the 2nd episode of the 1st season. This is the first time we see Nezuko show off her powerful kick! She dramatically strikes the head off a demon in a temple with her feet. She goes on to use that same kicking strength in the 8th to 10th episode against Susamaru and her handballs. Nezuko is able to strike them with greater force than the latter and strike fear into the demon’s heart.
Nezuko vs Rui
The next notable scene is episode 19-20 in Mount Nagumo.Tanjiro is fighting the Lower Rank Five Rui of the Twelve Kizuki. Nezuko is taken by Rui and tied up with his deadly threads. Even the slightest movement makes the deadly ties tighter.
Her mother wakes her up to help her brother Tanjiro out of unconsciousness. Nezuko uses her Demon Blood Art technique, “Exploding Blood (爆血 Bakketsu)”. This allows Tanjiro to ignite Nezuko’s blood that is all over the threads of Rui. This allows Tanjiro to break through Rui’s defences to deliver a fatal blow.
Nezuko expands to fight Daki
In another scene in the Entertainment District Arc, Nezuko shows another of her abilities, in the form of body modification. She is able to enlarge her body to become taller. She grows a horn on her right forehead while Daki. Nezuko loses control of her senses and almost kills Daki by stomping her head on the ground.
In episode 11 of the same season, Nezuko uses her flames to heal Tanjiro, Inosuke and Uzui’s after they are covered in poison from Gyutaro’s attacks.
Across the episodes, when Nezuko isn’t in a fight, she seems to act generally as a child. This is seen most clearly when she’s around people she trusts.
Nezuko wears a light pink kimono with an asanoha (hemp leaf) pattern. This pattern on her kimono fabric be a reference to the botanical origins of her name. Her kimono’s lining is a paler pink.
Nezuko’s kimono is secured by a red and white-chequered hanhaba obi (half-width belt) with an orange-threaded obijime (belt-tie) and a green obiage.
Over this, she sports a long, dark-brown haori (jacket or overcoat – sometimes also called a hanten) that reaches her calves.
On her feet she wears a pair of zōri with pink straps and white tabi socks, wrapped with thick pieces of black material resembling kyahan (cloth leggings worn by the samurai class).
Nezuko also wears a small pink ribbon on the left side of her head to keep her hair out of her face.
How are Nezuko’s clothes related to her character?
Nezuko is a loving sister to her younger siblings and to Tanjiro, the eldest. This persona is represented in the main color scheme of her attire or clothing by the color pink. Pink symbolizes Nezuko’s love, kindness, and femininity.
Nezuko’s clothes are rather simple and and don’t appear as if they would be very expensive in real life. They reflect how Kamado lived the simple life.
For a more general discussion of the Demon Slayer female uniforms see here.
Nezuko – in conclusion
Nezuko is a loving sister. Even as a demon, she is able to conquer the drive to kill and devour humans by harnessing the power of her love for Tanjiro.
That being said, she is very determined to protect what she holds dear to her. This makes her deadly to anyone who steps in to hurt those who she loves.
Truly, the most loving people are the most dangerous when provoked.
Article by Dhanie James Perez
Japanoscope uses affiliate links, which means that commissions may be received when you click on links to products from partner retailers.
Japanoscope uses affiliate links, which means that commissions may be received when you click on links to products from partner retailers.