Welcome to the Nihongo Lesson feature. We strive to give you useful manga-based Japanese language tips and maybe even a glimpse into the translation process. This week's lesson will feature words from our newest JUMP START, Kimetsu no Yaiba. The importance of character names in Shonen Jump manga has been mentioned before, so let's take a look at the main character's name from Kimetsu no Yaiba. But first, what does the title of this manga even mean?
KIMETSU NO YAIBA (鬼滅の刃)
KIMETSU NO YAIBA is made up of multiple parts that we will have to decipher one at a time. The NO indicates a possessive form, meaning that the part after the NO belongs to the part before—just like how Hikaru no Go means "the Go of Hikaru" or "Hikaru's Go." YAIBA means "a blade or sword." So now we have "Blade of," but what about the rest? The KIMETSU part is a combination of the kanji character for "oni" (demon) and the character for "destruction." And thus, the whole thing means something along the lines of "Blade of Demon Destruction." There are a few ways you could phrase it, but the title is definitely indicating a powerful sword that can destroy demons. Who wouldn't be hyped for that?!
The TAN in Tanjiro's name means "charcoal." What a perfect name for a character who sells charcoal for a living. Though perhaps his parents were cursing him to that life by naming him that? It's pretty common in manga to have the character's name connected to their personality or their identity in the world. Names are powerful! Surprisingly though, nobody on TEAM JUMP has the word "editor" in their name.
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