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If I had to describe Yoriichi Tsugikuni in one phrase, it would probably be – A force to be reckoned with. Yoriichi makes cameos throughout Demon Slayer – a face that keeps coming back to the main protagonist, Tanjiro Kamado (through others’ memories), as well as the viewers/readers throughout the entirety of the manga.
For the majority of the series, we are kept in the dark as the character maintains a veil of mystery as his name is not revealed until much later. But what can be gathered through these minute flashbacks and memory clips is that the character is not to be taken lightly.
As mentioned before, he is a force to be reckoned with – his strength, sense of justice, and idealism are admirable, far-reaching, and highly motivating.
A dashing figure of over 6’3’’, he sports a charisma befitting the legendary warrior of any historical era. Known for his contribution to the Demon Slayer universe, he is the master inventor of the primary Breathing Styles, most importantly the Hinokami Kagura or the Sun Breathing Style, which is passed down and practiced by the Kamado family.
While we are yet to see Yoriichi Tsugikuni in the animated form, I am 100% certain it would be legendary. I believe in the skills of Studio Ufotable to deliver the best version that the mangaka, Koyoharu Gotuge, had intended in her manga series.
And with that intention, this article would delve into giving its readers a detailed study of the character. This is Yoriichi Tsugikuni Demon Slayer Guide.
Yoriichi Tsugikuni’s Appearance
The most notable feature of Yoriichi Tsukugini is the unusual birthmark on his forehead. This birthmark later came to be known as his Demon Slaying mark, which apparently became the source of his strength and swordsmanship. The scar is the same as Tanjiro, albeit a lighter shade in color.
Other prominent features of his adult self are showcased by his visibly muscular form and his long and spiky black hair with red tips, which he tied in a ponytail, similar to samurai hair fashion in the popular imagination. He shared many physical similarities with his twin brother, Michikatsu Tsugikuni, although he had a more slender build and his bangs were shorter and wavier.
In addition to that, Yoriichi donned a striking red haori on top of an extremely light shade of orange nagagi-kimono with a black unamori-styled hakama. He further paired it with a pair of zori with red straps and the traditional white tabi socks.
On his left side of the waist, he carried a Nichirin sword – a style that was associated with the Demon Slayers. Moreover, Yoriichi wore the infamous hanafuda earrings, which were a gift from his mother when he was assumed to be deaf.
These earrings were then given to his friend, Sumiyoshi, who later passed them down to his descendants and eventually to Tanjiro, as we see in the present manga timeline.
The Origin Story of the Hero
Although he is not technically the hero of the manga, his heroic deeds, noble intentions, and constitution make him one nevertheless. If any of the Demon Slayer characters deserve a spin-off immediately, it should be him. Despite being a historical character and with an ample wealth of knowledge available to us through Tanjiro to suggest his greatness, not much is known about him.
To start off, as mentioned earlier, Yoriichi is the twin of Michikatsu, with whom he shares many physical similarities. They were born in the middle of the Sengoku period – a time when the birth of twins was already considered unlucky.
The notoriously famous birthmark of Tanjiro has its origin in Yoriichi, whose father deemed it a bad omen and had full intentions to kill him. Thankfully enough, the execution was stopped by the twin’s mother, Akeno, whose rage was crucial enough to credit their existence in the manga.
But even so, as a form of damage control, it was ultimately decided that Yoriichi would be sent to the temple as soon as he turned ten.
Then follows a series of years which can be ultimately interpreted as childhood trauma, except Yoriichi does not seem to look at it that way: he was deprived of food, i.e., given food which is comparatively lesser in portion than his brother’s, lack of good education, and secluded to a small three-tatami room which was away from the house.
On top of that, he was also assumed to be deaf, given the fact he never spoke. This led his mother to make him hanafuda earrings so that the gods would eventually bless him and grant him the ability to speak.
The Fated Catalyst
Yoriichi’s relationship with his brother seemed to be on the rocky side as he always received a pitiful gaze from Michikatsu. The former always clutched his mother’s side and seemed to prefer her company under any given circumstances. Even so, his brother went against their father secretly, and in one such event, he even gifted Yoriichi a handmade flute.
One day when Yoriichi makes his intention of becoming a future samurai clear to his brother, Michikatsu is startled by the revelation, even if he later masks it with indifference. Later on, when one of their men decided to humor him, Yoriichi gracefully landed a blow against him, shocking everyone.
On further prying, it was revealed that Yoriichi had developed a preliminary form of Breathing Style, which he put to practice. But he could not stand the feeling of hitting someone and this made him renounce swordsmanship for good.
On their mother’s death, Yoriichi breaks the news to his brother and bids him farewell. Later on, it was revealed that when Michikatsu found out through their mother’s diary, Yoriichi seemed to have already known about her condition.
Moreover, his father had intended to make Yoriichi the heir and send Michikatsu to the temple instead. On knowing such a decision, the former left the household for good. But such a selfless act was interpreted in a negative light by the latter, and he started resenting his brother.
Tragedy Strikes and A Hero’s Journey to Power (or Revenge?)
After running from his home for one day and one night, he finally meets a girl around his age, Uta. Fast forward to ten years later when Yoriichi is shown to live in a blissful marriage with his pregnant wife. On the eve of her delivery, Yoriichi sets out to find a midwife, but his samaritan self ends up helping an old man, and he ends up wasting a lot of time.
On his arrival back home, he finds out that his wife and his unborn child had been killed by a demon. This incident devastates him so much that he holds his wife’s corpse for ten days straight before burying her. With an insane surge to seek revenge, he is encouraged by a Demon Slayer to pursue this occupation.
This proves to be an excellent choice for him because, blessed as he is by the Demon Slaying mark on his forehead, he becomes a mighty Demon Slayer. Soon after killing a demon who slaughtered his brother’s comrades, he reunites with him.
After his journey to becoming powerful, he, with a philanthropic intent, teaches his comrades and subordinates the Breathing Fire technique. Due to the gap in their physical prowess, they were unable to gain his form.
But he modulated the Breathing technique to match their strength thereby creating the Water, Wind, Flame, Stone, and Thunder Breathing techniques. The best of these Demon Slayers later came to be known as the Hashiras.
The Fateful Encounter
If his narrative were the main storyline, then his fateful encounter with Muzan Kibutsuji, the main antagonist of the series, would be considered the climax of the play. I say climax because it is at this juncture the face-off between the antagonist and the first main protagonist (chronologically) proves to set the narrative for the primary plotline involving Tanjiro Kamado.
Realizing with a fresh set of idealism that he had the physical strength to kill Muzan, Yoriichi launched his barrage of attacks. While in the beginning, Muzan seemed to have underestimated him, he soon realized his mistake and took the offensive role.
After a gruesome fight wherein Yoriichi is able to recognize the workings of Muzan’s body and vitality, he manages to almost kill Muzan. Deciding to finish Muzan for good, he launches his attack, but the latter unexpectedly bursts into multiple small pieces.
Of these 1,800 pieces, Yoriichi was able to kill 1,500 only, and the rest fled to regenerate. After getting a full report on Muzan from Tamayo, Muzan’s slave (for the lack of a better term), he lets her free.
A Failed Hero
Soon enough, the readers come to know that Michikatsu betrayed the Demon Slaying Corps and even murdered the then Oyakata. As a form of penance, his comrades decide to kill Yoriichi, but the next Oyakata, banishes him for life.
Purposeless, he meanders through places before finally going to meet up with Sumiyoshi and Suyako, to whom he tells all his life story and his misgivings. Despondent on the fact that he was a failure since he was unable to defeat Muzan, he says:
“I think I was born with special strength for the purpose of defeating Muzan Kibutsuji. But I was lacking. In the end, I failed. Because of that, many more people will die. And that pains me” (Chapter 187)
While he was comforted by the Kamados, he was requested by them to demonstrate the Sun Breathing Forms, which he did so elegantly that Sumiyoshi kept it all in his memories.
Later, on the occasion of his last visit to the Kamados, he gave them his hanafuda earrings, and even though he went away with remorse, he was reminded by Sumiyoshi that he was a man of worth and that his descendants would make sure to carry on the legacy of the Sun Breathing forms.
An Honourable Death
Yoriichi considered himself lonely and ambitionless for the rest of the story. He continued to hunt demons independently to carry on his ideals “for the greater good.” The end of his life is marked by the panels where the readers see the figure of blind Yoriichi, affected by time and space but still going strong by rejecting frailty and evil.
He ultimately confronts a demonized Michikatsu (now known as Kokushibo), with whom he meets in a fierce clash. Their differences and sheer disgust for each other put up a dramatic fight which ultimately culminates with the death of Yoriichi by natural means and the despair of Kokushibo in realizing that the fallen warrior who was unmatched and almost killed Muzan, still remains undefeated by the demons.
Yoriichi is the classic example of a hero who faces the ultimate challenges of fate even though he remains faithful to his principles, good morals, and idealism. His position almost resembles that of a Greek tragic hero. It is with such sadness but extreme pride we notice that the fallen hero remains honorable and influential no matter which life he lives.
Strength and Abilities
Fire Breathing Style
The first original Breathing Style was created by Yoriichi himself. The origination of this form would later pave the way for other Breathing Styles which he developed. The style was later replicated and named Hinokami Kagura by Sumiyoshi, but when Yoriichi performed these styles with much efficiency and grace, he was able to take down the demon Upper Ranks and even Muzan.
The most enthralling part about this style is that it looks exquisite when performed and when Yoriichi performed, he resembled a spirit rather than a man. This style has several techniques, which are:
- Clear Blue Sky
- Raging Sun
- Burning Bones, Summer Sun
- Setting Sun Transformation
- Solar Heat Haze
- Beneficient Radiance
- Sunflower Thrust
- Dragon Sun Halo Head Dance
- Fire Wheel
- Fake Rainbow
- Flame Dance
- Thirteenth Form
Perks of having the Demon Slaying Mark
It is this mark that marks the entire difference in his constitution from others. Since he was the natural bearer of this mark since birth, it gave him the ability to turn his black Nichirin Sword red at will, which hampered the regeneration of demons such as Muzan.
In addition to that, he has access to the Transparent World. This technique allowed him to see within a person’s body underneath their skin. He could very well look into their muscle contraction and lung expansion and could strike with much accuracy and gusto.
Moreover, as the bearer of the Demon Slaying Mark, he was able to live for 85 years of age as compared to the other bearers, who were said to die upon reaching 25 years of age.
Overall natural abilities
Yoriichi had heightened extraordinary senses outside of Transparent World, which gave him the edge to defeat his enemies with precision.
These abilities include his extrasensory perception, genius intellect, brilliant swordsmanship, super speed and unmatchable reflexes, unparalleled levels of stamina and endurance, and state which is referred to as ‘Selfless State’ wherefore he showed no emotions during battles, as noted by Muzan, which makes his moves unpredictable.
Question: Does Yoriichi gets reincarnated in the future just like the other Demon Slayer characters?
Answer: In the extras of Volume 23, it is implied that Yoriichi gets reincarnated into the Reiwa period. Moreover, his wife, Uta, also gets reincarnated, both of which are happily married and have kids. Thus, the man who wandered the face of the earth with no sense of purpose in life finally gets an aim as he gets to fulfill his desires from the past life in the present one.
Question: How fast can Yoriichi move?
Answer: While the popular assumption would be that the fastest characters in the series would be a battle-to-the-top between Tanjiro, Zenitsu, and Muzan, the sad reality for them is that the trophy will be undoubtedly taken by Yoriichi. How? Well, at the beginning of the series, it was revealed to us that Muzan could move a million times faster than Tanjiro and well, we know that Yoriichi was easily able to blitz Muzan during their face-off. So that proves that Yoriichi’s unrealistic strength might actually be faster than the speed of the sound.
Question: Are Tanjiro and Yoriichi related?
Answer: Despite sharing a little facial resemblance, Tanjiro and Yoriichi are, in fact, not related. Nor is he a direct descendant of him. Both Tanjiro and Yoriichi can perform the Sun Breathing Style and wear the hanafuda earrings, but these are the things that had been passed down to Tanjiro from Yoriichi via Sumiyoshi and his descendants. Moreover, Yoriichi did not have any kids. Hence, shutting down any debates regarding Tanjiro and Yoriichi’s blood relations.
Yoriichi Tsugikuni Guide: Conclusion
Not all plotlines can give freshness to such a daunting figure. Yoriichi’s characterization is undoubtedly one of the most admirable as well as the saddest in the entire manga. Influential as he was, he was successfully able to leave an imprint on people’s minds in his wake.
While his hard childhood and later the death of his loved ones were instrumental in the formation of the powerful figure that he remains in history. Fate seemed to have done him dirty. He did not deserve this. While his birthmark was initially considered emblematic of a bad omen, perhaps it was in his fate to suffer just like a classical Greek hero – doomed to a life of misery.