The Origin and Meaning of Tanjiro’s Hanafuda Earrings

Ever wondered why Tanjiro Kamado wears earrings in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba?

If you were astute enough to notice the different reactions some of the characters have when they saw Tanjiro’s earrings, you are not alone.

Tanjiro’s earrings are more significant than they let on – and are not just part of his character design, or a mere fashion choice.

The earrings – called the Hanafuda earrings – have a deep origin story and meaning that actually explains Tanjiro’s background, as well as his destiny.

In this simple guide, we explain the significance of Tanjiro Kamado’s earrings in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, and the real meaning behind why he wears the earrings and how he came to possess them.

There are a number of different things that need to be explained to fully understand and appreciate Tanjiro’s background, so make sure to read on. 

Meaning of Tanjiro’s Hanafuda Earrings

Tanijro’s Earrings

Throughout Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Tanjiro Kamado, the main protagonist, can be seen wearing big white earrings with a design similar to the Japanese flag.

And while it might seem like a simple character design choice, the earrings are more significant than they initially seem.

Anime fans with a keen eye would have noticed that a few key characters react upon seeing Tanjiro’s earrings – often with shock, fear, or surprise.

In one particular scene of the anime, a flashback shows a mysterious character wearing the same earrings as Tanjiro, specifically in episode eight of season one. Here, Muzan, the main antagonist and leader of the demons, comments on the earrings and reacts with fear. 

In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba: Mugen Train, the movie that followed season one, Enmu, the demon that Tanjiro, Inosuke, and Zenitsu fought on the train, also reacts to Tanjiro’s earrings, recognizing them with surprise.

But it’s not just the demons that react to Tanjiro’s earrings. In season two, Shinjuro Rengoku, the father of Flame Hashira Kyojuro Rengoku, is shocked to see Tanjiro wearing the Hanafuda earrings, after which he makes a comment on Sun Breathing.

It’s clear that there is a deep meaning behind Tanjiro’s earrings, and it ties in with other aspects of Tanjiro’s character and background.

Tanjiro’s Black Sword

One of the most notable scenes of season of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is when Tanjiro Kamado receives his second Nichirin Blade in episode twenty-five.

Nichirin Blades are powerful swords used to kill demons, crafted specifically for demon slayers who pass Final Selection. Nichirin Blades, also called Nichirin Swords, also change color when first held in a way that matches the demon slayer’s personality and breathing style.

When Tanjiro receives his Nichirin Sword, it turns black, boggling not just fans, but characters within the show itself – including Hotaru Haganezuka, the swordsmith, and Kyojuro Rengoku, who comments on the sword in surprise in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba: Mugen Train.

Black Nichirin Blades are rare and mysterious, with none of the Hashira, the most powerful demon slayers, known to have wielded one.

Due to this, there have been many fan theories as to why Tanjiro’s sword turned black, including his past job as a coal burner and the fact that Tanjiro is an orphan – charcoal is black, and black can represent loneliness.

The real meaning, however, relates to Tanjiro’s Hanafuda earrings and his destiny to become a powerful demon slayer.

Hinokami Kaguro

Another thing that we have to talk about is Hinokami Kaguro, also known as Sun Breathing, which we briefly mentioned above.

If you are not sure what breathing styles are, each demon slayer has a unique breathing style that gives them powerful abilities in combat. To provide examples, Inosuke uses “Beast Breathing”, Zenitsu uses “Thunder Breathing”, and Rengoku uses “Flame Breathing”.

In season one, episode nineteen, of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Tanjiro Kamado manages to harness Sun Breathing in his fight against Rui, the Lower Moon Five demon. He does it without realizing.

As it turns out, Sun Breathing is another unique thing about Tanjiro. Just like his black Nichirin Sword, Sun Breathing is rare, mysterious, and powerful, considered to be the first-ever breathing style that created all other breathing styles.

Sun Breathing as actually been passed down through the Kamado family. Tanjiro’s ancestors knew how to harness Sun Breathing, and also wore the same Hanafuda earrings that Tanjiro can be seen wearing throughout the anime.

In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba: Mugen Train, Tanjiro asks Rengoku Kyojuro about Hinokami Kaguro, hoping to find out more about it. While Rengoku answers that he does not know, he does tell Tanjiro, later on in the movie, to go to his ancestral home where he might discover more information.

Tanjiro’s Demon Slayer Mark

Last but not least, Tanjiro Kamado’s Demon Slayer Mark is also something that has great significance in terms of his background and destiny.

Demon Slayer Marks randomly appear on the bodies of demon slayers, typically as they become more powerful. These look like a scar, or tattoo, and can be related to the particular breathing style used by the demon slayer.

Characters that can be seen bearing Demon Slayer Marks include many of the Hashira, the most powerful demon slayers.

As the story of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba progressed, you might have noticed the mark appear on Tanjiro’s face. It starts developing on the right side of his forehead, before further developing on the other side of his forehead and on his jawline.

What’s most significant about Tanjiro’s Demon Slayer Mark is that it is identical to the Demon Slayer Mark seen on another notably mysterious demon slayer, named Yoriichi Tsugikuni.

The Origin and Meaning of Tanjiro’s Hanafuda Earrings

Who Is Yoriichi Tsugikuni?

Above, we briefly mentioned a particular flashback scene in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, episode eight, in which Muzan expresses fear upon seeing the Hanafuda earrings. In this scene, the Hanadfuda earrings were being worn by someone called Yoriichi Tsugikuni.

Yoriichi Tsugikuni is a legendary demon slayer, widely considered to be the first-ever demon slayer. Yoriichi created the first-ever breathing style, Sun Breathing, which also led to the creation of all the other breathing styles.

Yoriichi wore the same Hanafuda earrings seen on Tanjiro, the main protagonist, wielded the same black Nichirin Blade as Tanjiro, and even has the same Demon Slayer Mark that Tanjiro starts to develop on his face. 

The similarities between the two demon slayers is therefore clear, showing that Tanjiro is related to the legendary demon slayer in more than a few ways.

In the Demon Slayer manga, Yoriichi Tsugikuni came close to slaying Muzan, the leader of the demons. Muzan was able to flee, however, and regenerate himself before the events of season one.

It is also detailed in the manga that ​​Yoriichi rescued one of Tanjiro’s ancestors, Sumiyoshi Kamado, before striking a friendship. This explains how Tanjiro’s family came to possess the Hanafuda earrings and learned to use the rare breathing style, Sun Breathing, both of which were passed down the generations. 

The Meaning of Tanjiro’s Earrings

So, what is the real meaning behind Tanjiro’s earrings in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba?

As explained above, Tanjiro possess many similarities with the legendary demon slayer Yoriichi, who also wore the same Hanafuda earrings that Tanjiro Kamado wears.

These earrings are not mere clones, but the same earrings that Yoriichi once wore.

And this is not the only similarity between the two demon slayers. Tanjiro has the same black Nichirin Sowrd as Yoriichi, the same Demon Slayer Mark on his face, and the same Breathing Style,​​ Sun Breathing (Hinokami Kaguro).

So, as Tanjiro possesses many similarities with Yoriichi, it is safe to say that Tanjiro is the direct successor to Yoriichi, destined to finish what Yoriichi started and kill Muzan once and for all.

This is the true meaning of Tanjiro’s Hanafuda earrings, which can be a big sign of what’s to come in the rest of the story.


In a short summary, the significance of Tanjiro Kamado’s earrings in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is that Tanjiro is the direct successor to Yoriichi Tsugikuni – a legendary demon slayer who wore the very same earrings, wielded a black Nichirin Blade, bore the same Demon Slayer Mark, and used Sun Breathing.

The Hanafuda earrings, as well as Sun Breathing, were passed down through Tanjiro’s ancestors, who knew Yoriichi Tsugikuni. Tanjiro shares many similarities with Yoriichi, and is therefore destined to become just as powerful so that he can slay Muzan, the leader of the demons.