“No Impact”: Demon Slayer’s Tanjiro Needed Two Iconic Features Before He Was Ready for the Series


  • Tanjiro’s iconic scar and sun earrings were added to his design later, making him stand out from other heroes.
  • The sun earrings are a link to his family history and Sun Breathing Style, adding depth to his character.
  • Tanjiro’s scar evolves, hinting at a Demon Slayer mark, proving every detail of his design was intentional.

It can seem nearly impossible to create a compelling and memorable main character, but Demon Slayer has done just that with Tanjiro Kamado. The amazing creator, Koyoharu Gotouge, has written a truly standout series that is one of the best dark fantasy anime in recent years. One of the standout aspects of the anime is Tanjiro himself, the dynamic and accomplished protagonist.

Demon Slayer editor Tatsuhiko Katayama unveiled some surprising and fascinating information regarding Gotouge’s creation process for Tanjiro Kamado’s character and look, and how the young demon slayer became the wonderfully unforgettable hero he is known to be today. In the Manga Plus interview, Katayama spoke candidly about his initial impressions of Tanjiro’s original appearance, as Gotouge first drew him in the initial versions of the Demon Slayer manga.

Astoundingly, Tanjiro’s first design did not include two elements that make his character so unforgettable and easily recognizable: his forehead scar and the iconic pair of sun earrings he always wears.

Tanjiro’s First Design Did Not Include His Iconic Scar And Sun Earrings

These are two significant elements of Tanjiro’s look, so it’s shocking they were not added until later

When Katayama was shown Tanjiro’s fairly basic first design, he was blunt and honest with Gotouge, telling the creator he needed to add some trademark features that would set his protagonist apart from every other hero. After receiving this feedback, the mangaka added to the design, giving Tanjiro a forehead scar and sun earrings, which Katayama felt were “a little feminine” initially, but grew to love them over time. It’s nearly impossible to imagine how the demon slayer would look without these features, since these are two of the first things one notices when he appears on the screen.

“Tanjiro originally didn’t have any scars or earrings. I had Gotoge-sensei add them when making the draft. I said there was no impact in his appearance and that I wanted something to him that made him pop, like how Rurouni Kenshin has that scar. He said a simple “got it” and made Tanjiro as he is now. I first thought the earrings were a little feminine, but they really accentuate his character.” – Tatsuhiko Katayama,
Demon Slayer

It is fantastic that Gotouge took this sound advice because Tanjiro certainly stands out thanks to these elements and is unmistakable with any other character, both in Demon Slayer or in any other anime series. Both of these characteristics also hold a lot of significance and meaning to his character too, so they are not just simple stylistic choices that look cool. Gotouge has proven to be a very intentional and careful creator, coming up with bold, bright, and artistically beautiful character designs, but still ensuring that the appearances and the accessories of his characters hold deeper meanings too.


10 Best Demon Slayer Character Designs

The bright, bold, and colorful character designs present in Demon Slayer are truly some of the most incredible in the entire world of anime.

These Two Features Are As Meaningful As They Are Aesthetically Stunning

Not only do his earrings and scar provide a more visually intriguing look, they have deeper significance too

Tanjiro Kamado from Demon Slayer in Season 3

Tanjiro’s sun earrings have an important connotation they represent. His father wore the exact same pair, showing the link between son and father and the rich history of the earring style in the Kamado family. One of the biggest reasons for the earrings’ specific pattern is that it calls to mind the Sun Breathing Style, which is also often called Hinokami Kagura and used frequently by Tanjiro in later seasons of Demon Slayer. Sun Breathing can be a tricky Breathing Style to master and Tanjiro had to work hard at implementing it properly, showcasing his growth as a demon slayer.

They are called hanafuda earrings, which refers to a specific style of Japanese playing cards. There was a bit of controversy when the earrings were first animated. Some viewers claimed that the original pattern of the jewelry was too similar to the Rising Sun symbol displayed in World War II by Japan. The animators quickly tweaked the design to remedy the problem and gave Tanjiro slightly different earrings that still flawlessly expressed their heritage as symbols of the Sun Breathing Style and his personal family history. The other crucial characteristic of the hero’s appearance is his forehead scar.

His Earrings Represent Sun Breathing & Family History, While His Scar Showcases His Power

Gotouge utilized these seemingly simple design choices to reveal more about Tanjiro’s journey, skills, and personality

Tanjiro in a forest surrounded by vibrant purple leaves in Demon Slayer.

Truly devoted fans will notice that the scar Tanjiro has in the first few episodes is different from his scar in later seasons. The scar changes shape, bleeds sometimes, and even darkens to a deeper shade of red as the anime progresses. The cause of the woundwas a childhood accident. He had to push his younger brother away from a kettle of boiling water falling towards him. At times, the mark even seems to move and shift into different shapes during battles. The first time it most significantly changed shape was when the hero was battling the brutal Hand Demon during season one.

The fact Tanjiro’s scar became more prominent and pronounced during this battle brings up the possibility of the mark being a Demon Slayer mark, similar to the ones other Hashira and demon slayers developed during particularly challenging fights with evil demons, like Mitsuri and Muichiro. His father’s forehead scar looks just like Tanjiro’s, providing even more credibility to this theory. Either way, it is very evident that every single part of Tanjiro Kamado’s design was intentional. Gotouge’s character designs are thoughtful and reveal so much about his Demon Slayer characters’ personalities and lives, even in the simplest of details.

Source: Manga Plus

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Demon Slayer Anime Series Poster

Demon Slayer

Zach Aguilar , Abby Trott , Aleks Le , Bryce Papenbrook , Brianna Knickerbocker , Zeno Robinson , Johnny Yong Bosch , Erika Harlacher , Ray Chase , Kira Buckland

Release Date
April 6, 2019



Haruo Sotozaki