The Japanese words carved in the Hashira’s swords say AKKI MESSATSU, meaning “destroy the evil demons.” Here’s the Kanji writing for the phrase, and I’ll explain what each Kanji symbol stands for.
What Does AKKI MESSATSU Mean?
AKU = bad, evil
KI = demon
METSU = destroy, annihilate, exterminate, extinguish
SATSU = kill
When we read each symbol one by one, it says AKU KI METSU SATSU. Actual reading becomes AKKI MESSATSU for easy pronunciation.
If you want to mean just “kill demons,” you don’t need all four symbols. Only KI and SATSU can mean “destroy demons”, and the word KISATSU-TAI (demon destroy troop) is the original Japanese word for Demon Slayer Corps.
As for the sword phrase AKKI MESSATU, KI (demon) is emphasized with AKU (evil), and SATSU (kill) is stressed with METSU (destroy). It shows the strong will to annihilate all the demons.
AKKI MESSATU Symbol is a Proof of Hashira
The tradition of carving Kanji characters on the Nichirin swords started from the sword Tanjiro inherited at the Swordsmith Village. It has only the METSU symbol on it. After the Metsu sword, the Demon Slayer Corps adopted the class system and the Akki Messatsu symbol got to be allowed only for the Hashira’s Nichirin swords.