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Meaning of NEZUKO in Japanese, Explained by a Native Japanese

kamado nezuko written in japanese kanji lettersDemon Slayer/Kimetsu no Yaiba

What Does Nezuko Mean in Japanese?

The name NEZUKO is very uncommon for the first name. It’s hard to grasp its meaning even for us Japanese. But when seeing each Kanji symbol carefully, we can find something related to demons hidden in her name. Let me explain what the name Nezuko stands for!

NE – Father’s Tomb

ne written in japanese kanji symbol

This is a super-duper difficult Kanji letter to read. Honestly, I have never seen this symbol until I read Demon Slayer. The origin of the NE Kanji is the “tomb of one’s father.” I think what we should focus on is that it’s not a mother’s tomb but a father’s tomb. As you know, Tanjiro and Nezuko’s father was a successor of the Hinokami Kagura, which is essential to defeating Muzan. I guess this NE symbol is kind of a hint for the fact that Nezuko’s lineage on the father’s side is an important factor in the story.

ZU – Bean

zu written in japanese kanji symbol

ZU means a bean. In Japan, we have a traditional custom of throwing beans to wipe Oni demons away.

It’s called SETSUBUN and is a common annual event in Japan. Adults put on demon masks and little kids enjoy throwing beans!

picture: dried soy beans in a japanese wooden cup and a demon mask
We through dried soybeans to drive demons away!

Beans have the power to drive Oni demons away. Nezuko’s parents may have given her this Kanji symbol with a wish that she wouldn’t be attacked by demons. Or it may imply that Nezuko herself is an important element in demolishing demons.

KO – Child

Ko written in kanji

means a child and is a very common character for girl names.

For example, my first name JUNKO also has the KO at the end of it. We can see many other names with KO, like YUKO, KEIKO, MICHIKO, and things like that.

To wrap it up, the name NEZUKO has the meanings of “father’s tomb” and “bean.” The author of Demon Slayer is widely informed about Kanji characters and old family names. Hence I believe Kanji symbols for Nezuko were not selected randomly but were carefully chosen and given some meanings behind them.

Hope the information helps you to enjoy Demon Slayer more!

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