What does NEZUKO mean in Japanese? Is it a common name in Japan?
Ah, it’s not common at all! Kanji letters both in her family name and first name are very RARE. But if learning what they mean, you’ll know they are all related to the Demon Slayer story.
Family name KAMADO
KAMADO is a kitchen in old Japanese times. Here’s the picture of actual Kamado.
Demon Slayer is set in the Taisho era (1912-1926) in Japan. Japanese people in this era used Kamado to cook their meals.
How is the kitchen related to the Demon Slayer story?
That’s a good question! A kitchen is a place to use fire, right? And the Kamado family has inherited the Hinokami Kagura (dance of the fire god). They are connected with fire.
The first name NEZUKO
As I said first, the name Nezuko is very uncommon for the first name and it’s not easy to grasp the meaning. But when seeing them carefully, we can find something related to demons in each kanji character.
NE – father’s tomb
NE means a tomb of one’s father.
This kanji symbol is too rare to read. Honestly, I’ve never seen it until reading Demon Slayer! Now it’s become super popular thanks to Nezuko, though.
Why is such a difficult kanji used for a heroine name?
I think an important point is that his kanji symbolizes the FATHER’s tomb.
Kamado Tanjuro, Nezuko and Tanjiro’s daddy, was a successor of the Hinokami Kagura (dance of the fire god), which is essential to defeating Kibutsuji Muzan.
Tanjuro is already deceased, but what he left is a significant element to beat demons and save Nezuko. I guess this NE letter is kind of a hint for the fact.
ZU – bean
ZU means a bean. In Japan, we have a custom of throwing beans to wipe Oni (a Japanese demon) away. It’s a kind of charm against evil.
It’s called SETSUBUN and a popular annual event in Japan. Adults put on masks to role demons and little kids enjoy throwing beans!
So we can guess two meanings of Nezuko’s name.
- Her parents gave her this name with a wish that she wouldn’t be attacked by Oni.
- It implies that Nezuko herself is the existence with a role of driving Oni away.
KO – a child
KO 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.
I see many other names with KO, lik YUKO, KEIKO, MICHIKO, TOMOKO, AKIKO… It really is a common word for girl names.
Except for this KO, all the kanji characters in Nezuko’s name are related to demons, though it’s not straightforward but indirect.
It’s just a guess, but I feel the author of Demon Slayer is widely informed about kanji letters and family names. Hence I believe kanji symbols for Nezuko are not selected randomly but they are carefully selected and have some meanings behind them.