Kanji and meaning of Sukuna’s name
What does Ryomen Sukuna mean in Japanese? Is it a name for a real person?
RYOMEN is “both side” and SUKUNA is said to mean “drive evil away”. His name is seen in several Japanese mythologies. Sometimes it’s a demon, and sometimes it’s a hero.
The strongest and the evilest sorcerer, Ryomen Sukuna. Honestly, it’s a very strange name but we can guess the meaning from the kanji characters.
As I said, his name has a big contradiction in the meaning and you can know it by reading the meanings of each kanji symbol. Let’s see it together!
RYO = both, twin
MEN = side, face, mask
The word RYOMEN is usually used for meaning “both side” but it stands for “two faces” in this case. Ryomen Sukuna in Japanese mythologies had two faces on his front and back.
Was he a man who really exist?
YES. His name appears in several mythologies and legends. He is described sometimes as a demon, sometimes as a human.
SUKU = inn, reside, previous life, time-honored, experienced
NA = a ritual for exorcising demons
The word SUKUNA has the meaning of “something that drives the evil away”.
Look at the second character NA. The symbol stands for a ritual for exorcising demons called “ONIYARAI” in classic Japanese. The left part of the character pictures a person and the right one stands for something bad like demons and disasters.
In the Heian era (794-1192) in old Japan, there was a custom that governmental officers who put on a mask with four eyes drove away demons.
I guess the character design of Ryomen Sukuna in Jujutsu Kaisen comes from this tradition. His true form is described as a four-eyes man.
Wait. Wasn’t Ryomen Sukuna a bad guy? Considering the kanji meanings, SUKUNA is a very righteous name.
Exactly. There’s a contradiction!
What kind of person was he in history?
Now you’ve learned the name RYOMEN SUKUNA means “a two-faced man who drives away the evil”.
Though Ryomen Sukuna is described as a cruel demon in a Japanese old history book, the word SUKUNA means to get rid of something evil. Don’t you think that doesn’t make sense?
As for it, there’s an interesting fact. In the Hida area in Gifu prefecture, Ryomen Sukuna is enshrined as a god and respected by local people. Even some temples were built for him.
We can guess that he was a local hero who opposed the invasion by the Yamato imperial court of the time and fought for protecting the Hida area. The court won the battle and portrayed him as a demon to justify their dominion. This kind of thing always happens in history.
Ryomen Sukuna in Jujutsu Kaisen is a complete villain. But the meaning of his name isn’t evil, rather good.
I explained more detail about Japanese mythologies about him in another post. I’m happy if you read it too!