Why does Muzan hate Tanjiro in Demon Slayer?

Kibutsuji Muzan in Demon Slayer (Image via ufotable)
Kibutsuji Muzan in Demon Slayer (Image via ufotable)

From the very beginning, Kibutsuji Muzan has been pinpointed as the prime antagonist of the Demon Slayer series. The protagonist of the series, Kamado Tanjiro, swore to hunt him down after finding out that Muzan was the one behind the ruthless massacre of his family.

Additionally, Muzan was likely the one who turned Nezuko into a demon, so Tanjiro’s rage is understandable.

But what was surprising was Muzan’s immediate dislike for Tanjiro, propelling him to even specifically send demons to kill him. It is only when fans delve into the Demon Slayer manga and find out more into Muzan’s past that they understand his violent reaction.

youtube-cover

Spoilers for Demon Slayer manga ahead.


The real reason why Muzan instantly develops a deep hatred towards Tanjiro in Demon Slayer

Tanjiro’s Hanafuda earrings

youtube-cover

Rather than reacting violently to Tanjiro himself, it is his trademark Hanafuda earrings that Muzan reacted to.

The Demon Slayer anime reveals that his earrings were a family heirloom, passed on to him by his late father. While this suggested that Muzan was on bad terms with some Kamado ancestor, it still did not explain why Muzan’s dislike went beyond just bad blood, and made him see Tanjiro as a critical threat.

youtube-cover

It is Tanjiro’s interaction with the former Flame Hashira Rengoku Shinjuro, while passing on his son Kyojuro’s last words, that Muzan’s fear starts making more sense. Shinjuro has a similarly violent reaction to Tanjiro, accusing him of being a Sun Breather, and mocking them. Tanjiro is able to connect Sun Breathing with his father’s ritual fire dance, Hinokami Kagura.

In the Demon Slayer manga, it is revealed that Tanjiro’s Hanafuda earrings were originally given to his ancestor Sumiyoshi by the legendary demon slayer, Tsugikuni Yoriichi, who is also believed to be the creator of the Flame Breathing technique. According to Shinjuro, Flame Breathing is the originator of all other Breathing Techniques, and thus, the most superior of them all.


A look at Muzan’s past

It was almost 400 years ago that Yoriichi lived and fought against Muzan, and almost managed to kill him. While the Demon King had initially scoffed at the demon slayer’s breathing technique and attacked carelessly, the battle had left him with a vehement fear and hatred for Breathing Style users, especially Sun Breathers.

Muzan later on systematically killed off every user of the Sun Breathing technique, even turning Yoriichi's twin brother, Michikatsu, into a demon. Michikatsu took on the name Kokushibo and became the Upper rank one demon, part of the Twelve Kizuki.

Seeing Tanjiro’s Hanafuda earring however, had reawakened the fear that Yoriichi had struck into him, and thus he wasted no time before trying to eliminate the threat.


How can Tanjiro use Sun Breathing?

The Demon Slayer manga reveals that the Hanafuda earrings passed on from generation to generation as a family heirloom were originally given to his ancestor by Tsugikuni Yoriichi. But that does not explain why Tanjiro can use Yoriichi’s legendary technique.

The secret lies with the other family heirloom that Tanjiro received from his father, the Hinokami Kagura ritual dance. Tanjiro’s mother told him as a child that their family were sun-worshippers, and that the Hinokami Kagura was a ritual to appease and pray to the gods.

The manga explains that Yoriichi had, at some point, taught Sumiyoshi the Sun Breathing Enbu stance, which Sumiyoshi passed on in his family as a ritual dance to the gods.

From these origins, the breathing technique was passed down the generations, and eventually led to it manifesting in Tanjiro.