Why does Urokodaki wear a mask in Demon Slayer?

Urokodaki Sakonji as seen in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba (Image via Ufotable)
Urokodaki Sakonji as seen in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba (Image via Ufotable)

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is one of the most recent anime additions to the Shonen category. The series is praised for its bewitching concept of demons who wreak havoc upon humanity and Demon Slayers who hunt these vicious creatures and stop them from spreading their tyranny.

The most powerful individuals in the series are the Hashira of the Demon Slayer Corps, who are exceptional swordsmen. All fans of the series are well aware of the current Hashiras, but they know very little about the former Hashira.

Urokodaki Sakonji was the first former Hashira to be introduced at the beginning of the series. The only thing that every Demon Slayer fan is curious about is why he wears a mask.


Exploring the reason behind Urokodaki Sakonji’s mask in Demon Slayer

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Urokodaki Sakonji is a former Water Hashira and not much has been revealed about him to date. Even when he joined the Corps and became a Water Hashira, it remained undisclosed too. During his first encounter with Tanjiro Kamado and his demon-turned younger sister Nezuko, he was seen wearing a red Tengu mask.

It was later revealed that the only reason he wore the mask was that he hated being mocked by demons for his gentle and kind face. At the end of Season 1's episode 3 where Tanjiro reveals the Taisho secrets regarding the Demon Slayer universe, he explained that Urokodaki indeed has a kind and soothing face.

Even after the completion of the original manga, Urokodaki’s face remained a mystery and some fans even debated that author and illustrator, Koyoharu Gotouge has not given a face to the character. Urokodaki specifically wears the Tengu mask, and it does carry a strong meaning with it.

The Tengu mask represents the powerful swordsmen in Japanese folklore who are called the Tengu. The Tengu group is headed by a chief, who is portrayed with a prominent nose with a threatening expression, as depicted in the Tengu mask. Tengu used to live in mountainous surroundings. Similarly, Urokodaki of Demon Slayer also chose the same lifestyle.

Urokodaki also has a hobby of making masks, which he gifts to his cherished students. These masks are not ordinary as they are called the "warding masks" that are branded with a protection spell by him. Urokodaki has a special liking for foxes, which is why most of the masks he makes are Kitsune masks.

Sabito and Makomo are the only former students of Urokodaki shown in the series, who have received Kitsune masks from their teacher. Most of Urokodaki’s students have not survived the final selection arc just like Sabito and Makomo, and Urokodaki didn’t want to lose Tanjiro either. However, looking at Tanjiro’s determination Urokodaki gave him a mask too along with his blessings.

All students of Urokodaki Sakonji wearing their Kitsune masks (Image via Ufotable)
All students of Urokodaki Sakonji wearing their Kitsune masks (Image via Ufotable)

In the Final Selection, Tanjiro encountered the Hand Demon who was responsible for the deaths of 13 students of Urokodaki, including Sabito and Makomo. The Kitsune mask on Tanjiro triggered the recollection of the Hand Demon. After defeating the demon, Tanjiro was able to see and feel the presence of all 13 students of Urokodaki with their respective masks.