Demon Slayer: Tanjiro’s Hanafuda Earrings Explained

Tanjiro’s earrings are an important piece of symbolism in the series

Tanjio Kamado from Demon Slayer
Demon Slayer


Like any person who has watched Demon Slayer, you may have been curious about Tanjiro’s Hanafuda earrings. Today, we are going to explore the story behind the earrings, what they represent, as well as how his life has been directly impacted by them. We will also explore their controversy. Let’s get into it! 


The design of the Hanafuda earrings takes inspiration from Japan’s Rising Sun. In Demon Slayer, the design represents the light that quells demons and those who know the sun breathing technique.

Tanjiro's Hanafuda earrings

The design has faced criticism and censorship, since the Rising Sun is now reminiscent of the atrocities committed by Japan during WWII. There is some Demon Slayer merchandise that even incorporates a different design for the earrings. Regardless, the original design remains iconic for many Demon Slayer fans. 


Tanjiro’s earrings were originally a gift given to a boy named Yoriichi. Yoriichi was born with a scar on his forehead, similar to Tanjiro, and he was also the first one to use the Sun Breathing Technique. His father thought that scar was a curse, so he was treated very poorly throughout his childhood. He never spoke until he became much older, and one can assume this is because of the trauma he endured growing up.

Yoriichi’s mother gave him the pair of Hanafuda earrings as a charm that would allow him to speak. This goes to show that first and foremost, the earrings were a symbol of a mother’s love. 

Yoriichi from Demon Slayer

Despite Yoriichi’s father thinking he was cursed, Yoriichi was actually very gifted from birth. He had an ability called “Transparent World”, which allowed him to see all living things as if they were transparent. He was also very strong, and, as mentioned before, he is the one who first used the sun breathing technique. Yoriichi eventually got married, but his pregnant wife sadly passed away.

Yoriichi never remarried, but he did make a friend named Sumiyoshi. Sumiyoshi and Tanjiro looked exactly alike, which hints at Tanjiro being a reincarnation of Sumiyoshi. Sumiyoshi had a wife and children, and Yoriichi became very close with the family. He would often perform the sun breathing dance for the family, which became ingrained in Sumiyoshi’s memory. One day, Yoriichi gave Sumiyoshi the Hanafuda earrings and never returned to visit the family.

One can assume that Sumiyoshi passed the earrings down to his first son. This is how the earrings ended up being passed down from generation to generation, until they made their way to Tanjiro. 

The Death Of Tanjiro’s Family

The Hanafuda earrings are actually directly related to the death of Taniro’s family. While Yoriichi was a demon slayer, he fatally wounded Muzan. While Muzan managed to escape, he would never forget how he was nearly killed.

Tanjiro's father's Hanafuda earrings

He wanted anyone related to Yoriichi to be killed, and that included those who wore the earrings. Since Tanjiro and his father wore them, his family was killed. 

The Immortality Of Humans

The Hanafuda earrings represent the immortality of humans, and how it is greater than the shallow immortality of demons. Sumiyoshi passed down the Sun Breathing Technique until it made its way to Tanjiro’s father, Tanjuro. Tanjuro wanted to pass down what he learned from his own father to Tanjiro. 

Tanjiro, Nezuko, Zenitsu, and Hashibira

One example of this is a time when a bear threatened Tanjiro’s family. Tanjuro defeated the bear using the Sun Breathing Technique, and Tanjiro never forgot that experience. Even though Sumiyoshi was no longer alive, his teachings lived on. Tanjuro was simply extending that tradition.

This shows how the earrings represent human immortality. When demons are killed, they simply die; they have no ancestors that will inherit their will. This is why the immortality of humans is more powerful than that of demons. Muzan has been trying to destroy all Sun Breath users for generations, but he has not yet managed to do so. Muzan will ultimately be defeated, while Yoriichi’s legacy will live on.

What do you think about the Hanafuda earrings and the meaning behind them? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!