If you thought your childhood was rough, wait till you hear about the Hashira – the elite warriors known at the pinnacle of the Demon Slayer Corps. These nine extraordinary swordsmen are revered for their unrivaled skill, strength, and devotion to eradicating the demon threat plaguing humankind. But behind every great warrior is a heartbreaking backstory, and these demon slayers are no exception. Each has a sad and traumatizing past that has played a crucial role in shaping their character, drive, and fighting style.
In chapter 130 of the manga’s Hashira training arc, Tanjiro is ordered by Ubuyashiki to seek out Giyu for training. Ubuyashiki advises Tanjiro to encourage and persist with Giyu but when Tanjiro asks for Giyu’s help, Giyu flatly refuses and appears to be upset with him. Tanjiro eventually learns that Giyu is disappointed that he has been prioritizing learning “Hinokami Kagura” or Sun Breathing instead of focusing on perfecting Water Breathing to become the next Water Hashira. Despite Tanjiro’s reminder that Giyu is already the Water Hashira, Giyu insists that he is not.
Chapter 131 sees Tanjiro spending all his time with Giyu, talking non-stop, which leaves Giyu feeling perplexed. He wonders if the conversation will ever end or if Tanjiro will leave if he talks to him. After four days of this, Giyu finally breaks down and confides in Tanjiro why he isn’t the Water Hahira by revealing that he didn’t pass the final selection.
While undergoing the Final Selection, Giyu developed a strong connection with Sabito, a boy of the same age who had also suffered the loss of his family to demons. Fans may recognize Sabito as the boy who assisted Tanjiro in splitting the large boulder in half in season 1. Even though Sabito was the one who defeated all the demons on the mountain, he did not pass the exam because he chose to sacrifice himself in order to save others.
In contrast, Giyu suffered an injury during his encounter with the first demon, which left him disoriented and unable to continue the exam. Sabito came to his rescue and entrusted him to another demon slayer before rushing off to assist others. By the time Giyu regained consciousness, the Final Selection had concluded, and he technically passed by surviving the ordeal.
Giyu does not view himself as a genuine Hashira because he believes he did not truly pass the exam. He experiences imposter syndrome and regards himself as a fraudulent Water Hashira who is unworthy of standing alongside the other Hashira. In fact, Giyu hoped that Tanjiro would become a more deserving Water Hashira and take his place.
Upon hearing Giyu’s account, Tanjiro empathizes with his feelings of guilt and regret. Giyu believes that he should have perished instead of Sabito, who possessed the greater potential to become a skilled demon slayer. Tanjiro can relate to this sentiment, having experienced similar emotions following the death of Rengoku. Nonetheless, Tanjiro recalls Inosuke‘s words regarding Rengoku’s faith in them and their abilities, urging them to live up to that trust. Tanjiro imparts a similar message to Giyu, advising him to make the most of the gift Sabito granted him by rescuing his life.
Giyu reminisces the same words Sabito has told him, during which Sabito hit him for expressing the wish that he had perished instead of his sister. Giyu’s sister, Tsutako Tomioka, had sacrificed herself to save him when a demon assaulted them on the eve of her wedding. Sabito admonishes Giyu, instructing him to remain alive since his sister had given up her life to provide him with a future. Sabito reminds Giyu never to devalue his sister’s death by uttering such thoughts again.
Giyu begins to reconsider why he had suppressed the memory of his sister and Sabito’s words. He wonders if it is because he always weeps uncontrollably when recalling his failure to protect them. Meanwhile, Tanjiro observes Giyu overthinking and frets that he may have made the situation worse with his words. However, Giyu does not react humorously, prompting Tanjiro to suggest a sudden eating competition to cheer him up. Giyu questions Tanjiro’s motive, but the subsequent panel portrays the two slurping noodles together.
It has been demonstrated that Shinobu Kocho was raised alongside her older sister Kanae by their parents, who were skilled in medicine. Tragically, their parents were killed by a demon, which also attacked Shinobu and Kanae, but they were rescued by Gyome Himejima, the Stone Hashira.
The sisters were deeply affected by their parent’s death and both made a commitment to become demon slayers like Gyome, hoping to protect one another and prevent other families from experiencing the same loss they did. As time passed, Kanae became the Flower Hashira.
The first season of Demon Slayer portrayed an incident in which Kanae and Shinobu rescued a young girl named Kanao, who was being treated like a slave, while they were traveling. They decided to bring Kanao back to the Butterfly Mansion where they adopted her. Kanao is now Shinobu’s current apprentice, also known as “Tsuguko.”
Several years later, when Kanae was 17 years old and Shinobu was 14, Kanae battled against Doma, the Upper Moon 2. Kanae fought valiantly and sustained severe injuries during the confrontation. However, Doma was unable to finish her off as it was about to be daylight, so he decided to retreat.
Chapter 141 briefly recounts Kanae’s death, during which Shinobu arrived just in time to say farewell to her sister before she died. Kanae advised Shinobu to leave the Demon Slayer Corps, urging her to live a peaceful life and grow old happily. Despite Kanae’s request, Shinobu refused to quit and instead pledged to avenge her sister by hunting down the demon who killed her. Following Kanae’s passing, Shinobu took her sister’s place as the insect Hashira, becoming even more resolute in her determination to eradicate the demons, with a particular focus on Doma, the Upper Moon 2.
The Mugen Train Arc unveils Rengoku’s backstory, a renowned Demon Slayer admired for his passionate temperament. Rengoku, whose father Shinjuro was once a Flame Hashira, faced opposition from him when he expressed his aspiration to follow in his father’s footsteps. Shinjuro, who was an alcoholic and abusive parent, did not support Rengoku’s dream. Additionally, Rengoku’s mother passed away when he was young. Despite his father’s disapproval and negative attitude, Rengoku persevered through rigorous training to improve and become powerful.
Rengoku’s mother, Ruka, instilled in him a strong sense of responsibility to protect those less powerful than him. This belief became the driving force behind Rengoku’s dedication to saving innocent individuals from demons. Despite facing opposition from his father, Rengoku never gave up on his dreams and eventually succeeded in becoming the new Flame Hashira, proving his father’s doubts wrong. Unlike Shinjuro, Rengoku is a compassionate and encouraging individual, particularly towards his younger sibling, Senjuro.
A one-shot manga chapter offers a sneak peek into Rengoku’s initial assignment as a Demon Slayer, prior to his appointment as a Hashira. In this mission, Rengoku faces a flute demon who had already murdered nine of his fellow Demon Slayers and a group of children. Rengoku intervenes just as the demon was about to kill another child. As Rengoku surveys the carnage, he realizes how delicate human life is and how vicious demons can be.
The flute demon is an ominous creature that possesses a potent Blood Demon Art capable of incapacitating its foes by playing its flute. The sound of the flute has the ability to immobilize and disrupt its opponents, rendering them unable to fight. This makes the demon almost invulnerable in combat, and anyone within earshot of the flute is susceptible.
Rengoku faces a predicament when battling the flute demon. One option is to cover his ears with his hands to shield himself from the flute’s sound. However, this would prevent him from wielding his sword to engage and defeat the demon. On the other hand, using his sword would expose him to the flute’s melody, disrupting his nervous system and rendering him incapable of fighting effectively.
Apart from the flute’s disruptive power, the demon can summon dangerous wolves to attack Rengoku, escalating the situation to a precarious state. The demon relentlessly taunts Rengoku while the wolves close in, preparing to feast on him. However, Rengoku’s response takes the demon by surprise.
With immense force, Rengoku strikes his own ears, rupturing his eardrums and temporarily disrupting his hearing. This allows him to use his sword to vanquish the demon and rescue the child’s life. Despite the excruciating pain, Rengoku smiles to comfort the surviving child and reassure them that everything will be okay.
Rengoku also expresses his gratitude towards his fallen comrades, who used sign language to communicate their message of support to him, even after their deaths. The message they conveyed helped Rengoku devise an effective strategy to defeat the demon.
Rengoku has an epiphany about his character and aspires to emulate his comrades’ example of selflessness and courage, willing to risk their lives for the greater good. He realizes that he wants to become a compassionate and strong individual like them, who is willing to put others before themselves and do so with a gentle smile on his face.
The manga didn’t delve much into Tengen’s background, but according to the fanbook, the Uzui clan resided in a remote village located deep in a valley, and they strictly adhered to the ways of the shinobi — a ninja. The clan valued strength above all else and under the tutelage of his cruelly-known father. He and his eight siblings grew up with the sole objective of becoming formidable warriors.
Weary and dejected from the grueling training regimen, Tengen reluctantly persevered, despite losing two of his brothers to the same training. One day, his father summoned the remaining six siblings and ordered them to participate in a deadly fight to determine their worth. Oblivious to the identities of their opponents, the siblings followed their father’s orders with trepidation. Tengen’s world came crashing down when he discovered that he had killed two of his own brothers in the vicious brawl. Overwhelmed with anger and grief, his heart shattered into a million pieces.
He stood up to his father, condemning his distorted beliefs and swearing to never harm his remaining siblings. However, to his dismay, his brother showed no remorse for his actions and professed his unwavering loyalty to their father’s principles. Unable to bring himself to fight his own flesh and blood, Tengen left the village with his three devoted wives – Makio, Hinatsuru, and Suma.
Tengen’s traumatic past haunted him, and he often spoke of receiving punishment in hell for his sins. Despite this, his wives played a crucial role in helping him heal. Makio scolded him, Hinatsuru wept for him, and Suma even bit him. Gradually, their love and support helped Tengen find a sense of inner peace.
Tengen continued to grapple with the question of whether he should have wiped out the Uzui clan to put an end to their perverse legacy. The notion of murdering his own father and brother was too distressing, and he struggled to reconcile his past with his future.
Tengen eventually crossed paths with Ubuyashiki and decided to join the Demon Slayer Corps. He steadily climbed the ranks until he became the Sound Hashira. Tengen holds a deep admiration for Ubuyashiki and is willing to lay down his life for the leader of the demon slayers. Despite betraying his clan, which is the ultimate shame for a shinobi, Tengen remains a brave and honorable man.
Chapter 123 of the story explores Mitsuri’s background and reveals that she grew up in a close-knit family with four siblings. Despite having exceptional physical abilities, including a highly flexible body and exceptional strength, Mitsuri faced social exclusion due to her unusual appearance and gender in a conservative society.
Mitsuri’s desire to find a husband may have seemed odd at first, but her backstory sheds light on her motivation. At the age of 17, Mitsuri’s fiancé called off their engagement due to her peculiar physical appearance and pink hair color. This experience deeply affected Mitsuri, as it left her and her family in a challenging position in a society that valued traditional norms. To conform with societal expectations, Mitsuri underwent a complete transformation, dyeing her hair black, feigning weakness, and drastically reducing her food intake. As a result, she suffered from malnourishment and frequently fainted. Although this façade helped Mitsuri attract potential suitors, she felt like she was living a lie and not being true to herself.
Mitsuri’s luck turned around when she met Kagaya Ubuyashiki, also known as Oyakatasama, who led the Demon Slayer Corps. Ubuyashiki, unlike others, recognized Mitsuri’s exceptional physical abilities as a divine gift and was impressed by her strength. He reassured her that anyone who belittled her talents was likely envious and that it was perfectly fine to be a strong young woman. With Ubuyashiki’s support, Mitsuri found genuine acceptance and was able to embrace her true self once again.
Chapter 188 of the story unveils Iguro Obanai’s emotional struggles and lack of self-esteem due to his family’s tainted bloodline. He felt unworthy of Mitsuri’s love because his family had only produced girls for the past 370 years, and he was the only male born into the family. After his birth, they confined him to a luxurious prison cell, and his mother, sisters, and aunts visited him.
Iguro later discovered that his family worshipped a demonic creature with a snake-like appearance. The demon would demand their own offspring as sacrifices, and in return, she gave them valuable treasures stolen from the humans she killed. The snake demon was fond of Iguro’s unique eyes and decided not to eat him as a baby. Instead, she waited until he was older and fattened him up before slicing his mouth to resemble her own snake mouth.
Thankfully, Iguro was able to flee before the snake demon could devour him. In an attempt to capture him, the demon was ultimately defeated by Shinjuro Rengoku, the previous flame Hashira and the father of Rengoku. Since Iguro’s family failed to prevent his escape, the snake demon caused the death of almost everyone in his family. Consequently, Iguro carries the burden of his family’s wrongdoing, the loss of his relatives, and his feelings of inadequacy. He aspired to perish while defeating Muzan to cleanse his family’s tainted blood.
Read more: How Do the Hashira Die in Demon Slayer?
Chapter 118 unveils the backstory of Muichiro, who became the youngest Hashira at the age of 14. Muichiro had a twin brother named Yuichiro, and they were raised in a family of modest woodcutters. Unfortunately, they lost their mother to pneumonia when they were only 10 years old. The tragedy deepened when their father, who had gone to gather medicinal herbs during a storm to help their sick mother, fell off a cliff and died. As a result, the twins were left to fend for themselves as young orphans.
The older twin, Yuichiro, had a cynical perspective toward life and believed that their father made a foolish decision to go out during the storm to collect herbs for their sick mother. He thought that their mother was already too ill for the herbs to make a difference, and if their father had stayed at home, only their mother would have passed away instead of both parents. On the other hand, Muichiro was more empathetic and optimistic than his brother, and he did not share his brother’s negative views.
When the twin brothers were around 11 years old, Ubuyashiki’s wife, Amane, paid them a visit at their home the following year. She revealed that they were descendants of legendary swordsmen, and one of their ancestors was the original user of the Breath of the Sun technique. Amane wanted the two of them to join the Demon Slayer Corp, but Yuichiro refused her offer. He did not want to endanger their lives by trying to help others, believing that it would only lead them to the same fate as their parents. Yuichiro had no faith in the Demon Slayers or anyone else and rejected the idea of risking his life recklessly. Muichiro, however, had a different opinion and was keen on becoming a demon slayer and accepting Amane’s proposal. This disagreement led to a heated argument between the brothers.
One night, a demon broke into their home and attacked Yuichiro, causing him to sustain severe injuries. Muichiro became enraged and used his woodcutting axes and other tools to dismember the demon, keeping its remains separated until the sun rose and destroyed it.
After a long while, Muichiro eventually returned to their house, crawling on all fours due to exhaustion and injuries. There, he found his brother praying for his recovery and asking the gods to spare Muichiro and punish him instead. Yuichiro acknowledged that Muichiro had a compassionate heart and regretted stopping him from becoming a demon slayer.
Tragically, Yuichiro passed away as Muichiro finally got a hold of his hand. Later, when Ubuyashiki’s wife visited once again, she discovered Muichiro holding his twin brother’s decaying body. She and the Kakushi helped heal Muichiro, who eventually joined the Demon Slayer Corps. However, due to the traumatic experience, Muichiro suffered from memory loss and could not recall much of his past life.
Nevertheless, he rose rapidly through the ranks and became a Hashira within just two months of joining. His personality shifted from being compassionate and optimistic to being cold, distant, and filled with anger towards demons — traits that are like his late brother Yuichiro. This rage and hatred motivated him to continue his demon hunting and slaying.
Chapter 135 of the manga reveals the backstory of the Stone Pillar, who is considered the strongest Hashira. Surprisingly, before he became a demon slayer, he was a blind monk who had the responsibility of raising nine orphans in a temple. Despite their lack of resources, the children had each other and lived together as a happy and content family.
However, tragedy struck one night when one of the orphans broke the temple’s rules by staying out after dark and was captured by a demon in the nearby forest. To save himself, the child made a deal with the demon: he would reveal the location of the other eight orphans at the temple in exchange for his life.
In the region where the temple was located, demon activity was rampant, which is why Gyomei, the Stone Pillar, had taken precautions by burning wisteria flower incense every night. This practice helped to keep the demons away from the temple. However, the child who made a deal with the demon extinguished the incense, which allowed the demon to enter the temple undetected.
The demon quickly attacked and took away four of the orphans, while Gyomei did his best to protect the remaining four. However, as he was blind and not nearly as strong as he is now, three of the children panicked and ran off on their own. Regrettably, the demon caught and killed all three of them.
Sayo, the youngest of the orphans, was the only one who sought protection under Gyomei during the demon attack. She was only four years old at the time. When the demon finally targeted Gyomei and Sayo, despite being a monk who abhorred violence, Gyomei realized that he had to fight back.
Gyomei began to fight the demon with his bare hands, attacking it fiercely with a flurry of punches until the sun rose and the demon was finally defeated. It was a grueling and brutal battle, but Gyomei’s determination to protect Sayo and avenge the other children was the driving force behind his victory.
Gyomei’s prominent scar on his forehead was a result of his battle with a demon during the incident where he defended the only surviving orphan. However, due to most people’s disbelief in the existence of demons, when the demon’s body disintegrated once the sun rose, the surviving child had difficulty explaining the situation to the authorities. She exclaimed, “That man is a monster! Everyone… He.. he killed everyone!” However, since her statement was unclear and without any context, authorities misunderstood and assumed that Gyomei had gone insane and killed all the children himself.
Although Gyomei felt betrayed by the child’s accusation that he was a monster, he attempted to empathize with her and understand her point of view. He recognized that she was likely confused and afraid. While he still hoped for some appreciation for shielding her, this occurrence caused him to question the character of children. In his opinion, children are often selfish, casually cruel, and quick to tell lies. However, he saw something different in Tanjiro, who he believed was pure-hearted and trustworthy. This perception of Tanjiro made him trust him completely, as he saw Tanjiro as an exception to his views on children.
Despite being the one who defeated the demon and saved the last surviving orphan, Gyomei was arrested for murder and was facing execution. However, Ubuyashiki intervened and rescued him, offering him a chance to join the Demon Slayer Corps. Since then, Gyomei has been training tirelessly, pushing his body to the limit, which is why he has become the strongest Hashira.
The most emotional moment in the chapter occurs at the end of the page when it is revealed that Gyomei had misunderstood the situation. Sayo was trying to describe the demon as “the man” and “the monster,” but due to the shock of the incident, she couldn’t articulate properly. As a result, Gyomei believed that she was accusing him of killing the other orphans.
Even now, at the age of 14, Sayo is still haunted by this misunderstanding and feels guilty for unintentionally causing Gyomei to be unfairly persecuted. She wishes she could apologize to him and set the record straight.
Chapter 115 revealed that Sanemi was the eldest among his siblings, which included his younger brother Genya. Their mother, who was described as petite, worked tirelessly day and night while their father, who was large in size, was abusive towards his family and did nothing to support them. Their mother would often shield her children from his attacks, even at the cost of her own well-being.
Eventually, their father was killed by his rival after being stabbed. Genya expressed no remorse for his father’s death and believed that he deserved it. Following this, Sanemi, and Genya took up the responsibility of providing for their family. Things seemed to be improving for a while under the kind and compassionate care of their mother. However, as is typical in the life of demon slayers, their fortunes eventually took a turn for the worse.
Their mother failed to return home on schedule one day. Sanemi set out to find her, while Genya stayed behind to look after the rest of their siblings. In their absence, a demon struck and killed everyone except Genya. Sanemi arrived on the scene and slew the demon, only to discover that it had been their mother all along. Initially, Genya was stunned and could not comprehend what had happened. He even blamed Sanemi for their mother’s death, but later regretted his words.
Chapter 168 portrays Sanemi as someone who was oblivious to the existence of demon slayers and their specialized weaponry. Instead, he would use whatever tools were available to trap and expose demons to sunlight. His methods were rash and dangerous, and he later realized that he might have been subconsciously seeking death.
Luckily, Sanemi possessed a rare blood type called Marechi, which was particularly attractive to demons and allowed him to distract and defeat them more effortlessly. While on a demon hunt, Sanemi encountered Masachika Kumeno, a fellow demon slayer who recruited him into the Demon Slayer Corps. Sanemi and Masachika developed a friendship and shared the goal of becoming a Hashira. They succeeded in defeating a Lower Moon One demon, but Masachika perished in combat, leaving Sanemi to achieve the rank of Hashira alone.
The demise of Masachika sparked anger in Sanemi, and he directed that anger toward Ubuyashiki, believing that he was just issuing orders while others risked their lives. Surprisingly, Ubuyashiki acknowledged the criticism gracefully and apologized. He disclosed that his body was unsuitable for combat and that he had failed miserably in the past due to his physical limitations. Ubuyashiki also expressed sorrow for Masachika’s passing, recognizing that Sanemi and Masachika had a brother-like bond.
Ubuyashiki’s gentle demeanor reminded Sanemi of his mother before she transformed into a demon. Moreover, Ubuyashiki made an effort to learn the names of all the fallen demon slayers, earning Sanemi’s newfound admiration for the leader of the Demon Slayer Corps. Masachika’s death also prompted Sanemi to remember his younger brother, Genya. While Sanemi continued to act as a loose cannon, he gradually became less reckless with his own life as the series progressed.