Learn Japanese with Demon Slayer: 四字熟語「喜怒哀楽」


When you watch the anime Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, you sometimes see Japanese characters and you might wonder what the characters mean. Especially in the Swordsmith Village Arc, Upper Four Demon “Hantengu (半天狗)” splits into multiple demons and different Kanji characters, which together make a Japanese idiom, are written on their tongues. This article explains 四字熟語 「喜怒哀楽 (Ki do ai raku)」from Swordsmith Village Arc.

This article is intended for those who

>are learning Japanese language or interested in Kanji characters.
>want to know the meanings of Japanese characters which appear in the anime Demon Slayer.

Upper Four Demon: Hantengu

The Swordsmith Village, where swords are made and repaired, is a crucial point of the Demon Slayers Corp and it is hidden and protected from the attack of demons. However, Upper Five Demon Gyokko (玉壺) finds out the hidden village somehow and Muzan Kibutsuji dispatch him together with Upper Four Demon Hantengu (半天狗) and the village faces a big crisis. 

A Japanese idiom consisting of four characters called “Yojijukugo (四字熟語)” is hidden in the Blood Demon Art of Hantengu. The skill of Hantengu is splitting. Usually the demon slayers kill demons by slicing off their head. But Hantengu split into two, when his head was sliced. A new body was generated from the sliced head and a new head was regenerated from the body.
When the Mist Hashira Muichiro Tokito sliced the head of Hantengu, he split into the demon of anger “Sekido (積怒)” and the demon of joy “Karaku (可楽)“. When Genya Shinazugawa sliced their heads, the demon of sadness “Aizetsu (哀絶)” came out from Sekido (積怒) and the demon of pleasure “Urogi (空喜)” came out from “Karaku (可楽)”. These four demons together makes a Japanese idiom “喜怒哀楽 (Ki do ai raku)“.

The Meaning of 喜怒哀楽

The meaning of each Kanji character is as follows:


“喜怒哀楽 (Ki do ai raku)” written as one word means various emotions of humans.

Skill of the demons of 喜怒哀楽 (Ki do ai raku)

The demons split into four from Hantengu have four different skills.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Comic Vol.13, Chapter 108
  • Character on the tongue: 喜 (Joy)
  • Name: Urogi (空喜)
  • Skill: Flying, ultrasound
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Comic Vol.13, Chapter 109
  • Character on the tongue: 怒 (Anger)
  • Name: Sekido (積怒)
  • Skill: Thunder
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Comic Vol.14, Chapter 116
  • Character on the tongue: 哀 (Pathos)
  • Name: Aizetsu (哀絶)
  • Skill: Spear
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Comic Vol.13, Chapter 108
  • Character on the tongue: 楽 (Fun)
  • Name: Karaku (可楽)
  • Skill: Fan made from a big leaf

Other Kanji Characters related to Hantengu

When Tanjiro was about to slice off the head of Hantengu, Sekido (積怒) absorbed Urogi (空喜), Karaku (可楽), and Aizetsu (哀絶) and transformed to a demon with drums on his back whose name is Zohakuten (憎珀天). On the drum we see Kanji character “” which means hatred.

When Hantengu looks or pretends to be scared, a Kanji character “ is on his tongue and it means being scared or being frightened.

When Tanjiro slices off the head of Hantengu, the Kanji character on his tongue “” change to “” which means grudge.

Y’s Crow
Y’s Crow

Hantengu is a demon of emotions and when his life is at risk, he gets stronger. Keep going Muichiro, Mitsuri, Tanjiro, Nezuko and Genya!

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