The Hashira in Demon Slayer are considered to be the most powerful members of the Demon Slayer Corps. They can use complex Breathing Techniques and are generally considered to be able to defeat most demons, save for Muzan Kibutsuji. Still, although strong, the Hashira were never actually invincible, and throughout the series, their numbers have been reduced from time to time, as some Hashira ended up dying or being killed. In this article, we are going to dig into the organization’s history as we will go back to the Sengoku era and talk about the Hashira of the time.
This article is going to be dedicated to the Sengoku era Hashira. Sadly, we know almost nothing about them; they have been shown in the manga on just one panel, but nothing has been revealed about them whatsoever. This means that we know only two of the Sengoku era Hashira by name, and we will talk about them in this article, as well as give you all the other information we have (and we have almost no information at all) about these characters. The ranking in this article will be quite easy, as we have only two characters to work with.
The Hashira have been around for a long time
The Hashira are the nine strongest and most skilled fighters of the entire Demon Slayer Corps and are considered the most powerful swordsmen among all Demon Slayers. Their existence literally keeps the entire organization running. The Hashira are the highest-ranked Demon Slayers according to their great strength, second only to the leader of the Corps, Kagaya Ubuyashiki, and later Kiriya Ubuyashiki (we’re talking about the current timeline here).
Those Demon Slayers with a lower rank can be killed quite quickly by the Demons, but each Hashira can use a specific Breathing Style taught to them by their master or developed through extreme training.
The Hashira are given a certain territory to patrol to learn more about the demons living there and hone their swordsmanship. Swordsmen who can breathe fire or water have inevitably become Hashira. A Demon Slayer must rank among the best warriors in the whole Demon Slayer Corps to join the Hashira.
There are two well-known ways to demonstrate your eligibility to become a Hashira. Getting a minimum of 50 Demon kills is the first step. The second technique entails the execution of a Demon who belongs to the Twelve Kizuki, a group of twelve powerful Demons directly under Muzan Kibutsuji’s authority.
Any one of these methods requires nearly five years of training to master. However, this strength can be reached in just two years. An especially skilled Demon Slayer might occasionally be chosen as one of Hashira’s appointed successors. They are referred to as Tsuguko. A Demon Slayer must either apply for the post and be accepted or be discovered by a current Hashira to become a Tsuguko.
The organization was present as early as the Sengoku era, and from what we know, the Hashira roster of the time was the strongest one in history. Sadly, we know almost nothing about them, although they have been shown in the manga:
Now, we know that the one in the purple-black kimono, whose back is turned to us, is Michikatsu Tsugikuni, Yoriichi’s brother and the Moon Hashira of the time. Yoriichi, who may or may not be in this panel, was the Sun Hashira, and those are the only two known Sengoku era Hashira. The Hashira in the yellow Kimono could be a former Thunder Hashira, as his Kimono is similar to Zenitsu’s, although they are not related, while the far right one – based on the orange color and the hair – could be the Flame Hashira of the time and he could very well be a member of the Rengoku family, as the Flame Breathing Style is a family heirloom of theirs.
The other ones remain unknown, but based on the history of the Breathing Styles, we can assume that they are the Water Hashira (possibly the one in blue), the Stone Hashira (no clue), and the Wind Hashira (no clue), as those are the three main Breathing Styles derived directly from Yoriichi’s Sun Breathing.
Now that we have told you what we know, we can rank the know Sengoku era Hashira based on their powers and abilities.
The strongest Sengoku era Hashira
As there are, as we have said, only two known Sengoku era Hashira, we had our work cut out for us:
2. Michikatsu Tsugikuni
Michikatsu is definitely weaker than Yoriichi; that much is obvious, but we’re not sure that he was the second strongest Sengoku era Hashira overall, although it could well be that he was. Sadly, we know little of his abilities as a human, as the majority we’ve seen is actually related to his demonic abilities. We know that he was fast and strong and that he was a brilliant swordsman, but we don’t know exactly how powerful he was at the time.
He used the Moon Breathing Style, a derivation of Yoriichi’s Sun Breathing Style, and is the Style’s only known user. We have seen his Breathing Style combined with his Blood Demon Art, which is why we don’t know exactly how powerful it was, although it was stated that it is one of the most dangerous Breathing Styles in history. There are at least sixteen known forms of Moon Breathing that the Demon was able to perfect over the centuries, but it is not known how many he would have been able to come up with without his demonic powers.
1. Yoriichi Tsugikuni
As the strongest Demon Slayer of all time, Yoriichi was the strongest Hashira of the Sengoku era. Yoriichi was an incredibly strong warrior. During his training to become a Demon Slayer, he could already defeat numerous Demons; his brother, Michikatsu, stated that even as a child, Yoriichi could defeat him in his adult age. He remains the only Demon Slayer who defeated Muzan Kibutsuji in a fight, making him flee to save his life; otherwise, Yoriichi would have killed him. He was also able to overpower Kokushibo, the Upper Moon One.
During his fight with his demonized brother, Yoriichi was – despite being old and blind – still able to overpower his brother and slice his throat, nearly killing him, before ultimately succumbing to his own injuries. Kokushibo himself admitted that Yoriichi had been able to land a second blow to his neck before dying. He definitely would have died, even though Yoriichi was old and blind then.
Yoriichi Tsugikuni was exceptionally fast, especially for a human. This was demonstrated during his fight with Muzan, where he could counter all of his demonic abilities and overpower him with relative ease. Also, as we have said above, well into his 80s and completely blind, Yoriichi could slice Kokushibo’s throat so quickly that Kokushibo did not see it and wasn’t even able to draw his sword before almost being killed.
Yoriichi had no regeneration skills as he was a regular human. But, as far as it is known, he was so skilled that not one of his opponents actually managed to injure him. This was seen in his fight against Muzan and against Kokushibo; Kokushibo managed to hit him only after he had died, i.e., he managed to attack his corpse. On top of that, his resistance was proven when he managed to live well into his 80s, even though bearers of the Demon Slayer Mark died at the age of 25.
Yoriichi developed the original Sun Breathing Style that was later used by Sumiyoshi, who gave it the name Hinokami Kagura. Yoriichi was an expert at Sun Breathing, easily defeating demons and even overpowering Muzan, the Demon King, as well as the strongest Upper Rank. Yoriichi is known as the most skilled swordsman in the history of Demon Slayer. Even while he was still a child that had absolutely no training, the first time he took a katana in his hand, he was able to defeat an experienced swordsman in a fight, landing several quick blows all over his body; the blows were so quick that no one was able to perceive them properly.