Demon Slayer: The Meaning Behind the Numbers in the Eyes of the Twelve Kizuki

Demon Slayer: The Meaning Behind the Numbers in the Eyes of the Twelve Kizuki (Explained)
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In the world of Demon Slayer, the Twelve Kizuki were an organization made up of a group of twelve Demons who pursued the goal of finding the Blue Spider Lily. The organization was created and led by Muzan Kibutsuji; the demons that composed it were under the control of Muzan, and he was in charge of giving them a considerable portion of his blood as a reward for following his orders. They consist of the Upper Demons and Lower Demons, each having a number and an additional distinction in their eyes. In this article, we will explain the meaning of these kanji symbols.

Each member of the Twelve Kizuki, whether they are an Upper or a Lower Rank, have a number in one of their eyes and the rank distinction (Upper or Lower) in their other eye, although they are not always seen. The rank symbols are the kanji symbols for Jōgen (Upper) and Kagen (Lower Rank). The numbers are old today, mostly obsolete kanji symbols for Japanese numerals that were used at the time.

The rest of this article will elaborate further on what we have said above. We will explain the hierarchical structure of the Twelve Kizuki, the meaning of the ranks, and the numbers for each member of the group. This will be your ultimate guide to the symbolism behind the numbers in the eyes of the Twelve Kizuki.

The Twelve Kizuki have a fixed hierarchy

The Twelve Kizuki were divided into two groups, the Upper Ranks  (Japanese: じょうげんJōgen) and the Lower Ranks (Japanese: げんKagen). Their main characteristic was the number that identifies them as one of the Twelve Kizuki, which was printed in their eyes; one in the case of the Lower Ranks and two in the eyes of the Upper Ranks.

The demon moons’ power scale was determined by the number they possessed; the lower the number, the more powerful the demon was. However, the scale of power was divided in such a way that the six Lower Ranks were the weakest of all, while the Upper Ranks were the strongest.

When Muzan decided that a Demon was no longer useful to him as part of the group, he cut out their eyes where the Kanji symbolizing their rank was located with an X above the digit, symbolizing that they no longer belonged to the group. The only example seen in the series is Kyōgai, who, according to Muzan, reached his “limit” by not increasing his power despite devouring as many humans as he could.

That implied that Kyōgai lost his appetite and, with it, his ability to evolve by eating humans in order to strengthen himself. With it, Kyōgai lost the possibility of remaining in Muzan’s organization by losing his position as the Lower Rank Six. Those members who wished to rise in rank had to challenge their target to a duel and defeat him since that was the only way to their position in the hierarchy; this was called a blood battle, as Kokushibo revealed when he dared Akaza to challenge Doma and himself if he wanted to become better.

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All 3 Upper Rank Demons That Tanjirō Killed (Ranked)

As we have said, each member of the Twelve Kizuki has a symbol in their eyes which symbolizes their rank and number within the group. The numbers were descended from six to one in each of the two subgroups. But, if you know the kanji symbols for Japanese numerals, you might be confused as most of the numbers in the eyes of the Kizuki will be unknown to you. We have explained and shown you the rank symbols (see above), but the numbers are still a mystery. Let us take a look at them:

  • Upper Rank 1 = 壱 上弦
  • Upper Rank 2 = 弐 上弦
  • Upper Rank 3 = 参 上弦
  • Upper Rank 4 = 肆 上弦
  • Upper Rank 5 = 伍 上弦
  • Upper Rank 6 = 陸 上弦
  • Lower Rank 1 = 下壱
  • Lower Rank 2 = 下弐
  • Lower Rank 3 = 下参
  • Lower Rank 4 = 下肆
  • Lower Rank 5 = 下伍
  • Lower Rank 6 = 下陸

As you can see, the numbers are quite different from the usual Japanese numerals known to most people. But these are still numbers. They have the exact same meaning, but the kanji used are older kanji that were historically in use. They can still be found in modern-day Japan but are mostly obsolete and very rarely used. Younger people might recognize them, but rarely anyone actually uses them today. Now that we have explained it allow us to briefly introduce the Kizuki, as well as their ranks and numbers:

Upper Rank 1 (壱 上弦): Kokushibō

Kokushibo Anime

Kokushibō is the Upper-Rank One. A former Demon Slayer, he was Yoriichi’s brother, Michikatsu Tsugikuni. Frightfully jealous of his brother, he became a Demon because Muzan wanted a Demon Slayer among his ranks.

Upper Rank 2 (弐 上弦): Dōma

Doma asks Muzan whether he has ever disappointed him

Doma was the Upper-Rank Two during the plot of the manga, although he was a former Upper-Rank Six who rose through the ranks after transforming Gyūtarō and Daki into Demons. He was a ruthless being who liked bloodshed and was the leader of a morbid cult.

Upper Rank 3 (参 上弦): Akaza

Akaza proclaims that Kyojuro must become a demon

Akaza was the Upper-Rank Three. He was loyal to Muzan but had a very servile attitude to his role as a Demon. He despised Dōma and Kokushibō and wanted to surpass them. He was an excellent fighter.

Upper Rank 4 (肆 上弦): Nakime

Nakime colored profile

A demon tasked with controlling the Infinity Castle that Kibutsuji made his base of operations. Nakime is later promoted to the Upper-Rank Four after Hantengu’s death. She was once a struggling musician who developed a disturbing habit of murdering before a performance, as she associated her murder with applause. She ended up meeting Kibutsuji when she tried to kill him.

Nakime confronts Mitsuri and Obanai until she is pinned down by Yushiro, leading Muzan to kill her to prevent her enemies from taking control of the Castle.

Upper Rank 4 (肆 上弦): Hantengu (former)

Hantengu despairs at how long its been since the Upper Ranks were summoned

A seemingly weak demon who holds the position of the Upper Moon Four, Hantengu shows his true strength by splitting into multiple incarnations, each with different appearances, personalities, and abilities. Tanjirō kills him but lives long enough to inform Muzan of Nezuko’s new resistance to sunlight, much to the joy of his master.

Upper Rank 5 (伍 上弦): Gyokko

Gyokko 29

A demon with a distorted appearance that always nestles in a jar that he holds in the position of the Upper-Rank Five. Gyokko has a habit of twisting the bodies of his victims while they are still alive, turning them into living, grotesque sculptures. He is killed by Muichiro.

Upper Rank 6 (陸 上弦): Kaigaku

Kaigaku Upper Rank profile

Kaigaku became the Upper-Rank Six by replacing Daki and Gyūtarō when they died. A former Demon Slayer, he was Jigoro Kuwajima’s eldest disciple before becoming a Demon. Like Zenitsu, he struggled to control the Thunder Breathing Style and failed to perform the first movement, although he was a better disciple than him.

RELATED:

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Upper Rank 6 (陸 上弦): Daki and Gyūtarō (former)

Daki was a demon disguised as an oiran who shared the position of Upper-Rank Six with her brother Gyūtarō. Both use their work in the Entertainment District to attract victims. Zenitsu and Inosuke killed her. Gyūtarō is a demon with a horrible appearance who always watches over Daki. Tengen and Tanjirō kill him.

Lower Rank 1 (下壱): Enmu

Enmu upclose

A sadistic demon holding the position of the Lower Rank One, he is very devoted to Muzan. His Blood Demon Art allows him to enter and manipulate a person’s dream so that he can kill them. Being the only Lower Rank that Muzan did not kill after murdering the others, Enmu is given the task of killing a Hashira and Tanjirō.

Lower Rank 1 (下壱): Ubume (former)

Ubume, formerly known as Yae, was a female Demon who appeared as the primary antagonist in the third light novel, Kimetsu no Yaiba: Signs from the Wind. She was the former Lower Rank One.

Lower Rank 2 (下弐): Rokuro

Rokuro

It was a demon who held the position of the Lower Rank Two. He was killed by Muzan, along with the other Lower Ranks, after he asked him to donate some of his blood to make him stronger.

Lower Rank 2 (下弐): Hairō (fomer)

Hairo body

Hairo is a former Demon introduced in Kyojuro Rengoku’s Story. He was the former Lower Rank Two and was known for sporting a gun, which was a rare trait in the world of Demons.

Lower Rank 3 (下参): Wakuraba

Wakuraba called in the Dimentional Infinity Fortress

Wakuraba was a demon who held the position of the Lower Rank Three. He was killed by Muzan when he tried to escape from Muzan’s Infinity Castle.

Lower Rank 4 (下肆): Mukago

Mukago bowing to Muzan

She was a female demon who held the position of the Lower Rank Four. She was killed by Muzan, along with the Lower Ranks, in his Infinity Castle

Lower Rank 5 (下伍): Rui

Rui revealing his rank

Rui was the former Lower Rank Five. He appears to be a small boy and lives on Mount Natagumo with other Spider Demons, which he transformed using his own blood, assigning each a substitute role in his “family,” of which he is the “younger brother.”

Lower Rank 6 (下陸): Kamanue

Kamanue called in the Dimentional Infinity Fortress

He was a demon who held the position of the Lower Rank Six. Shortly after assuming this role, he was killed by Muzan in his Infinity Castle.

RELATED:

How Did Muzan Become a Demon in ‘Demon Slayer’?

Lower Rank 6 (下陸): Kyōgai (former)

The former Lower Rank Six, was stripped of his number by Muzan for slowly losing his ability to eat Humans and reaching his “limit.” He is the first member of the Twelve Kizuki whose blood Tanjirō collects on Tamayo’s behalf.

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