‘Demon Slayer’: What Is the “Mu” in Muichirō? The Mist Hashira’s Name Explained!

Demon Slayer: What is the "Mu" in Muichirō? The Mist Hashira's Name Explained!

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When discussing Demon Slayer, one usually talks about the demon slayers themselves or the demons. And while the series has offered us a variety of other intriguing characters, we will talk about one specific Demon Slayer – Muichirō Tokitō, the Mist Hashira. In this specific article, we will tell you everything you need to know about Muichirō, his story, and his career in the Demon Slayer Corps. Muichirō Tokitō is one of the principal characters in the third season of Demon Slayer, and in this article, we are going to discuss a seemingly irrelevant detail, but a detail that played a large part in the most recent episodes of the anime, as it revealed a lot about Muichirō and his backstory. Namely, in this article, you are going to find out the meaning behind his name.

Muichiro’s name is spelled 無一郎, using Kanji, and it would literally mean the (one) infinite boy. He has a name similar to his brother, but the first Kanji makes the difference. In the manga and the anime, a reminiscence of his reveals that his brother, while dying, told him that the “Mu” in his name actually comes from “mugen,” which means “infinity.”

The rest of this article will be divided into two separate sections. The first one is going to explain the meaning of Muichirō Tokitō’s name and the whole etymology, while the latter is going to reveal how we actually found that out and why this element was important for the story in the first place. Some mild spoilers might be present, so be careful how you approach the article.

The meaning of the name “Muichirō”

The Mist Hashira of the Demon Slayer Corps is named Muichirō Tokitō, which is a fact that every fan of the series knows. But, while Japanese names usually do have some deeper meanings, fans aren’t usually concerned with that beyond the fact that it is interesting trivia.

But, in the case of Muichirō Tokitō, the name has proven to be an important narrative element. This is why we must consider the original Japanese meaning to fully understand it. So, first of all, we have to state that the full name is, in Japanese, written as 無一郎時透. The name, Muichirō, is written as 無一郎, while the last name, Tokitō, is written as 時透. Now, let us analyze the symbols themselves:

  1. 無 – this Kanji is read as ‘mu’ and means ‘nothing,’ ‘no,’ ‘none,’ and the like (it is best known as part of the phrase 無限, mugen, which means infinity or, literally, no limits).
  2. 一 – this Kanji is read as ‘ichi’ and means ‘one’ (the number).
  3. 郎 – this Kanji is read as ‘rō,’ and it doesn’t really have a meaning of its own usually (it actually means son, but there is a different term for that in Japanese), but it is a very common suffix at the end of male names in Japan.
  4. 時 – this Kanji is read ‘toki’ and means time.
  5. 透 – this final Kanji is read ‘tō’ and means ‘transparent’ or ‘passable.’

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To fully understand the meaning, we have to explain the names and how the Kanji are grouped together. In the case of his name, 無一郎, the Kanji would literally mean something along the lines of “the (one) infinite boy.” 無一 (muichi) literally means “not one,” but since we know that the “mu” is, in this case, just a shortened version of “mugen,” we actually know that it refers to the term “infinity.” 一 always means one, but since 一郎 (ichirō) is a name commonly found in Japan, we actually think that the name should be combined as 無(限)+一郎, i.e., infinite Ichirō, and since 一郎 would literally mean “one boy,” we think that his name can be translated as “the (one) infinite boy.”

This was actually confirmed in the manga, during a flashback, when we hear Muichirō’s older twin say that his name actually means “infinity.”

As for the last name, 時透 is rather simple to translater, as it literally means “transparent time” or “passable time.” Knowing how foggy Muichirō’s mind was due to his trauma-induced amnesia, the last name is quite befitting, and we have to praise the author for giving this a symbolic value.

The meaning of Muichirō’s name was confirmed by his dying brother

Now that you know the meaning of the name itself, we can tell you how the story evolved related to the name and why it is important for the plot. To explain everything, we have to go back to the history of the Tokitō family.

Muichirō and his elder twin, Yūichirō, were born into a family of lumberjacks. Their mother developed a serious illness when they were ten years old. She finally had bronchitis, and she passed away in her bed. Before that, their father had been very concerned about his wife’s health.

As a result, he searched for medications and other medical assistance despite the winter, but he died on the way to the village after falling from a cliff. The Tokit twins were left orphaned as a result, and without any family to look after them, they were left to fend for themselves.

When spring came, Kagai Ubuyashiki’s wife Amane found them and invited them to join the Demon Slayer Corps, observing their potential in them. Muichirō was excited and accepted the offer, but his brother was not. In fact, he was quite mean in rejecting Amane. In a fit of rage, Yūichirō even blamed his parents’ overworking and benevolent nature for their deaths, pointing out that they should have made all decisions with a cold head.

Muichirō failed to convince his brother to join the organization. Amane never stopped visiting the twins, but every time Yūichirō chased her away. And this ritual repeated for some time. Muichirō did not fully understand such behavior, but he followed it, probably due to his gentle nature.

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The twins were attacked by a demon at their home at the start of the summer when they were eleven years old. To protect his younger sibling, Yūichirō confronted the Demon and attacked it, but in the process of doing so, he lost his left arm. As a result, Muichirō became furious and attacked the demon in the street, beating him to death with anything he could find in his possession, including various tools and logs. It was a truly gruesome scene.

When the sun rose in the morning, the Demon disappeared because the sunlight killed it, and Muichirō managed to drag himself back to their home. When he arrived home, he saw his brother, covered in blood and on the verge of death, praying for Muichirō’s life. While dying, Yūichirō talked about how good his brother was, who wanted to help others, and that he only got in the way under his feet.

Muichirō took his hand, but Yūichirō was already slowly dying and finally stopped breathing at the end But, before he actually died, he revealed to him the meaning of his name, the meaning of the “mu” in Muichirō, which we have explained above. The twins were later found by Amane and her daughters, who then took Muichirō to their place to heal him.

After the incident, he lost most of his memories and started working as a Demon Slayer for the Demon Slayer Corps, subjecting himself to intense and rigorous training.

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This story was actually shown in a flashback scene while Muichirō was trapped in Gyokko’s Water Prison Pot before being released from it with Kotetsu’s help. This scene was pivotal, especially the ending, as it helped Muichirō recover his memories and the strength to fight Gyokko, as well as the energy to finally activate his Demon Slayer Mark, which was a pivotal moment in the story and the battle against Gyokko.

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