Demon Slayer: Who Is Gen’ya’s Older Brother? Meet Sanemi Shinazugawa!
When one decides to talk about Demon Slayer, one usually talks about the demon slayers themselves or the demons, despite the fact the series has offered us a variety of other intriguing characters. And while we usually write about one character in one article, this article is going to be dedicated to the story of Sanemi Shinazugawa, part of whose story is actually revealed in the third season of the Demon Slayer anime. Sanemi Shinazugawa is a secondary character with an important role in the story; his actions in the past have been explored in the recent episode of the anime, and that is why we are writing about them now. The article will reveal everything you need to know about Sanemi and his role in the story so far.
Sanemi Shinazugawa is a supporting character in the Demon Slayer manga, anime, and the current Wind Hashira of the Demon Slayer Corps. He is also the older brother of Gen’ya Shinazugawa, with whom he is not on speaking terms due to an event from their past. He is an aggressive and somewhat psychotic person but is extremely loyal and reliable. He survives the events of the series and the fight against Muzan.
The rest of this article will focus on Sanemi Shinazugawa’s story and history in the Demon Slayer lore, as well as his role in the story and his influence on the plot. Sanemi Shinazugawa might be a supporting character, but he is nevertheless a very important one, especially about Gen’ya, which is why we will tell you everything you need to know, especially about his family history and his relationship with his brother. Be careful, though, as the article will be filled with spoilers.
Sanemi Shinazugawa had a difficult personality, but he always knew where his loyalties were
Sanemi Shinazugawa was the Wind Hashira of the Demon Slayer Corps. He is Gen’ya’s older brother, with a violent and brutal personality hiding inside a scarred body. As he was the one who was most openly opposed to accepting the Kamado siblings in the ranks of the Demon Slayer Corps, he takes the initiative to tempt Nezuko by brutally wounding her with the blade of his Nichirin Sword — while she is helpless in her box — then slashing himself with his own weapon to induce her demonic hunger with his special blood and demonstrate that she would only be a devourer of humans like the others.
Tanjirō impressed the Hashira by standing up to him to protect his sister (while he had his hands tied behind his back and on the ground), taking advantage of the situation to break free using one of his masterful headbutts.
Beyond his strong and intractable character and his outbursts, he seems to carry as much weight as the others in decisions. Also, he knows how to show reverence and respect towards someone: their superior, Ubuyashiki. But, there is quite a tragic story hidden behind this scarred boy and his lack of contact with his brother (namely, Sanemi openly states that he has no brother, despite Gen’ya trying to approach him).
Sanemi was born as the oldest child in a family of seven children. His parents were Shizu, a caring and hard-working mother, and Kyōgo, a vile and abusive father everyone hated. And while he had a lot of siblings, including the second-oldest Gen’ya, their lives weren’t all that happy and cheerful.
The family had a brief period of tranquility after their father, who was actually hated in their village as well, not just in their household, was, at one point, killed by an unknown person, an unnamed rival. Their mother continued to work hard to support her children, and she would be working throughout the day, coming back home every night at the same time. Sanemi and Gen’ya took care of their younger siblings in the meantime.
Their harsh reality was poor, but it was not horrible, as – at least – they had each other. But everything changed one night when their mother did not arrive home as usual. As the oldest among them, Sanemi decided to look for her, while Gen’ya remained with the remaining siblings, telling them that Shizu and Sanemi would soon return.
While Sanemi was looking for their mother, a loud bang was heard on the house door, where Gen’ya remained with the other siblings. When they heard the bang, his younger siblings ran towards the door, hoping it was their mother, but they were horribly wrong, as everyone would soon realize.
Namely, just as they approached the door, happily, they were struck down and killed by a dark figure who also injured Gen’ya during the same attack. The figure entered and wanted to finish the job, but before the figure could do what it had intended, Sanemi Shinazugawa appeared, tackled it, and pushed it out of the window into the streets so he could protect his siblings.
As Sanemi was fighting the creature outside, Gen’ya was the only surviving sibling. Although he did not know then that the younger siblings were already dead, he still wanted to do everything he could to help them. Gathering his strength, Gen’ya went outside to find a doctor for the injured children but stopped when he saw Sanemi with a knife above the figure that attacked them; at that moment, he realized that the figure was their mother’s corpse.
Namely, their mother had been turned into a Demon and then decided to go back home to eat her own children (as children are a potent nutrient for Demons). Sanemi attacked her in order to protect his siblings, and while fighting her, he killed her in self-defense. Gen’ya arrived when everything was done, so all he was was a scene with his brother holding a knife in his hand, with their dead mother beneath him. Gen’ya did not know the whole story behind the scene, so he accused his brother of being a murderer, creating a rift between them that lasted until the final battle against Kokushibō when Gen’ya died.
Gen’ya did not know then that their mother was turned into a Demon and that Sanemi had to kill her in self-defense; when he found out the truth, he tried to apologize to Sanemi, but he would not listen.
Sanemi left the family and joined the Demon Slayer Corps. Later, Gen’ya also decides to become a Demon Slayer, so he is closer to his brother, who still rejects him. Sanemi played a larger role in the Hashira Training Arc, where he quarreled with numerous other Demon Slayers and held a sword-fighting exercise during which he also engaged Tanjirō.
He was later approached by Gen’ya, who tried to apologize, but Sanemi was ruthless to him, telling him to go away and leave the Corps, even threatening to kill him; he also belittled him for his inability to use any breathing styles to which Gen’ya revealed to him that he could consume demonic flesh and that that was his special power.
This confession angered Sanemi so much that he attacked Gen’ya immediately, but the boy was saved by Tanjirō, who entered into a bitter quarrel with Sanemi. The quarrel was interrupted, and Tanjirō was later scolded and forbidden to approach Sanemi, but his intervention also saved Gen’ya.
Sanemi once again appeared during the final battles against Muzan and his Demons, as he participated in the final battle against Kokushibō, the Upper-Rank One, along with Himejima, Tokitō, and his brother Gen’ya. He saved Gen’ya and helped defeat the powerful Demon, ultimately surviving the battle, along with Gyōmei, although he was forced to witness the deaths of both Muichirō and Gen’ya. It was then that he reconciled with his dying brother, which was a heartbreaking moment in the story.
He later joined the others in fighting Muzan and was able to survive that battle as well, being one of only two active Hashira who survived the story (the other was Tomioka, while Uzui, Rengoku, and Urokodaki were retired at the time).