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. One of these ”other” characters is going to be the topic of this article as we are going to tell you a bit about Sumiyoshi, a character who will seemingly play a big role in Tanjiro’s life if the first episode of Season 3 is to be trusted. Sumiyoshi is a secondary character but a character with an important role in the story, which is why we are going to tell you everything you need to know about him in this article.
Sumiyoshi is a distant ancestor of Tanjiro and the whole Kamado family. He lived at the same time as Yoriichi, who was his close friend. He had a wife and a daughter, Sumire, and while it is not known how exactly he is related to Tanjiro and his father, it has been confirmed that they are directly related and that Sumiyoshi started the tradition of passing down the Hinokami Kagura within the Kamado family. That is also why he looks a lot like Tanjiro.
The rest of this article will focus on Sumiyoshi and his role in the story, history, family, and influence on the plot. Sumiyoshi might be a historical supporting character, but he is nevertheless a very important one, which is why we will tell you everything you need to know. Be careful, though, as the article will be filled with spoilers.
Sumiyoshi is very important for Tanjiro
The first episode of the third season of Demon Slayer revealed a scene in which a man, looking very similar to Tanjiro, is greeting a then-unknown man in his house, apologizing that his wife and his child are asleep. The man tells him not to worry and adds that he should not be taking free food from him, but the man resembling Tanjiro rejects that; he adds that the unknown man saved him and his family and that he is, thus, always welcome in his house.
In the end, he adds that he will pass down the guest’s story to all later generations, as the guest himself has no children, stating that he will do so even if he is a simple coal burner. The gest tells him that he is special and that he should not think of himself that way, which is what Tanjiro, who doesn’t really belong there, also tells him.
At that moment, the scene disappears, and we see a shocked and bandaged Tanjiro waking up from his dream after two months of sleep and rest. The man in the dream was Sumiyoshi, a distant ancestor of Tanjiro and his family, while the guest was Yoriichi Tsugikuni, the first and most powerful Demon Slayer in history. This is how and when it was revealed that the Kamado family is connected to Yoriichi Tsugikuni, but also that it is not related, as it has been asked – often – whether Tanjiro and Yoriichi are actually relatives. They are not, but there is a close bond between Tanjiro’s family and Yoriichi.
Demon Slayer fans will know that Yoriichi Tsugikuni considered Sumiyoshi to be his only true friend. After his banishment, Yoriichi went to Sumiyoshi’s to enjoy their company and because he needed someone to talk to. Yoriichi got unhappy as he reflected on the misfortunes that had befallen him and expressed remorse for having left Muzan alive when they first met, as well as the countless deaths that would occur.
Sumire, Sumiyoshi’s daughter, walks up at that very moment and asks him for a hug; encouraged by Sumiyoshi, he picks her up, making her laugh and scream in delight, forcing him to start crying and then kiss her. Soon later, Sumiyoshi’s wife, Suyako, consoles him while providing supper.
Suyako would have Yoriichi play the Hinokami Kagura for the Kamado family when he was visiting with them. He did it delicately, moving with such delicacy that he was more often compared to a Shinto than a person. Sumiyoshi carefully observed these performances and memorized them. Yoriichi handed Sumiyoshi his own Hanafuda earrings on his final visit, although indicating he could come to visit them whenever he wanted to. Sumiyoshi and Suyako immediately knew that was their final encounter.
Sumiyoshi screamed out to Yoriichi as he walked away, asking him to stop calling himself a useless man, overcome with anguish at the knowledge. He recalled having safeguarded them and committed to passing down the Hinokami Kagura dance’s forms to his offspring (which he ultimately did). You can probably understand how all of this is, at the moment, connected to Tanjuro and Tanjiro Kamado.
As we have established that Sumiyoshi is an ancestor of the Kamado family, it only makes sense that he plays an important role in Tanjiro’s history. This is best observed in relation to the Hinokami Kagura, the dance that embodies the Sun Breathing Style, the only Breathing Style able to defeat Muzan and the first Breathing Style ever. Yoriichi saved Sumiyoshi, presumably from a Demon, and the two became very close friends, so close, in fact, that Yoriichi considered Sumiyoshi to be his only true friend. And that is why Sumiyoshi is so important to Tanjiro, and that is why Tanjiro’s dream was structured in its way and why it was important enough for us to talk about it.
Sumiyoshi looks like Tanjiro because they are related
So, the reason why Sumiyoshi actually looks almost exactly like Tanjiro is that they are related. Fans might have been confused because the two look more similar than Tanjiro and his dad, but that was, we assume, intentional on the part of the author, and we assume that the author wanted to confuse the readers intentionally. But yes, the reason is quite simple and logical since the two of them are distant relatives.