The second season of Jujutsu Kaisen has just started with Gojo’s Past Arc. The whole season and this small “flashback arc” are highly entertaining, and we look forward to more episodes as they come. But, while this flashback story might seem like a digression from the main plot, it actually has a lot of connections to the main narrative, and one of the main points that connect the main story with this flashback arc is Master Tengen, a seemingly powerful entity who had been mentioned earlier, but has – for the first time – become a prominent character in the series. Although we won’t see him yet, we have nevertheless decided to tell you a bit about him in this article.
Master Tengen, referred to as ‘they’ by the characters, are a powerful jujutsu sorcerer whose special ability, Immortality, grants them eternal life. Master Tengen are a supporting character and are not a villain, but they have the potential to become a villain if their evolution goes wrong. They are kept inside their chamber, the Tombs of the Star Corridor, from where they use their powers to reinforce the barriers of the jujutsu world and thus maintain balance in the world. They are one of the most powerful characters in the series, especially in terms of creating barriers.
As we have said, this article will focus on Master Tengen, the new secondary character who will be a background focus of the Gojo’s Part Arc. We will bring you all the known information about this entity and tell you how powerful they are and their exact role in the lore. Be careful, though, as we must inform you that this article will contain many spoilers from the manga, so you have to decide for yourselves how you want to approach it.
Master Tengen has been there this whole time, but he is a background character whom we are going to see much later in the series
Tengen, better known as Master Tengen, and referred to as ‘they’ in the series, are one of the supporting characters in the Jujutsu Kaisen manga series. They are an immortal shaman who remains sheltered in the Tombs of the Star Corridor at the Tokyo Metropolitan Curse Technical College.
They possess a cursed technique that grants them immortality and allows them to strengthen the barriers of jujutsu colleges. Every 500 years, they must change their body since their technique does not prevent aging. Other than using their barriers, Tengen does not alter the basic tenets of reality.
The story of Master Tengen dates way back to the Nara period (8th century) and is associated with a female jujutsu sorcerer known as Tengen. At the time, Tengen began spreading her teachings in Japan, and it is generally thought that her Buddhist teachings would become the foundation of the jujutsu society.
Now, a group of religious followers formed a cult around the sorcerer, and with that, the Time Vessel Association was founded. The organization has maintained its monotheistic ideals until modern times and has since become a wealthy religious organization.
They are, interestingly enough, non-curse users but are highly knowledgeable about the jujutsu society, and due to their wealth and influence, they are an extremely powerful enemy. The Time Vessel Association is one of the two antagonist groups in the Gojo’s Past Arc (along with Q), but the two of them have opposing goals.
Now, the rest of Tengen’s history is unknown, and while Master Tengen, in their current physical form, will debut in Chapter 144 and will serve as an ally of the protagonists, we won’t be focusing on that part of the story, but rather on why Master Tengen are so important for the Gojo’s Past Arc.
Namely, as we’ve said, Master Tengen are a secondary character in this arc, and from that perspective, they are more an object than a subject in the plot. Two organizations are fighting over Master Tengen, while the jujutsu sorcerers have a duty to maintain the balance of their world and the barriers that Master Tengen are maintaining. So, why are Master Tengen so dangerous?
In the second half of the first episode of Jujutsu Kaisen‘s second season, professor Masamachi Yaga talks to Geto, Gojo, and Ieiri about Master Tengen and their ability. He mentions that Tengen, who are keeping everything in balance, have a strange ability called Immortality that allows them to, basically, live forever, but it is a process.
Namely, each time after a certain number of years have passed (500 years, to be precise), Master Tengen will try to change bodies, i.e., find a new vessel. Namely, Tengen’s power allows them to live indefinitely, but their physical bodies deteriorate, albeit slower than a regular human body, which is why Master Tengen needs to change their body every 500 years in order to avoid a process called evolution.
But where’s the catch in that? This is, by the way, the exact same question that Gojo asked when he first heard the story, as he saw nothing wrong with Master Tengen evolving.
But, he soon got his answer. Namely, if Master Tengen do, indeed, change bodies by themselves, they will evolve and will enter a higher state of existence, which wouldn’t be an issue per se, but as all will, and reason are lost in that new state, Master Tengen would stop being Master Tengen at that point.
They would become a completely new entity in that state, and with that, all of the balance that he managed to maintain could potentially disappear, and everything could be ruined. On top of that, there is a possibility that Master Tengen could become an enemy of humanity. So, to stop that, every once in a while, Master Tengen needs to merge with a compatible body known as the Star Plasma Vessel so that the process can be stopped.
After merging with the said body, that body’s information is rewritten, and there is a sort of refreshment there which also leads to a restart of the cursed technique as well. This is why the Star Plasma Vessel is so important and why it is essential for Master Tengen to actually maintain its current form.
They are simply too powerful, and while evolution wouldn’t necessarily lead to Tengen becoming an enemy of humanity, it is a chance that they could simply not take. Master Tengen were exceptionally powerful, and the danger of them becoming an enemy was simply too great.
As we’ve said, we won’t be revealing too many later details, but you have to know here that Master Tengen managed to stabilize themselves at some point and that they will be making an appearance, personally, later in the manga, where they will show that they are actually an ally of humanity and that they themselves do not wish to become evil; there will be the danger of Kenjaku manipulating them, but this has been averted so far, and the focus was later shifted to the fight between Gojo and Sukuna.
As you can see, Master Tengen have an important role in the story because of their power, but they remain a supporting character and are, for now, an ally of the protagonists.