In this article, you are going to find out why “1000-7” is so important in Ishida’s Tokyo Ghoul and what that phrase actually means. Enjoy!
The meaning of “1000-7” in Tokyo Ghoul explained
During the final chapters of the first part of Tokyo Ghoul, Kaneki betrays Aoigiri Tree and is taken to Jason’s chamber to be tortured. The torture lasted for a total of 10 days and Jason used chemical substances and psychological torture to keep Kaneki alive and conscious during the whole procedure.
At first, Jason used pliers to cut off Kaneki’s toes and fingers like nails. Then he would make Kaneki eat his own toes and fingers so they could regrow – as Kaneki had a strong healing factor – and then he would repeat that. While he was doing it, he demanded Kaneki counted down from 1000 by sevens, the reasons for which are explained in the next section.
Kaneki endured the torture but lost his sanity and the counting (1000-7) was later used as a reference to Kaneki’s insanity. The counting was a symbol of Kaneki reliving the torment of Jason’s torture and going completely insane, as he did when he freed himself from Jason’s chains and attacked his torturer.
Kaneki eventually killed and devoured Jason but as he was doing that, he subjected him to the same pain and made him count from 1000 by sevens, just as Jason did to him. This is an additional confirmation that the counting is a reference to Kaneki’s insanity as he was completely mad when he devoured Jason.
Why did Kaneki count while being tortured by Jason?
Kaneki later explained why he had to count backwards while being tortured by Jason. It was actually an order given to him by his torturer and was, in itself, a method of torture as well:
Yamori (or Jason) ordered Kaneki to count backwards from 1,000 by sevens and to say each of the numbers out loud. Kaneki was initially baffled by Jason’s request but soon realized that is had a very malicious purpose and was a method of psychological torture in addition to the physical one he had been subjected to.
The counting was a way for Kaneki (or any other victim) to stay conscious while Jason tortured him (or them). It is known that people tend to lose consciousness when subjected to unbearable pain but the counting was a way for them to keep conscious, as the focused on the counting and the numbers instead of the pain.
Kaneki admitted that he had relied on the numbers and that it also served as a way of keeping his sanity for as long as possible. Jason knew all of this and he wanted Kaneki to suffer, which is why he made him count.
Does “1000-7” appear later in the story?
After freeing himself from Jason, Kaneki, although seemingly sane, was quite often on the brink of total insanity. The phrase “1000-7” was used once again as a reference to Kaneki’s insanity during the raid on Professor Kanō’s laboratory.
Kaneki was feeding on some artificial ghouls when Shinohara came to the location. At this point, Kaneki was already bordering insanity and was on the brink of another breakdown. Shinohara, one of the CCG’s best investigators, approached to fight him and although he seemed to be better, Kaneki kept recovering, drawing the power from his emerging insanity.
At one point, before launching a final attack on Shinohara, Kaneki – at that point already insane – remembers the torture Jason had put him through (the toes and the centipede), finally asking Shinohara what is 1000 minus 7:
Shinohara remarks that Kaneki is by far the craziest ghoul he has met, after which Kaneki launches a powerful attack at him and seemingly kills him, choosing to devour his armor. Shinohara survived after Amon came and chased Kaneki away, but he was heavily injured from fighting the crazed Kaneki.