1. Naming of Akaza/Hakuji (Also known as Upper Moon 3)
When analyzing a character, it’s a good start to look at what their names might imply.
Akaza’s demon name reflects his personality of admiring the strong. On top of that, he escapes to the darkness to avoid the sunlight after his fight with Rengoku (Similar situation: remember the scene in which Nezuko hides inside a cave during daytime?). As one of the Upper Moons, having the meaning of constellations in his name suggests that he is a reliable support/underling of Muzan.
On the other hand, his human name takes up the meaning of protection. This represents his willpower and determination to protect his sick father, fiancé (Koyuki), and master (Keizou). His name also relates to Komainu, the lion dogs that guard Japanese shrines. In fact, Demon Slayer draws a lot of references to Japanese superstitions and religions. Particularly, the strong culture of worshipping Gods and common practice of visiting shrines. For example, the 12 Pillars meet at shrines regularly, and are also seen as protectors of the human race. Here, Gotōge draws a parallel and comparison between Upper Moon 3 and the fellow demon slayers — they all have someone they have to protect.
2. Human Past and Its Influence on Demon Form
The power and personality traits of every demon is a reflection of their human past. Let’s take a look at how Hakuji affects Akaza in terms of his demon techniques.
Koyuki’s (Hakuji’s fiancé) name consists of the meaning of snow. Additionally, she wears 3 snowflake-shaped hairpins. This may be the cause of Akaza’s snowflake-shaped “Technique Deployment”. In fact, snow plays a pivotal role of symbolism in Demon Slayer. Can you recall any other chapters that have snow in it? How about the opposite of snow (Flame Hashira)? What could they mean?
Moreover, many of Akaza’s techniques are named after fireworks. It could be due to his broken promise to Koyuki to see the fireworks together before she passed away. His fighting style also resembles the Soryuu Style Keizou taught him.
3. Religious Implications — Buddhism
If you are a die-hard Demon Slayer fan, you should know Gotōge incorporates a myriad of religious and cultural references into the series.
Akaza mentions that anattā is the “supreme territory” he longs for. This might be the only element he lacks before achieving the 3 Universal Truths of Buddhism. He cannot be “perfect” unless he enters “supreme territory”. Therefore, he praises Tanjiro for being able to erase his existence.
What other Buddhist references can you think of in Demon Slayer? (Hints: Doma (Upper Moon 2), Gyomei Himejima (Stone Pillar), etc.)
4. Appearance and Representation
Akaza’s pink hair and apparel matches the Koyuki’s pink eyes and haori
- Akaza’s haori is not complete — What can it mean?
- Akaza’s white pants resemble part of the Soryuu Style uniform
- Akaza’s Belt and Beads around his ankles is a reference to Japanese superstitions and Buddhism (See no.3)
- Line patterns on Akaza’s body resemble the criminal tattoos he had when he was human (the increase of crimes committed?). It is questionable whether the patterns are similar to the wounds on his body when he was beaten as a human. Can this mean killing actually wounds/hurts Akaza in nature?
5. Why do fans like Akaza so much?
Characterization — Akaza’s Obscured Power
Akaza undergoes strong character development. Aside from the sympathy and mixed emotions infused into the readers’ minds from knowing Akaza’s human past, his abilities and personality traits stand out to win readers’ hearts.
Akaza has EXTRAORDINARY MEMORY. Not only does he praise those he admires, but he also remembers their techniques and words.
The Special Number — 3
- Upper Moon 3
2. Buddhism: 3 Universal Truths
3. 3 most important people: His sick father, Master, and Fiancée
4. Koyuki wears 3 snowflake-shaped hairpins
5. 3 Criminal Tattoos on each of Hakuji’s arms
Can you think of more? What is its significance?
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Disclaimer: Any views and opinions expressed are personal and solely belong to the authors. They are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club organisation, company, individual or anyone or anything.