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‘Demon Slayer’: Tanjiro’s Hanafuda Earrings and Their Meaning

Tanjiro and his iconic earrings

One of the trademark accessories that Demon Slayer fans will recognize are the design of Tanjiro Kamado’s earrings. While the earring represent a card game popular in Japan, there have been some controversy over the design.

Tanjiro wears hanafuda earrings that have the image of the rising sun over a mountain.

According to Wikipedia, Hanafuda means “flower cards” in Japanese and are a style of Japanese playing cards that are smaller, but they tend to be stiffer and thicker than Western playing cards. Playing cards were brought to the country by the Portuguese in the mid-16th century. However, when Japan cut off contact with the West in 1633, foreign playing cards were banned. Over the years, different card decks would be created with regional designs and then would get banned for being too popular, causing a new set to be made. In 1889, Fusajiro Yamauchi founded Nintendo (ever heard of it?) in order to make and sell hand-crafted hanafuda, before it pivoted to making video games.

In the series Demon Slayer, the earrings are an heirloom passed on from Tanjiro’s father and are a symbol of Sun Breathing Style fighters. This is one of the early signs that Tanjiro comes from this legacy and is important for his character journey.

Outside of Japan, other Asian countries have taken issue with the design of the earrings because it is very similar to the “Rising Sun” symbol. As a result, in some countries it has been edited in order to avoid offending people, as Kotaku wrote back in 2019.

That may not be the intent now, but it is something to keep in mind when checking out the earrings and wearing it in certain places. Knowledge is power, even in anime.

(image: Fuji TV)

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Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.