Why Kimetsu no Yaiba Changed Its Name from Kisatsu no Yaiba and What It Means

Why Kimetsu no Yaiba Changed Its Name from Kisatsu no Yaiba and What It Means

Kimetsu no Yaiba” is a name that everyone knows today. However, it turns out that the manga by Koyoharu Gotouge was not originally going to be called that. Instead, it was going to be called “Kisatsu no Yaiba,” but the name was changed before the manga’s serialization began.

The Story Behind the Name Change

In an old interview with Manga Plus, Katayama, the editor of “Kimetsu no Yaiba,” revealed the story behind the name change. He confirmed that “Kisatsu no Yaiba” was initially decided as the name of Koyoharu Gotouge’s manga. However, it was ultimately changed for a specific reason: it sounded too “strong.”

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Would “Kisatsu” Have Affected Kimetsu no Yaiba’s Success?

Katayama explained that in the word “Kisatsu,” the character for “Satsu (殺)” means “to kill.” While it’s true that “Kimetsu no Yaiba” is a work in which many deaths and bloody battles take place, they didn’t feel that it was the right label for the manga.

The Birth of “Kimetsu no Yaiba”

Katayama and Gotouge began to think of alternatives and eventually settled on “Kimetsu no Yaiba.” In “Kimetsu (鬼滅),” the second character represents “to perish,” and they felt that it was a term that better fit what they were looking for and was also easy to understand.

Gotouge also liked that the manga could be abbreviated simply as “Kimetsu,” and Katayama argued that the word (which is rarely used in Japanese) has a very interesting character of its own.

As for “Yaiba,” they chose that word because it represents a type of Japanese sword, which fit perfectly with the weaponry used by Tanjiro and his companions.

The Meaning Behind the Name

But how does all of this read together? It turns out that it’s not as straightforward as it seems, as Koyoharu Gotouge used a small “wordplay” so that the characters could be reinterpreted:

  • The “Ki” part can be read as “Oni,” which means “demon.”
  • “Metsu” can also be interpreted as “death” or “destruction.”
  • “Ha” is another character in the title, but since it can be read as “sword,” it was reinterpreted as “Yaiba.”

All of this together reads something like “The sword that destroys demons,” which is why it can be found in English as “Demon Slayer.”

A Colossal Success

Although it may seem like a trivial matter to some, using “Kimetsu no Yaiba” as the title of the work was a huge success. It’s important to remember that “Kimetsu no Yaiba” has become a very important work in Japan because it resonates so much with both younger and older generations. When “Mugen Train” premiered, it was not uncommon to see families going to the movies to enjoy the film, and obviously, parents/grandparents might not have viewed the franchise as favorably if the word “kill” was in its title. We’ll never know how it would have done if it had been called “Kisatsu no Yaiba,” but it’s doubtful that it would have been more successful than with “Kimetsu.”