Is Yoriichi Related to Tanjiro? The Truth Behind the Bond

Kimetsu no Yaiba has been finished for two or so years. We know everything that we need to know by this point. But there is one plot point that still leaves many fans confused. I am talking about the link between Tanjiro, Yoriichi, and Tanjuro. The three characters are so similar to each other that it’s hard to differentiate them. Add in Kimetsu no Yaiba’s fondness for flashbacks and messy timelines, and it becomes a real concern. So, is Yoriichi related to Tanjiro? We’ll be answering that in this article!

How Did it All Begin? Glimpses of the Past

This question took root after the audience had their first look at Yoriichi. For Manga readers, we don’t see him until Chapter 81. For Anime viewers, he came a little earlier. In Episode 8 of the anime, we are treated to Muzan experiencing fear. He relives a bad memory of being almost killed by Yoriichi. To astute and sharp watchers, they may have realized the similarities. The reddish highlights and the earrings screamed Kamado!

is yoriichi related to tanjro

However, this would only remain a theory for a while. We don’t see Yoriichi again for a long time. With a lack of evidence, people can only keep speculating.

Is Yoriichi Tanjiro’s Father? The Dad Theory

By the time this episode was released, people didn’t know much about Tanjiro’s father. So, when visuals of this man were released, people were quick to speculate. After all, we knew very little of Kimetsu no Yaiba. However, this theory would prove to be incorrect. Tanjiro’s father, Tanjuro, will be introduced and revealed in a later arc!

The Ancestor Theory

Demon Slayer wasn’t entirely forthcoming when it came to information. So, when too many coincidences decided to crop up, people jumped to conclusions. Tanjuro looked strikingly similar to Yoriichi! Not only did he wear the Hanafuda earrings, but he also had the same hair color. A later event featuring Yoriichi only added evidence to this theory. Yoriichi had marks on his face, similar to where Tanjuro and Tanjiro had theirs.

Is Yoriichi related to Tanjiro?

By this point, many believed Yoriichi might be Tanjiro’s ancestor. The events in Swordsmith Village Arc were so close to confirming this theory. Except, as it is revealed, this was never the case.

Hope for these two characters to be blood relatives is dashed in Chapter 99. We are introduced to a new character named Sumiyoshi. This new character looked way more similar to Tanjiro than Yoriichi ever had. We get confirmation that Sumiyoshi is indeed Tanjiro’s ancestor, not Yoriichi. This meant that Yoriichi and Tanjiro were never related by blood, after all.

These characters not being related by blood doesn’t mean they never had any connection! After Yoriichi left, Sumiyoshi took it upon himself to honor the man. He engraved the Sun Breathing Styles in his mind and taught his children after. This would become a tradition for the Kamado family. The father of the household would perform the Breathing Styles as a dancing ritual. While its true purpose would be lost through time, its importance remained.

Hinokami Kagura

Thanks to Sumiyoshi, a bond between Yoriichi and the Kamados are formed. This bond is what would help Tanjiro in his final battle against Muzan. 

Who is Yoriichi to Tanjiro?

Despite being generations apart, Tanjiro was able to interact with Yoriichi. Albeit, it had been a one-sided interaction. Thanks to “Inherited Memories”, Tanjiro could recall his ancestors’ memories. From there, he learned about his ancestor’s connection with Yoriichi. As Tanjiro continued watching Yoriichi, he felt the man was a troubled soul. That he wished for a peace that he knew he could never have. 

Yoriichi’s demeanor and actions moved Tanjiro’s heart. The boy hoped that Yoriichi was a man who found peace. But, above all else, Tanjiro found Yoriichi as his greatest teacher. He was the man to teach him how to perform the Sun Breathing Style Techniques correctly. If Yoriichi hadn’t been there, then there was no doubt Tanjiro would have failed.

Why Does Yoriichi Look Like Tanjiro?

It is undeniable that Tanjiro bears a resemblance to Yoriichi. Muzan even called this out during his encounters with the boy! Sadly, the explanation behind this resemblance is unclear. Not once in the manga nor the anime has the story taken its time to explain. 

Tanjiro Yoriichi

For this one, I have a theory!

My Theory: Yoriichi Chose Tanjiro as His Successor from the Afterlife

The idea of a spiritual guardian is not far-fetched in Demon Slayer. Tanjiro himself had interacted with two ghosts during his Cultivation Training. My theory is simple. Yoriichi had chosen Tanjiro to be his successor the moment he used the Hinokami Kagura.

The Mark

If we go through the story with this in mind, a lot of things start to make sense! For example, this explains the lack of Demon Slayer Marks. As ones who came into contact with Yoriichi, each Kamado member should’ve been able to awaken them. Yet for the entirety of more than a few centuries, not a single Kamado family member has unlocked it. Tanjiro had been its first and only user. And it just so happens he unlocks it right after using the Hinokami Kagura!

Tanjiro screaming

The Inherited Memories

This theory also helps to explain Tanjiro’s sudden “inherited memories”. The only time he began to have access to them is after receiving the Demon Slayer Mark. It could be Sumiyoshi and Yoriichi’s way of preparing Tanjiro. Yoriichi in particular must’ve specifically imparted his memories to Tanjiro. Otherwise, there was no way Tanjiro would’ve known about the 13th Form of the Sun Breathing Style!

And Finally: The Parallels

Tanjiro merely sharing the same techniques as Yoriichi isn’t the last of them. If anything, Tanjiro nearly paralleled Yoriichi’s life! Both of them had been born into families that put tradition in high regard. Both of their siblings have turned into demons and their family was torn by Muzan. Both of them share a great hatred for the latter but have enough compassion for other demons. Yoriichi showed the same compassion as Tanjiro when he spared Tamayo.

So, What Makes Tanjiro Special?

By my logic, the other Kamado Patriarchs could’ve been chosen as well. But what made Tanjiro different were two things. The first was how he used the Hinokami Kagura! Unlike his ancestors who used them as a ritual, Tanjiro was the one to first use them against demons. This must’ve resonated with Yoriichi’s spirit and granted him the mark.

Then, there was the way Tanjiro treated life. Unlike Yoriichi, he saw value in everyone’s lives. Even towards demons, the boy showed a lot of compassion. This kindness is something Yoriichi lacked in his life. Instead of picking a successor that was like him, he wanted someone who knew the weight of life. And through Tanjiro, he believed that would be enough to make a difference.