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Yōkai taijiya (妖怪えうくわい退治屋たいじや, "Apparition Exterminators, Demon Slayers") were a human clan whose members have made their living as demon slayers for generations. They are often paid to drive away and/or kill troublesome demons. The clan was once nearly wiped out by Naraku - leaving only two siblings Sango and Kohaku, but was restored several years after Naraku's defeat and gained new members under Kohaku's leadership.[1][2]

Lifestyle

Demon slayers lived in a remote location, near the priestess Midoriko's resting place. They normally did not reveal the location of their village. Demon slayers would visit other villages at their own accord and earned their living by taking demon slaying jobs. They would also bring back the remains of slain demons to make armor and weapons.

Though they made their livelihood killing demons, demon slayers do not see all demons as a threat. In fact, they peacefully co-exist with demons who are friendly or do not pose a threat to humans. In the demon slayers' village, the nekomata Kirara peacefully lived in the village for at least several human generations and aided the slayers in fighting yōkai. They have even accepted Setsuna, a half-demon, into their ranks as well, without any prejudice towards her.

Years later after the battle with Naraku, Kohaku founded a new group of demon slayers that lived in a base in Kaede's village.[3] Sango returned along with her husband Miroku, and their twin daughters Kin'u and Gyokuto to the old village, established the Memorial Tower that the demon slayers including her father have been slain by Naraku and built a house so she can make protective masks for the demon slayers.[4]

Skills and Abilities

Although most demon slayers lack any supernatural abilities (with the exception of Sango and Kohaku, who both briefly possessed shards of the Sacred Jewel) they do acquire a number of skills during their training that allow them to combat demons effectively.

  • Peak Physical Condition: Demon slayers are normally athletically gifted individuals that possess bodily functions that are honed to the pinnacle of human conditioning. Demon slayers go through rigorous physical training as early as childhood to develop the physical prowess necessary to effectively combat against demons, turning their bodies into a instrument of warfare. While they aren't as powerful as demons, they are still stronger than almost any other human in the series and compensate physical inferiority with sheer skill and battle prowess.
    • Peak Human Strength: Demon slayers hone their strength and muscular system to the maximum limits of human potential. Sango is shown comfortably carrying Hiraikotsu while Miroku immediately commented on its weight and himself wondered how someone as small as her was able to lift a weapon that heavy. Their strength is not herculean, but are still far more robust than the common men, capable of easily lifting their own body weight and others when the situation calls for it.
    • Peak Human Speed: Demon slayers trained to maximize their movements and running speed, in order to maneuver through the attacks of demons. Sango can easily run at an impressive speed and move at a rate fast enough to combat against most ordinary demons.
    • Peak Human Reflexes: Demon slayers refine their reflexes and reaction time to the epitome of human capability. They are extremely agile, and dexterous, usually able to dodge an attack on spot. This in conjunction with their trained perception, they are usually difficult to land a hit on, even if you were a demon.
    • Peak Human Endurance: Throughout their rigorous training, undergone at a young age, demon slayer tend to build up a remarkable sense of stamina and endurance. Sango is shown to be able withstand deadly wounds and still fight, clawing her way out from the grave after she was presumed dead. They aren't invulnerable, but they are more resilient than common humans and can usually hop back on their feet; even if it seems like they were dealt with a fatal blow.
    • Honed Senses: Demon slayers are trained to hone their instincts and perception. They notice things that others do not, able to pick up on minute changes in their surroundings with ease and notice subtle details in their current environment that can clue them potential danger. If a demon slayer is consistently exposed to the presence of demons, they will eventually develop sensitivity that allows them to sense demonic auras to a limit degree, despite not possessing any sort of spiritual powers or demonic heritage.
  • Demonology: Demon slayers are often very knowledgeable about different types of demons, along with their weaknesses and strengths. They are alarmingly well-versed in their bodily anatomy, and which parts can be used to craft formidable weaponry. This bodes well for combat scenarios as they will be able to recognize the weak points of a familiar demon, and use that knowledge to their advantage. Their knowledge of demon physiology also assists them in crafting poison that is specifically lethal to them. One such example was the poison designed to kill the rat demons summoned by Zushinezumi shrine whom were essentially invincible due to their generating numbers, albeit it was vaguely mentioned.
  • Craftsmanship: There were those who specialized in processing killed quarry in the slayer's village. Various tools may be produced by utilizing the hard but light properties of demon bones and skin. Before crafting, slayers would purify their demonic remains' jaki and calm their hatred. From then on, the weapon, carrying the consciousness of the slain demons, forge a bond with the slayer, seeing them as their companion, holding no hatred towards humans and fighting by their side. If the slayer carelessly damages their weapon somehow, such as when Sango sacrificed Hiraikotsu without a second thought to save Miroku from the bone demon and its father, the yōkai spirits will perceive this as a betrayal and become enraged at the wielder. This will also block any attempt to repair or reforge the weapon, as the demons will refuse to fight for the "traitor" again. This an animosity can be pacified and the slayer can earn back their weapon's respect; as seen when the demons of Hiraikotsu positively reacted to Miroku willingly drinking a potion from Yakurōdokusen to temporarily numb his sense of pain when sucking in poisons through his Kazaana.
  • Expert Combatant: Demon slayers receives highly extensive training in both armed, and hand-to-hand combat. They often begin their training as early as childhood, and turn out as seasoned warriors meticulously sculpted from martial perfection. They are gifted martial artists and accomplished weapons masters that are proficient with a wide variety of utilities used in warfare; such as swords, wakizashis, kusarigamas and likely much more. Their sheer battle prowess compensates for their inferior physical power, allowing them to overpower demons with immaculate strategies. This effectively makes them the most formidable humans in the series that don't possess the luxury of spiritual abilities.
  • Master Tracker and Hunter: Demon slayers are extensively trained in various tracking techniques to whiff out their demonic prey. They utilize their refined senses and unorthodox tactics to infer the most likely location of their target. They are also knowledgeable of conventional hunting tactics to track down a mere human, but it is not as skilled as their knack of whiffing off the demonic.

Tools and Weapons

Despite being skilled hunters and fighters, the capabilities of a demon slayer is not normally comparable to most demons and they are still human. As such, they employ the use of numerous tools and weaponry to combat against demonic threats. Oftentimes, demon slayers use weapons and armor crafted from the bones of slain demons.

  • Battle Armor
  • Filter Mask
  • Poison Powder
  • Weighted Chain

Known Taijiya

Trivia

  • Due to their strength, specialized weapons and skills, they are mistaken by some people to be ninjas. Something that is furthered emphasized by the fact their overall combat attire resembles a ninja outfit with armor and some bears their own customization like Sango's having a pink theme color.
  • The slayers seem to have a history with Myōga, possibly implying they have a history with Tōtōsai and Tōga as well.
  • Setsuna, Towa Higurashi and Goro are among the few members who aren't fully human.
  • In Hanyō no Yashahime, the demon slayers' names are number based (Goro (5), Rokuta (6), Nanasuke (7), Yamata (8), Kuzu (9)), which is something that was used in many major characters of Maison Ikkoku (another work by Rumiko Takahashi).

References

  1. InuYasha anime; Episode 24
  2. Hanyō no Yashahime: Episode 2
  3. Hanyō no Yashahime; Episode 5
  4. Hanyō no Yashahime: Episode 13

See also

Yōkai taijiya
Taijiya KohakuSangoSango and Kohaku's fatherShakoHisuiSetsunaRokutaNanasukeTowa HigurashiKuzuYamataGoro
Allies KiraraKikyō
Enemies Naraku
Places Yōkai taijiya village (Miroku and Sango's house) • Midoriko's cave
Unique Items HiraikotsuShikon no TamaBlack Hiraikotsu
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