Inside of the Demon Slayer Corps, there are those who stand at the highest. Each of them is known as a pillar (Hashira in Japanese). Like their namesakes, they are the pillars that hold the Demon Slayer Corps together. They support the organization with their strength and training the next generation. They are considered as the strongest swordsmen and the best chance at defeating Muzan and the Upper and Lower Moons.
Take a look at all characters who held the title “Hashira” at one point in the Demon Slayer series. Know more about the laws that govern them and the strength that is required to be one of them.
Becoming a Hashira: Explained
Candidates who pass the Final Selection are allowed into the Demon Slayer corps and are inducted into the lowest ranks. Members go through ten ranks, from lowest to highest, which are as follows:
The ranks of demon slayers appear through “Wisteria Flower Engraving.” A member needs to say a password. Then they flex their fist to show their rank. Inosuke does this during the Entertainment District arc. He shows his 7th rank at Chapter 75.
However, the Pillars are obviously above the ten-rank system. The organizational system above is most likely for logistics and structural purposes. The Hashira and the tsuguko are exceptions, based on talent.
A demon slayer may become a Hashira by either (1) kill 50 Demons or (2) eliminate a member of the Twelve Kizuki. It is not yet known if the Hashira is fixed at nine members at a time. By at the end of the series, only two of them remain alive (more on that later).
The Tsuguko: Successor to the Pillars
A tsuguko is a talented Demon Slayer designated to be the successor to a Hashira. They will replace the pillar in the event of death or retirement. Any demon slayer can apply to any of the existing pillars. On the other hand, hashira can also scout and invite their own. Usually, the hashira and the tsuguko have similar or related breathing style.
So far, the only confirmed tsuguko in the series is Kanao Tsuyuri, to the Insect Pillar Shinobu Kocho. Kanao took the Final Selection at the same time as Zenitsu Agatsuma, Genya Shinazugawa, and Kamado Tanjiro. Inosuke Hashibira was also part of the same batch but was never shown.
Kanao Tsuyuri was initially ahead of Tanjiro and the gang, being able to do concentrated breathing before they did. She was also addressed as such at the Butterfly Mansion. However, she was never referred to as a hashira the instant Shinobu died fighting the Upper Moon Two.
Zenitsu is not a tsuguko because he learned only from Jigoro Kuwaijima, a former Thunder Hashira who was his cultivator. It was the same with Tanjiro and Urokodaki Sakonji.
On the other hand, the Flame Pillar Kyojuro Rengoku once invited Tanjiro to be his own tsuguko. Water and Flame breathing users have been pillars in every generation. The Rengoku clan has passed down the title in their family. Kyojuro’s father, Shinjuro, was a former flame pillar. Senjuro, the younger brother, was meant to be his older brother’s tsuguko.
Water Pillar – Giyu Tomioka
“The one who can decisively slay demons with more composure than anyone else.”
Giyu is the first pillar to make an appearance in the series. He first planned to kill Nezuko, since she was a demon. When he saw the siblings, he sent them to the Water Breathing cultivator Urokodaki Sakonji for help.
Although his deadpan expression and obliviousness to everyone around him has become a bit of a running gag, Giyu is definitely one of the strongest characters in the series. He created the Water Breathing Eleventh Form: Dead Calm. He used this against Rui, Lower Moon 5, and killed him easily.
It was later revealed during the Pillar Training Arc that Giyu’s distance from other people is because of his survivor’s guilt. Giyu blames himself for the death of Sabito, the fox-masked boy who also helped Tanjiro (as a ghost) during his own training. It also explains Giyu’s outfit, half was from his sister Tsutako and half from Sabito.
During the final battle at the Infinity Castle Arc, he first fought Akaza together with Tanjro. It was during this battle that he awakened his Demon Slayer Mark. He later fought with the other survivors against Kibutsuji Muzan. Giyu is one of the two remaining pillars after, but lost his left arm in the process.
Insect Pillar – Shinobu Kocho
“The most graceful of them all and uses poison to pierce her opponents.”
Shinobu Kocho is the only pillar who can’t kill demons via decapitation. Instead, she uses a sword filled with Wisteria poison, which is just as deadly. Aside from her exceptional swordsmanship skills, she is also highly knowledgeable when it comes to medicine and poisoning.
While she often appears calm and laid back, she’s actually always furious especially towards demons. A later flashback reveals that it was because she lost her parents, her older sister (mentor, and former Flower Pillar), and most of her tsuguko before Tsuyuri Kanao.
She lost her older sister, Kanae Kocho, to Upper Moon Two Douma. This encounter will spell her death and she will be absorbed by the demon. Her death will prompt Inosuke and Kanao to exact revenge. Although Shinobu fell to Douma, she has ingested large amounts of Wisteria poison over time. It led to Shinobu severely weakening one of the strongest demons.
Also, Shinobu teamed up with Tamayo and Yushiro to create the most important drugs in the series. First, they made a multi-stage drug that severely weakened Kibutsuji Muzan and aging him beyond his regenerative abilities. Shinobu’s idea used a mix of wisteria and other poison to age the target by over fifty years per minute. Once used on Muzan, it aged him some 9,000 years over the three years before the sunrise.
The Insect Pillar also worked on the medicine for Nezuko, reverting her to her human form and recovering her memories.
Wind Pillar – Sanemi Shinazugawa
“More determined than anyone else to wipe out all demons.”
The hot-blooded and aggressive Wind Hashira first made his appearance near the end of the first season of the anime. Sanemi Shinazugawa firmly believed that a demon could never control herself as Nezuko did. He even tried tempting her with his own blood.
He also has a brother in the Demon Slayer Corps, Genya Shinazugawa, who joined the corps together with Tanjiro. Sanemi is not supportive of his brother not because of hatred, but because of concern. Deep inside, he actually wished for his brother to settle down and have his own family.
He lost his brother to the Upper Moon, together with Tokito Muichirou, the Mist Pillar. Sanemi and Gyomei Himejima survived and fought against Muzan Kibutsuji. In the end, Sanemi is the only other pillar aside from Giyu to survive.
Flame Pillar – Kyojuro Rengoku
“The one who possesses a spirit that burns passionately with pride more than anyone else.”
The tall and bright hashira, Kyojuro Rengoku is the Flame Pillar, as his forefathers before him. He expresses great enthusiasm in everything he does, fitting his burning desire to protect his subordinates from the demons.
He was waiting for Tanjiro, Inosuke, and Zenitsu aboard the Infinity Train. The train, possessed by the Lower Moon One Enmu, traps the four demon slayers. He managed to protect the people from the demon, letting Tanjiro and Inosuke defeat Enmu.
However, as soon as they finish the mission, the Upper Moon Three Akaza appears. Akaza invites Kyojuro to join the demons, saying that he’ll have more time to get stronger. Kyojuro refused, explaining that death is the beauty of being a human. Knowing that you will die one day is the source of humans’ effort to do something worthwhile.
Kyojuro, unfortunately, falls before Akaza. However, Tanjiro inherits his values and later, the handguard of his sword. Tanjiro used the flame handguard from the Swordsmith Village up until the end of the series. He believed that Kyojuro was there with him.
Note that later in the series, it took both Giyu and Tanjiro to defeat Akaza. Both demon slayers have finished the Pillar training, which further improved their abilities. Tanjiro has a lot more battle experience and can use Hinokami Kagura better. Giyu, on the other hand, has also taken the Pillar training and has awakened his demon mark during this battle.
Sound Pillar – Tengen Uzui
“The one whose magnificent race across the battlefield is second to none.”
The Sound Hashira is the flamboyant ninja of the Nine Pillars. Tengen Uzui uses his own Breath of Sound, derived from the Thunder Breathing. His explosive power comes from his style and his unique blades. The ninja uses a pair of large-bladed swords connected by chain at the handle.
Tengen Uzui took the assignment to investigate his missing wife, who was spying on the Entertainment District on reports of a demon. The 23-year-old pillar has three wives, all of which are also ninjas like him.
During fights, Uzui listens and creates “a score” – his formula to completely defeat a demon. It is basically similar to Tanjiro’s opening thread. He later lost one eye and an arm during the fight with the Upper Six Demons Daki and Gyutaro. Uzui was forced to resign, although he still participated in the Pillar Training session of the demon slayers.
Love Pillar – Mitsuri Kanroji
“The one whose heart flutters the most with romance and joy.”
The Love Hashira is a curvaceous woman with pink and green hair. She also has a muscle density eight times more than a normal human. She is among the strongest pillars in terms of physical strength. Her weapon was specially forged for her unique fighting style. Mitsuri uses a “Love Sword” which is like an extremely long and thin sword-whip.
She first displayed her strength as a pillar during the Swordsmith Village Arc. During the fight with Upper Moon Four Hantengu, Mitsuri helped Tanjiro win. It was also during this fight that she was able to manifest her slayer mark, which took the form of two hearts facing each other at the tip, with petals at both sides. A Demon Slayer databook also revealed that her mentor was Kyojuro Rengoku. It means that her Breath of Love was derived from the Breath of Flame. It was, however, never revealed if she was officially a tsuguko before that.
She also fought at the Infinity Castle, together with the rest of the Demon Slayer Corps. Together with the Serpent Pillar Iguro Obanai, they fought the new Upper Moon Four. They were able to defeat the Biwa Demon Nakime with help from Yushiro, Tamayo’s assistant.
Mitsuri also helped during the final fight with Muzan. Unfortunately, she succumbed to her wounds and died together with Iguro. Before she died, Mitsuri told Iguro: “Iguro-san, please, if we ever get reborn. If we’re born again as human beings, will you make me your wife?”
Serpent Pillar – Iguro Obanai
“The one who possesses the keenest eyes that pierces demons.”
The short swordsman in striped black-and-white vest is the Serpent Pillar, Iguro Obanai. He possesses differently-colored eyes, a condition called heterochromia. His left eye is turquoise while his right is yellow, which is almost entirely blind. He compensates for this with his snake, Kaburamaru, who relays information to him.
He also made his first appearance when all the hashiras are called for a meeting. During the commotion with Tanjiro and Nezuko, he pinned Tanjiro to the ground. Later in the manga, after the Entertainment District mission, he arrived late. Iguro berated Uzui for losing an arm and an eye to an Upper Moon. In fact, it was the first time in a hundred years that an Upper Moon has fallen.
During the fight with Muzan, he was able to awaken his demon slayer mark. As the pillars try to drag the fight up until sunrise, Iguro was able to understand how to make the nichirin blades turn red. He used the reported information from the crow from Muichirou’s fight with Kokushibo. He was completely blinded by Muzan scratching his face deep. However, he still fought through with Kaburamaru. He was even able to save Tanjiro at one point.
Unfortunately, Iguro also died after the battle, presumably because of the heavy damage he sustained while fighting. During his final moments, he answered Mitsuri Kanroji. “If you say you’re fine with someone like me, then I will definitely make you happy. And next time, I will not let you die. I will protect you for sure.”
Mist Pillar – Tokito Muichirou
“The most talented and skilled swordsman of them all”
Tokito Muichiro often looks absent-minded and always thinking of something else. But make no mistake, the young man whose long hair ends in turquoise is one of the strongest pillars around. His baggy clothes might appear like a poor fashion choice at first. Surprisingly, it serves an important purpose in combat.
His level among the pillars was first hinted in the middle of the battle between Tengen and Gyutaro. When the Upper Moon Demon complimented the Sound Pillar as a unique enemy in his hundred-year existence, Tengen singled out Gyomei and Muichiro. He said that these two became pillars two months after first handling a sword.
Muichiro’s strength was first put on display in the Swordsmith Village Arc. He fought Hantengu, the Upper Moon Four. During this fight, he managed to awaken his demon slayer mark and decapitate Hantengu.
He would later join in the fight against Kokushibo, Upper Moon One. Although he would be sliced in half, he’d continue thrusting his blood red nichirin blade. With the last of Genya’s blood demon art and his red blade, they would severely disable Kokushibo. It led to the Wind and Stone Pillars finally defeating the Upper Moon One.
Stone Pillar – Gyomei Himejima
“The one who sheds more tears of compassion than anyone else”
The tallest and oldest of the hashira, Gyomei Himejima is also the strongest among them. The hulking pillar is always ready to offer tears and prayers to both friend and foe, as he has done when they first agreed to eliminate Nezuko for being a demon.
His weapon of choice is an axe and a flail connected by a chain. All three sections of his weapon are made from the same Nichirin materials. Furthermore, his weapon allows him to “see” through the vibrations made by his chains. His strength has been recognized by his allies (Tanjiro and Inosuke, and Tengen first) and enemies (Kokushibo). The Upper Moon One noted that the blind pillar’s physical abilities have reached their absolute peak, an enemy Kokushibo never found in the last three hundred years.
Although wounded, he managed to defeat the Upper Moon One with the Wind Pillar. However, during the fight with Muzan, he lost his left leg. He remained the strongest in the fight against the progenitor, keeping his mark up to further fight Muzan. By the end of the fight, Gyomei refused treatment, asking the other demon slayers to help the others. He succumbed to his wounds. During his final moments, Gyomei learned the truth about what happened to the kids at the monastery he was supposed to protect. He died shortly after.
Former Water Hashira – Urokodaki Sakonji
His name was first mentioned by Giyu, that he’ll take in and train Tanjiro. The silver-haired, tengu mask-wearing man is the main cultivator of the Water Breathing Technique and is a former Water Hashira himself.
In the Kimetsu no Yaiba databook, it was revealed that Sakonji started wearing masks because demons used to make fun of his supposedly gentle face. As the cultivator, he is in charge of training and teaching potential students and wielders of the Water Breathing Technique.
Although he first appears as a harsh trainer, he actually pushes his students to be strong so they won’t die easily. He makes masks for his students going to the Final Selection, as a ward against demons.
As his story is concerned, he was the one that captured the Hand Demon that Tanjiro defeated in his Final Selection. Out of spite for the old man, the Hand Demon has killed thirteen of Urokodaki’s apprentices. This includes Sabito, the only one who died in Giyu’s Final Selection, and Makomo, Sabito’s younger sister.
Over the course of the anime and the manga, Urokodaki Sakonji never revealed his actual face. It was, however, shown that he removed his mask while making a sculpture of Tanjiro and Nezuko. It appeared on the front page of Chapter 90, during the fight with Daki and Gyutaro.
During the final battle, the former Water Pillar also appeared in the butterfly mansion. Since Nezuko has finally conquered the sun, she has become a high-value target for Muzan. Urokodaki went to the mansion to protect Nezuko. Also, like Tanjiro, Urokodaki possesses an enhanced sense of smell.
Former Thunder Hashira – Jigoro Kuwaijima
The old man Zenitsu called “Gramps” or jii-san is a former Thunder Pillar. The old man has a scar underneath his left eye, bushy brows, and an equally bushy mustache. Jigoro Kuwaijima is definitely an incredible trainer to mold Zenitsu into a fine demon slayer.
He wears a similarly-styled kimono as with Sakonji, but with a yellow-brown base patterned with light-yellow triangles. He carries a wooden cane to support him since he lost his leg in a previous battle. The details of the battle were never disclosed in the manga. However, it was also the incident that forced him to retire.
The extra section for Volume 17 of the manga later revealed that Jigoro did not use the title Thunder Pillar. Instead, he actually used the title “Roaring Hashira,” based on the original Japanese notes. His title used the Izumi old word for thunder. The manga used the characters that literally translates to Roar of the Gods. Other users of the style, use instead of the simplified kanji for thunder. It makes a connection since down the line. Tengen Uzui, the Sound Pillar, later takes this position. Tengen’s technique also derives from the Thunder Breathing.
As a mentor, he had two students simultaneously: Zenitsu and Kaigaku. Although Jigoro mastered all forms of the Thunder Breathing, his students can not. Kaigaku mastered all forms instead of the first one while Zenitsu only mastered the first form.
Later in the story, Kaigaku defected to the demons where he would later become the Upper Demon Six. Knowing that his student joined the demons, the former Thunder Hashira committed seppuku. His ritual suicide to atone for his student’s sin was slow and agonizing because it was hard to cut off his head as his belly bled out.
Former Flame Hashira- Shinjuro Rengoku
He is the father of the Flame Pillar Kyojuro and his younger brother Senjuro. He is also the husband to Ruka Rengoku. Rengoku Shinjuro is the former Flame Pillar of the Demon Slayer Corps.
Although he has not yet made an official colored appearance, his hair is most like similar to Kyojuro’s. His messy hair is mostly orange that turns red near the tips. In his first appearance, Shinjuro only wears a plain kimono and holds a bottle of wine. However, despite going out drunk, he immediately recognized Tanjiro’s hanafuda earrings. It triggered him to attack the young slayer with a speed Tanjiro did not expect.
He retired from the Demon Slayer Corps. During his time, he saved a young Iguro Obanai from the Serpent Demon. Kyojuro explained that their father was once a hashira of great skill and passion. But one day, he just gave up on being a demon slayer.
Although the manga never directly explained it, Shinjuro seems to have left the corps after being disillusioned. He had the opinion that only the Breath of the Sun users are strong. For him, the rest are just poor imitations of the original. Shinjuro also tore the records kept by their family. The records supposedly contained the history of the demon slayers. Among the information written down is about the Breath of the Sun.
When Tanjiro visited the Rengoku household, he knocked off Shinjuro with a headbutt. Before Tanjiro left, he relayed the late Flame Pillar’s message: “please take care of your body.” Shinjuro puts the wine down and starts crying over his lost son.
Shinjuro returns at the last arc as a bodyguard for the new leader. When Kaguya Ubuyashiki sacrificed himself, his 8-year-old son Kiriya stepped up and succeeded him. During the final fight, retired Pillars Shinjuro and Tengen stood guard outside the room of the new Oyakata-sama. Shinjuro appeared wearing a proper outfit. He also has his sword, sporting a similar flame handguard, in front of him.
Former Flower Hashira- Kanae Kocho
Kanae Kocho is the former Flower hashira, and older sister to the current Insect hashira. She looks mostly like Shinobu, only taller, and she had two butterfly pins on her hair. She usually appears as easygoing and kind, much like Shinobu on the surface.
The Kocho sisters are the ones who released, raised, and trained Kanao Tsuyuri. In fact, Kanae used Flower Breathing while Shinobu used Insect Breathing. Kanao was able to inherit the Flower Breathing used by the late pillar.
Shinobu’s flashback showed that they were from a family living in a peaceful village. Unfortunately, demons attacked their village and killed the rest of their family. It was the Stone Pillar, Gyomei Himejima, who killed the demons and saved the Kocho sisters from trouble. From then on, they vowed to defeat as many demons as possible. The sisters promised that one else will experience what they did.
Also, Kanae was in Sanemi Shinazugawa’s flashback in the fight with Kokushibo. Kanae Kocho was already a hashira by the time he joined their ranks. She explained that Kaguya Ubuyashiki memorized the names and the information about every single demon slayers who died under his time.
Kanae first faced the Upper Moon Two Doma. The charismatic demon fatally wounded her in battle. With a stroke of luck, Kanae managed to escape from being devoured. She died in the arms of her sister instead. Her death left Shinobu with a lot of information about the Upper Moon Demon.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Chapter 87: Upper Moon 6 praised Tengen Uzui for being a talented fighter. Instead, Uzui said that there are people stronger than him. In his thoughts were Gyomei and Tokito Muichiro, Mist Pillar. Uzui described these two as becoming pillars "just two months after picking up a blade."
Chapter 134: Both Tanjiro and Inosuke recognized Gyomei as the strongest demon hunter. During their training with Gyomei, Tanjiro said that he is the only one with a different smell. Inosuke felt it since the Stone Pillar gave him chills when they first met.
Chapter 169: Upper One Moon Kokushibo praised Gyomei having the perfect physical form. He said that he has never found swordsman like him in the last 300 years. He also noted the strength of the weapon Gyomei uses, something not discovered during his time. Note that it was a fight that included the Mist (Tokito) and Wind (Sanemi) Pillars, and Genya Shinazugawa.
He can fight face to face with Kokushibo, though he later used his mark. He also fought against Muzan up until the end. Note that he did all these things while being blind.
Rank 1: Gyomei Himejima, the Stone Pillar This was directly mentioned a couple of times in the manga. We have allotted a separate FAQ section for him.
Rank 2: Tokito Muichiro, the Mist Pillar Aside from Gyomei, he is the only one who managed to become a pillar two months after joining the Demon Slayer Corps. If Gyomei was blind upon joining the corps, Muichiro was under partial amnesia. He would later recover his memories in the fight with Upper Moon 4, Hantengu, and awaken his demon slayer mark.
Also, he is a descendant of the Upper Moon One, Kokushibo.
Here are a few points, both positive and negative, to help you fill in Ranks 3 to 9 of the hashira:
Giyu Tomioka: He only passed his Final Selection because Sabito saved him. However, his expertise as a Water Breathing swordsman is best exemplified with his creation of the Eleventh Form: Dead Calm. He survived with only one arm by the end of the series.
Sanemi Shinazugawa: He fought both the Upper Moon One and Muzan himself, and survived. That says something about his skill in battle. Moreover, Sanemi possesses Marechi blood, a rare type of blood that demons love. The potency of his blood has affected even Kokushibo, making him lose his focus and be attacked.
Iguro Obanai: His relationship with Kaburamaru, his serpent, is among his best assets. Even after he was blinded by Muzan, he can still see through Kaburamaru. A point against him is that he never actually fought before the final war. However, it did display his battle sensitivity, learning how to awaken his own demon slayer mark. He also managed to access the Transparent World after one instruction from Gyomei in Chapter 191. Also, Iguro was able to turn his blade red by himself after remembering how Tokito did it.
Mitsuri Kanroji: Her strength comes from her unique constitution. Despite her strong muscles, she is very flexible. Her power as a hashira was never fully explored, in the story or through flashbacks. During the fight with Muzan, she can't keep up with the demon or her fellow demon slayers. She was actually knocked out early in the fight. Mitsuri did, however, returned to the fight later on and help create openings to defeat Muzan once and for all.
Shinobu Kocho: Physically, she is the weakest among them. She uses a blade that pierces instead of a blade that cuts demons heads off. To make up for this, she used a rare blade filled with Wisteria poison. It might also be the reason why she made the Insect Breathing, instead of the Flower Breathing used by Kanae Kocho, her sister, and Tsuyuri Kanao, her tsuguko. She did, however, mixed the potions and poisons that led to the defeat of Upper Moon Two Doma and later, Muzan.
Tengen Uzui: He retired after the fight with the Upper Moon Six, Daki and Gyutaro. Uzui lost his left arm and left eye. Uzui would have died if not for Nezuko's blood demon art. He retired and trained the rest of the corps during the Pillar Training Arc. Lastly, he guarded the new leader of the corps together with Kyojuro's dad, Shinjuro.
Kyojuro Rengoku: The first pillar to die in the series. After helping in the fight against the Lower Moon One, Enmu, Rengoku's party was attacked by Akaza. By comparison, it took post-pillar-training Tanjiro and Giyu to defeat the Upper Moon Three. Had Tanjiro possessed the same level of skill with the Hinokami Kagura, or if Rengoku managed to awaken his mark, things might've been different.