Demon Slayer is one of the most popular anime in the world right now, but the series did stir up a controversy involving Tanjiro’s earrings.

Aside from the fourth and final season of Attack on Titan, Demon Slayer is arguably the most popular anime in the world.

However, when Demon Slater first premiered in mid-2019, there was a minor controversy involving the main characters earrings.

So, what was the ‘Tanjiro earing controversy’ and what changes did the anime make following the incident?  

What is the Tanjiro earing controversy?

  • A minor controversy occurred when Demon Slayer originally aired, where people interpreted Tanjiro’s Hanafuda card earrings as a depiction of the Japanese Imperial flag.

In the anime, Tanjiro wears a pair of modified Hanafuda card earring that have been passed down his family for generations.

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Hanafuda, translated to ‘flower cards’, are used as part of a traditional card game in Japan. However, the specific design of Tanjiro’s earrings, a red circle with rays extending over an arc, are not part of the official Hanafuda cards design set.

This led many people to interpret the design as depicting a Rising Sun; a symbol commonly used by the Japanese military during its colonisation of Asian countries in WW2.

The symbol remains highly controversial in many countries across Asia, representing the historic Japanese military aggression during the global conflict.

How the producers responded…

In response to the controversy, the producers of Demon Slayer made official alterations to the earrings’ design for certain Asian countries who were airing the anime.

Amongst others, Chinese and South Korean streaming platforms altered Tanjiro’s earrings from the original design to a more simplified pattern; a red circle over several lines and a mountain.

The change in design was also made for official merchandise sold in those countries.

By Tom Llewellyn – [email protected]

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