By Juliet Faure
– Posted on 25 Mar 2022 at 15:19
All Demon Slayer fans know this. Demon Slayers use crows to communicate. However, Zenitsu does not have a crow, but a sparrow. Why this difference?
After surviving the Final Selection, Demon Slayer Army candidates must choose their own ore that will be used to create their Sun Sword. In addition, they also receive their own uniform as well asa connecting crow. However, Zenitsu’s companion is not a black-feathered crow, but a small sparrow by the name of Chuntaro. And the explanation for this difference is not to be found in the history of demon slayerrather in Japanese folklore.
Indeed, in Japanese mythology, the use of the crow as a messenger is particularly well known. According to legend, a three-legged crow was sent from heaven to the hero Jimmu by the goddess Amaterasu herself. The three legs of the crow represent the main characteristics of the gods, namely wisdom, kindness and courage. This crow, named Yatagarasu, joined Jimmu in order to show him the next battlefield, from which he emerged victorious. In demon slayerthe use of messenger crows is a tribute to Yatagarasu.
Why does Zenitsu have a sparrow instead of a crow?
As opposed to the Crow, the Sparrow is more frail, slower, and seen as less intelligent, but it’s precisely for these reasons that Zenitsu and Chuntaro go so well together. In effect, Zenitsu is a cowardly boy, who has a lot of room for development at his disposal. However, he is also a very caring person, as proven by his reaction when he first meets Nezuko whom he will seek to protect from Inosuke.
Nonetheless, Zenitsu often tends to hide behind characters weaker than himself and give long speeches about the danger he and his friends stand before. Clearly, Zenitsu isn’t the bravest character in demon slayer. However, there is a popular tale in Japan called ” The story of the tongue-cut sparrow which precisely explains why the sparrow is the ideal companion for the character of Zenitsu.
There are several versions of this tale. But the best known tells the story of an elderly couple who took care of a sparrow. The little bird had become their pet and they took great care of it. While one day the couple was away to go to town, a neighbour, also elderly, left starch in a basin to wash her laundry. But the sparrow ate the starch. Seeing this, and mad with rage, the old woman yelled, what a disgusting creature and cut out the sparrow’s tongue, which fled as quickly as it could. Upon their return, the couple learned of the story and went in search of the little sparrow. After long walks, they finally found the house of the sparrow, who invited them to enter. After thanking them many times for the good old days, the sparrow offered his former masters many dishes as well as sake. At the end of the day, he executed ” the sparrow dance“.
As night approached, the old couple began to say it was time to go home. The sparrow brings them two wicker baskets and asks them to choose between heavy and light. Due to their age, the old couple decided to take the lighter basket. Arrived at home, the couple opened the basket and discovered gold, jewels and rolls of silk. When the couple met the neighbor, she was envious and asked them where the sparrow lived to, she said, apologize. So she went to the sparrow and as with the couple, the sparrow offered her the light basket or the heavy basket.
Greedy, the neighbor chooses the heavy basket. Going home with difficulty, she then opened the basket to discover what was hidden there. Upon opening it, an entire troop of demonic creatures swoop in, ripping the old lady to pieces.
Although the tale has several morals, it is not illogical to think that Zenitsu be the representation of the lightest basket. However, although he only masters one technique, it is powerful enough to defeat demons, and not just any. And just like the elderly couple, Zenitsu is a fundamentally kind person, a trait that comes out as he grows in confidence. Finally, just like the lightest basket, Zenitsu has enormous potential that only his master has been able to detect. As a reminder, demon slayer is available at Panini Manga.