The popular shonen manga Demon Slayer(Kimetsu no Yaiba), when it hit the audience in early 2016, gained massive popularity with its interesting plot line and fun characters, and do we have to talk about Nezuko? Probably not!
But aside from the amazing plot and great characters, the time period it was set in has interestingly captured the attention of many readers as well as anime watchers.
The Demon Slayer manga takes place in the Taishō Period(1912-1926) in Japan. To know more about this period you might want to stick with this article till the end.
The Taishō period is a time period in the history of Japan from 1912 to 1926. The era is also considered to be the time of the Liberal movement known as the Taisho Democracy. This period is very distinguishable from its former and later periods such as the preceding chaotic Meiji period and the following militaristic-driven Shōwa period.
The Taisho period, unlike the other periods, had its unique features. We can see the technological and moreover the clash of the modern and the traditional eras.
Demon Slayer set in the Taishō Period
The whole plot of the Demon Slayer series is set in the Taishō Period. The appearance of the characters, the way they dress up, the way they speak, and the journey they take through various different places shows the features of that period.
As it is just an animation, not all of the things of this period are shown but they are still noticeable throughout the series.
The most prominent fact of this can be felt is the advancement in the technological field that is shown in the series as well as the fact that they have trains. Unlike most of the series, a train is not such a big deal but during the Mugen train arc, we can see Tanjiro, Zenitsu, and Inosuke are amazed by seeing such things as they haven’t experienced such things in the countryside.
The Taishō period was a time of change from the traditional to modern. In the beginning, we can see folks of the countryside like Tanjiro himself setting out to collect woods and selling them to make a living which shows the traditional side of that period.
But then as time progresses we see Tanjiro setting out on missions and venturing out into different areas and places. During the Mugen Train arc, we see the city areas where there are street lamps and paved roads and not to mention the Train itself, which indicates that they were heading towards modernization.
Even in the recently released Red light district arc, they are amazed at the fact that such areas even exist. Here the Sound Hasira helps them to get around the town as they are very new to these places. This part of the series shows how the times changed and people were more open.
During this period Japan opened up to many western countries and as a result of which the people there were introduced to western fashion.
The same thing can be seen in the series as well. The characters do have their own unique and Very interesting choices when it comes to fashion. As the fashion during those times was kind of like a mix of traditional as well as western clothes, the series depicts just that.
Not only the demon slayers but even the demons have such a very peculiar fashion sense.
Some characters are seen wearing robes and kimonos whereas some are seen wearing more westernized clothing such as suits and dresses.
The uniform of the Demon Slayer Corps consists of a buttoned top, also known as a gakuran jacket, and hakama-style pants. Though it looks very modern for that time period it still has that tad bit of traditional style to it.
So overall we can say that even though the characters are not really seen in the way that people dressed in that era they still deliver some essence of it.
Although it would be hard to believe that people wore such “interesting” dresses and boar masks in that period.
Were Katanas banned?
Just like in the Meiji period, The Taishō Period also continues to enforce the sword ban. The sword was only allowed for selected individuals and mainly only for government officers.
The sword ban puts the demon slayers in a kind of difficulty as most of them wield the katanas in order to fight the demons. For this reason, when Tanjiro and his friends are out on their journey they are bound to conceal their katanas as they can get confiscated by the officers.
They must hide their katanas even when they are on their demon slayer missions which makes it difficult to fight off the demons more openly.
What if it was set in a more modern era?
Now you might be questioning, wouldn’t it be easier if it was set in a more modern era?
Well, it would be a lot easier to set it in a more modern era but it doing so would make it lose its main point. Like the katana ban, making them hide their swords added more secrecy to their Demon Slayer mission. Likewise, the blend of the modern and tradition in this period that is depicted in the series gives it a fresh and unique touch.
Demon Slayer’s setting has some deep effects, unlike most shonen series. Due to its setting in the Taisho Era, the fierce battle between the characters seems very intense. I mean we can all agree on fights with katanas in Kimonos and suits are just top-notch.
So yeah maybe if it was set in the new eras, it would have been just another regular shonen series with the same plot and mediocre characters.
Personally, I can’t imagine other era’s fashion on Uzui.
Did people believe in demons?
Despite coming a long way in modernization, Japan still has faith and believes in demons. So it wouldn’t be surprising to say that people did believe in demons from ancient times to till now.
Even in the Taisho era, people did believe in the existence of demons. So in the series, there are demons and people did believe in them, mostly the country folks.
The difference between the countryside and the city area is clearly shown in the series.
The people from the rural areas are more superstitious compared to the people living in the urban areas. People in rural areas get inside their houses before sunset as they believe the night is the time of the demons. So for their safety, they don’t go out during the nighttime.
However, the scenario is different for the folks in the city area. They seem not to believe in such things as demons as they are seen walking around the city at night out with friends and having fun.
The main reason for this could be the fact that people in the city area live in a much better conditions than the people in the countryside.
People living in the rural area are afraid to go out not just because of the demons but also because there seems to be only a limited source of light at night unlike the street lights and well-lit areas in the city, which shows how Japan was in a transition period from traditional to modern. This transition most likely changed how people believed in the supernatural.
Here are some interesting facts you probably didn’t know about the Taisho Period.
The Taisho era only lasted for 14 years because The Taishō emperor, Yoshihito was chronically ill as he contracted cerebral meningitis
- World War I took place in this time period
- Japan opened its borders to foreign countries leading to the exchange of goods and cultures as well
- Women’s social standings begin to improve
- In this era, office workers appeared
- Western influence is prominent in food, clothes, and day-to-day life
- Taisho democracy provided all men the right to vote
- This time period was the beginning of Japan getting industrialized
Although the anime series is far behind the manga series, so far it has adapted the same plot lines as the manga.
So we can say that the time period is the same in both series. Regardless, the Taishō period seems just perfect for the interesting plot and the intense battle of the series which has made it so popular among the fans.