Demon Slayer’s Wisteria Hysteria (Countdown to Halloween)

Because I read my comments, I do know that a fair bit of you aren’t exactly fans of Demon Slayer as an anime. In fact, the comments would lead me to believe that most of you really disliked the series and dropped it early on. But today I’m not really going to talk about the show itself. Instead, I’m just interested in this tiny bit of lore that made wisteria a flower capable of warding away evil! If that’s really the case, then it’s going to come in very handy when all those wicked things start roaming around on Halloween. But does it really have any basis or was it just a bit of trivia made up by the author of Demon Slayer?

Also, I’m repurposing this post from one I wrote for Karandii’s site. I’ve had a bit of a cold lately and I’m behind on my spooky post writing. I still hope you liked it. I remember being very excited about researching it at the time.

In Demon Slayer, we found out that wisteria keeps demons away. This caught my attention. I was familiar with the name of course, but I realized through the episode that I didn’t actually know what wisteria is. Let alone why they would be a good holistic defence. So I did what I usually do and asked my good friend google.

First thing I found that is that wisteria are really beautiful:

Tennogawa Park, Tsushima, Aichi, Japan

I don’t think we see the flower much in Quebec, our weather is quite finicky and only the hardiest plants can survive. Then again that may not be the issue as I will go into a bit later. The second thing I found out, by combining the words “wisteria” and “demon” in the search field, is that there is no obvious correlation between the two. A bit more digging was necessary!

Wisteria is in fact in the pea family and is an Asian plant species. It seems to be originally native in China and Japan, although I figure it probably spreads to the surrounding regions as well. It was brought to Europe and America some time ago and several American variations now thrive in the United States as well.

Classically, the plant, therefore, derives its meaning from Chinese and Japanese cultures. The flower is more commonly associated with luck, youth and births but has also been used in Kabuki theatre as a symbol of Love, Sensuality, Support, Sensitivity, Bliss and Tenderness. I guess all these caring and tender associations could be considered the antithesis to demons but I’m not sure that’s all there is to it.

kimetsu-no-yaiba-04-large-13
more than meets the eye

The flower is in fact quite hardy with single specimens being able to live in the hundreds of years. Apparently, the oldest living one is currently in Japan and has been around for over 1200 years. It’s not surprising that it is therefore also associated with immortality. Sure there are trees that dwarf that lifespan but for a flower, it’s pretty amazing longevity.

Here we have a bit of a parallel with the Demons. I haven’t read the manga and so far that anime hasn’t given us too many details on the Demon lore but I’m treating them as vampires essentially. Mostly because the sun kills them which is generally associated with vampires although their behaviour is a lot like zombies as well. Basically, I’m assuming Demons do not age and die naturally but the anime has yet to specifically confirm that.

Moreover, Wisteria is a rather aggressive plant. When introduced to new environments, you have to cut them back regularly or else they are likely to take over and smother the other plants around.

So rather than being opposed to Demons, in many ways they are similar to them. A potentially lethal presence that encroaches on other living organisms and lats forever!

screenshot_20190427-213231_vrvterrifying

The fact is there is a simple canon explanation for Demons’ fear of the flower. A poison can be made from the plant which is deadly to them and you could simply take that as the reason why Demons want to avoid them so badly. Badly enough that they are willing to starve themselves on an isolated mountain rather than cross the grove. I’m not sure there’s any more to it in the actual story.

But because we like to see significance where there isn’t necessarily any, I want to add my headcanon to it. Find an extra little reason why the author would have chosen that specific flower over the dozens of other poisonous plants that could have been used. And I don’t think the traditional meanings are enough to go by. Rather a combination of those symbols and the natural behaviour of the plant.

If you think of Wisteria as an emblem of birth and immortality and combine it with their long lives and predatory behaviour, they become a mirror image of the demons. Both preying on others for their immortality but where one is a harbinger of death, the other is the idea of new life. One brings images of decay, rot and darkness while the other represents our ideal of freshness and beauty while being associated with sunshine. They are like funhouse mirror images of each other in concept.

Ok, this one may be pushing it a bit far but I like this reading of Wisteria’s place in the Demon Slayer lore. If you guys are watching the series, what do you think of it? Do I sound crazy here? Maybe I missed some clues in the show (or plain statement – I’m slow sometimes) that would lead us to believe the complete opposite. If you have your own conspiracy theories, I would love to know!

D52CuFYUcAAOeD5are you sure?

Irina

I'm much nicer than I seem, we should be friends!

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13 Responses

  1. Demon Slayer is a real colorgasm. The purple of the Wisteria is no exception.

    I don’t think of DS as a “bad” anime, just one that could have been truly great but dropped the ball. Kind of like Darilng in the Franxx. That kind of flubbed opportunity grates on ones nerves.

    There’s the clownish idiot and the pig-headed idiot and both were so badly overplayed they ruin those episodes where they are prominent. The show was better without them. Keeping sis in a box all the time gagged and unable or unwilling to speak doesn’t do anything good for me either. The top demonslayers all act like idiots too.

    But aside from that, its great!

    • Irina says:

      I do believe they are Punch and Judy charas. And that makes sense since it was aimed at an audience that tends to enjoy these overplayed characters much more than I do.

  2. foovay says:

    I fell in love with Wisteria years ago when I rented a mail drop in a strip mall that had it growing up the pillars that held up a shade. They were so beautiful. I’ve always wanted some, but from what I’ve read they are a little hard to get started. It would be well worth the effort though, and if they ward off demons as well – all to the good! LOL. I love your headcannon for this. I kind of liked the bit of Demon Slayer I watched, I just got distracted and didn’t get back to it. It’s on the binge list.

  3. vartika6790 says:

    I have read the manga and it’s amazing. Wisteria flower is really something that was like a nightmare to demons. I liked your post.

  4. raistlin0903 says:

    Sorry to hear about the cold, hope you feel better soon😀 Demon Slayer like so many other animes unfortunately, is still on my to watch list. Loved this post, it’s very unique, and I didn’t know anything at all about Wisteria. Always nice to learn something new!😀

  5. eggheadluna says:

    Wonderful article! Wisteria plants are gorgeous; thank you for going in depth about their symbology! 🌱

  6. After Watching Demon Slayer, I started growing Wisteria in my backyard, The flower itself is very beautiful.

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