Knowing a bit of trivia on the characters' names would let you view the anime from a bit different perspective. I hope this behind-knowledge lets you enjoy the world of Demon Slayer more.
First off, I picked up main members surrounding Tanjiro.
Since I thought "Kamado" was an important part, I included the family name for him.
There is Hachiman Kamado Shrine (八幡竈門神社) in Kyushu district in Japan. This shrine is known for its legendary story about beating demons. Tanjiro's family name has been said that it named after this shrine's name. The author of Demon Slayer is from Kyushu District, so it's no wonder if she gets inspired by these surroundings. The shrine has many items related to Demon Slayer, so if interested, stop by Hachiman Kamado Shrine when you visit Japan (Reference in Japanese: https://www.travel.co.jp/guide/article/43181/ You may enjoy the scenery pictures of them).
- "Kamado" is also known for a cooking range "釜戸 (kamado), 竈 (kamado)" used a long time ago in Japan. It supported people's life by burning charcoal or firewoods. The author might also have picked Tanjiro's family name to reinforce Tanjiro as an integral part of this story.
- Tanjiro's family has been selling charcoal for a living for generations in a village. In his family, the firstborn boy has "炭 (charcoal)" in the name: e.g. ancestor "炭吉 (Sumiyoshi)," father "炭十郎 (Tanjyuro)," and "炭治郎 (Tanjiro)." "炭" is also read "sumi" as Tanjiro's ancestor "炭吉 (Sumiyoshi)."
- "治 (ji)" is a popular character for male names in Japan. Read literally, it means "to cure, to heal, or to manage people/region."
- "郎 (ro)" is also a popular character for male names in Japan. It generally means "a man."
- "禰󠄀 (ne)" means a kind of altar. If you've already read/watched Demon Slayer, you might relate this to the story. She might have been a sacrifice to the god.
- "豆 (zu)" is bean, but if there's demon related, this "bean" is not just it.
In Japan, we have a tradition called "節分 (Setsubun)," which is the day to scatter beans to purify the home to protect from demon/evil spirits. Yes! The beans are the crucial item to drive away demons. So, Neszuko might be the key person to beat demons.
(cf. The Setsubun is Feb 3rd, to celebrate the coming new season and to pray for a prosperous year.)
- "子 (ko)" means child and very popular character for female names, e.g. 朝子 (Asako), 花子 (Hanako), 美智子 (Michiko), etc.
When I heard "Zenitsu" in Demon Slayer in English, I thought his name was "銭津 (Zeni Tsu)." "銭 (zeni)" is money, and "津 (tsu)" is a harbor or a port. Because in addition to the name, he was wearing very golden clothes which reminded me of money 😂
But the truth is, Zenitsu has beautiful meanings in his name.
- "善 (zen)" has very good meaning: virtue, virtuous, good, etc.
- "逸 (itsu)" means excel, outstanding, etc. There are also other meanings like "to escape quickly, hide from the society" but I guess the author chose "逸" for the former meanings.
(Also, this is too trivial, but his name is called "Zen itsu" in Japanese, not like "Zeni tsu" in English.)
For Inosuke, I introduce two meanings as follows. His name is closely related to his appearance and temper, especially for the second explanation.
1. Inosuke in Demon Slayer is written as "伊之助" in Japanese. Read literally, the name means like above. But maybe the second image makes more sense when it comes to Inosuke's character.
2. In Japanese, wild boar is called "Inoshishi." Also, we have a saying that uses a wild boar to describe headlong rush. So most Japanese people naturally relate Inosuke's name and his character to a wild boar.
This one is my favorite, but so hard to express in English. Hope it makes sense!
Do you remember Kanae, who was an older sister of Shinobu Kocho?
Kanao was named after Kanae. Now, we can play on words.
Closer look at the end of both names: it's "o" and "e." Chronologically, it changed from "e" to "o".
"笑顔 (egao)" means smile or smiley face.
In Japanese, we say this change as "エ(e) が(ga) ヲ(o) になった (e ga o ni natta)."
|In Japanese||In English|
|エ が ヲ になった|
(e ga o ni natta)
|e changed into o|
(egao ni natta)
|turned into smile|
Kanao was a girl who was in very miserable circumstances. She eventually lost her emotion, so she felt nothing no matter what happened to her for a while. Not to mention, she lost her smiley face as well.
So, the name infers that Kanao gets the smile back because her name was after Kanae the end of which changed from "e" to "o."
I'm touched when I realized this word play, which I guess the author put in the work.
Even if you've already read/watched the whole story yet, the trivia above may bring you another view. Hope they do!:)