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Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba | Shinobu Kocho | Character Analysis | The Insect Hashira

Read about Shinobu Kocho, the Insect Hashira, in our in depth character analysis! Find out why she seeks revenge, her special abilities, and more!


Prince Lammy

August 30, 2023

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba | Shinobu Kocho | Character Analysis | The Insect Hashira Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba | Shinobu Kocho | Character Analysis | The Insect Hashira


“You mustn’t think you’re safe just because you’ve still got a head on your shoulders”

- Shinobu Kocho


Introducing the only demon slayer that doesn’t behead demons! In her own words: “I may be the only one among the Hashira who is unable to behead demons, but creating a poison that’s lethal to them; that’s quite impressive, don’t you think?”

Let’s take an in-depth look at Shinobu Kocho’s character!

Shinobu Kocho:

Demon Slayer Shinobu Kocho Appearance

  • Name: Shinobu Kocho

  • Species: Human

  • Demon Slayer Rank: Hashira

  • Breathing Style: Insect Breathing

  • Status: Alive

  • Gender: Female

  • Age: 18

  • Birthday: February 24th

  • Eye Color: Purple

  • Hair Color: Purple and Black

  • Voice Actor: Saori Hayami

  • Debut: Episode 15 (Season 1, Episode 15) – Anime, Chapter 4 – Manga

Who Is Shinobu Kocho?

Demon Slayer Who Is Shinobu Kocho

Shinobu Kocho is one of the major female characters in the Japanese anime series, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. She is a Hashira of the Demon Slayer Corps, and is the master of Insect Breathing. She is one of the residents of the Butterfly Mansion, and the younger sister of the former Insect Hashira, Kanae Kocho.

Shinobu's Past & Backstory

Demon Slayer Shinobu Kocho Kanae Kocho And Kanao Tsuyuri

Shinobu Kocho was born to the distinguished Kocho family, a family renowned for its history of producing reputable medical practitioners. Her parents were not only medical practitioners but also chemists engaged in research and the creation of drugs and potions. She has two sisters, Kanae Kocho, her older sister and the former Flower Hashira, and her adopted younger sister, Kanao Tsuyuri, who is her Tsuguko (Hashira apprentice).

After losing her parents to a demon attack, she suffered another blow when her elder sister, Kanae, fell in a battle against Doma, the Upper Rank Two Demon Moon, as she, then the Flower Hashira, attempted to vanquish him. With her dying breath, Kanae beseeched her sister not to join the Demon Slayer Corps, but vengeful Shinobu went against her sister’s wish, and sought to kill Doma.

The Insect Hashira's Appearance

Demon Slayer Shinobu Kocho And Giyu Tomioka

Shinobu is one of the elegant ladies in the Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba series. Though she possesses a petite frame and an ever-smiling face, her strength and position as a Hashira of the Demon Slayer Corps are beyond any doubt.

She has dark hair with purple highlights at the ends, which is packed into a bun with a butterfly hairpin. She has big dark purple eyes, but her pupils are not visible. She also has a childlike expression on her face at all times. Regarding her attire, she wears the customary demon slayer uniform, and hakama trousers carefully slipped into a fabric with butterfly designs, which matches her haori.

The haori she wears prominently displays a butterfly wing motif, which effectively resembles the impression of fluttering butterfly wings when she moves. It also displays a gradual transition of a white hue to a turquoise shade, followed by a pink coloration on both the sleeves and the lower portion of the garment, extending to the legs. The sleeves of her garment are adorned with a white and black dotted trim that resembles the pattern of insects. To complement her attire, she also wears white shoes bearing purple straps and has a white belt that securely fastens her sword sheath.

Shinobu's Personality And Traits

Demon Slayer Shinobu Kocho Helping Zenitsu

Shinobu always appears to be calm and nice (maybe even a little too much!), but deep down, she is not as lovely as she seems. She can lose her temper quickly and become incredibly angry. The smile she always has on her face is a way for her to honor and remember her elder sister, Kanae Kocho.

Although she has a kind demeanor, whenever she comes across a demon, she's not afraid to be tough and make sure they are punished. Shinobu is someone who always acts in a very direct way and stays calm and distant no matter what happens. Even when demons reject her offers of friendship, she responds with a smile, seemingly deriving pleasure from punishing them.

Demon Slayer Shinobu Kocho Giving Tanjiro Water

Regardless of her duty as a Demon Slayer, in the past, Shinobu wished for a world where demons and humans could be friends. That wish and belief was shattered when she watched her elder sister, Kanae, die at the hands of Doma, the Upper-Rank Two Demon Moon. This event particularly spurred her to keep killing demons until she one day meets Doma and avenges her sister’s death.

She also sometimes surprises people by suddenly appearing next to them and saying "Yoo-hoo!"

Relationships With Her Sister, Demon Slayers & Demons

With Her Sister, Kanae

Demon Slayer Kanae Kocho Death

Shinobu was profoundly traumatized by Kanae's death, leaving her with a deep loathing for demons and an unquenchable thirst for revenge. This traumatic experience ignited Shinobu's unwavering determination to eliminate demons from the world.

As the Insect Hashira, she dedicates herself tirelessly to her role, relentlessly seeking the annihilation of every demon she encounters. Her unwavering commitment to the Demon Slayer Corps and her pursuit of justice and vengeance may be viewed as a means to commemorate her sister's memory.

With Other Demon Slayers

Demon Slayer Shinobu Kocho In Hashira Meeting

Shinobu shares a professional rapport with her fellow Demon Slayers and holds their respect in return. She is very reserved but speaks and acts when she has to. She often takes it upon herself to moderate meetings between the Hashira, as seen during Tanjiro’s trial. She consistently strives to do what she believes is right, regardless of whose interests are affected.

With Demons

Demon Slayer Shinobu Kocho With A Demon

As seen in her debut episode in the Mount Natagumo Arc, Shinobu Kocho often prefers to offer redemption and forgiveness to demons, only after they agree to atone for their sins. She offered the spider demon daughter a chance to become friends, and only killed the demon after her proposal was turned down.

Skills, Abilities, Breathing Styles & Techniques

Shinobu Kocho is the Insect Hashira, and as expected, has a variety of skills and abilities that enable her to do her duty as one of the strongest member of the Demon Slayer Corps. However, there are specific skills that truly set her apart, here are all her notable skills:

  • Medical Expertise: Shinobu may not have been naturally gifted in fighting like the other Hashiras, but she more than makes up for it with her incredible expertise and mastery in the field of drugs. She's a super skilled doctor and chemist who can make both harmful substances and their remedies to fight against demons, and also heal injured demon slayers.

Demon Slayer Shinobu Kocho Holding A Syringe

  • Exceptional Speed and Agility: Shinobu is incredibly fast, making up for her lack of physical strength. Koyoharu Gotouge, the creator of the series claimed that she’s the fastest Hashira in the series. Her fighting style results in swift and smooth movements, effortlessly dodging attacks and weaving her way through battle. When she moves, it looks like she's floating - like a butterfly.

Demon Slayer Shinobu Kocho In Motion Butterfly Kimono

  • Incredible Swordsmanship: Shinobu is an incredibly powerful swordswoman in the Demon Slayer Corps as she’s one of the Hashira, the strongest Demon Slayers alive. Her swordsmanship is slightly different from that of others though, she thrusts and pierces demons with her sword to inject them with the Wisteria poison that her sword contains.

  • Stamina And Endurance: Shinobu, being a Hashira, has developed high levels of endurance and stamina she gained through many years of intense training. Even Doma questioned if she was human, when he witnessed her stamina and endurance firsthand.

  • Insect Breathing Technique: Due to her inability to harness the physical strength necessary to learn Flame Breathing from Kyojuro Rengoku, Shinobu Kocho created the Insect Breathing Technique instead. This breathing style doesn’t require as much physical strength as the other styles. She is the sole user of this technique and also created every one of its forms.

To read more on Breathing Techniques and Forms, check out our article: List of All Breathing Styles, Techniques & Forms.

Weapons & Poisons

  • Stinger NIchirin Sword: Shinobu’s katana is a sword with a thin black blade and is laced with Wisteria poison. The blade is wider at the tip and the base, but thinner at the middle. It has the kanji characters for “Evil Demons” written on it. The sword’s handguard is shaped like a butterfly and has a silver filling, which has small flower patterns on it. It also has an orange handle wrapped in green samegawa material.

Demon Slayer Shinobu Kocho Nichirin Sword

  • Hidden Blade: Shinobu hides a small blade in her left sandal, as seen when she tried to use it on Giyu Tomioka while trying to kill Nezuko on Mount Natagumo.

Demon Slayer Shinobu Kocho Hidden Shoe Blade

  • Wisteria Poison: Shinobu's weapon of choice. Just as lethal as a beheading, a demon getting a dose of Wisteria poison can kill even some of the strongest of demons.

Motivations: The Vendetta Against Doma, The Upper-Rank 2 Demon Moon

Shinobu Kocho's goal as a Hashira is twofold: avenging her sister's death by defeating Doma and eradicating demons. Yet, her aspirations go further. She envisions a world free from demons, where humanity can live safely, avoiding the pain she suffered after her sister's loss.

Demon Slayer Shinobu Kocho In Midair

Over time, her motivations pushed beyond getting revenge. Just like other selfless characters like Lady Tamayo, she gives in to her kindness and takes it upon herself to help and heal others. She even made her house into a place to nurse wounded demon slayers back to health.

Character Symbolism And Themes

Demon Slayer Shinobu Kocho With Other Hashira

Shinobu Kocho embodies numerous symbolic elements and themes in the Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba series, adding to the story's depth and richness. Among the most prominent themes affiliated with her character are the following:

  • Persona Duality: Shinobu is a perfect representation of one who’s caught between doing what is right and her wishes. While she wishes to be friends with demons and to have a world devoid of the cannibalistic nature of demons, she still keeps in mind her duty as a demon slayer, and also her revenge. 

  • Empathy and Mentorship: Despite her inner turmoil and pain, she still takes it upon herself to approach matters from an emphatic perspective, and also give support to those around her. Not only that, she helped in training Tanjiro and his friends after their battle on Mount Natagumo and is Kanao’s mentor. 

  • Complex Female Character: Shinobu is a multifaceted and complex female character in the series. Her fortitude, intellect, and emotional depth challenge traditional gender roles, contributing to the overall theme of diverse and empowered characters in the series. Her character helps in showing how Demon Slayer conquers stereotypes and empowers the female characters.

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Next article Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba | Gyokko | Character Analysis | The Upper Rank Five Demon Moon


Who is Shinobu Kocho?


What is Insect Breathing?


Why is Shinobu unable to behead demons?


What's kind of poison does Shinobu use?


What's the story behind the death of Shinobu's sister, Kanae?


What is special about Shinobu Kocho?


Why does Shinobu always smile?