“I didn’t even realize I was reading it wrong myself.”

With Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba breaking sales records and heading well on its way to become the highest-grossing film released in Japan, it’s no surprise that it’s become a household name.

What is surprising, however, is that its popularity has broken into one unexpected area: Japanese children’s kanji reading ability.

Japanese Twitter user and elementary school teacher @tomo_haruuu pointed this out:

“There’s a problem of too many kids reading the word 円柱 as ‘en-bashira.'”

For those not familiar with kanji readings, let’s break this down.

▼ The Japanese word 円柱 is enchuu, meaning “column.”
It’s made up of en meaning “circle/yen/money” and chuu meaning “pillar.”

▼ However, the second kanji in the word can also be
read a different way: hashira (sometimes turning into bashira).

▼ This reading is used in the names of the Nine Pillars from Demon Slayer,
the most power sword masters in the Demon Slayer Corps.

▼ And one of the Pillars’ names, Flame Pillar, is read En-bashira. So looking back at
the original word that also starts with en, one might assume it’s also read…

En-bashira! Alas, no. As funny as it would be to have a “Money Pillar” or
“Yen Pillar,” it’s just the normal word enchuu meaning column.

What exactly is going on in the kids’ minds is unclear, whether they’re simply reading it as Flame Pillar which has the same pronunciation, or if they’re reading it as the brand new Money Pillar, but either way it’s a pretty cute linguistic mistake.

A similar English phenomenon would be something like kids reading the symbol # as “hashtag” instead of “pound sign.” Since both are technically correct, it’s not quite the same as in Japanese where one is just wrong, but it’s still funny to imagine someone being asked on the phone to press the “pound sign” and not having any idea what that is.

It seems the kids were not alone, as Japanese netizens shared their own experiences online:

“I didn’t even realize I was reading it wrong myself.”
“There are also kids who use yaiba (刃), the kanji from the title, instead of katana (刀) too.”
“Long ago, when the band GLAY released the song Kuchibiru spelled 口唇 I wrote it that way on a test and got it marked wrong.”
“It’s okay, kids can read 竈 now because of Demon Slayer.”

That difficult kanji is Kama, used in the name of the main characters Tanjiro Kamado and Nezuko Kamado. In fact, there are a lot of tough kanji that make an appearance in the series, especially in the name of the Flame Pillar En-bashira himself, Kyojuro Rengoku (煉獄杏寿郎).

Perhaps that’s the reason he made it onto the list of the people Japanese elementary schoolers respect the most? Mom, Dad, and teachers have it coming next year!

Source: Twitter/@tomo_haruuu via My Game News Flash
Top image: SoraNews24
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