From Ancient Mythology to Anime: The Story of Sukuna

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The fans of “Jujutsu Kaisen” are clearly familiar with the name Ryomen Sukuna, “The King of Curse” who was once a human sorcerer who killed many sorcerers from the golden age of sorcery/jujutsu and now lives inside the body of our protagonist, Yuji Itadori.

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Interestingly, this antagonistic devilish character turns out to be based on a figure from ancient Japanese mythology with the same name. According to the “Nihon Shoki” (The Chronicles of Japan), a document compiled by the Imperial family of Japan in 720, Sukuna was a specter-like figure who appeared in the Hida Province (now Gifu Prefecture) in the 4th century.

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He was described as a man with inhuman strength, a two-faced head, and a total of eight limbs, four arms, and legs respectively, that served each face. He plundered chaos in ancient Hida by terrorizing people and their village using various weapons such as a bow, arrow, and sword in his hands.

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Due to this imagery and tales, Sukuna’s representation in popular culture has mostly fallen in line with Nihon Shoki’s description, especially the one in the Jujutsu Kaisen series. Statues depicting his distinctly two-faced head can still be found today in some temples and shrines.

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