What does Jujutsu Kaisen really mean?

An image of Yuji and Sukuna from the shonen series Jujutsu KaisenCrunchyroll

It is a common misconception that Jujutsu Kaisen means “Sorcery Fight.” Contrary to the official English title, the series has a much deeper meaning in Japanese that perfectly fits the story’s theme.

Jujutsu Kaisen is a popular anime and manga series created by Gege Akutami. The series’ global popularity is understandable, given its brilliantly unique themes and intriguing cast of characters. 

The plot revolves around Yuji Itadori, a high school student whose life is turned upside down when he consumes a special-grade cursed object. Suddenly finding himself on death row because of having unexplainable powers, Yuji vows to consume all of Sukuna’s fingers before dying.

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The franchise has two seasons and a prequel movie under its belt, with the second season currently ongoing. Delve deeper to find out the meaning of Jujutsu Kaisen.

The true meaning of Jujutsu Kaisen

An image of Sukuna and Yuji fighting before making the Binding VowCrunchyroll

The official English translation of Jujutsu Kaisen is “Sorcery Fight,” which unfortunately fails to convey the deeper meaning of what the title signifies in Japanese. Jujutsu (呪術) means “sorcery” or sometimes even “magic.” Jujutsu Sorcerers is a common phrase in the series. In the series, these sorcerers use their powers in the form of energy from negative emotions such as anger or grief. 

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On the other hand, Kaisen (廻戦) is not an actual Japanese word. Gege Akutami made it up to create a title that matches the story’s meaning. Therefore, we can only understand it by breaking it down into two parts. The character “kai (廻)” means “turn,” “revolve,” or “to go round and round.” The character also carries the nuance of “eternal.” It comes from the word that means “samsara,” referring to the cycle of death and rebirth in Hinduism. 

Additionally, the character “sen (戦)” means battle or fight. Therefore, when put together, the true meaning of Jujutsu Kaisen implies something like “the eternal battle of sorcery.” The curses in the world are born from the negative emotions of humans. Therefore, as long as humans exist, curses will keep on coming. 

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To stop those curses, Jujutsu Sorcerers put their lives on the line. It is a battle that has been going on for millennia and doesn’t seem to have a chance of stopping ever. When you think about the true meaning of Jujutsu Kiasen, Gege Akutami couldn’t have thought of a better title to perfectly portray the theme of his story. 

Jujutsu Kaisen can currently be streamed on Crunchyroll and Netflix. In the meantime, check out our other anime coverage below:

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