Who uses Sun Breathing in ‘Demon Slayer?’
Breathing is the basis of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba’s larger-than-life battles. Every member of the Demon Slayer Corps wields not just a Nichirin Sword, but trains to master a specific breathing style. Of these forms, Sun Breathing holds a unique, feared, and revered position amongst demons and Demon Slayers alike.
What are breathing styles?
Demon slayers are taught how to use different breathing styles while in training. Tanjiro learned Water Breathing from the former Hashira Sakonji Urokodaki and Zenitsu learned Thunder Breathing from Jigoro Kuwajima. Each style has several forms, or moves, that practitioners can wield in battle, like Water Breathing — First Form: Water Surface Slash.
Each breathing style has an associated Hashira in the Demon Slayer Corps, though the Flame and Sound Hashira are currently absent if you’re watching along with the anime. Kyojuro Rengoku is the late Flame Hashira, Gyomei Himejima mastered Stone Breathing, and Sanemi Shinazugawa is the current Wind Hashira. Another element, Moon, is actually possessed by a demon of the Twelve Kizuki.
And new styles are still being created as derivations of these forms. Sound Breathing was developed by the former Hashira Tengen Uzui. Inosuke derived Beast Breathing from Wind Breathing while surviving in the mountains as a child, imitating a boar that raised him. The Hashira Muichiro Tokito practices Mist Breathing, another derivative of Wind. Mitsuri Kanroji practices Love, Kanae Kocho and Kanao Tsuyuri Flower, Obani Iguro Serpent, and Shinobu Kocho Insect.
Note that while breathing styles are elemental swordsmanship techniques, there are related techniques like Total Concentration Breathing and Recovery Breathing that all Corps members master to fight with superhuman prowess.
Why is Sun Breathing unique?
While there are 14 total elemental forms, there is one esoteric art that even the Hashira are unfamiliar with. As Beast Breathing is a derivative of Wind Breathing, the primary elemental breathing techniques (Wind, Water, Flame, Thunder, Stone, and Moon) are themselves derivatives of Sun Breathing.
The techniques to wield its forms were passed down — along with Hanafuda earrings — from the first Demon Slayer over the past 500 years through the Kamado family as “Hinokami Kagura.” Tanjiro Kamado learned Hinokami Kagura from watching his late father, Tanjuro Kamado, as a young boy, and he later learns more Sun Breathing techniques by witnessing his ancestor’s memories.
More is known about Sun Breathing in the manga’s later chapters, though the anime is only just arriving at the Swordsmith Village Arc.