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The Real-Life Inspiration Behind Demon Slayer: Entertainment Arc District's Final Fight

"Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba," or just "Demon Slayer," is the ultra-popular anime based on Koyoharu Gotouge's anime of the same name. The story follows Tanjiro Kamado, a young man whose entire family is wiped out by a demon except for his sister Nezuko. Although she becomes a demon herself, Nezuko agrees to help her brother avenge their family by hunting down Tokyo's demons.

In Season 2, Tanjiro, Nezuko, and their friends and fellow demon hunters Zenitsu and Inosuke head to Tokyo's Yoshiwara Red-Light district, where they help another demon hunter, Tengen Uzui, look for his missing wives. In the next-to-last episode of the story arc, Tanjiro and Tengen faces off with the powerful demon, Gyutaro. The fight comes down to a contest between Gyutaro's strength and Tanjiro's Hinokami fire-breathing style, and in the end, Tanjiro and Tengen emerge victorious.

They don't come through it completely unscathed, however. Tengen is badly injured, and the surrounding neighborhood is nearly consumed by the flames. It's an intense and action-packed fight sequence, but it also takes its inspiration from the real-life history of Tokyo.

The Tokyo district of Yoshiwara has been destroyed many times in real life, like it is on the show

The Yoshiwara Red-Light district is a historical Tokyo neighborhood from Japan's Edo period. It was founded in 1617 C.E. as part of the shogunate's Legal Prostitution System, which legalized sex work so that it could be regulated and taxed.

The district has been destroyed several times throughout its history. The first immolation was the Great Fire of Meireki, which took place in 1657 and took most of Yoshiwara with it. The shogunate relocated Yoshiwara to nearby rice paddies and renamed it "Shin Yoshiwara," or "New Yoshiwara." Yoshiwara kept being torched about every two decades or so — often, these fires were arson, caused by sex workers who had been abused by their clients and employers.

The 1910's and 20's saw some of the most destructive disasters hit the district. In 1911, the Yoshiwara Great Fire consumed the entire region and neighboring ones, destroying 300 "rental parlors," 123 Hikie teahouses (upscale brothels), and 650 homes and dormitories. Yoshiwara was rebuilt once again. Twelve years later, the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and its subsequent fires destroyed up to 70% of the city. In Yoshiwara alone, it's estimated that 40,000 people lost their lives.

Yoshiwara was built once more, and destroyed once again in World War II bombing raids. Finally, the 1958 Anti-Prostitution law legislated the district out of existence.

So, by the time Tanjiro, Tengen, and Gyutaro have their fight, the district of Yoshiwara has already seen a lot (via Polygon).