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What do Tessaiga and Tenseiga mean? Which one is stronger?

Inuyasha followed the adventures of high school student Kagome Higurashi and the half-demon Inuyasha as they searched for shards of the Shikon Jewel.

With the last installation, i.e., Inuyasha: The Final Act, the series secured its place as one of the most beloved cult classics in the Shonen genre.

The anime is based on a popular manga Inuyasha, written and illustrated by Rumiko Takahashi, which gained popularity because of its stunning battles, unique setting, and quirky characters.

With around 200 episodes, it is host to a large number of them, each with their own unique personalities, powers, and weapons.

In fact, it is the desire to either protect or acquire these swords that create a major rift between the demonic brothers – Inuyasha and Sesshomaru.

With each brother having his own sword, in this article, I will talk about their significance, powers, and factors that make them unique.

1. What is Tessaiga?

Tessaiga (also known as Tetsusaiga or Tetsaiga) is one of the most powerful swords in the Inuyasha universe, wielded by the male protagonist, half-demon Inuyasha.

What is Tessaiga and Tenseiga?
Tessaiga | Source: Fandom

It originally belonged to his father, Dog Demon Lord Toga, who instructed Totosai to forge it out of the former’s own fang.

Directly translating to the Iron-Crushing Fang or Steel-Cleaving Fang, the Tessaiga is an extremely powerful yokai sword that is known for its ability to kill 100 demons with one strike.

Along with its destructive powers, the sword also seems to possess a mind of its own.

In its ‘inactive’ state, the sword looks like a worn-out katana; however, it transforms into a wide saber-shaped weapon when activated.

Furthermore, it only activates or transforms if the user cares for and wants to protect humans.

Since Sesshomaru could not fulfill the second condition, he was unable to gain ownership of this sword.

Other than this significant condition, the user of the sword must also possess enough yoki, which makes it so that while it protects humans, they can never wield it in its true form.

2. Why could Kagome pull out Tessaiga?

After Sesshomaru plucked his father’s grave from Inuyasha’s eye to claim the Tessaiga, Inuyasha went after him.

As a result, both brothers fought for the ownership of the sword, but surprisingly, neither was able to wield it.

In the end, it was Kagome who could get past the barrier and pull the Tessaiga out.

The reason for this is that while the sword was meant for Inuyasha, it could only be wielded once he had a human to care for; thus, Kagome being the one to pull out the sword makes perfect sense.

3. Why did Inuyasha get Tessaiga?

Despite being a half-demon, he was loved by his father, who wished to leave something behind his son.

This something was the powerful yokai sword called Tessaiga with the ability to slay 100 demons in one strike.

What is Tessaiga and Tenseiga?
Inuyasha | Source: Fandom

The reason Inuyasha got Tessaiga was that his father wanted him to embrace his human side and think of it as an advantage.

Since Tessaiga required its user to care for humans deeply, it was the perfect gift to increase Inuyasha’s power as well as compassion.

4. What are Tessaiga’s powers and abilities?

Forged from the Great Dog General’s own fang, the Tessaiga is one of the most powerful swords in the entire series.

Its signature move was called Kaze no Kizu, which had the ability to slay one hundred demons in a single strike.

After Inuyasha learned this, Kaze no Kizu became his finishing move.

Another frightening, and possibly the main ability of the Tessaiga, is to absorb the powers and abilities of any material, substance, or form of demonic energy it comes in contact with, making itself more powerful.

This absorbing ability gave birth to powerful transformations such as Red Tessaiga, Diamond Tessaiga, Black Tessaiga, Flaming Tessaiga, and more.

While it manifested in different forms and quantity, the base power remained the same.

The final ability Tessaiga gained was the Meido Zangetsuha from Tenseiga, which allowed Inuyasha to send enemies directly to Hell.

5. What is Tenseiga?

The Tenseiga is another extremely powerful yokai sword that is owned and wielded by Sesshomaru.

Like Inuyasha’s Tessaiga, Tenseiga also originally belonged to their father, Toga, and was made from his fang.

The Great Dog General ordered Totosai to forge the Tenseiga blade by withdrawing the Meido Zangetsuha from the original Tessaiga. He did this so that he’d have a sword to give to each of his sons.

What is Tessaiga and Tenseiga?
Tenseiga | Source: Fandom

Unlike the Tessaiga that had the power to slay 100 demons, the Tenseiga had the power to bring up to 100 beings back to life.

Its special property made it so that it could not harm or kill any living beings; however, it could kill beings, such as spirits, hellhounds, the undead, etc.

Like its counterpart, Tenseiga was also slightly sentient, as it could be seen communicating with Sesshomaru various times throughout the series.

6. Why did Sesshomaru get the Tenseiga?

After Sesshomaru’s father, the Great Dog General, died, the Tenseiga was passed down to him.

With incredible powers, it was a wonder why he was after his brother, Inuyasha’s sword. Well, the reason was revealed much later as due to its “healing” nature, it could not be used as a killing weapon.

What is Tessaiga and Tenseiga?
Sesshomaru | Source: Fandom

It was only after he felt sorrow after Rin’s (the human child) death, and revived her, that he finally realized the powers of the sword.

As it turned out, this was the exact reason why Sesshomaru was given the Tenseiga.

Since this sword could only be used to revive someone, and not kill, his father passed it down to him in hopes that his son would learn compassion and care for someone other than himself.

According to Totosai later on, another reason why Sesshomaru was given Tenseiga was in order to teach him and Inuyasha to get along, as it could protect him from Tessaiga while at the same time could not be used to harm his brother.

7. What are Tenseiga’s powers?

Unlike Tessaiga, whose signature move was to cause widespread destruction, Tenseiga could restore the life of the recently deceased by destroying the pall-bearers who took their souls.

While this ability was extremely overpowered, it had a few conditions to keep it in check. The first one was that it could not revive someone if their head were not intact.

The second one was that it could revive a particular person only once so as not to give them eternal life.

The last condition was that if the sword was used to restore a particular body part, it would restore it to how it was when alive, but would die again shortly afterward.

Sesshomaru save Otter by Tensaiga
Sesshomaru save Otter by Tensaiga

While the Tenseiga focused mainly on healing and reviving, it could still bring harm to individuals that existed outside of the Living World, such as the undead, spirits, etc.

Another ability unique to the Tenseiga was that it granted whoever wielded it access into the Netherworld through the Border of the Afterlife.

Meido Zangetsuha was the first technique that Tenseiga was capable of using. In fact, it is this that made the sword what it is today.

Using this, Sesshomaru could create a path that sent anyone it hit directly to the Netherworld.

While this technique has returned to the Tessaiga, it is still considered one of Tenseiga’s strongest moves.

8. About Inuyasha

Inuyasha, also known as Inuyasha: A Feudal Fairy Tale, is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Rumiko Takahashi.

Inuyasha premiered in Weekly Shōnen Sunday on November 13, 1996, and concluded on June 18, 2008, with the chapters collected into 56 tankōbon volumes by Shogakukan.

Kagome Higurashi, a 15-year-old schoolgirl, gets transported to the Sengoku period of Japan after falling into a well in her family shrine. There she meets the half dog-demon, Inuyasha.

Kagome possesses a powerful magical Shikon Jewel. When a monster from that era tries to take the Jewel, Kagome shatters the Jewel into many pieces.

Now, Kagome and Inuyasha must retrieve the shards before the evil half spider-demon Naraku finds them.

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Evanshi Mavani

Evanshi Mavani

An avid reader and writer. Currently working towards obtaining a degree in English literature. When not working or watching Anime, she can be found highlighting the mundanities of life through her poetry.

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