Rurouni Kenshin, or Samurai X is one of my favorite anime and manga and I was a bit into it when I was in junior high school.
Even now Rurouni Kenshin is popular!
Actually, new anime of Rurouni Kenshin starts this 2023 on TV!
If you like Samurai or Ninja, I’m sure you like it very much.
Here in this article, I explain the meaning of Rurouni Kenshin in Japanese.
What’s the meaning of Rurouni and Kenshin (るろうに剣心)
Meaning of Rurouni (るろうに)
First, you might thought what is Rurouni?
Even I, a Japanese, did not know the meaning of Rurouni exactly at the time.
Actually, it was a coined word, so it’s no wonder I did not know the word.
But I knew a word “浪人 (ろうにん)(Rounin)”, and the coined word Rurouni came from this Rounin.
Rounin is a Samurai who don’t have a lord or master.
It was used in the Edo period.
There are many reasons Samurai became Rounin.
Some people committed a crime while others were just fired from the master or clan because of the bad performance to become Rounin, etc.
They were, if I say, today’s homeless or unemployed people.
Then you might thought what is the affix “流 (る)(Ru)”.
This 流(Ru) means flow.
Rounin doesn’t have a certain place to stay, so they roam (wander) from place to place.
To express the characteristic of Rounin, this 流(Ru) was added and the coined word Rurouni was made.
Meaning of Kenshin (剣心)
As you know, Kenshin is the name of the main character.
But it also has the meaning.
“剣 (けん)(Ken)” is a sword and “心(しん)(Shin)” is a heart or mind.
Combining sword and heart or mind becomes his name “Kenshin (けんしん)(剣心)”.
His heart (mind) of not-to-kill put into the sword.
Do not kill any people, even if they are criminals, was his strong will.
Katana is not for kill people but for protect and rescue people, that was his thought.
And that was the way of his living as a Rurouni.
Meanning of Rurouni Kenshin (るろうに剣心)
He decided to become Rounin on his own will.
He was not going to kill any other people like before.
Kanata is to protect people, not to kill, so he decided to protect people around him.
That’s his heart put into his sword “逆刃刀 (さかばとう)(Sakabatou)”.
The sword can not kill people as the blade is on the opposite side.
He sticks to his way of no killing no matter what and that’s the theme of this anime and manga Rurouni Kenshin.
What is Hitokiri Battōsai and the Meaning
Kenshin is also called Hitokiri Battōsai (人斬り抜刀斎).
Hitokiri is written as “人斬り(ひときり)” in Japanese.
It means Manslayer.
Battōsai is written as “抜刀斎(ばっとうさい)” in Japanese.
Drawing a sword from its scabbard is called Batto (抜刀).
You may know Battōjutsu (抜刀術) which Kenshin used.
That’s the craft of drawing out the sword and slash in a flash.
Sai (斎) of Battōsai is also read “Itsuki (いつき)” or “Itsuku (いつく)” in Kun-reading.
It means to purify one’s body and soul to serve the deity.
For Kenshin, the act of using his sword must have meant serving the deity of swords.
Kenshin was feared by his enemies as a master of Battōjutsu.
And he was certainly once Hitokiri before he decided not use sword to kill people anymore.
That’s why he was called Hitokiri Battōsai.
Rurouni Kenshin tells us many important things through his way of living.
I was going to introduce the quotes first but decided to introduce the meaning of the title before that.
Live-action movie of Rurouni Kenshin has been still made even now 2020.
And new anime of Rurouni Kenshin finally starts this 2023!!
You can check the PV from following link of YouTube!
I’m really looking forward to watching it!
PS. I have my store selling rare, unique Japanese goods including rare figure of Samurai X in eBay (Following is the link to my store)https://ebay.us/uFJMri
Samurai X (るろうに剣心)
Website (TV Anime)