As the invisible threat of COVID-19 becomes ever more real, Japan seems to be finally falling victim to the virus. No doubt many find themselves longing for the kinds of heroes that exist in imaginary worlds, like that of anime and manga, to save them from fear and uncertainty. Well, one heroic Japanese citizen has adopted the guise of a popular manga character from Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba to do his part in the fight against the Corona Virus.

A man in Ichinoseki City, Iwate prefecture, reportedly made an anonymous donation of 200 face masks to local medical schools under the name of 嘴平伊之, Hashibira Inosuke, a character from popular manga Kimetsu no Yaiba. With masks currently in such dire supply that people have resorted to crafting them from bras, 200 masks is a very generous donation.

Kimetsu no Yaiba, (English: Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba), follows the adventures of a young demon slayer seeking to find the fiend who murdered his family and turned his younger sister into a demon. Inosuke is one of the main protagonists, a demon slayer who wields two swords and dons a distinctive boar’s head mask in battle. It’s easy to see why the anonymous donor chose this fierce warrior as an alias to help combat COVID-19!

According to Kahoku Online News, the man, appearing to be in his late forties, visited Ichinoseki Nursing College and Ichinoseki Junior Nursing College where he first donated 100 masks. Along with the masks was a note expressing gratitude to the nursing school, signed Hashibira Inosuke. The nurse who received the donation was quoted by Kahoku Online News as saying “the man said he imported the masks so came to deliver them”. He is also reported as saying: “we have to stick together in times like these”.

Touched by the generosity of “Inousuke”, the Vice Principal of the Nursing Schools, Nobuko Ito, said “It’s wonderful to be able to help people in need, I hope our nurses our inspired by his spirit”, as reported by Kohaku News.

If your eyes aren’t already sparkling with manga-esque appreciation for this cool do-gooder, his good deeds didn’t stop there. He reportedly returned to the Nursing Colleges later with 9 sets of alcohol hand wash after hearing the school was running low. Immediately after the man’s visit to the nursing schools, an anonymous donation of 100 masks was also made to neighboring Ichinoseki Hospital by a man claiming to be 我妻善逸, Agatsuma Zen'itsu, another protagonist from Kimestu no Yaiba. We can assume the donor is one and the same.

While COVID-19 extracts a terrible toll on nations across the world, the selfless actions of “Inosuke” highlights there is still light to be found in these dark times. Like heroes in our favorite anime and manga, we can all take small actions to help others in need, especially hard-working health workers who need our support to save lives.

By - Toby M.