Tengen is an enigma! After being acquainted with Jujutsu Kaisen, we all know that jujutsu sorcerers use cursed energy to fight curses. Curses are made of negative energy released by humans and can’t be defeated ordinarily. Thus, all shamans employ various unique techniques to use their abilities via cursed energy.
The shamans also use ‘curtains’ that cover the area where they exorcise curses. They do so because humans are unaware of the curses’ existence. Since these curses cause ‘mysterious’ disappearances and killings, it is a must to eradicate them.
And this eradication is possible thanks to one person called Master Tengen. The abrupt mention of this person, barriers, and whatnot are natural to throw us off both in the anime and manga. So, who is Tengen? What is their power?
Who is Tengen?
Tengen is an immortal jujutsu sorcerer whose gender remains undisclosed. They made a physical appearance in the manga for the first time in chapter 144 of Jujutsu Kaisen.
Tengen is no longer human. This is because the assimilation with Riko Amanai, the star plasma vessel failed. He is closer to a cursed spirit currently and has ascended to the point where the world has become his very self. This also explains why he looks so different. Though Tengen is said to be all-knowing, he admits that he can’t read the minds of people.
During the Nara period (AD 710 to AD 794), Tengen created the foundation for jujutsu. They spread the principles of Buddhism that eventually turned into learnings for shamans.
Currently, Tengen remains confined to a chamber called the Tombs of the Star. Despite being such an obscure entity, Tengen is indispensable to the jujutsu world. Several characters have reiterated their importance at multiple points in the manga.
Without Tengen, the security of the jujutsu world will be impossibly difficult to handle. They protect both the schools using their barriers. Tengen even strengthens the barrier techniques like the ‘curtain.’
How is Tengen immortal?
So far, Tengen has always been emphasized for their immortality. They have played an important role, as stated above, through thousands of years. To protect the very pillars of jujutsu society, Tengen is the best option with their immortality.
Tengen has the innate cursed technique of immortality. While it grants them eternal life, it does not stop their aging. This technique is a bit bothersome, though. Tengen needs to change their body every 500 years and merge with a ‘Star Plasma Vessel.’ They have to rewrite their body’s genetic information after they reach a certain age.
However, the latest merging, or assimilation process that was supposed to take place with Riko Amanai was foiled by Toji Zenin as seen in the Hidden Inventory arc. Everyone assumed that a replacement Star Plasma Vessel was found and Tengen had become stable. But that was not the case.
If Tengen fails to change bodies, the Immortality technique will try to do it on its own. It will force an evolution in Tengen, and they will not be human anymore. Tengen will ascend to a higher state and might assume a non-human form. At that stage, Tengen’s will shall be erased too. In the worst-case scenario, Tengen might also become humanity’s enemy.
For the past eleven years, Tengen’s aging has accelerated. His self awareness as an individual decreased to the point that the very world became his self. Due to this evolution, Tengen can now merge with anyone and not just a Star Plasma Vessel. The brain/Geto Suguru/Kenjaku is looking to exploit this weakness in order to achieve his goal of evolving humanity,
Tengen maintained his sanity because of his barrier techniques. However, if a normal human merges with him, there are high chances that he will go berserk and cause large scale destruction. In fact, since Tengen’s soul has evolved and exists all around the world, it is possible for the whole of humanity to merge with him!
If a merger does take place in such a situation, then the human who assimilates with Tengen will transform into something greater than a sorcerer. They will become an evolved being, that is both there, but also not there. They won’t exist as a human anymore. They might not even have a physical body, like Tengen, unless they have barrier techniques that let them self control after evolving.
What is Tengen’s barrier?
The barrier is a cursed technique of Tengen. These barriers are made of cursed energy and cover the entirety of Japan.
Tengen’s barrier has an ever large-scale purpose. Essentially, it makes sure that all cursed energy in Japan is optimized. It apparently concentrates all the cursed energy inside the country. Anyone might initially think that it is stupid to do so, but it is the opposite. Because the barrier concentrates all cursed energy, shamans can use their techniques to exorcise them. It is a yin-yang balance.
Tengen’s barrier allows the existence of jujutsu sorcerers next to the creation of curses. Thus, the ‘problem’ is solved right where it arises. This phenomenon also means that Japan has sort of a monopoly over cursed energy.
A very few jujutsu sorcerers and curses appear overseas. Basically, other than Japan, no other country is capable of producing jujutsu sorcerers.
Tengen also seems aware of everything that happens inside his barrier. He was aware of the location of the Prison Realm inside his barrier. Tengen is also aware of what everyone is upto, as long as they are inside the barrier. It is like a vast surveillance network, Tengen also able to conceal and hide the presence of cursed objects present inside the barrier.
There are many layers to these barriers.
The barriers differ from place to place. The schools remain concealed thanks to this barrier, as it changes their location every day. This change helps to keep their existence unknown from human eyes, as well as safe from curses.
The barrier also hides the storeroom where cursed objects like Sukuna’s fingers are retrieved and stored. It creates a complex maze of 1000 doors around this storeroom in the Tokyo Jujutsu school. Thus, only Tengen knows the location of the storeroom. Even the corridors of the Tombs of the Star are covered in these barriers.
However, one can only enter Tengen’s barriers until the Tombs of the Star’s main hall. Beyond that, the barrier that covers where Tengen resides is different. While the barrier that surrounds the schools hides them, this one allows only invitees to enter.
Tengen revealed in chapter 145 that he hides the Tomb of the Star with his barrier techniques to prevent Kenjaku (the brain possessing Getou Suguru) from attacking him. However, Kenjaku is the second strongest barrier techniques expert after him, so it won’t be long before he deactivates Tengen’s barrier.
This explains how Geto had so much information about the barriers during the Kyoto Sister School event! He basically exploited the limitations of Tengen’s barrier.
Limitations of the barrier
There are a few limitations of this barrier as well. Tengen’s barrier only makes the location of the school buildings change every day. So, if one knows where the location is, it would be no problem finding it.
Mahito had information from the traitor, Mechamaru, about the location of the Tokyo school. So, he and the curses infiltrated the barrier quite easily. Like Gojo says, these barriers hide rather than protect the schools.
Tengen’s barrier also creates more than 1000 doors, with only one leading to the storeroom where the cursed objects are stored. But Mahito and co. got around it by Geto placing a talisman on Sukuna’s finger. So, Tengen’s barrier cannot filter out such seals or even Hanami’s flowers.
Similarly, even the Tombs of the Star where Tengen is confined can easily be found. In the Hidden Inventory arc, Toji goes out of his way to point that the barriers are for hiding. Since there are no guards guarding the entrances either, the knowledge of location is enough.
So far, that is all we know about this mysterious entity Tengen. Keep an eye on this article for our updates with new information! Comment below if you have a theory of what Tengen is like! Until next time, sayonara!