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Kaneki Ken is the main protagonist of the Tokyo Ghoul series. In a world where human-eating ghouls exist, Kaneki ends up in an accident after he was attacked by a female ghoul named Rize Kamishiro. But, Kaneki survived by receiving an organ transplantation, performed by doctor Kanou, from that same ghoul who was suspiciously killed by steel beams which fell on her. Kaneki's situation soon takes a turn for the worse, when he finds himself unable to digest normal food and starts craving human flesh. After finding out that he was turned into a half-ghoul, Kaneki asks for help form Anteiku's manager Yoshimura, who offers him food and shelter in exchange for manual labor. There, Kaneki becomes friends with other ghouls, especially Touka, but his happy days are soon over when a series of tragic events starts happening, not only to Kaneki, but to those around him as well. The series ends with Kaneki facing off with Arima Kishou and the CCG, an organisation made to counter ghouls, in an attempt to save Anteiku form their raid. After their final fight, all traces of Kaneki Ken vanish leading us to a major time-skip.
The series continues in Tokyo Ghoul:re, where the main protagonist is Sasaki Haise, a ghoul investigator and the leader of the QS Squad who has no memories of his life before joining CCG. All seems well and fine until Sasaki encounters the ghoul Serpent who identifies him as Kaneki. Confused by all of this, Sasaki loses control and goes berserk, but is soon put to sleep by his superiors. After this event, Sasaki aims to find out more about Kaneki Ken and his past, but he finds himself at a great disadvantage when his superiors start taking notice. After finally finding out the truth that he is actually Kaneki himself, Sasaki decides to deceive the other investigators.
After taking a huge risk and revealing his real intentions, Kaneki is forced to duel Arima, his mentor and "father", but is unable to do so due to his strong devotion. Even with all of Arima's threats and provocations, Kaneki refused to kill him, which leads to Arima cutting his own throat. Soon, Kaneki finds out about Arima's past and his tragic destiny and is asked to fulfill Arima's wish, as well to pretends that he was the one who killed him. With his desire to protect his friends and Arima's legacy, Kaneki takes on the title of the rumored One-Eyed King to lead all the ghouls and humans alike, and to enable them to understand each other and live in peace together.
" 'Ghouls are to be exterminated.' 'In order to live, we must kill and eat humans.' The reason our mutually destructive relationship has never changed is because we have never, together, made an attempt to make even the smallest step forward. Ghouls and humans can understand each other... The fact that I, who was once a human, stand here before you is proof enough."
— Kaneki Ken
We have managed to find as many facts as we could. Since this character has a lot of different personalities and names, you will rarely find them all listen in one place. So, here is our list of the 1000-7.... I mean 35 facts about Kaneki Ken/ Sasaki Haise/ Eyepatch/ Centipede/ One-Eyed Ghoul/ Kakuja's Egg/ Shironeki/ Kuroneki/ Akaneki/ Number 240/ Black Reaper/ Sassan/ Maman/ Sasako/ Sasaki the Sasarious/ The One-Eyed King.
Note that this list is not spoiler free for those who are not up to date with the most recent chapters of the manga and for those who have only watched the anime!
In the following table of content you can see what we have written about in our article:
We will talk about Kaneki's/Sasaki's:
Name and nicknames
Traits and abilities
Ranking and medals
Reference to tarot
Habits and hobbys
Reference to Kafka's book
Parallel to The Black Goat's Egg
The List of Facts about Kaneki/Sasaki:
- Kaneki (金木) means "golden tree" and Ken (研) means "to grind/polish" or "study", while hos other name Sasaki (佐々木) means "wren" and Haise (琲世) means "halsband world". The second name was created using the kanji from "coffee" and "world."
The name "Sasaki Haise" was chosen by Kaneki himself alongside Arima, who freed him from Cochlea. Apparently, it all started because Arima felt sorry for Kaneki, a former human who would gouge his own eyes out every night due to the trauma he suffered. Therefore, to make things a little bit easier for him, Arima started bringing books to Kaneki and soon grew fond of him. This all lead to Arima asking for permission to start a new program where Kaneki would be a ghoul investigator and leader of their new QS Squad.
- Kaneki's surname is a reference to the famous novelist Osamu Dazai, who was born in Kanagi and most famous for his novel "No Longer Human".
When Kaneki and Eto Yoshimura/Takatsuki Sen met at the book signing, she briefly discussed Osamu Dazai with him. The story of the novel he wrote is told in the form of notebooks left by a troubled man incapable of revealing his true self to others, and who is instead forced to uphold a facade.
- Kaneki has a habit of touching his chin with his left hand when he is hiding something. This habit appears to be subconscious, as he still does it even after his memory loss while under the name Sasaki.
This fact was first mentioned by Hide, who told this to Touka. After closely examining this trait of his, we can note that Kaneki has lied a lot of times, for instance, when he left Anteiku, when he talked about his mother, when he said he was happy working at the CCG and not knowing anything...
Other articles you might find interesting:
- The second One-Eyed King in Tokyo Ghoul (Toukyou Kushu). [Theory PROVED]
- Sixteen Things You Didn't Know about Ishida Sui (Creator of Tokyo Ghoul)
- What Happened to Hide from Tokyo Ghoul (Toukyou Kushu)? [THEORY PROVED]
- Kaneki was ranked second in the latest character popularity poll, while Haise Sasaki came third.
This fact seems a bit funny considering that Kaneki and Sasaki are the same person, but still, fans tend to like the violent and badass-looking Kaneki more than the caring Sasaki. All in all, this just means that he has earned a double place in our hearts thus deserving two places in the character popularity poll.
- Kaneki shares the same birthday with Arima Kishou.
He has actually two birthdays, one as Kaneki, which is on December 20th, and one as Sasaki, which is on April 2nd. The one he shares with Arima is actually the one in December. It is also very interesting that Kaneki "killed" Arima on their birthdays (according to the date when that chapter came out).
- Kaneki likes reading, beautiful language, intellectual women, and hamburgers.
Throughout the series we have all noted Kaneki's love for books, even as Sasaki he was a big fan of Takatsuki Sen's works. It can also be said that reading calms him down. Also, it's a bit sad that even though he likes hamburgers, he won't be to eat them anymore, but, luckily he has found something else to replace it and that is Touka's hand-made coffee.
- Beginning with the Aogiri arc, Kaneki has been repeatedly associated with the number "12" in panels. This is a reference to the tarot card The Hanged Man (XII).
The Hanged Man is a card that deals with surrender and sacrifice, as well as many other interpretations. Ishida is well known for his references to the tarot cards and he has used this to foreshadow some of the scenes, future happening, and character developments many times. This lead many fans to believe the theory that Kaneki follows the path of the Fool (0), encountering other tarot cards which were used for other characters.
- Sasaki's quinque, Yukimura 1/3, has been used by both Kishou Arima, as a teenager, and Take Hirako, when he was partnered with Arima.
Even though Sasaki possessed a Kagune he rarely used it. He almost always fought using his quinque, except the times he lost control. Also, he was always telling the QS to not rely on their Kagune too much, but to first learn to use their quinque since they are investigators first of all, and then half-ghouls.
- Kaneki compares himself to Gregor Samsa, the unfortunate protagonist of Franz Kafka's "The Metamorphosis". In the sequel, he briefly discusses Kafka's "A Crossbreed" with Arima, another story with strong parallels to his situation.
From the very beginning, the story has been developing in a similar manner as in Kafka's book. Samsa, similar to Kaneki, transforms into a huge insect, is unable to eat normal food, and ends up being rejected by his family who saw him as a monster. It can also be said that this book was the inspiration for Tokyo Ghoul.
"I’m not the protagonist of a novel or anything. I’m just a college student who likes to read, like you could find anywhere. But... if, for argument’s sake, you were to write a story with me in the lead role, it would certainly be... a tragedy."
— Kaneki Ken
- The sudden whitening of Kaneki's hair caused by torture is a condition known as Marie Antoinette Syndrome.
This syndrome is a sudden whitening of the hair, caused by extreme stress or emotional trauma. It was named after the last queen of France, Marie Antoinette, whose hair turned white during the imprisonment prior to her execution by the guillotine. This same thing happened to Mutsuki Tooru as well after she was tortured by Torso.
- The relationship between Sasaki and his mental projection of "Kaneki" is akin to his relationship with his projections of "Rize" and "Jason" in the past as Kaneki.
"Rize" and "Jason" would often tempt Kaneki to give in to his ghoul self, while "Kaneki" tried to have Sasaki accept him. Both projections represent the ghoul side of himself. This also means that Kaneki's talk with Hide during his fight with Arima was a projection as well.
- Both Kaneki and Yamori/Jason went through similar torture methods and were both completely changed from their previous selves. Yamori turned into psychotic killer who killed more for fun than to eat, while Kaneki became cold and ruthless, but retained his desire to protect his friends.
That is also why Kaneki picked up the habit of cracking his fingers. He got this from Jason, who started this habit after being tortured himself in Cochlea. They were both forced to count backwards from 1000 always subtracting 7 in order to keep their sanity during torture. One more thing they have in common is that they both became incomplete Kakuja after their torture. Jason started devouring ghouls after driving them insane, while Kaneki ate Jason's Kagune and later from other ghouls as well, like Eto's.
Other articles you might find interesting:
- Hide is Evil [Tokyo Ghoul Theory]
- The New One-Eyed King Kaneki and V's King [Partly Proved Tokyo Ghoul Theory]
- Fourteen Tokyo Ghoul Facts About Hide
- In Tokyo Ghoul Trump, Kaneki and Sasaki are each featured as "Ace of Hearts" and Kaneki is also featured on the "Queen of Hearts" card alongside Rize. In a redistributed version, he's also featured as a "White Joker."
I believe rather than normal cards, it would be more interesting to see the Tokyo Ghoul characters on tarot cards, since there are already a lot of references to tarot cards in the manga. It would certainly be interesting to see which character would represent which card.
- In Tokyo Ghoul Root A, according to Ishida's rough drafts, Tatara insisted that Kaneki eats Taguchi to prove his loyalty to Aogiri Tree. However, Noro ate her before Kaneki and Tatara had finished arguing. This scene was cut out from the finalized work.
You should know that the anime and manga are different in some parts. The ending of Root A is not cannon and the fact that Kaneki joined Aogiri Tree did not happened in the manga. But, it would have been interesting to see Kaneki as part of Aogiri and arguing with Tatara. All the more if they demanded from Kaneki to prove his loyalty by eating someone. I wish I could see how Kaneki would have reacted and what he would do to get out of that pinch.
- Kaneki was studying Japanese Literature at Kamii University before becoming a ghoul.
This is really no surprise since Kaneki is really fond of books, especially novels. He started reading books when he was still a child, wondering what his father was like. He though that if he read his father's books, he would find something out about him. Later, he began to like books because the calm him down, and he loves the scent of the old books.
- Kaneki has 16 different names/nicknames.
We are already aware that he has two different names, but beside that, he has 14 different nicknames or aliases: Eyepatch, Centipede, One-Eyed Ghoul, Kakuja's Egg, Shironeki, Kuroneki, Akaneki, Number 240, Black Reaper, Sassan, Maman, Sasako, Sasaki the Sasarious, and The One-Eyed King.
- He has been part of 9 different groups and organizations (in the anime he was part of Aoigiri Tree as well).
I believe that none of the other characters have been part of so many groups. Here are the groups Kaneki/Sasaki was part of: Anteiku, Anti-Aogiri, Kaneki's group, Aogiri Tree (in Root A only), CCG, Mado Squad, Quinx Squad, S3 Squad, Arima Aquad, and Black Goat.
- The only known alive members of Kaneki's family are Kaneki's aunt and uncle, and their son Yuuichi Asaoka, Kaneki's cousin.
It is known that Kaneki lived with his aunt after his mother died. At first, everything was fine, but later, his aunt started hating Kaneki because he was better in school than her own son, and so she started neglecting Kaneki, she didn't even prepare food for him. Right now, their status is unknown, since they haven't been mentioned or shown in the manga after that.
- Kaneki has the least amount of RC cells out of all the half-ghouls, 2753 RC cells, with Takizawa having the most, 7188.7 RC cells, and then Kurona and Nashiro who have 4110 and 3787 RC cells. Furuta's and Amon's amount of RC cells is currently unknown. I'm not counting the Quinx Squad because they have frames which prevent the Kakuhou from fully integrating into their bodies
The average amount of RC cells for humans is from 200 to 500, while for ghouls it's from 1000 to 8000. From this, we can see that Kaneki has a normal RC level, considering the amount of times he had to regenerate. In contrast to him, Takizawa has a ridiculously large amount of RC cells, so I wonder if that level could go beyond the limit, and what could become of him if that were to happen.
- Kaneki is 23 years old. He is 170 cm tall, and has 58 kg. His foot length is 25.5 cm, and his blood type is AB. He is rated as an SS ghoul.
It is really great to have a main character who is older than 20 for a change. The series did start with Kaneki having 18 years, but it's was the perfect age to show a person's mental state and how it changes. Now, we can experience a grown and mature protagonist.
- During his time as a CCG ghoul investigator, Sasaki earned two honors: Single White Wing Medal, and Golden Osmanthus Medal.
In Tokyo Ghoul Epilogue, Sasaki started off as a Rank 3 investigator and made his way to Rank 1, First Class, and, finally, Associate Special Class. In the process he got two medals of honor. It's really a shame that he had to quit being an investigator.
- Kaneki would at times refer to his actions as "we" or "us," albeit mostly while in a stressed state. He refers to himself as if he consisted of more than just one person, which is also the result of his constant mind projections.
As mentioned above, Kaneki is prone to making imaginary projections of people who greatly influenced him. At some point, when Sasaki talked to "Kaneki" when he got the eye-patch mask for a present, he unconsciously mentioned him to the Quinx who were confused, so Sasaki quickly covered for it.
- Kaneki's first impression of Tsukiyama is that he looks like a model.
Poor Kaneki didn't know any better. Because of his pure thought, he was targeted by Tsukiyama, and was almost killed. Later, he became more cautious, but know they are very close friends. Tsukiyama became someone who Kaneki can put his trust into, and he became a precious member of Anteiku, now :re.
- In Tokyo Ghoul:re it was revealed that Kaneki was physically abused by his mother.
This is where Kaneki's habit of holding his left hand on the chin played a big role. While talking about his mother at the end of Tokyo Ghoul, Kaneki was shown doing exactly this while saying that he loves his mother. We can see that he was suppressing the fact that he may hate his mother, and is trying to find an excuse for her behavior by saying that she was overworked.
- Kaneki once got his wallet stolen by Suzuya Juuzou in Tokyo Ghoul. Suzuya later returned that money to Sasaki in Tokyo Ghoul:re aware of the fact that Sasaki is Kaneki even though Sasaki wasn't aware of that himself.
During his debut, Suzuya was shown stealing Kaneki's wallet. Ever since then, it was not completely clear whether he knew that Kaneki was a ghoul, but later that was confirmed when he recognized Sasaki as Kaneki and returned the money. It's really nice how he didn't hold any grudges against him or behaved differently towards him just because he was a ghoul, like some of the investigators who didn't like nor trust Sasaki.
- Sasaki always prepares for meetings with Suzuya by hiding treats in his pockets, letting Suzuya frisk him as a greeting.
This shows us just how big of a friendship Sasaki and Suzuya have. Out of all the investigators, I believe that Suzuya was the only one who didn't care about Sasaki's background. They are on really good terms and help each other out as seen at the scene where Suzuya asks to join Mutsuki's undercover mission to help Sasaki, as well as get revenge on Big Madam.
- Kaneki was tortured by Jason on his 19th birthdays. He was held in Jason's hobby room and abused for 10 days.
This is one of the most disturbing facts I've read about Kaneki so far. His live surely is a tragedy. He experienced such cruel things, especially being abused on his birthday, for 10 days straight, enduring unimaginable amounts of pain, and being responsible for the death of a mother and child. No wonder his hair turned white. But, regardless, this the favourite scene of many fans.
- When fans asked Ishida about Kaneki's battle suit, Ishida suggested that Tsukiyama was the one who made it for Kaneki.
Everyone really liked Kaneki's battle suit. It made him look stern and intense, and it also had a slight centipede-like theme. It would be great if Tsukiyama would design another battle suit for Kaneki now that he is the One-Eyed King.
- Kaneki is hated a lot by Ayato. The reason is that he strongly resembles his and Touka's father, Arata Kirishima.
There really a lot of similarities between Arata and Kaneki, from the way they behave, to their "weak" mentality and "strength". Even the fact that Arata became a Kakuja is similar to Kaneki who is still an incomplete Kakuja.
- Kaneki is good at drawing.
This can be seen in the first chapter when Hide asked him how a ghoul would look like. Both of them drew their own versions of how they imagined ghouls looked like, and here we can see that Kaneki has a talent for drawing.