Why did Kaneki's hair turn white in Tokyo Ghoul? -anime reminder (2023)

Ken Kaneki, who is changing his hair color from black to white, has repeatedly confused fans about the meaning of his constant change. This article tries to solve the mystery once and for all.

From Super Saiyan Transformations to Dekus One for All: Full Cowling Infinite 100%, hair color changes in anime characters, particularly those with long hair, typically indicate a significant change in a character's abilities or psychology.

Tokyo Ghoul is no different.

Ken Kaneki embracing his overwhelming ghoul side and transforming to defeat Yamori (aka Jason) is one of the series' most iconic moments. It is a crucial moment in the life of the young protagonist.

It's the first time we see a tough Kaneki moving and playing with his enemy, as opposed to aAwkward, nervous-looking half-human, half-ghoul.

But what is behind Kaneki's transformation? Especially for his hair? And why does it go black again later in the series? This back and forth between black and white confuses fans to this day.

So this article is an attempt to shed some light and get a feel for how well Kaneki fits his ghoul side. Without further ado, let's crack!

Why did Kaneki's hair turn white?

There are three dominant theories that attempt to explain this phenomenon. Let's go through them one by one.

The first time we see Kaneki transform is when Yamori is torturing him, driving him insane. The founder of the White Suits forcibly removes Kaneki's toes and nails.

He carries an RC Suppressor, typically used for ghoul operations (Dr. Kanou probably gave it to him). Once the drug enters the body through an injection, the RC cells slow down their division and multiplication, making the body less resilient.

But he has to insert the needle into Kaneki's body...

A ghoul's membrane is one of its weak points. And it's in the corner of your eye. Then Yamori sticks the needle into that spot to inject the RC Suppressor.

As a result, Kaneki is getting weaker and weaker. The body is no longer able to carry common tools such as knives and pliers.

Yamori starts tearing off Kaneki's toes one by one. RC cells are not completely suppressed, so the ghoul's regenerative ability still works. When the drug wears off, it grows back.

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Kaneki described this as more than "absolutely the worst pain imaginable," and counting backwards from 1,000 in 7-point intervals kept his sanity.

When he realizes that there is no purpose behind this torture other than Jason's sadistic pleasure (he should have died sooner. Just because he's been similarly bullied doesn't give him permission to do the same.), he feels nothing but despair.

And this is where your hair starts to turn white for the first time.

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The anime incorrectly shows that Kaneki's hair turns white almost immediately. In the manga, this happens gradually.

So, just for anime, when you say "that doesn't make sense", always keep in mind the popular phrase "in manga it probably does". Nrfufufufufu. Oh God. Animehunch's content manager mentality is getting on my nerves. I guess I'll have to check my brain again.

Why is this happening? Let's examine the first theory.

Teoria 1: A Syndrome by Marie Antionette

This is the most popular explanation among fans for Kaneki's iconic look.

The term "Marie Antoinette Syndrome" refers to a condition in which a person's hair suddenly turns white (thick).This disease is named after French Queen Marie Antoinette, whose hair is said to have unexpectedly turned white before her execution in 1793.

As her country descended into violence and bloodshed in 1793, Marie Antoinette witnessed the abolition of the French monarchy, the execution of her husband (King Louis XVI) and the kidnapping of their son.

Eventually she was taken from her cell and sentenced to be executed by guillotine with just one day's notice. Just hours later, she was executed alone, in front of a congregation who cheered her death.

Her Majesty's lady-in-waiting, Henriette Campan, remembered (as recorded in the book "The Memoirs of Marie Antoinette".), "The first time I saw her after the horrific incident of the Varennes voyage [a failed escape attempt]...

She took off her hat and wished I would notice the effect grief had had on her hair." "It turned as white as a seventy-year-old woman in one night."

Pretty tragic, isn't it? It's exactly the word Kaneki would use to describe himself if he were writing a book about himself.

There's some evidence that this actually happened, but remember, it's pretty rare.

FYI: The syndrome is also known as Canities Subita. The following investigation is based on 196 published case reports.

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Basically, the stress and anxiety Kaneki felt from being tormented by Yamori 2-3 times a day for over 10 days caused his hair to turn white.

Hunter X Hunter's Knov also faced a similar situation. All his life he had black hair. But after sensing Pitou's aura, his fear caused a nervous breakdown, causing his hair to turn white.

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He began to age rapidly over time, causing his hair to fall out and his body to become emaciated. At the end of the Chimera Ant arc, he was nearly bald with wrinkled skin. He looked like an old man.

While it's possible that Sui Ishida had the syndrome in mind when she narrated the hair color changes, I don't find that convincing enough. It is not hinted at in either the anime or the manga. That's where the next theory comes into play.

Theory 2: The Ghoul Aging Factor

According to this theory, Kaneki's hair turned white because he was aging faster than usual.

In Tokyo Ghoul:re Chapter 131, Nishiki explains the ghoul aging process. He first mentions that the cell can divide a certain number of times. Each time this occurs, the telomeres, or ends of the DNA, get shorter and shorter.

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If the telomeres are short enough, the cell can no longer divide. This reduces the number of activities performed and thus causes aging.

While using thekagunethe cells multiply rapidly, but due to the enzymes contained in the RC cells, Ghoul can support rapid multiplication.

However, in Kaneki's case, his RC cell count is low since he did not cannibalize other ghouls or consume humans during the Jason incident. He used his kagune and healing powers on a falling fuel tank. As a result, your cells divide faster than normal.

In other words, Kaneki ages at an incredible rate and may die earlier than usual. This faster aging rate could be the reason why he had white hair for most of his life.

Kaneki had to heal his toes repeatedly, was tortured the whole time, and practically starved to death. Basically, his body was getting weaker as the cells wore out, which is why his hair turned white like people do with age.

Torture is also why Re: Takizawa got his hair white.

Kaneki's hair turns black again for the same reason as he is no longer tortured.

Aging faster seems to be a problem for the ghoul-turned-human. Takizawa may have to deal with the same scenario.

The problem is that fans are fascinated by the fact that Kaneki switches between black and white several times. This is where the most compelling and complete theory comes into play.

How did Kaneki's hair turn black again?

Kaneki's change of hair is a symbolic representation of the changes in his mindset over the course of the series.

The half-human, half-ghoul was initially in total denial mode.He couldn't accept the fact that his life has changed forever and he can no longer live as a normal person. He despised ghouls and was repelled by the idea of ​​eating humans.

Black hair means he retains his humanity despite being a ghoul. Which continued to dominate until the torture scene.

Kaneki's hair changing from black to white for the first time represents the deep anger and frustration running through his mind.– Yamori's torture and betrayal of his mother, whom he loved the most.

His mother told him that it was better "to feel pain than to hurt others". But it was this trait that led to her death.

She went to the afterlife due to overwork, all to pay off her sister's debts.

And the sister treated Kaneki severely. So much so that he no longer felt part of her family. He moved away and so loneliness crept in until he met Hide.

Kaneki was so angry that he believed his mother had left him and chose his aunt over him. She would still be alive if she had let her sister fend for herself.

And Kaneki wouldn't have to deal with the problems he encountered living with her and her family.

So in order to save someone, you have to sacrifice something or someone. This is what Kaneki learned from his internal exchanges with Rize.

In that moment of understanding he lost his humanity and his hair turned white - a sign of maturity and also a symbol that he had lost his humanity and human feelings and fully accepted himself as a ghoul.

Also, he needed this power to save himself, Touka, and the others being held captive by the Aogiri Tree.

Suzuya Juuzou, Arima Kishou, Seidou Takizawa, Tooru Mutsuki, Renji Yomo (silver hair) and many other main characters have this symbolism of lack of humanity.

In fact, Inuyasha, the half-demon, also experiences this back-to-back black-to-white transition.

On the night of the new moon, he turned to his human side, causing his body to become brittle and weak. He would not regain his demonic powers until the sun came up and his hair turned white again.

Whenever he lost contact with his Tetsusaiga sword, he would turn into a full-fledged demon and lose all sense of identity and discernment. In this form, his eyes turn red and he develops purple scars on his face.

TLDR: Redhead Human. White hair - demon.

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Also, Inuyasha has claws and fangs in his half-demon form. Kind of like how Kaneki in his white-haired form has long black fingernails. Also, Inuyasha faced the same social problems as Kaneki just because they were different.

You could ask the following question: "How come Kaneki still has gray hair after the incident with Jason?" Well, after leaving Anteiku and joining Tsukiyama and Banjo, he faces constant danger, so he can don't be wary.

This means there is no way to forcefully suppress or control your RC cells.

The stress and anxiety he faced on the road without a safe place to rest added to the sadness of the situation.

Nun zu Haise Sasaki.

He had white hair with black dots on top.

Sasaki, from the P.O.V of the other Quinxes in the CCG, had an unusually high RC factor - 2753, while the others on his team had anywhere from 600 to 950.

He had to take many RC suppressors to keep from going insane and keep his composure as an investigator.That is why there is a mixture of black and white.

However, the black part is slowly taking over until all his hair turns jet black after the Tsukiyama family extermination operation. I'll explain the connection between suppressants and hair color in a moment.

As for the symbolism The mix of black and white hair represents the insecurity in your head.He has no memory of his past and didn't know who he really was. In addition, the CCG suppressed their RC cell activity to some extent. So he's more human than before.

However, the mental battle he faces every day as to whether he is good or bad plagued him.Was he really part of the CCG or part of Anteiku and the ghouls he fought? human or ghoul? Black or white?

After regaining his memories and learning the truth, he was devastated. But that really made him a real tough guy instead of a coward (Ken Kaneki - the Black Reaper).

In Tokyo Ghoul: re manga, Kaneki explains why he had full black hair in this scenario.

Why did Kaneki's hair turn white in Tokyo Ghoul? -anime reminder (7)

Melanin is a pigment found mainly in hair and skin and is responsible for color. The more melanin you have, the darker your hair/skin will be. CR suppressors transiently increased melanin production.

Another reason could be that he was consumingEtos Kakuhou. This would have dramatically increased your production of RC cells.

To suppress it and continue working as an investigator, he would have taken additional RC suppressors to adjust for the unexpected surge, triggering more melanin production and turning his hair completely black again.

Black hair is symbolic of sadness and sorrow.It was painful to accept the truth. Which means he had to betray his beloved Quinx Squad members and became their target.

He was starting to be cold and rough. And he later carried out the plan to rescue Hinami from the clutches of the CCG.

Then he felt more depressed and lost the will to live. He told himself that life has no meaning, so what is the meaning of life? That changed when he faced Arima again.

How did Kaneki's hair turn white again?

Arima tested and taught him how to live (because he and Eto knew that Kaneki is the real one-eyed king). During the fight, Kaneki had to use many RC cells to power up and regenerate in order to heal.

This means that as the fight progressed he would slowly drain the RC Suppressors from his system and fight at full potential to survive. We can see that the white is slowly forming.

He was under a lot of stress due to the intensity of the fight and the fear of death. Not to mention the nervousness of fighting his former mentor.

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As he began to lose hope, he thought of Hide.

The fur in his head is trying to convince Kaneki that he will find a reason to live in no time. Kaneki always says he wants to die or disappear but life is not to be thrown away. It must be enjoyed with your friends and family.

And for Kaneki, he had Hide and Touka, the two most valuable people on the planet. His best friend wanted him to continue living with him no matter what he had or would do. No matter what happens, Hide will always be with Kaneki.

Seriously, if only there was someone like Hide in real life. Man, anime throws all sorts of false hopes into our hearts. It is sad. No wonder Animanga fans are sad all day long.

This feeling of emptiness in our hearts can persist as we desperately try to strive for perfection.

Upon discovering the will to live, Kaneki's hair turns white as he unleashes all of the RC Suppressors in his system, allowing him to unleash the RC Factor's full potential and fight Arima for his life.

This potential allowed him to form huge kagune structures.

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If we look at things symbolically, Kaneki's white hair tells us back that he has accepted who he is and what he has in life.And that drives him to keep going.

In this case, white hair also represents your desire to live to protect the lives of your loved ones. He has found meaning in life again.

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After defeating Arima and Eto and revealing his plan to create a One-Eyed Ghoul, which is a symbol of hope for all ghouls, Kaneki proclaims himself as the One-Eyed King to all ghouls who gather in the area and founds the Organization, known as a GOAT.

To summarize everything I have explained in this subheading, Kaneki's hair change represents the 5 stages of grief.

  • Denial - the starting point (black hair)
  • Rage - The Torture Scene (White Hair)
  • Uncertainty/Bargain – Human or Ghoul? (mixture of black and white hair) Clinging to a false sense of security
  • Depression - the Black Reaper phase (black hair)
  • Acceptance – finding the will to live (white hair)


The symbolic answer seems more satisfying to me because it makes more sense. It is present in all of Ishida's work and I think the changes in the hair demonstrate its beauty beautifully.

If you're still unsatisfied with our reasoning, one explanation remains. and that comes fromGigguks Tokyo Ghoul in 5 Minutes.

Yamori: What?! Why did your hair turn white?

Kaneki: Because it makes me look tougher.

Yamori: Then why did your nails turn black?

Kaneki: Because it makes me look fabulous!!!! (last word spoken in a high tone)

Tokyo Ghoul in 5 Minuten, Gigguk

So what do you think of Kaneki's hair color? Do you agree with our reasoning? Which theory appealed to you the most? Let us know in the comments below!

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