The following contains spoilers for Jujutsu Kaisen Chapter 65, “Hidden Inventory” onwards, by Gege Akutami, available in English via Viz Media.
jujutsu kaisen it has some truly evil antagonists who are not afraid to take the lives of sorcerers and innocent people without a second thought. Kenjaku, an ancient sorcerer aiming to thwart humanity to usher in a new Jujutsu period, is the most powerful of these. His cursed technique allows him to transplant his brain into bodies in order to possess them; his most notable victim was Noritoshi Kamo, after which Kenjaku became famous as the world’s most evil sorcerer. While inhabiting Noritoshi, Kenjaku created Cursed Womb: Death Painting from a mixture of sorcerers and human blood, beginning his life as a terrible father.
The abusive and expendable perspective of children is a central conflict within jujutsu kaisen, without any character being affected by this social vision. Gojo Satoru and his students are fighting tooth and nail to prevent the older generation from harming the young, but Kenjaku represents everything they stand against. This makes him his most formidable opponent, as well as the most important one for them to defeat.
Kenjaku from Jujutsu Kaisen is an abusive father
While the concept of Kenjaku being a father could be considered far-fetched, he created nine half-human special grade cursed objects (The Cursed Womb: Paintings of Death) and played a role in the birth of the protagonist Itadori Yuji. The ancient sorcerer abandoned Choso and the other eight Death Paintings because he considered them failures, and treats Itadori as an expendable tool, subjecting the boy to endless trauma for the sake of his selfish experimentation. What is an abusive father but someone who neglects his duty to protect and nurture his child and harms him instead?
This topic runs through jujutsu kaisen and is repeated in the backstories of many characters. An extremely direct example is the childhood experience of Maki and Mai Zenin. Her father, Ogi, only cares about his status within the family and has a very cynical and traditional mindset. The sisters were born talentless in the realm of Jujutsu, and because of this, Ogi resents both of them and blames them for not being chosen as the new leader of the Zenin Clan.
To gain more status, Ogi even offered to have his sons framed and personally executed. Instead of fulfilling his duty as a father, the father believed that his daughters only existed for his benefit. He even went so far as to tell both of them that boys shouldn’t keep their parents and tried to leave the girls for dead.
Children in Jujutsu society are often sacrificed rather than raised
The nature of parental abuse in a home is a metaphor for the crimes of Jujutsu society as a whole. Children exist to save the elders, who have no thought of raising the next generation. As soon as something or someone appears that threatens the elders, they must be executed regardless of their age. Itadori and Yuta Okkotsu are examples of this as, even before they established themselves as a threat, the elders decided their fate on possibility. Master Tengen is the biggest culprit for the mentality that children have no value outside of selfish benefit.
In order to maintain his human form, Tengen must fuse with an adolescent Star Plasma Vessel every 500 years to stop this evolution. However, the most recent vessel, Riko Amanai, died before merging with Tengen. The result was minimal, as the old man looked more like a cursed spirit, but he was generally okay with this. The children were not sacrificed out of necessity, just to repeat the pattern in Jujutsu society that suggests that children must continually sacrifice their youth to protect those in power. This makes Riko a prime example of wasted youth within jujutsu kaisen and it showed how there aren’t really good guys versus bad guys within the series.
Kenjaku, is a parallel to Master Tengen. While they appear to be opposites, they both constantly sacrifice children to benefit themselves or their ideal society. This can be seen in the way Kenjaku views Choso and his siblings. Kenjaku expected great things from them, and when his expectations failed, he abandoned them completely, giving up and losing interest. Instead of raising his children, the sorcerer threw them away because they were no longer worth anything to him. Kenjaku views his children as tools and had already decided that they were expendable even before he knew it.
The main evil in jujutsu kaisen It’s not just any antagonist, but really how children are abused, traumatized, and eliminated for personal gain. Kenjaku himself is a literal example of this: freely abusing Choso, Itadori, and her other children until they are of no use to him, as well as a metaphor for everything bad in the world of Jujutsu. He is the central antagonist as, by defeating Kenjaku, the students of Jujutsu High are also challenging society itself.