According to Jujutsu Kaisen legend, Ryomen Sukuna lived over a thousand years ago and was a formidable jujutsu sorcerer. The same sorcerer is still alive and well today, and he or she is arguably the most powerful and significant participant in the continuing Culling Games. Most humans would not be able to experience this type of reincarnation, but Sukuna's usage of Reverse Cursed Energy shows that he is not a true cursed spirit either. The first ideal human/curse hybrid in the series may be Sukuna.
The laws of jujutsu are explicit on how to keep a sorcerer from reincarnating as a cursed spirit after death; the killing blow must be delivered with cursed energy. Naoya Zenin returned as a spiteful cursed spirit to exact his revenge on Maki because of this global law. Despite being defeated in battle by his executioner, Maki's lack of cursed energy allowed him to reincarnate as a powerful vengeful cursed spirit. Sukuna, on the other hand, was eventually defeated by a gang of Heian-era jujutsu sorcerers. He was most likely slain by jujutsu, yet he managed to survive as 20 indestructible special grade cursed artifacts.
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How Sukuna Became Lord of Curses in Jujutsu Kaisen
Sukuna exists as a rare phenomenon in Jujutsu Kaisen. Within his lifetime, he was equally feared by cursed spirits as he was in jujutsu sorcerer circles. He is frequently described as having a powerful aura of cursed energy but, unlike Gojo Satoru’s, Sukuna radiated an aura of pure evil. The ancient sorcerer went to great lengths to maintain this unique trait of his cursed energy. This is why Sukuna was inseparable from Uraume, a mysterious sorcerer with an ice manipulation cursed technique and the king of curses’ most trusted servant.
Like Sukuna, Uraume has kept most of their cards close to their chest. Although the sorcerer hasn’t aged a day since they began serving Sukuna over a thousand years ago, their longevity has never been explained. So, the only known facts about Uraume are that they're unflinchingly loyal to Sukuna and are exclusively responsible for the “baths” he frequently takes. Under normal circumstances, these baths are created out of the crushed essence of venomous creatures and used to turn family heirlooms into cursed objects. The baths Uraume prepares for Sukuna however, have a horrifying twist.
Uraume’s Ice Cursed Technique and their surgical precision allow them to exorcise cursed spirits without reducing them to dust. Keeping their physical forms intact is very important, as Uraume forcibly wrings out the very essence of many cursed spirits to create Sukuna’s bath. Sukuna’s rationale behind partaking in such a perverse ritual is deceptively simple; to be near evil. However, its similarities to the cursed object creation process hint at a dramatic side effect of these baths. After soaking in the essence of so many cursed spirits, Sukuna has more than likely transformed himself -- and any body parts that may remain of him -- into a cursed object.
The Origin of Sukuna's Cursed Methods May Be Found in Uraume
Uraume’s proficiency in preparing occult baths is not the only reason Sukuna allows the sorcerer to remain at his side. In the official Jujutsu Kaisen fanbook, Gege Akutami confirmed that Sukuna was, and remains, a cannibal. Apparently, Uraume is also an excellent chef with the rare talent of preparing humans for consumption. In addition to making sure Sukuna’s baths were up to standard, Uraume was responsible for his meals. Like his baths, Sukuna’s cannibalism might have more significance than meets the eye.
One fairly common means for the transfer of power in Jujutsu Kaisen is through ingestion. For example, Suguru Geto absorbs cursed spirits by swallowing them while Itadori Yuji first became a vessel by eating one of Sukuna’s fingers. This theory has already been confirmed by Yuta Okkotsu. During the Culling Games, Yuta managed to gain access to Takako Uro’s Sky Manipulation Cursed Technique after Rika swallowed the rival sorcerer’s arm.
Sukuna’s cannibalism might well explain why the sorcerer has multiple cursed techniques. By defeating and eating other sorcerers carefully prepared by Uraume, Sukuna might have been increasing his store of cursed techniques. Although he’s revealed only two distinct techniques, Sukuna might have countless more at his disposal. Killing and eating his fellow sorcerers may have been a mere intimidation tactic for Sukuna but, for a personality as calculated as him, it stands to reason that he had particular reason for doing so. While increasing his own power, this vile act would only amplify the negative energy that surrounds him, boosting his techniques in the process.
Bad Impersonations of Sukuna, Kenjaku's Death Paintings
Despite the fact that Sukuna's evil baths and propensity for cannibalism scared both afflicted spirits and jujutsu sorcerers, Kenjaku continued to be fascinated by him. It's not surprising that Kenjaku was interested in learning how Sukuna attained his levels of power given that he was considered to be the most malevolent sorcerer in jujutsu history. Kenjaku achieved success in his own illegal experiments by producing the Cursed Womb: Death Paintings. These beings, like their model Sukuna, were curse/human hybrids due to the unholy union of curse and sorcerer from which they were spawned.
The Death Paintings became fully realized in much the same manner that Sukuna reincarnated in Jujutsu Kaisen's modern era. Their wombs were similarly classified as Special Grade cursed objects and only brought Kenjaku’s creations to life when Mahito force-fed them to unwilling humans. Unlike Itadori, these humans weren’t specially prepared vessels and therefore had their entire beings taken over by the Death Paintings, Choso, Eso and Kechizu.
Just like Sukuna, the Death Paintings exist in a limbo state of being not quite human but not fully curses either. They are most certainly not human, as evidenced by their abilities to take over and inhabit other bodies -- but they aren’t curses either. Eso and Kechizu already found out the hard way that the Death Paintings experience mortality like humans do, without a chance of the future reincarnation that's available to curses. This same mortality applies to Sukuna when he’s possessing a host. As a cursed object, even Gojo Satoru isn’t capable of destroying him. But if Sukuna’s host dies, the King of Curses dies along with them.