If a Death Note owner accidentally misspells a name four times, that person will be free from being killed by the Death Note.

What does that rule mean? I think I'm misunderstanding it, and I'd like to know, what the rule really means.

2 Answers 2



The rules related to misspelling are:

  • Rule IX

    1. The Death Note will be rendered useless if the victim's name is misspelled four times.
  • Rule XXXV

    1. If a Death Note owner accidentally misspells a name four times, that person will be free from being killed by the Death Note. However, if they intentionally misspell the name four times, the Death Note owner will die.
    2. The person whose name was misspelled four times on purpose will not be free of death by a Death Note.

So if we put all these rules together, that means that if you misspell a person's name four times on accident, that person is free from being killed from the Death Note forever. However, this does not mean you could make a person untouchable from the Death Note on purpose. The second rule from XXXV prevents this from happening. If someone purposely misspells someone else's name four times, he will kill himself and the victim will remain as is.


The manga seems to contradict this though. We have seen Light misspelling the name of a criminal more than four times, yet that person still ended up death. So if the rules are correct, it must be that one of the first four names Light wrote down was the real name of the criminal. Although I do find this a bit of a stretch, so I'm not really sure what is going on here. Ohba did make Light write down the criminal's name more than four times, but on the other hand, there was two occasions where he mentioned misspelling (rules IX and XXXV), so I'm not completely sure what to believe here.

  • 1
    It's possible Light wasn't sure how to spell his name correctly which leads to 2 possibilities. 1) with in the first 4 names he spelled it correctly but didn't realize it so he kept writing or 2) the Death Note is able to know when someone is intentionally misspelling someone's name since when writing a name you also need to picture the target in your mind. if you were to intentionally misspell someone's name you would also be thinking of the correct spelling of their name to you know what to avoid writing
    – Memor-X
    Apr 30, 2015 at 22:22
  • @Memor-X Light was not sure. He was just guessing that person's name, as he had only overheard the criminal's name and didn't know the correct spelling. So is what you are saying with 2), that Light never misspelled anybody's name in that scene, but that he spelled the names he wanted to write, correctly, thus not falling under XXXV.1? May 1, 2015 at 0:36
  • On a side note: I don't really know how one would misspell in Japanese though. An incorrect stroke? May 1, 2015 at 0:37
  • remember that Misa says "his name is Light but it spelled as Moon", to me if i had just known Light's name i would assume it was spelled as Hikari (光) rather than Tsuki (月) and using Hikari would probably be classed as misspelling. as for XXXV.1 i actually misread the "free from being killed by the Death Note" part. however i'll leave my comment there as it suggests how the Death Note knows the difference between 4 accidental misspellings and 4 deliberate misspellings (which is the difference between the writers life and death and the victims immunity)
    – Memor-X
    May 1, 2015 at 1:25
  • 1
    The name of the victim is "渋井丸拓男", in which Light 's first attempt is actually correct (despite Light not realizing it nor having read about rule IX at the time) and the victim died accordingly. --- Memor-X: Should Light first 4 attempt fail, the victim can no longer be killed by Death Note under Rule IX, it would not be sense making if "Death Note can auto correct spelling" given the first attempt is correct and explanation in later episode. --- @Peter Raeves Just imagine taking part in a spelling bee contest, he is attempting different spellings of the victim's name which he hears verbally.
    – user24148
    May 18, 2016 at 18:10

This bugged the crap outta me! I checked the Japanese wiki page, and what the rule actually says is "4度名前を書き間違えると..." which is to say, "on the condition the name is written incorrectly [make a mistake in writing] four times..." The verbal construction is often used in terms of messing up or omitting strokes when writing kanji. Since Yagami Light is the numba one student, he of course makes no mistakes in writing any of the kanji. So you can try as many times as you like, as long as you remember to cross your t(s) and dot your i(s). Penmanship matters, folks. :)

Addendum: or maybe Ryuk was just messing with people, or trying to get DeathNote-owners to be extra careful when writing down names.

  • There are different ways to spell the same name. I recently had to proof read a set of minutes where just my first name was misspelled 3 different ways. I've seen my last name spelled 4 different ways (other people). The misspelling is more of an issue if you've only heard it spoken.
    – kaine
    Jun 15, 2017 at 14:46

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