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In Demon Slayer, Tanjiro is able to talk to the souls many times. Whenever he killed any demon, he is able to talk to their souls. When he was told to break the biggest rock, he is able to talk to the old disciples of masters who were best of all (Makomo and Sabito) and who were already dead (smile and vanish after teaching him). He also learned from them how to break the biggest rock.

How is Tanjiro able to talk to the souls?

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Although this is not explained in either the manga or anime, there are some theories on why Tanjiro were able to see and talk to spirits.

  1. Demon Slayer has multiple references from Buddhism and Shinto. According to this, people who were slain by demons cannot leave Earth until someone avenges them. It was destiny that Tanjiro is the one to kill the demons that had the slain so many innocent ones. It can be that Tanjiro tried to reach out to the spirits or it's the other way round where the spirits tried to help Tanjiro by guiding them to the right path. In case of Sabito and Makomo, they believed that Tanjiro is destined to slay the demons that killed them. and free their souls. So, they tried to contact him, gave him the motivation which led Tanjiro pass the boulder test.
  2. Sabito and Makomo were lingering spirits that wanted to assist Tanjiro since he was a disciple of Sakonji Urokodaki. Tanjiro was able to see the two spirits because all of them are connected to Sakonji Urokodaki.
  3. The rope tied around the boulder that Tanjiro cut is called Shimenawa, and they are tied around objects to draw spirits to the object. That's why the spirits were drawn to the boulder and Tanjiro were able to perceive them.
  4. Tanjiro had a high spiritual affinity.

Reference

  1. Can Tanjiro see the dead in Demon Slayer?
  2. Did they ever explain how Tanjiro managed to see Sabito and Makomo? - Reddit post

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