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Properties Of Nen Aura And Nen Philosophy Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Philosophy
Wordcount: 3636 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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In the world of Hunter Ã- Hunter, Aura is an energy produced by all living bodies vital for survival. The loss of one’s aura is losing the energy keeping the body alive, resulting in death. Aura from all parts of the body has a tendency to flow together, producing one mass of energy. This happens without the individual’s awareness, and will simply leak out of their body slowly. The pores or points on the body where aura flows out from are called Shouko (aura nodes). Controling those shouko is the first step to be a user of Nen.

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Controlling and seeing

A Nen user trains to manually open and close their shouko so that they can control the flow of their aura. One can learn this process gradually, learning to control the shouko through meditation, or they can receive an influx of aura from an experienced user that forces these shouko to open, forcing the new user to learn to control the flow or risk suffering severe exhaustion or death. The second method is generally frowned upon as it is very dangerous (although far quicker). Once one has opened their shouko, they will be able to see their aura as a shroud surrounding the body. Some people are able to ‘discover’ and learn to manipulate their aura on their own, without any teaching or guidance from another Nen user.

What affects Nen

Although the production of aura is unconscious and constant by all living beings, it is more than just ‘leaky energy’. Aura carries with it the desires and emotions of the one who deploys it, which is what allows for Nen to have incredible versatility to those who develop their skill at using it. Nen is also heavily influenced by mental condition and state. A basic application of this phenomenon is that one can channel their aggression or hatred into their Nen and deploy it towards another person. The other person will then be able to feel that aggression as if it were physically palpable, and if unable to keep it from their own body by deploying their own Nen, may be physically harmed by it.

Conscious strengthening of Nen

Nen responds to the goals and strengths of the desire of its user. As a result, a user can make a commitment that results in an increase in their abilities. If a user, for example, damages their own body in such a way that an individual skill seems more imposing when used, their Nen will become correspondingly more powerful. It is also possible to increase the strength of an individual skill by imposing limits on it. For example, if a user consciously decides something along the lines of “I will only use this skill on Thursdays,” or “I will only use this skill against short people,” and manage to abide by the rule, that particular skill will become stronger.

Theoretically, the more restrictive the condition, the greater the enhancement in power. It is also implied that restrictions which carry great meaning, or emotional value also bring about a greater benefit.

Furthermore, restrictions which contain some sort of ‘punishment’ (i.e. “I will die should I break this rule”) will strengthen the ability more.

One example of this is the character Kurapika, who swore by death not to use one ability of his, called “chain jail”, on anyone but a group known as the Phantom Troupe, more commonly known as the “spiders”.

Sensing Nen

When one has developed use of their nen, they become sensitive to the presence of other beings by their deployment of nen. Since every living being creates nen subconsciously, it is a useful skill for those tracking or hunting (both animate and inanimate things). It is also useful in combat, because one can judge the location and relative strength of opponents by the output of their nen. To counter this, techniques that minimize nen output like Zetsu or In are used.


Nen is like any other skill, in that there are those who will learn it faster than others. There are also individuals that can use facilities of nen without having any formal training. This can be anything from being able to use the basic techniques of nen without even realizing it, or unconsciously developing a unique nen ability that can be used without the user really understanding how or why they are able to do so.

Basic Techniques

These are the most fundamental techniques of Nen. Everything else, including a Nen user’s specialized skill, is based on the basic manipulations of one’s aura flow. These are the first techniques that are taught to any student of Nen.

These basic techniques, in order of study, are: Ten, Zetsu, Ren and Hatsu.

Often, for an experienced person able to use Nen, these basic ‘techniques’ are second-nature. For example, a beginner must learn to use Ten, and concentrate to maintain it; whereas someone with experience will practically always be in a state of Ten, even during sleep.

Also Nen can be remove by using Nen, they are called the jyonen users, shown in the Greed Island arc. The nen remover was the reason why Hisoka is on Greed Island


Once a person has had their aura nodes opened, they must learn to keep their aura from leaking away from their body. Ten (纏, Envelop) is the process of keeping the nodes open, but also having aura flow through and around the body rather than away from it. Having a shroud of aura surround the body is the most basic defense against the physical or emotional attacks from other users of Nen. Ten also may reduce one’s aging; since the energy powering the body is no longer leaking away, one can keep the body from breaking down, thus slowing the aging process.


While Ten allows a user to keep aura from leaking away from their body, Zetsu (絕, Suppress) stops the flow of aura from their body altogether. By closing all of their aura nodes, the user is able to stop almost all outflow of their aura. Because the user is no longer surrounded by their own aura, they can become more sensitive to the aura of others. This can be useful when tracking another person, and it will also prevent other users of Nen from noticing them. Zetsu can also be used to restore vitality, since it forces the body’s external layer of aura to be fully contained within. However, since Zetsu involves shutting off one’s aura, it can be dangerous since it leaves the body defenseless against any aura attack. Even a weak attack enhanced with aura could do massive damage.


Ren (ç·´, Refine) is a direct application of Ten. Since a user is capable of keeping aura from leaking away from the body, it’s also possible for them to produce more aura around them without having to worry about losing it. Ren focuses on outputting a high amount of aura and keeping it on the body, expanding the size and intensity of it. This increases the user’s physical strength and durability and provides a large pool of aura for any advanced techniques or individual skills they decide to use.


Hatsu (發, Release) is the release of one’s aura so it can be projected to carry out a certain function. In essence, the Hatsu is a special and unique ability that one creates. A good Hatsu should reflect a person’s own character; one can never truly master Nen if they only copy other people’s abilities. Hatsu has several different categories, and the aura of every individual is aligned with a specific category. Upon learning their affinity, one can set about learning to apply Nen in a unique way that suits their personality, which can develop into a unique skill. A person may also have the ability to use more than one Nen ability, but they may never be able to change their Hatsu type. For example, Gon’s Hatsu is enhancement, but he is also capable of using emission and transmutation through his Jajanken technique. However, even though a user may be able to use more than one Hatsu, they can only be adequate at the Hatsu adjacent to his primary Hatsu. So although Gon can use emission and transmutation adequately, he will not be able to use manipulation or conjuration very well or at all.

Although everyone’s Hatsu is different and unique, Hatsu can be divided into five rough types and a sixth type for anything that does not fit into the five.

The most popular way (and the only sure-way seen in the series) of determining one’s aura type is through water divination. The test requires a leaf floating in a glass of water. It consists of a student placing their hands around the glass and using Ren. The effect of their Ren determines the student’s affinity. If the volume of the water changes, the user is an Enhancer. If the color of the water changes, the user is an Emitter. If the leaf moves, the user is a Manipulator. If an impurity appears in the water, the user is a Conjurer. If the taste of the water changes, the user is a Transmuter. If a completely different change appears, the user is a Specialist.

The character Hisoka also claims that he is able to judge a person’s Nen type based on their personality (so according to him, all people of one Nen type are generally of the same personality type). However, he states that this method is not always correct, and is similar to trying to find someone’s star signs or blood type just from personality analysis. According to his theory, Enhancers are determined and simple, Manipulators are logical people who advance at their own pace, Transmuters are whimsical liars, Emitters are impatient and not detail-oriented, Specialists are independent and charismatic, and Conjurers are high-strung.

Types of Hatsu

A compatibility diagram showing the six Hatsu types.

– Enhancement/Reinforcement (å¼·åŒ- Kyōka)

If a student increases the quantity of water in the glass during their water divination, they are an Enhancer. Enhancement is basically the ability to use aura to increase the efficiency of an object or one’s own body. Therefore, Enhancers are able to greatly increase their physical attack and defense, and are best suited for close-melee combat.

Enhancement is the most well-balanced category, allowing users to spread themselves evenly between offense and defense and become very strong using only simple abilities. Examples of more complex Enhancement abilities include enhancing a person’s ability to repair themselves.

– Emission (放出 Hōshutsu)

If a student changes the color of the water in the glass during their water divination, they are an Emitter. An affinity for Emission means that a user is capable of controlling the deployment of their aura while separating it from their body. Aura usually decreased in intensity very quickly when it is separated from the source body, but strong Emitters can separate their aura from their body for long-periods of time and still be able to maintain it.

An application of this is the ability to throw giant balls of aura. Emission abilities are commonly mistaken for Conjuration abilities. The two, however, are fundamentally different. Objects created by Emitters are made of pure aura, believed to be invisible to normal people, and requires Manipulation skills to control.

– Manipulation (操作 Sōsa)

If a student moves the leaf floating on the water in the glass during their water divination, they’re a Manipulator. Manipulation is the ability to control living or non-living material. Abilities belonging to Manipulators tend to be more complex, and generally require certain conditions to be met before the user is able to control the target object.

An example of a Manipulator is Shalnark, who can control people by placing a phone antenna on their body. Another Manipulator is Baise, who can control people by kissing them.

– Conjuration/Materialization (具現åŒ- Gugenka)

If a student creates an object in the water in the glass during the their water divination, they are a Conjurer. Conjuration is the ability to create a physical, independent, material object out of one’s aura. Once a person has mastered the conjuration of a certain object, they can conjure it and dispel it in an instant, whenever they want. It is believed that conjuration is the only way in which Nen can create things which ordinary people (unaware of Nen) can see and touch. Furthermore, objects/entities materialized by this technique have a subtle “independence” to them. This means that they can continue existing even if they were at a considerable distance from the Conjurer, or even if the Conjurer themselves are not aware that they have yet to be de-materialized. However the use of In can hide an object materialized from aura from experienced users of Nen.

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Conjured objects can have special abilities imbued into them. For example, the Phantom Troupe bandit, Shizuku, is able to conjure a vacuum cleaner that can infinitely suck up objects, but with the condition that it can’t suck up living things. Similar to manipulation, conjuration abilities tend to be very specific, complex, and conditional. Conditions can be imbued into conjured objects to make them stronger. Kortopi, for example, is able to materialize a perfect copy of any non-living object that he touches. However, all of his materialized objects will automatically disappear after 24 hours.

– Transmutation (変åŒ- Henka)

If a student changes the taste of the water in the glass during their water divination, they’re a Transmuter. An affinity for transmutation means a person can change the properties of their aura to mimic something else. Similar to emission, things created via transmutation are still pure aura. A simple way of thinking about it would be that transmutation allows your aura to mimic properties of a substance, whereas conjuration allows you to change your aura into actual substances. Transmuters can copy the properties of real things. For example, Killua Zoldyck uses his aura to copy the properties of electricity. Transmuters can also give their aura properties that don’t necessarily mimic real things; Hisoka’s “Bungee Gum” copies and combines the properties of rubber and gum. Transmuted substances are invisible to people unaware of the existence of Nen.

– Specialization (特質 Tokushitsu)

If a student causes some other effect during their water divination, they’re a Specialist. It is possible that the effect that occurs can give some insight into how they should direct their ability. Specialization is anything that doesn’t belong into the other five categories. This is the most vague Hatsu category. For example, Kurapika’s specialization ability allows him to use all the five standard Hatsu types at 100% efficiency. Chrollo Lucilfer specialization ability is a combination of the other five types, but in a way that no other user of Nen can use. Neon Nostrade’s specialization ability is unique, it has almost no relevance to any of the other five Hatsu types. It is possible to become a Specialist later in life, although it is more likely for Manipulators or Conjurers which is why it is placed at the bottom of the chart.

Hatsu abilities

Using more than one Hatsu type

A lot of Nen abilities use more than one Hatsu type. Common combinations include manipulation and emission (allowing the manipulation of objects from far away) and manipulation and conjuration (allowing the manipulation of conjured objects).

Within human boundaries

No Nen ability can be “beyond human boundaries.” What this means is that you can’t have an ability that is limitless. For example, you can’t materialize a sword that can cut through anything. However, if you can set very strict conditions on it – then you can materialize a sword that can cut through anything given that the conditions are met. For example, Kurapika was unable to materialize an unbreakable chain. However, he was able to materialize a chain that was unbreakable by any Phantom Troupe member. Shizuku is able to materialize a vacuum cleaner which can suck up any nonliving object not created by Nen.


These three Hatsu types tend to cause a lot of confusion to some people. To put it in short, a conjured thing is solid and material, anyone, whether or not they can use Nen can see it (unless In is used to conceal it); a transmuted thing is pure aura that copies the properties of other things, whilst emission abilities shoot pure aura able to be kept distant from the user’s body.

Kastro’s Doppelganger [Conjuration] – The Doppelganger was solid, ordinary people could see it, and it could be separated from the real Kastro as long as it stayed relatively close.

Hisoka’s Bungee Gum [Transmutation] – Normal people are unable to see it and it always is physically connected to Hisoka. Furthermore, it is not solid, but rather pure aura energy copying the properties of rubber and gum.

Razor’s 14 Devils [Emission] – They were not solid and ordinary people couldn’t see them. Razor’s 14 Devils were pure aura, and they did not need to physically stay in contact with him.

Advanced Techniques

These are the more advanced techniques. Most of them are achieved by using a combination of the basic techniques. Most nen users learn Ten, Zetsu and Ren first before attempting these techniques. The Hatsu, being a nen-user’s individual ‘skill’, is often something that a nen-user will develop gradually over a long period of time.


ShÅ« (周 Enfold) is the advanced form of Ten. ShÅ« allows a Nen-user to extend their aura to an object, allowing them to “use” that object as if it were an extension of their own body. For example, one could use ShÅ« to extend their Ten around an object (and not just their body), which would strengthen and protect the object like the way Ren strengthens and protects the body. This is the technique that allows Hisoka to make his solitaire cards as sharp and as hard as metal knives.


En (圓) is an advanced application of Ren and Ten. In Ren, aura usually envelops only a small amount of space around the user’s body. En is when one extends their Ren so that their aura extends further than normal, then uses Ten at the same time to give shape to the aura, usually a sphere. Someone using En can feel the shape and movement of anything entering their En-covered area. The downside to this is that it is extremely tiring and draining for the nen-user to constantly deploy so much aura. Those who master En are typically able to extend their En to a circle of 50m radius. There are exceptions–Zeno Zoldyck, one of the most powerful assassins alive, is able to extend his En to a radius of 300m. Also, the chimera ant Neferpitou, has an irregularly shaped En and can extend a tendril of it up to two miles away.


Ken (堅 Fortify) is the advanced version of the basic Ren technique. Ken is a defensive technique where a Nen-user maintains a state of Ren over their entire body, allowing them to defend against attacks from any direction without the need to use Gyō (described below). Ken is as useful as a defensive position, but is tiring to maintain. Additionally, it is not as strong as Gyō on any given part of the body, since it protects the whole body evenly. Because of that, it is used to guard when one wants to be cautious.


In (éš±) is an advanced form of Zetsu that can almost completely hide a Nen-user. In can also be used on a Nen-user’s Hatsu ability (more information on why some Hatsu abilities are visible can be found in the Hatsu category section) to make it invisible to other nen users. In can be countered by using Gyō on the eyes, or by using the technique En.


Gyō (凝) is a technique where a Nen-user concentrates a larger than normal portion of their aura into one specific body part. This ability to concentrate the aura is known as Gyō. Gyō increases the strength of that one body part, but leaves the rest of your body more vulnerable.

Gyō is most often used on the eyes, which allows a Nen-user to see things which would otherwise be hidden (e.g. nen objects hidden by In). This also allows a Nen-user to analyze an opponent to find weaknesses that would otherwise be unnoticeable.


Kō (硬 Temper) is the strong form of Gyō, where all of an individual’s Nen-energy is concentrated into one particular body part. Zetsu is used to completely stop the flow of Nen in all other parts of the body. This makes that one body part exceptionally powerful, but leaves the rest of the body completely unprotected. This is used by some Nen-users as an offensive technique (a Kō-punch would carry all 100% of your Nen-power with it), but it is a risky move (leaving the rest of your body unprotected in a fight against another Nen-user is not generally a good idea).


Ryū (流 Flow) is the term for real-time use of Gyō (adjustment of aura concentration in various body parts) by a Nen-user in battle. For example, the use of Gyō to increase the amount of Nen in a fist as one strikes with it, to increase damage done; or to increase the amount of Nen in an arm as it is used to block a blow, for extra defense.


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