For everything that Toji did very well, there’s one thing he failed miserably at, and that involved being the kind of a dad who showed up for his son. I mean, Toji didn’t even remember Megumi at one point, let alone being around for him. All this paved the way for him to earn a place in the list of worst dads.
The fact that Toji was a bad father to Megumi is something that’s not up for contention. No, thinking about your son in your dying moments doesn’t absolve you of the negligence showcased before that.
He is not someone who just skipped on his duties as a father, he also mercilessly sold his son and was standing to make a windfall out of it. If not for his death, Toji would have been reveling in the riches.
Despite this behavior, fans are quick to cut Toji some slack. Well, I fall in that very bracket sometimes too, so who am I to blame them. But then, before passing a judgement on Toji as a father, it is important to understand why he left/abandoned Megumi.
It is possible that our harsh stance on him might soften after understanding his point of view. But certainly not enough to forgive him completely.
Why did Toji leave Megumi?
To answer in short, Toji left Megumi, effectively abandoning him, because Papaguro felt that his unstable lifestyle and his twisted goals would be a bad influence on Megumi. That, and he shirked his responsibility as a dad.
Mind you, Toji’s reason for leaving Megumi has never outright been stated in the manga. Instead, Akutami has entrusted us, the readers, to pick up the subtle hints he dropped and form our own conclusions.
Note: If you are reading this write-up, make sure to check out the article linked below too, because they go well with each other!
At first sight, Toji appeared to be a sociopath without any remorse, willing to kill a school girl for money. He lived the life of a freeloader, relying on one woman after another, and existed solely by his warped ideals.
It wouldn’t be out of character for such a person to forget the name of his son, or to abandon him altogether thinking it was too much of a responsibility.
However, as the chapters pass by, we realize that Toji’s fabric had more layers to it than what we were initially led to believe. And to know why he abandoned Megumi we have to explore this underlying persona.
If we were to sum up Toji’s condition in a single line, it would be something like this – a person who can’t love himself would find it hard to love others! His distorted outlook meant that he would do anything to prove his worth.
In fact, this acute inferiority complex is also what led him to accept the assignment to kill Riko Amanai.
Toji was abused and harassed by the Zen’ins for as long as he was a member of the clan and that too for no fault of his. Being a recipient of the heavenly restriction, Toji was devoid of any cursed energy. And in the eyes of the clan members, who valued their kin based on their innate cursed technique, Toji became a stain on their legacy.
This rejection and abuse he suffered (right from his childhood) made Toji develop a deep seated insecurity. And it stayed with him, even when the moniker of ‘sorcerer killer’ came along.
At one point it became so unbearable that he severed all his ties with the family. Toji did become a bit stable when he was with Megumi’s mother. However, this happiness too was short-lived as she died soon after Megumi’s birth.
With her death, I am assuming that Toji lost his pillar, and also his moral support. Her death hit Toji hard and pushed him to once again try and prove his worth to the world.
However, there was one important task that Megumimama had entrusted Toji with before she died – taking care of Megumi. And according to what Akutami mentioned in the fanbook (under Kon Shiu), Toji did try his hand at taking care of Megumi for a while.
As someone who didn’t love himself, as someone who was insecure about his value deep down inside, Toji probably felt that he would never be able to give Megumi a good life.
That and he had truly turned into a freeloader after Megumimama’s death. So over time he probably might have felt that looking after Megumi was too much of a responsibility. It is a mix of both reasons to be honest.
Toji was also not someone who had a lot of money. And even if he did get money from one of his assignments, his addiction to gambling meant that he’d lose that money just as fast.
Why did Toji sell Megumi to the Zen’in clan?
Toji sold Megumi to the Zen’in clan because he felt that Megumi, who was gifted unlike him, would have a better life than him over there. It was also a way for Toji to get back at the Zen’in clan.
Initially, Megumi was just a tool for Toji to get back at the Zen’in clan. He was Toji’s prized possession. His trump card.
Despite being his son, Megumi had turned out to be a prodigy.
He knew that the Zen’in clan would give anything to have Megumi back in the clan, they would even go to the extent of negotiating.
It was a matter of prestige for the Zen’ins. They wouldn’t want such a talented sorcerer to slip away from their hands. And Toji took full advantage of this scenario.
He negotiated a deal with Naobito Zen’in wherein he stood to earn ten million by selling Megumi to the Zen’ins.
According to the deal, Toji stood to make 7 million if Megumi did not have an inherited technique and 10 million if he possessed it.
Whichever way you look at it, this was a win for Toji. Not only did he force the Zen’ins to come to the table they also had to accept his demands; the very demands put forth by someone who they had discarded as useless.
While it seems coldhearted, we get a better understanding of his mindset back then through a flashback in chapter 113.
As I mentioned before, Megumimama had asked Toji to care for Megumi. However, Papaguro, who again became deranged after her death, felt that the Zen’in clan would be a better place for Megumi.
It is no secret that the Zen’in clan, one of the big three sorcerer families, valued skill and power beyond anything else. They also came with an overburdening patriarchy and misogyny.
However, none of that would be a problem for Megumi, who came with bags of potential.
So more than just a cold-hearted deal, it was Toji’s way of trying to give Megumi a better life. True, he did try to one up the Zen’ins there, but deep down, he cared for his son. He was a jerk, but he was considerate in his own way too.
In time though, Toji came to regret his decision to sell Megumi to the Zen’ins. And in his dying moments, this regret came back to haunt him. That’s why, when he was on his last legs (literally) after losing to Gojo, Toji told him about the deal involving Megumi and the Zen’in clan, and asked Gojo to interfere in his own way.
Toji was too proud even then to speak his mind. He also knew he was in no position to make requests. So he just left it at that.
I know, I seem to be patronizing Toji too much here. But allow me to make myself clear; the Toji we see in hidden inventory is a deranged evil person. I’m not taking that away from him. But yeah, deep down, he did care for Megumi in his own twisted way.
On a side note, I never think Toji forgot Megumi, it was just his way of feeling less guilty about having sold Megumi to the Zen’in clan.