One Piece is currently exploring the land of samurais, Wano. Wano has been teased in the story for quite some time. It is the most prominent arc in the post-time-skip manga and has been highly anticipated by fans.
Not only because it is centered around Kaido, but also because it will potentially give us more information about Zoro’s past. Zoro’s past has been explored very briefly and during the very early stages of the story.
Other than the short flashback revolving around Kuina, we don’t really know where the future first-mate of the Pirate King comes from.
Since the war on Onigashima is about to break out, this feels like the perfect time to delve into the possibilities of Zoro’s origins based on hints left by Eiichiro Oda.
1. Is Zoro from Wano?
Roronoa Zoro was not born in Wano. Zoro went to Koshiro’s Dojo at a very young age in the East Blue. It is impossible that a young Zoro traveled from Wano (New World) to the East Blue. Eiichiro Oda himself has mentioned it quite a few times that Zoro was born in the East Blue.
Zoro is likely a descendant of Ryuma. Ryuma first appeared in a one-shot by Eiichiro Oda titled “Monsters.” Zoro’s character looks very much like Ryuma and is possibly his ancestor.
2. Zoro’s Backstory
Zoro’s backstory was revealed to us very early in the story. As a child, he went to a Dojo in the East Blue in hopes of learning swordsmanship. The Dojo’s owner, Koshiro, took him in and raised him.
Zoro was strong from a very young age but was unable to beat Koshiro’s daughter, Kuina. He made a pact with Kuina that either he or she will be the greatest swordsman in the world. Kuina died shortly after by “falling off the stairs on a sword,” and in order to keep his promise, Zoro set his eyes to become the greatest swordsman in the world.
Kuina’s untimely death is shrowded in suspicion by fans. This topic became more complicated with the inclusion of Tashigi, who works in the Navy under Smoker. She looks exactly like Kuina and has run into Zoro a couple of times.
During the early parts of Wano, when Momonosuke was trying to learn to be a better swordsman, Zoro advised him to yell the word “snatch” while swinging his sword. According to Zoro, this word stills a trembling heart by giving it courage.
Kikunojo heard him say this word and scolded him for using it. “Snatch” resembles a word used in Kuri’s old dialect as a war cry. It is not something that fits the status of Momonosuke, so he was barred from using it.
The question arises – How did Zoro know about this word? Well, he probably learned it from his master – Koshiro.
As I will discuss in the next section, Koshiro is likely from Wano. This would also explain how a Dojo owner in a small village in the East Blue had one of the 21 Ō Wazamono swords.
3. Wano’s Parallels with Japan
Wano is a land of samurais cut off from the world. It is supposed to be a direct parallel of Feudal Era Japan. The folklore, designs of the country, and the theme behind many aspects of Wano are based directly on Japanese Tales.
Oda is consistent in his style of art and its usage. This leads fans to believe that Koshiro was actually born in Wano. He traveled to the East Blue and settled down.
Kuina and Tashigi are believed to be long lost, twin sisters. What gives this theory weight is the fact that we’ve never seen Kuina’s mother in the story.
For those of you unaware of this, One Piece originates from “Romance Dawn,” a one-shot written by Eiichiro Oda. It belonged to a series of one-shots, collectively called “Wanted!.”
Wanted!, One Piece’s original manga, included a one-shot called “Monsters,” which revolved around a legendary swordsman who cut down a dragon.
Sound familiar? The swordsman’s name was Ryuma, and his legend was carried on into the world of One Piece as well. The zombie which Zoro fought in Thriller Bark was none other than Ryuma from Monsters.
If you look at Ryuma’s design in the one-shot, it is strikingly similar to Zoro’s design. Since Ryuma is a canon character in One Piece, it is very likely that Zoro is a descendant of Ryuma.
5. Is Zoro a samurai?
Roronoa Zoro is certainly a samurai. While Zoro is not from Wano, he is likely a direct descendant of Ryuma, i.e. while Zoro or his parents are not from Wano, his lineage can be traced back to it. This makes him a samurai.
6. About One Piece
One Piece is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Eiichiro Oda. It has been serialized in Shueisha’s Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine since July 22, 1997.
The man who had acquired everything in this world, the Pirate King, is Gol D. Roger. The final words he said at the execution tower were
“My treasures? If you want it, I’ll let you have it. Look for it; I left all of it at that place.”
These words sent many to the seas, chasing their dreams, headed toward the Grand Line, in search of One Piece. Thus began a new age!
Seeking to be the greatest pirate in the world, young Monkey D. Luffy also heads toward the Grand Line in search of One Piece. His diverse crew is joining him along the way, consisting of a swordsman, marksman, navigator, cook, doctor, archaeologist, and cyborg-shipwright, this will be one memorable adventure.