Roronoa Zoro is undoubtedly one of the best-known One Piece characters. Like Luffy, Zoro wants to be the best in his own category, i.e., he wants to become the best swordsman in the world, surpassing his idol and rival, Dracule Mihawk, who is said to be the best swordsman in the world. People have speculated about Zoro’s powers for years, especially since he never ate a Devil Fruit, and there is a running theory that he might be so good with his swords because he is a descendant of the legendary swordsman, Ryūma Shimotsuki of Wano Country. In this article, we are going to tell you whether that is true or not.
As far as it is known, Zoro is not related to Ryūma Shimotsuki. The two of them share several traits – they look very much alike, they are both amazing swordsmen, and Zoro was raised in Shimotsuki Village – but Zoro has a completely different last name and does not come from Wano Country as far as we know. This is, thus, only an unconfirmed fan theory.
The rest of this article is going to be focused on the character of Zoro and his relation to Ryūma Shimotsuki of Wano Country in One Piece. We are going to tell you whether Zoro is, indeed, related to Ryūma Shimotsuki, i.e., whether he is his descendant, as some fans speculate. This article might contain a smaller number of spoilers, so do be careful while you’re reading.
What do we know about Zoro’s family?
Born in East Blue, during his childhood, Zoro in the village of Shimotsuki, where he studied at the local dojo. He majored in nitōryū and was already strong enough to beat adults. However, he could never win against Kuina, the master’s daughter. He fought her 2001 times but never managed to get the upper hand. One day, he challenged her one last time, this time using real weapons, but he was beaten again, real sabers being heavier than wooden ones. Zoro cried in frustration at not being able to become the best swordsman in the world.
Kuina also shared the same dream, but as a woman, she knew that growing up she would never have the physical strength to achieve it. Zoro was only more mortified, because if he ever won against Kuina, it would be impossible for him to know if it was really thanks to his own strength. They made a promise that one of them would become the best swordsman in the world.
The next day, Kuina fell to her death down the stairs. Zoro swore to himself to keep his promise and asked his master for Kuina Wadô Ichimonji’s sword, and developed a new fighting style he called the Santōryū, which involves holding a katana in each hand and a third in the mouth (in this case, that of Kuina). Zoro left the dojo and went in search of Mihawk.
But because of his bad sense of direction, he got lost on the way and started working as a bounty hunter in order to have food, drink and to maintain his swords. He became very famous and was nicknamed “Zoro the Pirate Hunter” (Kaizoku-Gari). Around this time he received an offer from Baroque Works to come and work for him. He declined the latter, refusing to work for an organization unless he was made the leader, and killed the emissary.
Zoro, as you can see, doesn’t have a direct relation to the Shimotsuki family. He trained with Kuina, who was a member of the Shimotsuki Family, but the two of them had such a close relationship that it would seem strange to alter it retroactively just like that, as it has been established firmly already. Still, we don’t know anything about Zoro’s parents so some options are still open, but as far as things stand now, Zoro’s family is unrelated to the Shimotsuki family.
What do we know about Ryūma’ Shimotsuki’s family?
Ryūma was born in the Ringo region of Wano Country into the Shimotsuki family. In life, Ryūma was a samurai from Wano Country in the New World who lived around four hundred years ago, famous for slaying a dragon in the Flower Capital and stopping the constant foreign invasions of the island. His exploits against the beast were recounted in Oda’s previous work, Monsters, with him being the main protagonist. The events of this story happened a long time ago, in an unspecific place, in an unspecified past of history.
The Shimotsuki family was one of the most famous and most important families in Wano Country, which is why it is important for us to tell you as much as we can about them. First of all, the known members of the family include an unnamed Shimotsuki family daimyo, Shimotsuki Ryuma, Shimotsuki Ushimaru, Shimotsuki Yasuie, Toko, Koushirou, Kuina, and Shimotsuki Kozaburo. As you can see, Zoro is not on this list. Now let us discuss some of the principal points from the family’s history.
Shimotsuki Kozaburo forged Enma and Wado Ichimonji, illegally leaving Wano Country 55 years ago. His journey ended in East Blue, where he ended up settling and founding the Shimotsuki village. During the Kozuki era, the Shimotsuki family controlled, as far as is known, the government of two regions of Wano Country, Ringo and Hakumai, being led by Shimotsuki Ushimaru and Shimotsuki Yasuie respectively.
Over twenty years ago, Kurozumi Orochi became shogun and executed the then-daimyo of Kuri, Kozuki Oden. After this he offered the rest of the daimyos the option to subordinate him, including Ushimaru and Yasuie, who rejected the offer and rebelled against him, resulting in Ushimaru’s death and the loss of power in the family.
Yasuie for his part went to live in Ebisu town and adopted the identity of “Tonoyasu”, having a daughter named Toko and acting as a taikomochi for the next twenty years. Due to the poverty of the place, Yasuie was forced to give his daughter away to to the Red Light District of the capital for some money, going on to work as a kamuro. Yasuie met a swordsman named Zoro, whom he befriended and invited to his house in Ebisu Town.
After that, he met Shinobu and Kanjuro again after twenty years, who did not recognize him due to the passage of time. On the other hand, Toko attended the Orochi banquet in commemoration of the Fire Festival, where she provoked the wrath of the shogun, who attempted to murder her, but she was finally able to flee to the Ringo region with the help of Kozuki Hiyori. There she found out that her father had been captured and that he was going to be executed in the Flower Capital, so Toko hurried to go. The next day, Yasuie was crucified pending his execution later that day.
After speaking to the entire capital and the shogun himself, he was riddled with bullets both by him and by several of his subordinates, falling lifeless to the ground. This scene was witnessed by Toko, who burst into tears and desperately tried to revive him. Escaping the chaos of the capital, Ella Toko cried herself to sleep and hid under Brook’s robes. Toko ended up falling asleep from crying so much, being carried by Usopp, Robin and Brook, who got on a boat to leave the capital. After her father’s funeral, Toko went with Robin to visit his grave.
As you can see, there is absolutely no mention of Zoro in the history of the Shimotsuki family and we shall now give you our answer on the main question of this article.
Most of the theories based on Zoro being a descendant of Ryūma Shimotsuki are, actually, Zoro fanboys and fangirls who want to give Zoro a deeper storyline and a sense of meaning beyond that he is a skilled powerhouse character with a clear goal. Oda himself hasn’t really hinted anything similar and while it is not impossible for this to happen, now that the Wano Country Arc is over, it doesn’t seem likely that Oda is going to revisit the whole story just to make a dead character Zoro’s descendant.
People notice that they looked very much alike when they were of the same age, which is somewhat true, that they have similar skills, and that Zoro was raised in Shimotsuki Village, which is a fact that some fans consider to be a hint from Oda. Now, aside from that, there is nothing to corroborate a relation between Zoro and Ryūma Shimotsuki, including the fact that Zoro is not from Wano Country and that there is nothing to hint that he might stem from there. Plus, he had a very close relationship with Kuina, who was a descendant of the Shimotsuki Family, so changing that relationship would be a bit too much at this moment, if you ask us.
Officially, thus, Zoro and Ryūma Shimotsuki are not related. There are some theories that might prove to be more or less true, so we cannot rule anything out completely, but officially, there is no relation between them, and from what we know of the story as of this moment, it is unlikely that Oda is going to change that fact anytime soon.