‘One Piece’: Is Izou Male or Female?

One Piece: Is Izou Male or Female?

One Piece characters, as fans will know, come in different shapes and sizes. Some of them are just quirky and odd, but some of them are complete enigmas in certain aspects. Emporio Ivankov and Yamato are probably the best examples, but Izou is also a great example. The character obviously dresses up as a girl, make-up included, but the character also doesn’t seem to be a girl. Actually, he fights like a boy, as well. So, is Izou, whose role will expand in the upcoming episodes, male or female? In this article, we are going to tell you who Izou is, and we are going to reveal the character’s gender in this article.

Izou is male in One Piece; that has been confirmed. He is a former commander of the Whitebeard Pirates and the older brother of Kikunojo, his younger sister. But, despite being a man and seemingly never actually questioning his gender, Izou is actually a cross-dresser as he constantly dresses like a woman, wearing a female kimono, having long hair made-up like a woman’s hair, and wearing make-up all the time. So, he is male, but he is also a cross-dresser.

The rest of this article will focus on Izou and the issue of his gender in One Piece. We will tell you all the known details about this issue, which is one of the more intriguing character-related issues in the current One Piece narrative. You have to be aware, though, that there will be some spoilers in this article, so be careful how you approach it.

Izou is male, but he is also a cross-dresser

Izou is a male; that much has been confirmed, and that is a fact that is well-known in One Piece. There was no doubt about his gender at any point in the story, and even Izou himself never really questioned his gender (such as Yamato did; Ivankov is a case for itself). He has a male physique; his sister refers to him as her older brother; he behaves, fights, and refers to himself as a man. All of this undeniably proves that he is male and that he considers himself to be male. But he dresses like a woman, doesn’t he?

Well, he does, but that doesn’t make him female or trans. It makes him a cross-dresser, which is relatively common in Oda’s world. Izou does wear a female kimono, he also has his hair made-up in a woman’s hairstyle, like the Geisha, and he also wears female make-up. He has been doing that since he was a child, and while Oda has not provided us with a proper explanation of his habit, we think we know what inspired Oda for such a design.


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Namely, the samurai-type characters from Wano Country are, in many ways, inspired by Japan’s pre-modern (shogunate) history. At the time, during kabuki performances, young feminine-looking boys would play female parts on stage because women were forbidden to act at the time. Based on that, we assume that Izou is modeled after an old kabuki performer since his attire would perfectly fit in a kabuki play.

Now, this could very well be the inspiration for his design, but Oda has not really provided us with an in-universe explanation behind Izou’s habits, which is not great, but we assume that it ultimately doesn’t matter then since there are other, more important elements to Izou’s story than just this habit of his.

Sadly, the reasons behind his cross-dressing habits have never been revealed

He was born in Wano Country. He and his younger brother grew up in their mother’s Hanayanagi-style dance school, but the family fell apart when their father became a criminal. The two were thus forced to live out in the streets of Ringo, still very young, dancing and playing for some depraved adults. To entertain them, Izou used precision shooting, at which he was impeccable. Thirty-nine years before the start of the narrative, when Kozuki Oden fed them, they joined him on his journey.

One day, Oden broke away from his followers and went alone to Kuri. When they realized it, they ran in the same direction. When they reached him, however, he had already defeated all the villains present, including Ashura Doji, and claimed he wanted to become their leader. Soon, Kuri became a livable region and the shogun made Oden its daimyo. The latter’s followers, therefore, became his servants.

Six years later, Oden returned to the castle, followed by Inuarashi, Nekomamushi, and Kawamatsu, after saving them from a group of Kuri residents who believed them to be demons. The daimyo gave them food, and after they told him their stories, he decided to keep them under his service.


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One day, Shimotsuki Yasuie discovered Oden’s servants trying to steal Hakumai’s exchequer to help their lord, and instead of administering punishment, he gave them more of what they wanted to steal so they could raise their education and buy clothes and not tarnish Oden’s name. And so they did.

Twenty-eight years before the start of the narrative, when Kozuki Sukiyaki fell ill, all of Oden’s servants accompanied the latter to the Flowery Capital. In the same year, the Whitebeard Pirates were shipwrecked at the port of Itachi. Oden asked to join Newgate’s crew, but neither the pirate nor his servants agreed. Two weeks later, the daimyo decided to leave secretly from his servants and clung to the Moby Dick with a chain, while Izou, who had understood his intentions, followed him to bring him back.

Whitebeard ordered Marco to get the servant on board, who asked him to do the same with Oden since he was in danger of dying. The pirate told him that the latter continued to insist despite the numerous refusals and that having such an unpredictable person join the crew could have put the entire crew at risk.

For this, he would have had to convince him, so he promised that he would welcome the daimyo and the crew on the condition that he had been clinging to the chain for three days. Seeing his lord suffer, Izou was furious, but the two were welcomed aboard with a woman Oden had saved, and Inuarashi and Nekomamushi, who had hidden on the ship, were convinced that their master would go up.

When Izou showed the crew his sniping skills, Vista told him that he should use them to protect the others, as it was useless for him to obsessively wield a sword if he couldn’t defend his lord with it. Izou thus abandoned the latter in favor of the pistol. Two years later, Izou asked Oden to return to Wano Country because, having become a wanted man, he would have endangered Toki and his eldest son. The daimyo, however, refused, while his wife reassured him.

The crew was then divided into five divisions and, after another two years, landed on an island where Roger’s Pirates had just defeated a handful of marines. The two crews battled for three days straight, eventually feasting together on the fourth day. Soon after the Kozuki family embarked on the Oro Jackson, Roger asked Newgate to lend him Oden for a year to decipher the Poneglyph and achieve his goal.


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Although he did not agree with it, Whitebeard accepted the request since Oden himself asked him, since he wanted to discover his family’s connection with these inscriptions. In return, Roger’s Pirates left provisions and all the treasures they had with the rival crew. Sometime in the future, the Whitebeard Pirates noticed that Inuarashi and Nekomamushi were no longer aboard, sensing that they had been following Oden. He and the rest of the crew only learned of Oden’s death many years later.

They often thought about going to Wano Country, as you’d assume, but they would give up because of the consequences that this would entail. One day, after Ace had already become the commander of the 2nd division, he heard him trying to convince Whitebeard to attack Kaido, but Marco tried to make him understand the multiple consequences that such a gesture could have, so the boy asked him to allow him to go alone.

The emperor then attacked him with his weapon, covering him with bumps. Izou told Ace to bring him too, should Whitebeard allow him to launch an attack on Kaido, and Marco joined in. Ace replied so that together with them, he could have defeated him immediately, however, being criticized.

Now, we won’t be going too much into the future. We simply wanted to explain what happened to Izou during his youth and his childhood so that you can see that he started dressing up like a woman early on but Oda never really provided us with an explanation as to why he became a crossdresser in the first place.

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