Yamato, also known as the Oni Princess, is the daughter of the former Emperor Kaidou in Oda’s One Piece. Trained from a young age to be Kaidou’s heir, Yamato instead developed a deep admiration for the samurai Kozuki Oden. After his death, Yamato decided to “become” Oden, posing as him and adopting his mannerisms. After meeting Monkey D. Luffy, she joined the Alliance in order to defeat the Beasts Pirates and get out of Onigashima. Yamato is by all standards one of the more intriguing characters in the series and in this article, we are going to explain why she (or he) calls herself Oden in One Piece.
Yamato, despite being a biological female, considers herself to be a man and refers to herself as a boy. Building on that, her admiration for the late Kozuki Oden has to be considered, and due to that fact, Yamato decided to “become” the next Oden and she started referring to herself (or himself) as Oden as a sign of respect for the great samurai.
The rest of this article is going to focus on Yamato and her/his identity. We are going to tell you all the known details about this issue, which still remains one of the more interesting points of the current One Piece narrative. You have to be aware, though, that there are going to be some spoilers in this article, so be careful how you approach it.
Why does Yamato call herself Oden?
“Oden was a man, wasn’t he? So I chose to be a man too!”
The issue of Yamato’s identity is one of the most complex issues in One Piece, regardless of the fact that it is not a big plot-related mystery and that Yamato has the right to be whoever she wants. Still, it’s a persistent puzzle and its solution has some implications for this article, which is why we have to discuss it here as well. Namely, it is not possible to answer this question about Yamato without discussing the issue of her identity.
As we’ve said in the introduction, Yamato is a biological female. She was born as Kaidou’s daughter, she looks like a girl and everything about her is very feminine, as far as her physical appearance is concerned. But, despite that, she currently refers to herself as male, although the manga has inconsistently referred to her as both a female and a male character, depending on the chapter and the situation. But, regardless of the fact that the issue of her gender is still a mystery until Oda decides to resolve it (or not to resolve it), there is a very important reason why Yamato keeps referring to herself as a male and that reason is related to Kozuki Oden, a legend of Wano Country and a character who has left a lasting impression on this section of Oda’s world.
In particular, Yamato aspires to be just like the legendary samurai Kozuki Oden and holds him in the highest regard. On several occasions, she has referred to herself as Oden and even adopted her gender by calling herself the “son of Kaidou” because Oden is a man. Oden’s son Momonosuke was horrified when Yamato announced herself as such to him, despite her initial reluctance. Yamato has been displaying a forthright attitude towards this identity over time.
In direct opposition to her father’s plans for the nation, Yamato also wants to carry out Oden’s objectives, notably to open Wano’s borders. Yamato has demonstrated remarkable resolve by putting up a fight against Kaidou’s confinement despite not being entirely free. She may have been more obedient to him at first, but after a fight with her Ace, she rebelled by destroying Kaidou’s dragon statue, which sparked further outright revolt.
Even though Yamato has fully embraced her role, she still refers to Yamato as “another name of her,” maintaining her former character. Yamato corrected Luffy when he called her by a nickname, showing that she doesn’t like it when people call her by the wrong name. Yamato dreams of leaving Wano Country and setting sail with the Straw Hat Pirates, much as Oden did with the Whitebeard Pirates and the Roger Pirates decades ago. Yamato considers Oden’s logbook to be his “bible” after reading the amazing acts recorded in it.
As you can see, this is a rather complex issue. First of all, Kozuki Oden was an enemy of her father, Kaidou, who was the ruthless ruler of Wano until his defeat at the hands of Monkey D. Luffy. Kaidou was a ruthless ruler, but he was also a crappy father and that was obvious on several occasions; although he did want Yamato to be a powerful warrior and his successor, he did not really care for her much and there was no love between them when she was little. As you can assume, Kaidou was not the gentlest and nicest of fathers. He is also one of the reasons why she has a very masculine attitude and why she fights like a boy, despite being a girl.
The second thing that is noteworthy here is that Yamato is actually a girl, but it is only because of Oden that she has explicitly decided to refer to herself as a boy. Namely, not only does she admire one of her father’s biggest rivals, but she also changed her whole identity because of him. And that is actually the answer to the question we have posed here in this article. Yamato refers to herself as Oden because she admires the late samurai so much. It wasn’t enough to fight like Oden and it wasn’t enough to simply admire him, Yamato had to become Oden completely to show how much she respected the samurai.
And that is why she decided to “become” Oden and, as she said in the above-cited sentence, Oden was a man, so to “become” Oden, she also had to become a man. And that is why Yamato keeps referring to herself as Oden. In the next section, we have decided to tell you a bit about Oden’s legacy so you have a better understanding of the importance of his legacy in the lore of One Piece.
Why is Kozuki Oden so important?
Despite never being seen in the main narrative – only through flashbacks – Kozuki Oden has an incredibly important legacy in One Piece, especially in Wano Country. His name and his actions symbolize something and many characters later either ended up being inspired by Oden or continued to build on his legacy. This legacy started twenty years before the start of the main plot, when Orochi visited Kuri demanding that Oden let him build factories in the region. Hearing that and about the massacre of the Hyogoro family, Oden couldn’t take it anymore and cry. Before his vassals and his family Oden decided to definitively attack Kaidou for their happiness. After that, Oden set out with his nine most important vassals to defeat the invading pirate.
Before leaving, Oden wrote a letter to his wife, where he asked her to use his powers to help defeat Kaidou in the future in case he died trying. Both factions met at Udon and began to fight. After recognizing Shinobu (who began to help them) and repelling dozens of Kaidou Oden’s subordinates, he managed to make a great cut to the pirate.
Immediately after that, Oden heard a fake Momonosuke asking for help, which Kaidou took advantage of to defeat him with a single blow with his kanabo. After placating all of his enemies, the Beasts Pirates imprisoned Oden and his subordinates, sentencing them to death by being boiled in three days. During that time Oden saw Toki for the last time, to whom he entrusted the swords from him.
Three days later Oden and his vassals were about to be publicly executed, so Oden asked to be released. After discussing it with Kaidou, he agreed to endure an hour being boiled to be released. After speaking, Oden quickly entered the boiling pot and began to hold his subordinates with a board so they wouldn’t burn. As everyone saw his determination, Oden began to endure said execution minute by minute.
Shortly after this and to the surprise of all present, Oden was able to resist the agreed time inside the oil. However, Orochi was not satisfied with this and decided to change the method of execution from boiling alive to the firing squad at the last minute. Realizing the threat, Oden hurled the Nine Red Scabbards out of the cauldron with the last of his strength, telling them to do everything in their power to finally open Wano Country to the outside world. After exchanging a few words with Kaidou, he shot an exhausted and very emaciated Oden in the head to end his suffering. Finally, Oden’s body fell into the oil, and the samurai died with a wide smile.