One Piece: Who were the original Yonko?

The more things change, the more they stay the same (Image via Toei Animation)
The more things change, the more they stay the same (Image via Toei Animation)

The Yonko system looked somewhat different before the One Piece timeskip.

Prior to the events of the Paramount War, the original Yonko ruled with impunity. They make up a third of the Three Great Powers in the One Piece series. Ever since Whitebeard set the record straight, they have been feared.

Only the strongest captains will ever claim the Yonko title. They need a powerful crew by their side. Yonko also need to control territories and influence world politics. Every move they make is considered a major one.

One Piece set the bar high with the original Yonko


The original Yonko were powerhouses in their own right. Their pirate crews are the most powerful in the One Piece series. Of course, nobody can be on top of the world forever. Now that a new generation is taking over, here’s a look back at the older generation.

1) Edward Newgate - Whitebeard


Whitebeard is among the very few people who could take on the Pirate King himself. He also developed a reputation as the world's strongest man.

Even in poor health, the World Government was completely afraid of him. During the Paramount War, they spent all their resources against him. Even then, Whitebeard died standing up against Blackbeard.

  • Bounty: 5,046,000,000 bellies
  • Pirate Crew: Whitebeard Pirates
  • Devil Fruit: Gura Gura no Mi (creates powerful quakes)
  • Main Territory: Sphinx

He knew his time was coming up, so he paved the way for a new generation. Whitebeard’s death changed the course of history in the One Piece series.

With his declaration that such a treasure does exist, he reignited a fire within most rookie pirates. The likes of Luffy and Blackbeard have made a name for themselves since the One Piece timeskip, two years after Whitebeard's demise.

2) Kaido "of the Beasts"


Kaido wasn't always the world's strongest creature. He was defeated seven times and captured 18 times. It's currently unknown which of the remaining Emperors defeated or captured him.

With the death of Whitebeard, Kaido now has the highest active bounty in the One Piece series. He rules over a pirate crew that prioritizes Zoan Devil Fruits, including artificial ones.

  • Bounty: 4,611,100,000 bellies
  • Pirate Crew: Beasts Pirates
  • Devil Fruit: Uo Uo no Mi, Model: Seiryu (turns users into an Azure Dragon)
  • Main Territory: Wano Country

Kaido wants to turn Wano Country into his personal weapons factory. Alongside Big Mom, he also wants to wage a war against the entire world. However, the Straw Hats are currently fighting him in the Onigashima Raid.

3) Charlotte Linlin - Big Mom


Big Mom is the oldest Yonko in the One Piece story. She is also the only woman in that group.

She terrorized the seas even during the Golden Age of Piracy, back when Gol D. Roger was still around. Most of her pirate crew is made up of her family members, spanning multiple generations.

  • Bounty: 4,388,000,000 bellies
  • Pirate Crew: Big Mom Pirates
  • Devil Fruit: Soru Soru no Mi (manipulates souls for various purposes)
  • Main Territory: Totto Land

She wants to create a country where every race can live in harmony. With that said, Big Mom rules with fear and reputation. That hasn't stopped the Straw Hat Pirates from making her look foolish in Whole Cake Island.

Morgan outright declared Luffy to be the Fifth Emperor for ruining her wedding party. Ever since then, she has been teaming up with Kaido to form the most dangerous alliance in One Piece history.

4) Shanks


The red-haired pirate is the most recent member of the Yonko. During a meeting with the Marines, Sengoku mentioned that Shanks joined six years ago. Despite this, he rose to power in a relatively short amount of time. Shanks also stopped the conflict in Marineford just by showing up.

  • Bounty: 4,048,900,000
  • Pirate Crew: Red Hair Pirates
  • Devil Fruit: None
  • Main Territory: Unknown

Very little is known about Shanks, including where he is from and whether or not he owns a fleet. His main goals haven't been fully explained in the story. However, he did inspire Luffy to become the Pirate King.

All that is known is that he used to be an apprentice for the Roger Pirates. However, he never made it to Laugh Tale, nor did he ever find the One Piece.

5) Have there been any previous Yonko?


This is a question that One Piece fans have been asking for several years. It’s currently unknown when this concept was created by the World Government. The most recent Yonko joined the rankings six years ago.

It should be noted that Yonko is a Japanese term that can be translated to “Four Emperors.” Either the name changes depending on the membership, or there have always been four particular members in that group.

No prior Yonko has yet been revealed in the One Piece story.

Note: This article reflects the writer's personal views.

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Edited by Sijo Samuel Paul