One Piece: Why Oden left Whitebeard, explained

Kozuki Oden as seen in the series
Kozuki Oden as seen in the series' anime (Image via Toei Animation)

Wano’s Kozuki Oden is one of the most beloved flashback-based characters in all of One Piece. Despite only being with Oden for a short period of the series’ incredibly long serialization run, fans fell in love with the former Shogun of Wano. Known for setting sail with both Whitebeard and Gol D. Roger, two of the most fearsome pirates in the series’ history, he is an absolute legend.

However, fans are curious as to why the second half of the Oden flashback saw him abandon Whitebeard to instead join Gol D. Roger. Follow along as this article fully explains why One Piece’s Wano arc sees Oden leaving Whitebeard.

Oden’s leaving Whitebeard stems from one of the most impactful favors in all of One Piece’s world history

Roughly 26 years before One Piece’s Wano arc, Kozuki Oden and the Whitebeard Pirates made landfall on an unknown island in the New World. Also present on this island at the time were the Roger Pirates, friendly rivals of the Whitebeard Pirates and, by affiliation, Kozuki Oden. Oden, however, rushed into battle with them for another reason entirely.

As Oden fought several of the Roger Pirates’ rank-and-file members, Scopper Gaban and Silvers Rayleigh prepared to take down the Wano samurai. However, Gol D. Roger forced them aside, saying he didn’t want them to get hurt in the clash. Hilariously, the two both guessed that Roger simply wanted to fight Oden himself.

The two did indeed clash, and their battle commenced with a single swing of Roger’s sword injuring Oden and sending him flying away. Whitebeard then came out to fight, rushing at Roger and engaging him in a monstrous Conqueror’s Haki clash. This started a battle between the two crews, which lasted three days and three nights.

Once the fighting had ceased, however, the two infamous One Piece pirate crews began exchanging gifts with one another as if they were old friends having a fun time. As the crews mingled, Roger, Whitebeard, and Oden met with each other. Roger presented a transcript of a Poneglyph, which Oden then confirmed he could read.

Oden revealed that, upon reaching Lodestar Island 13 years prior, he and his crew realized that this was not the end of the Grand Line. Roger deduced that he needed the information on the Poneglyphs found to reach it. He added that his greatest and last ambition was to reach this true last island beyond Lodestar and become the greatest pirate in the world.

This proclamation stunned Oden, who had no time to be shocked, as Roger then quickly and humbly asked Whitebeard to let him borrow Oden for a year. The goal of this borrowing was to have Oden decipher the Road Poneglyphs, which would light the way to this final island. However, Whitebeard instantly and angrily refused.


One Piece fans then saw Oden say that he wanted to go with Roger, asking Whitebeard to oblige Roger’s request. Thus, Whitebeard did so reluctantly, with Oden bidding farewell to Izou, Inuarashi, and Nekomamushi, the three of whom stayed behind on Whitebeard’s ship. Izou eventually came to be a Division Commander within the crew.

However, Inuarashi and Nekomamushi ended up disobeying Oden’s orders, having snuck onto the ship of One Piece’s most infamous pirate crew. Reluctantly, Oden allowed them to stay, thus starting his journey with Gol D. Roger as part of the pirate crew who first conquered the entire Grand Line.

In summation

Thus, Oden left Whitebeard and his crew as a result of both his own desire and Roger’s own request to his old friend.

With Oden being the only one who could read the language the Poneglyphs were written in, there was no other option, forcing Roger’s hand to make such a request. While Roger did make the request initially, it’s Oden’s additional request that convinced Whitebeard to acquiesce.

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