What Is Yonko in One Piece? Explained

One of the most powerful forces in One Piece are “The Yonko,” which you should avoid at all costs; unless you’re Monkey D. Luffy. The four emperors are the mightiest and fiercest pirates of the present day, and they are backed by a formidable pirate crew. After the Wano Country arc, we received an upgraded set of Yonko, and the entire system now has a different feel. So, let’s examine the Yonko from the ground up and discover their origins. Continue reading to learn things you might have missed about the emperors of the sea in One Piece.

Spoiler Warning: This article contains spoilers about the story and the Yonko characters in One Piece. We suggest you watch the anime or read the manga first to avoid ruining the intended experience.

Who are the Yonko in One Piece?

An image of current Yonko.
  • Japanese Name: 四皇
  • English Name: Four Emperors
  • Total Bounty: 14,233,900,000 Berries
  • Debut: Episode 45, Manga Chapter 96

The literal meaning of Yonkō (四皇) is “Four Emperors.” So who are these four emperors, you may ask? These emperors are the pirates who have climbed up all the way to attain this emperor position with their powers and crew respectively. The emperor title is the greatest achievement one can attain, right next to the Pirate King title. Thus, it is not easy for one to make their way to this position.

An Emperor of the Sea is the greatest in all the power aspects such as having a godly devil fruit power, supreme Haki abilities, superhuman strength, and excellent swordsmanship, among other things. This differs from person to person as each emperor has mastery over different things or everything together.

The four emperors are regarded as one of the Three Great Powers. If you are wondering what the other two are it is the Marines in One Piece and the Special Science Group (SSG). Before the SSG, there existed the Seven Warlords of the Sea system, which was abolished later. Together, these three hold the most powerful forces in the world of One Piece and maintain the balance of power.

When Was the Yonko Introduced?

An image of Garp introducing Yonko.

The concept of Yonko was first introduced to us by none other than Monkey D. Garp. When Luffy asked Garp about how Shanks is doing in the Post Ennies Lobby arc, Garp mentions that Shanks rose up to the power of the great pirates and together they are considered as the four emperors of the world. They reside on the other side of the Grand Line, which is the New world.

At this point in the story, we are teased with the silhouettes of the former four emperors namely Kaidou, Big Mom, Whitebeard, and Shanks. One may point out that the silhouettes of Big Mom and Kaido don’t even match up with their character design but it is what it is. The Four Emperors have their own territories and rule like a king (or queen) in the New world.

The History of Yonko in One Piece

An image of Yonko teased.

Now that you have learned about who is a Yonko and their actions, it’s time to take a look at the history of Yonko. There are a total number of seven Yonko in the history of One Piece. They are as follows: The first four pirates who were announced as the Emperors are:

Former Yonko
Big Mom

After the Marineford war, Blackbeard took down Whitebeard and not only stole one of the strongest devil fruit powers, but he also stole his Emperor position from that day. Post the Marineford War Arc, the list of the emperor of the seas looked like this:

List of Yonko
Big Mom

Current Gen Yonko in One Piece

After the events of the Dressrosa arc (one of the best One Piece arcs), the captain of the Straw Hat Pirates, Monkey D. Luffy, was lauded as the unofficial “Fifth Emperor of the Sea.” This wasn’t an official title. But shortly after that, Luffy managed to bring down two emperors of the sea — Kaido and Big Mom — with help from Law and Kid.

With the awakening of his devil fruit and emerging as the winner by defeating an emperor, Luffy was officially considered an Emperor now replacing Kaido. You can learn about Luffy’s Gear techniques in One Piece via the linked guide.

An image of current Yonko.

Since Big Mom was defeated alongside Kaido, there was another empty emperor seat. This was taken by Buggy the Clown by luck after a huge misapprehension of the Marines. Buggy is now recognized as the head or leader of the Cross Guild Organization, working with the strongest swordsman in One Piece, Dracule Mihawk, and Crocodile.

Due to this organization issuing bounties to the Marines, they are considered a great threat. And as their leader, Buggy received a bounty upgrade and was elevated to the Emperor position. Thus, the current-gen Yonko in One Piece are as follows:

List of Yonko
Monkey D. Luffy
Buggy the Star Clown

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Yonko?

The meaning of Yonko is Four Emperors. The four greatest pirates of this time are considered the Four Emperors of the Sea by the World Government. These four have the highest bounties in the One Piece world too.

Who are the 4 Yonkos?

The current four Yonkosa in One Piece are Monkey D. Luffy, Blackbeard, Buggy, and Shanks

Is Luffy the 5th Yonko?

Luffy was claimed to be the fifth emperor of the sea. But that was more of an unofficial title. Luffy has officially become an Emperor of the Seas now.

Is Luffy a Yonko?

Yes! after defeating Kaido of the Beasts, Luffy has officially become an Emperor of the Seas now.

Who is the strongest in Yonko?

Shanks is considered to be the strongest of the current Yonko.

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