There’s a certain blend of chemical historicity and Oda’s genius when tackling this new roaming rumor which is not so new. Yes, there is more evidence for the claim that Zoro is related to the Shimotsuki Family than there is against it. Oh don’t we got you covered with the finest Zoro Shimotsuki Theory? We will explore Zoro and Ryuma Shimotsuki and how he connects to Ushimaru Shimotsuki. Hop in.

How this Article will prove Zoro’s connection to the Shimotsuki Family

In the following Zoro Shimotsuki Theory, I shall present you with three-pointers that will connect Zoro to the Shimotsuki Clan.

  1. One that will connect Oda’s one-shot about a Samurai to Zoro.
  2. Secondly how Oda himself claims that Zoro may be the direct lineage of the Shimotsuki clan.
  3. And thirdly, a Japanese legend-myth that is very similar to the Shimotsuki clan story in One Piece. By the third point, I will use an element of the Japanese legend to establish Zoro to be the child of a certain Shimotsuki clan member.

Who are the Shimotsuki Family in Wano?

The Shimotsuki Family was a former status quo of the Wano country. They were a family clan of higher status and even more ferocious power. The legendary Samurai Shimotsuki Ryuma is of this clan.

Who is Shimotsuki Ryuma and why is he relevant?

Zoro fighting Legendary Ryuma Shimotsuki reincarnated in Thriller Bark Arc, Image courtesy of Animecorner.com
  • In the One Piece world, the legend has it that Ryuma slays a dragon. He lived during the time when Wano was considered to be at its peak. The so-called Country of Gold era of Wano country.

For those who do not recall him, remind yourselves of the Thriller Bark era. We saw an apparently legendary Samurai who got reincarnated and was ordered to battle Roronoa Zoro. That was Shimotsuki Ryuma’s corpse himself, serving Moria in his evil endeavors. Zoro and Ryuma Shimotsuki are connected – 

1. Oda’s pre-One Piece Oneshot manga features Zoro and Ryuma Shimotsuki to be same

Zoro Shimotsuki theory connecting Zoro and Ryuma Shimotsuki
The similarity between Ryuma and Zoro. Ushimaru is Ryuma’s successor. If Zoro looks like and is hinted to be similar to Ryuma, he is also connected to Ushimaru. Image courtesy of reddit user u/RoronoaLuffyZoro

So here’s where things get interesting. Before Oda published One Piece, he actually worked on a one-shot manga about a Samurai. The Samurai, with black hair, looked like an exact twin of Roronoa Zoro.

Fans across time have considered this to be nothing more than a coincidence. It isn’t new for creators to end up creating similar-looking characters. But it seems, there’s an explicit ploy in Oda’s making of Zoro.

And the similarity between Ryuma (when he was alive, as seen in the one-shot) and Zoro in One Piece is intentional.

2. How Oda himself confirms Zoro to possibly be connected to Shimotsuki

Oda holds these things called SBS which means Special columns. Fans can mail Oda their questions, a few of which he picks and puts out in the released volume books themselves. One such SBS of Volume 96 contained the following –

Q: Odacchi!! A question!! Several characters have appeared with the name Shimotsuki, including Shimotsuki Yasuie, Shimotsuki Ryuma, Shimotsuki Kozaburo, and Shimotsuki Ushimaru, but is there a connection with the place Zoro grew up in that bears that exact name, Shimotsuki Village, and Zoro’s teacher Koushirou?

To answer this, Oda refers to Shimotsuki Kozaburo – an ancestor of the Shimotsuki clan.

Shimotsuki Kozaburo settled in the East Blue

Apparently, Kozaburo is the one who forges the sword Enma and gives it to the heir of the Kozuki family – Oden. Apparently again, Kozaburo sets out for the sea. But in his voyage, he ends up beyond the Grand Line and into the East Blue.

Kozaburo is the grandfather of Kuina – Zoro’s childhood rival

There he saves a village from a band of bandits and thieves. But in his undertaking, he ends up settling there. He then gives birth to his son Koushirou who gives birth to Kuina. Remember Kuina? Zoro’s childhood rival who he’s hell set on defeating one day?

Usually, when talking about his mentor, Zoro mentions the phrase “The geezer in the village”. Oda, in Volume 96 SBS, explicitly claims that the old geezer could be Shimotsuki Kozaburo himself. 

“Oh? Then could that mean…Zoro’s lineage…?! Well, the story of Shimotsuki Kozaburo, the samurai who founded Shimotsuki Village, is all I’m willing to share today.”

3. The Japanese Legend of Benkei and Minamoto Yoshitsune hints that Zoro is a Shimotsuki

Ushimaru Shimotsuki and Zoro
The legend of Benkei and Minamato over the Bridge in Kyoto, Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

Now here’s the climax. There’s this theory that was forged by Redditor u/RoronoaLuffyZoro two years ago. The entire claim of this theory bases itself upon firstly that there’s a similarity in the Benkei-Yoshitsune legend with the Onimaru-Ushimaru relation in One Piece.  Here’s what it is –

  1. Japan reveres the mythical story and the legend of Benkei and Minamoto Yoshitsune. Benkei, a warrior monk met and fought against the legendary Samurai warrior Minamoto Yoshitsune.
  2. The legend has it that Benkei used to guard the bridge to the monastery, named the Goyo Bridge in Kyoto. Benkei would then fight all who passed the bridge to a swordfight and claim their weapons when they lost.
    1. In this way, Benkei had collected 999 swords and was in search of the one-thousandth sword when he encountered Yoshitsune.

Onimaru is Benkei while Yoshitsune Minamoto is Zoro, and thus Ushimaru Shimotsuki

In the Wano arc, we meet a certain thief who calls himself Gyukimaru. But later it is revealed that Gyukimaru’s actual name is Onimaru, and is actually a fox who ate a mythical zoan-type devil fruit. This fruit allows Onimaru the fox to become the humanoid Gyukimaru.

Onimaru has been the Shimotsuki clan’s servant in the Wano country since his lifetime. Onimaru, similar to Benkei, also fights trespassers and steals their swords.

Zoro and Kuina
Content of Manga Chapter 1033, which ends up canonically confirming Oda’s SBS Volume 96, Image courtesy of reddit user u/ItachiYeager69
  • Onimaru stole Zoro’s Shusui sword.  If Onimaru is Benkei, then Zoro is Minamoto Yohitsune. 

So Zoro = Minamoto Yoshitsune – I

Now then who is Minamato Yoshitsune similar to in the Shimotsuki clan? The answer is Ushimaru Shimotsuki, who was the last daimyo of the Ringo region in Wano. Before the takeover of the shogunate in Wano, Ushimaru was the existing ruler.

  1. In a rebellion, both Ushimaru and Minamoto Yoshitsune were betrayed and killed.
  2. Secondly, Both Ushimaru and Zoro look very similar. Similar Zoro and Ryuma Shimotsuki look similar. Ryuma is the ancestor of Ushimaru, hence why the three look similar.

So Minamoto Yoshitsune =Ushimaru Shimotsuki – II

Thus Minamoto Yoshitsune = Ushimaru Shimotsuki = Zoro (I & II)

Now, if you accept that Yoshitsune represents Ushimaru Shimotsuki in One Piece, who we just established to be = Zoro, here’s where it gets even more mind-blowing in the Zoro Shimotsuki Theory.

Zoro is the child of Ushimaru Shimotsuki

Now, According to history, during the seize and betrayal, Yoshitsune’s mistress fled the castle while carrying a child. Then if this is true, during the rebellion and death of Ushimaru Shimotsuki, his mistress must have fled and given birth to Zoro.

Is Zoro a Shimotsuki
Zoro with his sword Enma, forged by Kozaburo

Then she would have sent her to the only known Wano resident outside the Wano country – Kozaburo who was living after settling in the East Blue. During that time, Zoro must be less than one year old. Currently, Zoro is 21 years old, while the rebellion killed Ushimaru 20 years ago. Mic drop, Zoro Shimotsuki Theory proved.


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Rhytham is a Philosophy graduate who founded a state-level organization that promotes anime and Japanese culture in his home state of Assam India. The org is named Assam Senpai Society. He is also an ardent writer, poet, musician, vocalist, graphic designer, and photoshop artist. He has worked on multiple state and national level conventions. Other than anime, catch him watching western series that really have in themselves the solidity to catch his attention.