The Yonko are the four most notorious and most powerful pirate captains in the world, but are neither allies nor enemies of one another, preferring to remain autonomous under most circumstances. These four individually reside within the second half of the Grand Line (known as the "New World"), exerting impressive influence and control over dozens of other pirate crews and self-governing islands.
In the decisive Battle of Marineford, Whitebeard, one of the Yonko, met his end towards the climax of the Whitebeard War. Blackbeard, his killer, subsequently usurped his position. Shanks, another member of the Yonko, arbitrated a ceasefire to end the aforementioned war.
Abilities and PowersEdit
As an entity, the Yonko are one of the Three Great Powers of the world, the others being the Shichibukai and Marines. Their strength and influence are such that they live quite literally as though they are emperors, doing mostly as they please. Individually, they are considered to be the most powerful pirates in the world, as well as having a powerful crew. Because of their power, they can declare chosen locations as their own; the mere declaration is often enough for others, both Marines and pirates alike, to acknowledge their authority.
In fact, in the New World, they each have a territory that they govern. These territories benefit from the protection the Yonko provide, keeping the borders safe from any faction that might want to invade them. It is only with the combined efforts of the Marines and the Shichibukai, as well as the distrust among them, that keeps their power in check. During the Battle of Marineford, the Marines and Shichibukai needed to fight together just to engage one of the Yonko, Whitebeard, and his crew. The arrival of a second Yonko, Shanks, immediately brought an end to hostilities, showing the power and influence they have without engaging in combat.
The Yonko themselves are not allied together as a coalition compared to the Shichibukai and follow their own individual paths. The possibility of two or more of the Yonko forming an alliance is enough of a threat to cause the World Government to panic, as seen when the World Government attempted unsuccessfully to prevent a meeting between Shanks and Whitebeard at one point in the series. The World Government feared that the two Yonko may unite together and create a stronger threat. A war between two of the Yonko is considered a terrifying crisis, as Shanks' interception of Kaido's advancement on Whitebeard had taken the Marines by shock and awe, putting the World Government in a "cold sweat" as stated by one of the Marines.
They can motivate others to become pirates; Shanks inspired Luffy, and the death of Whitebeard inspired many pirates to travel to the Grand Line. On top of this, the influence these pirates have over others is far greater than any other noted group. With one declaration, the slave trade and pirate attacks on Fishman Island stopped after the island was declared to be under Whitebeard's control. Big Mom's tea parties indicate that her powers can reach even those of a sea quadrant far away from the New World or locations where strong people reside, and that her knowledge of the backgrounds of individuals who interest her can go far back.
After the timeskip Trafalgar Law cited that there are only two methods of surviving in the New World, and that is to be protected under the umbrella of a Yonko's dominion and become their ally or to constantly oppose their authority. At least Teach and Kaido are both gaining influence and strength in the form of amassing Devil Fruit powers, both in their own unorthodox methods.
Because of their immense power, it is necessary for factions aiming to oppose them to first strike an alliance with other factions in order to bring the Yonko down. However, even with multiple alliances amongst powerful pirates, the chances of defeating a Yonko are still extremely low. The Yonko Charlotte Linlin and Kaido both have a single Road Poneglyph that can, with all four Road Poneglyphs deciphered, lead to Raftel's location.
Whitebeard was active on the seas during Gol D. Roger's voyage across the Grand Line; he was said to be one of the few people who could rival Roger, as well as the man closest to One Piece after Roger's death. However, he had no intention of finding the treasure.
About four years ago, Kaido formed a partnership with Donquixote Doflamingo and Caesar Clown so that the two would give him Artificial Devil Fruits known as SMILEs, which he used to create an army of Devil Fruit users known as Gifters.
All of the Yonko seem to have strong fleets, including huge ships and elite crewmen. At some point, they all traveled to the New World where they are currently locked in a stalemate, unable to progress any further into the Grand Line. This is a product of the combined efforts of the Marines and the Shichibukai, as well as the presence of the other Yonko. A particular reason for their inability to reach Raftel is the fact that one needs all four Road Poneglyphs to determine its location; one is possessed by Kaido, one possessed by Big Mom, one is located on Zou, guarded by the Mink Tribe and the last one is in an unknown location.
The World Government allowed the world powers to stay as they were for a long period of time. With the Yonko stuck in a deadlock, the world remained stable. However, after the defeat of Crocodile by the Straw Hat Pirates, the World Government was alarmed to learn of two of the Yonko, Shanks and Whitebeard, arranging to meet each other.
Post-Enies Lobby ArcEdit
On top of the destruction of Enies Lobby, the Marines experienced another defeat in the New World when a blockade failed to prevent Shanks and Whitebeard from making contact. Fearing the two crews might form an alliance, the World Government anxiously waited to know the outcome.
During the meeting, Shanks's presence upon boarding Whitedbeard's ship caused a majority of the crew to collapse. Shanks shared sake from his hometown with Whitebeard as a token of friendship while at the same time issuing a grave warning.
Shanks told Whitebeard that his days as the strongest pirate were coming to an end, warning him of the new era that was to come. With Blackbeard making his move toward prominence, he would depose Whitebeard from his throne. Shanks also tried to convince Whitebeard to call the 2nd Division Commander, Portgas D. Ace, back from his pursuit of Blackbeard. Whitebeard stubbornly refused Shanks's warning, and the two clashed. The sky seemingly split in half when their weapons collided, much to the horror of the members of both crews.
Summit War SagaEdit
Impel Down ArcEdit
In an attempt to rescue Portgas D. Ace from execution, Whitebeard summoned all of his allies from the New World in preparation for war. Kaido attempted to attack Whitebeard, but he was intercepted by Shanks.
Whitebeard and his crew and allies arrived at Marineford three hours before Ace's scheduled execution and initiated what would be known as the greatest war since the beginning of the Golden Age of Pirates. During this battle against the Marines, Whitebeard revealed how debilitated he had become over the last two decades, and he steadily acquired increasingly critical wounds from his enemies because of his weakened state.
During the battle, he destroyed most of Marine Headquarters, easily defeated two large Giants who were at the rank of vice-admirals, and withstood the combined efforts of the three Admirals. He was able to help free Ace, but Admiral Akainu executed Ace afterwards. An enraged Whitebeard dealt a serious blow to the admiral, but it was not enough to completely incapacitate him.
Remaining at Marineford alone to resolve the conflict with the Marines, Whitebeard was attacked and ultimately killed by the Blackbeard Pirates. Shortly afterwards, Shanks arrived at Marineford with his crew. His presence spared the remaining allies of Whitebeard and brought the war to an end. Shanks challenged Blackbeard, which the latter turned down before leaving with his own crew.
According to Eustass Kid, Whitebeard's death and resulting vacancy among the Yonko caused the balance of the Three Great Powers to collapse, leading to chaos around the world. Islands that were once under Whitebeard's protection, such as Foodvalten, came under attack by pirates.
Teach also usurped Whitebeard's position as the fourth Yonko as the Gorosei predicted, having managed to conquer most of Whitebeard's former territory and becoming stronger by hunting down powerful Devil Fruit users and taking their abilities after killing them. He became recognized as a Yonko after overwhelmingly defeating Marco and the remaining Whitebeard Pirates a year after the Summit War in the "Payback War".
Fishman Island ArcEdit
When the candy factory was demolished during the uprising of the New Fishman Pirates and Flying Pirates, Fishman Island almost provoked Big Mom's wrath, since the island did not have enough candy for the tribute to her. Monkey D. Luffy pledged that he will claim Fishman Island as his protectorate by defeating Big Mom, shifting her fury from the island to himself.
Pirate Alliance SagaEdit
Teach was heard talking with Jesus Burgess via Den Den Mushi, with Burgess stating that Kuzan could not be trusted. Hearing that Luffy had arrived, Blackbeard greeted the young pirate and expressed surprise that he was also a combatant in the Corrida Colosseum tournament for the Mera Mera no Mi. Knowing why Luffy entered the tournament, Teach assured him that Burgess would be the combatant to obtain the fruit and that it would be the same as having Ace join his crew, since Ace had rejected his previous offer. Luffy then angrily stated that he would never allow him to steal Ace's power.
Kaido went up to Ballon Terminal, where he encountered Urouge, who learned of his intention to commit suicide and let him proceed. After jumping 10,000 meters below on the Kid Pirates' base, he came out of the hole unharmed and faced the Supernovas Eustass Kid, Scratchmen Apoo, and Basil Hawkins. He yelled for Doflamingo to make preparations for battle and promised to start a massive war since he became bored with the world. Kaido defeated Kid during their confrontation and made an alliance with Apoo; the fate of Hawkins and the rest of the three crews remains unknown.
Big Mom cooperated with the leader of the Vinsmoke Family who arranged for his third son, Sanji, to marry her 35th daughter, Charlotte Purin. Big Mom ordered her crew to retrieve Sanji unharmed, and to escort him to the wedding on Whole Cake Island.
Whole Cake Island ArcEdit
Kaido became very unhappy upon finding out about Doflamingo's defeat and Jack's failure to rescue him, drowning his sorrows in alcohol as he grieved that he could no longer get SMILEs to make more Gifters and create a crew entirely composed of Devil Fruit users. His subordinates wondered what they should do about Monkey D. Luffy and Trafalgar Law, the ones who had defeated Doflamingo, but Kaido entered a drunken rage upon hearing their concern, pointing to the defeated Kid to show the vast power disparity between him and the Supernovas.
|Shanks||Charlotte Linlin||Kaido||Marshall D. Teach||Edward Newgate †|
- †: the character is deceased.
- *: the character's status is unknown. Hovering the symbol may give further details.
- ≠: the character is non-canon.
- ‡: the character is no longer part of this group. Hovering the symbol may give further details.
- It is said that once Elizabello II has gathered enough strength, his punch can knock down even a Yonko.
- Marshall D. Teach is the only known person to serve as both a Shichibukai and later a Yonko.
- All the Yonko's crews are named after their respective captain's Epithet.
- All of the Eleven Supernovas are known to be involved with at least one Yonko:
- Monkey D. Luffy looks up to Shanks as a role model and personal hero, allied himself with the Whitebeard Pirates in the Battle of Marineford, wishes to dethrone Kaido and Big Mom, and despises Blackbeard for causing the conflict that led to his brother's death.
- Roronoa Zoro, as a member of Luffy's crew, is part of the alliance with the Heart Pirates to defeat Kaido, and most likely receives an amount of anger from the latter and Big Mom, due to Luffy's behavior on Fishman Island and Dressrosa. He also considers Blackbeard an enemy.
- Trafalgar Law made an alliance with the Straw Hat Pirates specifically to take down Kaido, though as a pretext toward his real motive of eliminating Donquixote Doflamingo, hoping to anger Kaido into killing Doflamingo, and estimating a 30% chance of actually going on to beat Kaido themselves.
- Eustass Kid, Scratchmen Apoo, Killer, and Basil Hawkins all wish to dethrone Shanks, and were approached by Kaido after a failed suicide attempt. After unknown circumstances, Scratchmen Apoo becomes a subordinate of Kaido, and Kid, who seemingly fought Kaido, was badly defeated and told by Kaido to pass along a message to Luffy and Law that they should run for their lives after interfering with his plans.
- Jewelry Bonney was seen crying after Whitebeard's death, and was later captured by Blackbeard, though managed to escape custody of the Marines after being captured by Akainu.
- Capone Bege is currently a subordinate of Big Mom.
- X Drake is currently a subordinate of Kaido.
- Urouge was shown talking to Kaido about his motives for suicide, but beyond that he seems to have the least interaction with them.
- Out of all the total Yonko, Shanks is the only one to have human-like body size and proportions.
- Three of the Yonko have been shown to be habitual alcohol drinkers: Shanks, Kaido, and the late Edward Newgate.
- Kaido is the only one of the Yonko who has not been seen using a personal flagship.