|Official English Name:||Four Emperors|
|First Appearance:||Chapter 1; Episode 4
Chapter 432; Episode 314
|Affiliations:||Three Great Powers|
The Yonko are the four most notorious and most powerful pirate captains in the world (according to the World Government), 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 assassin, subsequently usurped his position. Shanks, another member of the Yonko, arbitrated a ceasefire to end the aforementioned war.
Abilities and Powers
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 emperors 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 and his crew. The arrival of a second Yonko 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.
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.
Golden Age of Pirates
The first of the Yonko to be introduced was Shanks, who visited Luffy's hometown ten years before the story began. It is unknown if the title of Yonko existed at that point in time. The second was Whitebeard, the only man who could rival the Pirate King Gol D. Roger in strength. Whitebeard was later also described as the strongest man in the world upon Roger's death. Some of the Shichibukai have fought the Yonko in the past; Shanks and Dracule Mihawk frequently dueled in their younger days, Gekko Moriah fought Kaido, and Crocodile fought Whitebeard.
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.
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 Arc
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 Saga
Impel Down Arc
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.
Some time after the war, X Drake arrived at an island belonging to Kaido, stated to be one of the Yonko's favorites. He asked "Iron Boy" Scotch if attacking him would catch Kaido's attention. Upon receiving an affirmative answer, Drake changed into his dinosaur form and attacked the cyborg.
The Gorosei postulated that Blackbeard was the pirate closest to becoming the next Yonko, due to his possession of two Devil Fruit abilities and having complete knowledge about Newgate's sphere of influence.
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.
Fishman Island Arc
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 Saga
Punk Hazard Arc
According to Caesar Clown, Kaido had assembled an army of Zoan Devil Fruit users using Smiles provided by Donquixote Doflamingo. During the events of the Punk Hazard Arc, Trafalgar Law offered to form an alliance with Monkey D. Luffy in order to depose Kaido. Luffy agreed to it, but he also declared that he would eventually overthrow all four Yonko. Independently, Eustass Kid, Basil Hawkins and Scratchmen Apoo came to an agreement and also formed an alliance to take down one of the Yonko. When Kid saw that Luffy and Law had formed their own alliance, he surmised that they were after the same thing and wondered who their target was.
Teach was heard talking with Jesus Burgess via Den Den Mushi, with Burgess stating that Aokiji 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.
|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.
- Kaido is the only Yonko who has yet to be formally introduced.