The Yonko are the four most notorious and powerful pirate captains in the world. They are not allies nor are they strictly enemies of one another. Rather, the four prefer 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. They make up one of The Three Great Powers.
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 within the following year. Shanks, another member of the Yonko, arbitrated a ceasefire to end the aforementioned war.
|Shanks||Charlotte Linlin||Kaido||Marshall D. Teach||Edward Newgate †|
|Red Hair Pirates||Big Mom Pirates||Beasts Pirates||Blackbeard Pirates||Whitebeard Pirates ‡|
- †: 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.
Abilities and Powers
As an entity, the Yonko are one of the Three Great Powers of the world, with the others being the Shichibukai and the 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, with devastatingly powerful and versatile Devil Fruit abilities, immense physical strength, endurance, and durability, and/or sheer mastery of Haki. Whitebeard, the first Yonko to display his full fighting prowess, was even in his old age considered to be the Strongest Man in the World, possessed the powers of the Gura Gura no Mi, the Devil Fruit considered to be the strongest within that of the Paramecia class, and had mastery of all three types of Haki. He was eventually killed in the Battle of Marineford after receiving nearly 500 grievous wounds, and even then, died standing as a testament to his tenacity and inhuman strength.
Blackbeard, who finished off Whitebeard with the aid of his crew, then gained the powers of Whitebeard's fruit through unknown means, thus becoming the first known individual to have acquired multiple Devil Fruit abilities; over the course of the following year, with the aid of his newfound powers, he would usurp Whitebeard's former position as a Yonko. Kaido and Big Mom have been noted for their bodies being impervious to wounds and conventional weaponry.
Though powerful in their own right, much of the Yonko's martial strength can be attributed to their elite and abundant crews, as well as to their close alliances with other pirate captains. 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 subordinate 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, while Big Mom constantly increases the strength of her crew by marrying her dozens of children into various powerful organizations to create a network of bloodline connections, forming the infrastructure of her own army.
Whitebeard's crew amounted to 1616 men, and he also had 43 subordinate New World crews to aid him in his efforts to rescue Ace, each headed by an infamous pirate captain. Big Mom's crew is even larger, consisting of tens of thousands of soldiers and led by dozens of her children, further boosted by an unknown number of subordinate crews. According to Law, Kaido has over 500 artificial Zoan Devil Fruit users. It is unknown how large is Shanks' fleet as only his personal ship is shown.
Due to the sheer size of their crews, most of the Yonko utilize several elite commanders to lead their forces; Whitebeard originally had sixteen division commanders (each leading 100 men), Kaido has his three Disasters, Big Mom has her Three Sweet Commanders (originally Four), and Blackbeard, who originally only had a small crew of under ten men prior to his becoming a Yonko and expanding his crew size drastically, later has it subdivided through his Ten Titanic Captains, some of whom were members of his original crew. As seen with top Whitebeard commanders' Marco, Ace, Jozu, and Vista's skirmishes with the Shichibukai and Marine Admirals during the Battle of Marineford, these top officers are seen to be able to contend with the elites of the other two Great Powers.
Due to their exposure and feats as executive officers for the Yonko, the commanders are regarded as a huge threat by the Marines, second only to their Yonko captains. Thus far, the four highest known active bounties all belong to Yonko commanders (Cracker, Smoothie, and Katakuri of the Big Mom Pirates at 860,000,000, 932,000,000 and 1,057,000,000 respectively, and Jack of the Beasts Pirates at 1,000,000,000). Interestingly, none of the Yonko other than Big Mom in her youth (at least 40 or more years ago) have had their bounties revealed.
Accordingly, they each have a large territory that they govern within the New World. The Yonko provide protection to all who reside within their territories, keeping the borders safe from any faction that may wish to invade them. Big Mom's territory, Totto Land, is heavily protected by scouting ships and by watchtowers called Tartes that dot the coastlines of each of her islands, both prepared to inspect and potentially shoot down any ships not affiliated with her crew. She also has territorial sea slugs that patrol the waters, warning would-be intruders that they are entering her territory. Finally, Big Mom has 34 ministers as part of her administration, one to run the affairs of each of her territory's subsidiary islands.
Because of their power, the Yonko can declare chosen locations as their own. The mere declaration is often enough to compel others, both Marines and pirates alike, to acknowledge and respect the Yonko's authority. When Whitebeard declared the crime-ridden Fishman Island to be under his control, he immediately ended all pirate attacks on the island as well as its slave trade.
They can also motivate others to partake in a life of piracy. Shanks personally inspired Luffy, and Whitebeard's last words inspired many pirates to travel to the Grand Line.
Balance of the Three Powers
It is only with the combined efforts of the Marines and the Shichibukai, as well as the distrust amongst themselves, 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, his crew, and their allies. The arrival of a second Yonko, Shanks, and his crew, immediately brought an end to the hostilities, showing the power and influence they have without even needing to resort to combat.
The Yonko themselves are not a coalition like the Shichibukai, and they follow their own discrete agendas. Nevertheless, some of the Yonko like Marshall D. Teach and Charlotte Linlin still have the intention of locating the One Piece and becoming Pirate King, while former Yonko Whitebeard had no such interest in doing so.
The possibility of two or more of the Yonko forming an alliance was enough of a threat to cause the World Government to panic, as seen when it unsuccessfully attempted to prevent a meeting between Shanks and Whitebeard. The World Government feared that the two Yonko would unify, creating a much more imposing threat that would disrupt the balance between the Great Powers. 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.
Though very powerful, they do have potential threats from even lower ranked fighters and pirates. For example, it is said that once Elizabello II has gathered enough strength, his King Punch can knock down even a Yonko. They also have a number of connections that link them to various members of the Worst Generation, be it on friendly terms like Monkey D. Luffy and Shanks or allies like Capone Bege and Charlotte Linlin were.
However, because of their immense power, it is necessary for factions aiming to oppose them to first form an alliance with other factions in order to bring the Yonko down. However, even with pirate crews forming multiple alliances, the chances of defeating a Yonko are still extremely low. When the Straw Hat Pirates and the Heart Pirates formed an alliance to defeat Kaido, Law informed Luffy that he believed their chance of success was still only 30%.
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.
Post-Enies Lobby Arc
Shanks initiated a meeting with Whitebeard, and the two Yonko met with each other despite the World Government attempting to form a blockade. Shanks warned Whitebeard about the rise of the latter's former subordinate Blackbeard, and told Whitebeard to call off Portgas D. Ace's pursuit. However, Whitebeard refused, and the two briefly fought, with their clash of blades splitting the heavens.
Summit War Saga
Impel Down Arc
In an attempt to rescue 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.
During the Timeskip
After the death of Whitebeard, Big Mom took over as the protector of Fishman Island in exchange for a large amount of candy every month, forming an alliance with the Sun Pirates. She also formed an alliance with the Fire Tank Pirates.
Blackbeard 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 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 would claim Fishman Island as his protectorate by defeating Big Mom, shifting her fury from the island to him.
Blackbeard sent Jesus Burgess to Dressrosa in order to win the Mera Mera no Mi in the Corrida Colosseum tournament. While talking with Burgess over Den Den Mushi, Blackbeard came into contact with the passing Luffy and the two had a brief clash of words.
That night, Kaido went up to Ballon Terminal on a sky island and jumped onto an island 10,000 meters below to attempt suicide. He survived the fall with no injuries, and confronted the Supernovas Eustass Kid, Scratchmen Apoo, and Basil Hawkins as he shouted a declaration to start the world's biggest war because he felt it had become too mundane. Kaido then defeated and imprisoned Kid while Apoo became his subordinate.
Big Mom formed an alliance with Vinsmoke Judge who arranged for his third son, Sanji, to marry her 35th daughter, Charlotte Pudding. Big Mom ordered her crew to retrieve Sanji unharmed, and to escort him to the wedding on Whole Cake Island.
Kaido found out about the loss of his SMILE supply and entered drunken mood swings in response, but despite his subordinates' concern, he refused to pay any mind to Luffy and Trafalgar Law, who had destroyed the source of his SMILE.
According to a newspaper report, Blackbeard and his crew attacked the Revolutionary Army's base on Baltigo, destroying it by the time the Marines and Cipher Pol arrived. The Blackbeard Pirates fled after briefly clashing with Cipher Pol.
Whole Cake Island Arc
Big Mom discovered that the Straw Hat Pirates had invaded Totto Land to try to rescue Sanji from his wedding, and she lured them into a trap on Whole Cake Island. However, she herself briefly put Whole Cake Island in danger when she went on a mindless rampage for croquembouche. Her subordinates were successfully able to capture Luffy and Nami, and she met with Judge and the Vinsmoke Family. However, she was secretly plotting with Pudding to assassinate all of the Vinsmokes during the upcoming wedding and take their technology for herself. Big Mom went to confront Brook of the Straw Hats after he had broken into her Room of Treasure. She defeated and captured him, but unbeknownst to her, he had copied the text from all of her Poneglyphs.
Luffy, Nami, and Brook managed to escape from Big Mom's clutches with the help of their crew, but she did not notice as the wedding day arrived. However, the Straw Hats crashed the wedding with the help of Big Mom's subordinates the Fire Tank Pirates and Caesar Clown, and as Big Mom tried to deal with them, she was hit with another blow as her subordinate Jinbe also defected to join the Straw Hats, and the Vinsmoke Family was freed after the assassination attempt proved unsuccessful. The enemy alliance destroyed Big Mom's prized portrait of Mother Carmel, putting her in a psychological crisis that rendered her weak to attack. The Fire Tank Pirates were unable to successfully assassinate her though, and Big Mom regained her senses and easily subdued the enemy alliance with the help of her crew. However, Big Mom's prized treasure the Tamatebako was sent falling and created a massive explosion that toppled over the Chateau. The enemy alliance got away, but as Big Mom's crew began to pursue them, she got a craving for wedding cake. Entering a mindless rampage, she pursued the Straw Hats, who she believed had the cake.
Big Mom pursued the Straw Hats off of Whole Cake Island and into the seas of Totto Land for several hours, and grew skinnier and weaker as time passed on. She then attacked the Sunny to find the cake, threatening to kill the Straw Hats onboard. Bege's ship later arrived with the cake, diverting her attention away from the Straw Hats. Big Mom then pursued the Fire Tank Pirates and followed them to Funwari Island, where she ate the cake and ceased her rampage, collapsing from the deliciousness of the cake. Later when she woke up, she was briefed on the current situation. Rather than attempting to chase after the Fire Tank Pirates, she headed towards Cacao Island where her crew was battling the Sun Pirates and Germa 66, who stalled the Yonko's crew from pursuing the Thousand Sunny. After the Straw Hats successfully escaped, Big Mom arrived at the island before the Sun Pirates and Germa 66 could retreat.
News of the events between Luffy and Big Mom were published in the World Economic Journal, which claimed the incident as Luffy's victory and declared him to be "the Fifth Emperor" among the Yonko. All four of the Yonko read the newspaper and commented on Luffy's new status.
- Marshall D. Teach is the only known person to serve as both a Shichibukai and later a Yonko.
- It is said that once Elizabello II has gathered enough strength, his King Punch can knock down even a Yonko.
- All the Yonko's crews are named after their respective captain's epithet.
- Linlin claimed that had she managed to marry off her daughter Lola to Elbaf prince Loki to secure a political alliance, she would have gained the strongest army of giants that would have allowed her to defeat the other three Yonko and become the next Pirate King.
- Kaido is the only Yonko who is addressed by name by the people who do not know him, instead of his epithet.
- Linlin is the only Yonko to have any bounty revealed (although like the other members, her current reward is still unknown).