Yamato is a character from One Piece. She is a new character in relative terms, seeing as how she was introduced in Chapter 971. However, Yamato is nonetheless a somewhat important one because of her role within the narrative.
1. Her Name Is Very Meaningful
Yamato is a rather meaningful name in Japanese culture. It started out referring to a particular region in Honshu. However, Yamato went on to become a name of Japan, the name of the Imperial House of Japan, and the name of the main ethnic group of Japan.
2. Seems to Be a Reference to Yamato Takeru to Some Extent
Speaking of which, Yamato seems to be a reference to Yamato Takeru, a semi-historical, semi-legendary Japanese prince who is best-known for having been a wielder of Kusanagi. In fact, Yamato Takeru is the reason that Kusanagi is called Kusanagi. As the story goes, a treacherous warlord tried to kill him by luring him out onto the grassland before setting the grass on fire. Yamato Takeru used the sword to cut the grass but found that the sword could control the wind. After which, he promptly turned the fire back on the treacherous warlord. As for how this is relevant, Kusanagi means “Grass Cutter.”
3. Might Be a Joke about the Yamato Nadeshiko
Besides that, Yamato might be a joke about the concept of the yamato nadeshiko as well. In short, the concept of the yamato nadeshiko refers to the ideal Japanese woman, who possesses a number of virtues such as grace, gentleness, respectfulness, humility, and so on and so forth. On the whole, Yamato is a good-natured character. However, she doesn’t exactly fit that kind of image.
4. She Is Huge
For starters, Yamato is huge. However, it is interesting to note that she both is and isn’t huge in a way that could exist in the real world. After all, Yamato stands at 263 cm. Meanwhile, the tallest human verified to have existed would be Robert Tallow, who reached a height of 272 cm. Having said that, Yamato’s proportions look similar to those of a normal-sized human whereas the same can’t be said for Robert Tallow and similar individuals, who look stretched-out in certain aspects.
5. Her Stature Is Less Unusual in the One Piece Setting
Yamato’s stature is less unusual in the One Piece setting than in the real world. This is because humans in the One Piece setting have a much wider range of possible appearances than their real world counterparts. For example, there are some humans who exhibit animal-like features, demon-like features, and other unusual characteristics. Similarly, there are some humans who are much bigger than normal, with a particularly stand-out example being Charlotte Linlin who stands at 880 cm. On top of this, it is possible for people in the same family to show these variations, though it isn’t clear what is responsible for that because it hasn’t been explained and presumably won’t ever be explained.
6. She Is Based On an Oni
In any case, it is very clear that Yamato is based on an oni. The term has been translated as either an ogre, a troll, or a demon. Unfortunately, those translations aren’t perfect because oni are their own particular kind of monster rather than one-for-one copies of those monsters. Regardless, the stereotypical oni is a huge, hulking humanoid with unusual characteristics such as fangs, horns, and brightly-colored skin. Traditionally speaking, they were often murderous man-eaters. However, modern oni are often presented in a less terrifying light, with the result that some of them can be surprisingly sympathetic.
7. She Is Outright Called an Oni Princess
Moving on, Yamato is outright called Onihime, which is a nickname that can be translated to mean “Oni Princess.” Having said that, hime isn’t necessarily best-translated as “princess.” This is because while hime can be used to refer to an actual princess, it tends to be used to refer to other people because hime can indicate any lady of high birth. Still, princess has some of the same connotations, so the meaning is carried over well enough.
8. Has a Kanabo
On a related note, the stereotypical weapon of an oni would be the kanabo, which is a war club that saw a fair amount of use by Japanese samurai. Said weapons possessed plenty of variation. For example, some kanabo had iron studs while others had iron spikes. Similarly, there are some examples of these weapons that were short enough to be used one-handed, though the iconic kanabo was long enough that it had to be used two-handed by normal humans. Of course, oni aren’t human at all, meaning that they are by no means bound by said limitation.
9. Her Kanabo Is Named Takeru
Yamato has a kanabo. Moreover, this is one of the reasons that she seems to be a reference to Yamato Takeru, seeing as how her kanabo is named Takeru. It should be mentioned that Takeru is a meaningful name in its own right because Yamato Takeru meant “Brave of Yamato.”
10. She Can Use Her Kanabo Very Well
Unsurprisingly, Yamato possesses incredible skill with her kanabo, particularly since she combines that with both incredible strength and speed. In fact, she is capable of unleashing energy blasts with her weapon, though to be fair, it isn’t as unusual in the One Piece setting as it would be in real life. As such, one could say that Yamato is described quite well by the Japanese saying about giving a kanabo to oni, which can be summed up as making the strong even stronger.
11. Has Been Known to Wear a Hannya Mask
Yamato has been known to wear a hannya mask, which is a very recognizable kind of mask that sees use in Noh. Generally speaking, interested individuals should be able to recognize them by their two horns, their opened mouth, and their fearsome countenance. This is because hannya masks are meant to represent women who have become demons because of either their jealousy or their obsession. Curiously, these masks are sometimes made so that a change of perspective can alter their expression. When seen straight-on, hanny masks are very angry-looking. However, when these masks are tilted a bit downwards, they give off a more sorrowful impression. Something that is meant to convey a bit of the complexity to human emotion. Amusingly, Yamato’s hannya mask is rather unusual, not least because it comes with a very impressive fake goatee.
12. Can Be Considered a Princess
The nickname of Onihime is no coincidence. After all, Yamato is the daughter of Kaidou, who has the nickname of the “Strongest Creature.” Technically, said individual is “just” a pirate. In practice, well, suffice to say that Kaidou is one of the Four Emperors, each of whom is powerful enough to hold their own even though the One Piece setting has a World Government that is deserving of the name. As such, one can make a decent argument that Yamato is higher-ranked than any normal princess within the setting, particularly since much less powerful pirates have been known to make or break countries.
13. Huge Fan of Kozuki Oden
Yamato is a huge fan of Kozuki Oden. In short, Oden was a noble of Wano Country who sailed with both the Whitebeard Pirates and the Roger Pirates. Eventually, he returned home with the intention of opening his homeland’s borders to the outside world. However, Oden was opposed by both Kaidou and the usurper Kurozumi Orochi, who were eventually able to sentence him to execution via being boiled in oil. In any case, Yamato’s admiration for Oden is what most people would consider to be rather excessive because she outright chose to become Oden by impersonating him.
14. Wears a Symbol that Looks Like Oden Skewers
Yamato wears a symbol that looks like oden skewers. That might sound confusing. However, oden is a Japanese dish made using tofu, konjac, boiled eggs, processed fishcakes, and other ingredients. Sometimes, it is served as a stew. Other times, it is served on a skewer, with the result that it can look like dango being served up in the same manner.
15. Doesn’t Exactly Get Along with Kaidou
Unsurprisingly, Yamato doesn’t exactly get along with Kaidou. In fact, she was outright imprisoned on Kaidou’s home base of Onigashima. Speaking of which, Onigashima is another oni reference. Said name refers to the island of oni that was visited by the hero Momotaro, who vanquished the locals with assistance from a talking dog, a talking monkey, and a talking pheasant. After which, the heroes returned home to live happily with Momotaro’s adoptive parents.
16. Has No Interest in Becoming Shogun
Naturally, this means that Yamato has no interest in becoming shogun as a part of Kaidou’s New Onigashima Project, which involves an open takeover of Wano Country. Generally speaking, a shogun is regarded as being the supreme military ruler of pre-modern Japan. However, it is important to note that is a product of projecting the Edo shogunate back onto its two predecessors – the Kamakura shogunate and the Muromachi shogunate. In the first case, the shoguns had become puppets by the second shogun, with the result that some of the later shoguns were straight-up hostages from the imperial court. In the second case, the shoguns never exercised the same kind of power as the Edo shoguns, as shown by their continuing struggles with the imperial court as well as local military nobles. As such, Yamato’s intended role in the New Onigashima Project was actually pretty in-line with historical events.
17. Is a Devil Fruit User
Yamato is a Devil Fruit user. This means that she ate one of the fruits that give superpowers in the One Piece setting. Yamato’s Devil Fruit is a major contributor to her combat capabilities. However, it was also a major contributor to her inability to escape Onigashima on her own. After all, while Devil Fruits give superpowers, they also make people completely incapable of swimming. Something that makes escaping from an island that much more difficult. There is a great deal of mystery over exactly what is going on with the fruits. Fortunately, this is something that the mangaka has promised will be covered at some point in the series.
18. Ate a Mythical Zoan Devil Fruit
Speaking of which, Yamato ate a Mythical Zoan Devil Fruit. Generally speaking, Devil Fruits can be categorized as either Paramecia, Zoan, and Logia. Zoan gives animal transformation powers while Logia gives element transformation powers. As for Paramecia, they cover everything else. Mythical Zoan Devil Fruits are a sub-type of Zoan Devil Fruits that give animal transformation powers related to mythical animals. As a result, they are even rarer than Logia Devil Fruits.
19. Ate an Inu Inu no Mi
Yamato ate a particular kind of Inu Inu no Mi. Said Devil Fruit is based on a Japanese god that started out as a deification of the Japanese grey wolf, a subspecies of the grey wolf that is believed to have gone extinct in the early 20th century.
20. Has All Three Forms of Haki
Considering Yamato’s introduction as a combat-relevant character in such a recent arc, it should come as no surprise to learn that she has Haki. However, what makes her unusual is that she is one of the rare individuals who possess all three kinds of Haki. In particular, Yamato’s possession of Haoshoku Haki is unusual because even the potential is supposed to be extremely rare within the One Piece setting. As for why this is the case, well, it should be mentioned that the term includes haō, which is the Japanese reading of Chinese characters that mean “hegemon-king.”