One Piece: Are Zoro and Kuina Related?

Image Credit: Casey Crafford/Netflix

Netflix’s ‘One Piece’ follows the story of the Straw Hat Pirates, who are on a quest to find One Piece, the lost treasure of the King of Pirates, Gol D. Roger. Their leader is a young pirate named Monkey D. Luffy, who ate a Devil Fruit and got the power to stretch his body like rubber. Luffy’s search for a great crew leads him to Zoro, Nami, Sanji, and Usopp. All of them have different motives to join Luffy on his quest. For Zoro, it is to become the greatest swordsman in the world.

A flashback reveals Zoro’s backstory, where we meet Kuina. They train together, and Kuina proves to be the better swordsman. While this makes Zoro jealous, she assures him that he will get better. While there is a rivalry between them, there is also friendship. They make a pact to train harder and help one another improve so that one of them will become the greatest swordsman. When Kuina dies in an accident, Zoro decides to fulfill the pact. His connection with Kuina becomes the focal point of his story. If this makes you wonder whether they were related to each other, here’s what you need to know about them.

Are Zoro and Kuina Related to Each Other?

The flashbacks in the Netflix series don’t hint at any familial connection between Zoro and Kuina. They are connected to each other as rivals and friends, and the show hasn’t gone beyond it yet. The same holds true for the manga by Eiichiro Oda, on which the show is based. No particular connection has been revealed between them directly. However, in an SBS section of ‘One Piece,’ Oda gave a backstory of Zoro and Kuina’s family lines, which reveals that they might actually be distant cousins.

The SBS section of Volume 105 of the manga delves into the lineage of Zoro. It focuses on two branches. One begins with Shimotsuki Kozaburo from Wano. He was a master swordsmith who made Wado Ichimonji, Kuina’s sword, which later came into possession of Zoro. Kozaburo set sail with a crew of 25 and ended up in a village, where he settled after marrying a local girl. They had a son named Shimotsuki Koushiro, whose daughter was Kuina.

The other branch focuses on Shimotsuki Furiko, who was also on the ship with Kozaburo. Her older brother is Shimotsuki Ushimaru, and they are the descendants of Shimotsuki Ryuma, the samurai legend of Wano Country. Furiko married a man named Roronoa Pinzoro and had a son named Roronoa Arashi. He married a woman named Tera, with whom he had a son named Roronoa Zoro.

Oda didn’t go back in the lineage to find the exact point where the two branches split, which means there is no way to say exactly how Zoro and Kuina are related. However, their ancestors are from the same village and share the same family name, Shimotsuki. This means that they must have a common ancestor somewhere farther up their lineage. Thus, it is safe to conclude that Zoro and Kuina are related and are probably distant cousins.

This arc isn’t mentioned in the manga because Oda revealed that even Zoro is not aware of this. This means he has no idea that he might share an ancestor with Kuina. For him, she remains a dear friend and a worthy rival. He is focused on honoring her memory by continuing to better himself and become the best swordsman in the world, for which he would have to defeat Dracule Mihawk. The show, too, doesn’t delve into their history and focuses on Zoro’s dream and the path it leads him on.

Read More: How Did Luffy Get the Scar Under His Eye in One Piece, Explained