In light of the latest chapter, we now know that Momonosuke has/had a younger sister by the name of Hiyori. She is also now the chief, if not only, candidate for the previously-unknown fourth Kozuki member. But along with her reveal, we also gained a new mystery on our hands: what happened to Hiyori?
Well, here’s my theory. Along with the sole retainer who didn’t travel with Kin’emon and co. to the future, Hiyori was intentionally left behind by her mother, Toki. And, unlike the functional purpose that Toki (or Oda if we’re looking at the grand scheme of things) gave to Momonosuke and his retainers, she was given a dramatic one instead.
The purpose given to her was to wait for her brother’s arrival in Kuri 20 years later. If we compare this to old Japan, this aligns with the culture of women before who were expected to stay at home and manage the household while the men were gone. In Hiyori’s case, however, she was tasked to oversee Kuri/Wano from the shadows while waiting patiently for his brother.
Now, where then could Hiyori be at the present? My guess is she’s O-Tsuru.
If we consider everything I explained above, O-Tama (who many are also speculating) is unlikely to be Hiyori.
O-Tsuru, on the other hand, shows great potential. Based on her unusual appearance, which is inspired by ukiyo-e paintings, we can’t really say for sure if she fits the image of a woman in her late 20s (she’s younger than Momo who was 8 years old then, so plus 20 years, she should be 25-27). But apart from that, her graceful behavior, deep concern for the people of Kuri/Wano, as well as her brief and rather nostalgic explanation of Oden and Oden’s Castle in Chapter 914 should help make her more convincing.
With regards to how Hiyori managed to survive for 20 years, it’s probably thanks to the retainer who was also left behind.
He/she took care of Hiyori and also made her change her name for safety’s sake. And if we’re talking about names, Tsuru, which literally means “Crane”, is fitting for what she needed to get by. Because in Japan, the crane symbolizes good fortune and longevity.
She also probably didn’t stay in one place for too long, with Kuri as her final relocation spot after 20 years. This is slightly supported in Chapter 914, where she mentions that she was new in town.
In the same chapter, we can also see that she set up a tea house in Okobore. On the facade of the tea house, we can spot a huge Kozuki crest. With how the Kozuki Family is viewed at the present, this was a bold gesture by her. But since she was already expecting her brother’s return, she needed some way to covertly attract his attention. And what better way to do so than to set up a shop for travelers in a low-profile town.
Lastly, if O-Tsuru is indeed Hiyori, how then did she not recognize O-Kiku? Well, I have two guesses:
- Her memories of O-Kiku 20 years ago are vague just like Momonosuke’s memories of Roger.
- She did remember O-Kiku and, until recently, both of them were covertly working together in the tea house.
Well, that’s all for my theory. I don’t think it’s super solid, but let me know what you guys think. As always, thanks for reading.
*Theory by Ebony Rustle