I decided to finally consolidate some headcanons and theories about Mihawk’s parents.
Parts that are confirmed canon are in bold. Feel free to take the rest with a grain of salt.
I think the manga has given us enough clues that Mihawk is Shakky and Rayleigh’s son, including the fact that she retired “40 years ago” and the increasing frequency Oda is showing us young Rayleigh wearing the same paisley pattern on his coat.
The only other reason I can think of that explains the paisley pattern is that the paisley is some kind of WorldStrongestSwordsman-only pattern, only worn by the best–like the yellow jersey in the Tour de France, lol.
Mihawk looks quite a bit like Shakky and seems to have the same hobbies (drinking and reading the newspaper).
All of the women of Amazon Lily have flower names. Shakky (whose full name means “Peony” in Japanese), is Gloriosa’s daughter.
(I think the shirt Mihawk wore to Roger’s execution has peonies on it too!)
Gloriosa was once the Empress of Amazon Lily, but she got love-sickness. The person she fell in love with was Shakky’s father.
In Japanese, Hancock calls her “former-former-former Empress” (先々々代皇帝).
So the Empresses were:
Gloriosa → (Empress1 who had love sickness and died) → (Empress2 who had love sickness and died) → Hancock
Furthermore, Gloriosa says that she survived by fleeing Amazon Lily. I think that’s important, because it means that she left to be with the person she was in love with rather than wasting away pining for them.
Gloriosa and whoever she was with raised their daughter Shakuyaku on the sea. Gloriosa was a Kuja warrior back in the day, and Shakky was brought up to be a fighter and a pirate.
So Empress2 above was still alive when the Boa sisters came home, and she pardoned Gloriosa. When she died, the women of Amazon Lily made Hancock the new Empress.
Back to Shakky, she joined Rocks at some point (only half-bolded bc it’s not confirmed yet xD). During this time, she met Rayleigh and they fell in love. Shakky retired before the God Valley incident, likely because she got pregnant with Mihawk.
Gloriosa might have come to Sabaody to help her daughter with the baby, which would explain why Rayleigh knows Gloriosa and calls her by her name instead of Granny Nyon. Because they were both pirates, Rayleigh & Shakki gave their son a different family name than either of theirs.
This is also why Rayleigh and Shakky helped Hancock and her sisters on Sabaody before Gloriosa took the three girls back to Amazon Lily.
But don’t Amazon Lily women only give birth to female babies?
I think the key is that only female children are born on the island. The sex of the infants born on Amazon Lily might be due to an environmental factor that affects the island itself. It might be dietary, or a magnetic field, or perhaps the love sickness can affect a child’s sex, which would explain why the sickness is so taboo!
An extremely rare male Kuja infant could be born with features that we don’t see often, such as red eyes or hawk-vision! Mihawk’s eyes could also be inherited from his maternal grandpa, who we know nothing about. (That is, if they’re a heritable trait at all; I tend to believe they’re just a design choice by Oda to show Mihawk’s intensity.)
Mihawk being Ray’s son also explains his friendly rivalry with Shanks, who must have been Rayleigh’s swordfighting student. I imagine that Mihawk and Rayleigh would have butted heads often enough that Mihawk didn’t grow up on the Oro Jackson or at the Rip-Off Bar, but instead was sent away to sword school during his youth. He wouldn’t have been interested in being a part of Roger’s crew, anyway.
On his mother’s side, Mihawk, Gloriosa, and Shakky all share an interest in keeping up with the news. Beyond that, he’s a wine connoisseur, which makes sense for a bartender’s son!
So, I admit that the connection to Amazon Lily and the eye theory are a little out there, but I’m 99.999% certain that Rayleigh and Shakky are Mihawk’s parents, whether the Amazon Lily part is true or not.
The second part of my theory concerns Mihawk’s position as Shichibukai. I think Mihawk became a warlord in order to help protect his parents. The agreement might have been that as long as Rayleigh & Shakki didn’t cause any trouble, the Marines would leave them alone, which explains why Borsalino said he had heard Rayleigh was on Sabaody.
Borsalino was ready to bring down Rayleigh and said that Rayleigh’s crimes could never be forgiven. But hello? Rayleigh’s wife is literally running a bar with her fucking name on it! Granted, it’s in the lawless area, but it’s not like it’s a secret. If the Marines really wanted to find Rayleigh & Shakki, they could.
If it’s known–or even suspected–that Dark King Rayleigh and former member of Rocks Shakky are on Sabaody, why aren’t the Marines hauling them in?
The Ace novel recently told us that it’s the Gorosei and Sengoku (Fleet Admiral) who pick the Shichibukai. It also said that both the Gorosei and the Marines take their instructions from the Celestial Dragons.
By choosing Mihawk as a Warlord, the Celestial Dragons could enter a détente with Rayleigh and Shakky as well as having the World’s Strongest Swordsman on their side. There must have been a “stand down” order on Rayleigh and Shakky, and Mihawk joining the Warlords was the reason for it. Borsalino and the other Admirals are not fully aware of this agreement, which makes sense because while Borsalino wants to catch Ray, he also admits that there’s not even a plan in place for that situation.
Rayleigh tells Borsalino that he wasn’t exactly living in peace, so it does seem like there was a “lie-low-and-be-cool” kind of thing going on here, and the reason is that Ray’s son is a Shichibukai. (Now, what will happen to Rayleigh & Shakki since the Shichibukai were dismantled??)
If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading!
*Theory by wordyworm