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The Masterful Level of Detail Oda gave to Wano arc!

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3. Hyakki Yagyō (“Night Parade of One Hundred Demons”)

Hyakki Yagyo is a concept in Japanese folklore, where a parade composed of a hundred kinds of yōkai march through the streets of Japan at night.

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I think that this myth here has been split. Naturally the Beast Pirates has been inspired (in their monstrous form and in their numbers, also as a general visual identity for the Numbers) by the riot nature of the Hyakki Yakgyo, but the source story seems to me too much relevant in this specific situation.

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Sometimes an orderly procession, other times a riot, it refers to an uncontrolled horde of countless numbers of supernatural creatures known as oni and yōkai*, lead by Nurarihyon, a monster that cannot be caught. In some sources, that number is referred as being 500 demons.*

The story that originated the Hyakki Yagyo is: “A young nobleman is ordered to close up his house in Kyoto and move immediately to the new Imperial court in Fukuhara. Although while he’s gone a trusted servant stays behind to care for the house, when he returns, he finds the house infested with one hundred yōkai lke Oni*,* Tengu and others. All those demons were using his house to make a good party.”

Such story of the Hyakki Yagyo originated in a Shinto Fire Festival myth about the Kumano Mountains. It is said that, once a year, all the Shinto gods are supposed to meet on this mountain.

The following is speculation, but I feel it’s based:

Mythic ElementOne Piece ElementChapter
Fire FestivalFire Festivalchapter 958
Trusted Servant/NurarhyonKyoshiro/Ushimitsu Kozochapter 973
Young NoblemenKurozumi Orochichapter 958
ProcessionSamurai Prisonerschapter 955
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My interpretation of such a myth is that we will see a procession of freed peasant Samurai coming from the Flower Capital, marching during the Fire Festival, guided by Denjiro, who was trusted by Kurozumi Orochi (…and that was his plan all along).

4. Benkei and Yoshitsune

This was the myth surrounding two historical figures in Japan, Minamoto Yoshitsune (on the right) and Benkei (on the left). Naturally those two spawned the whole Ringo region story, being the source material for Onimaru and the Shimotsuki clan.

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Benkei was a warrior monk who lived in Japan in the twelfth century. Though most of the stories associated with him are exaggerated to the stature of myth and legend, he was undoubtedly a real person.

Minamoto Yoshitsune is one of the best-loved historical figures in Japan. He was a brilliant warrior who lived from 1159 to 1189. He helped his older brother Yoritomo gain control of Japan. Later, Yoritomo established the first shogunate in Japan.

Yoshitsune’s father, Minamoto Yoshihomo was killed by his enemy Taira Kiyomori in 1160, when Yoshitsune was less than a year old. Kiyomori spared Yoshitsune, but put him in a monastery in Kyoto. Here, Yoshitsune trained to become a Buddhist monk.

Legend says that it was near this monastery, on the Goyo Bridge in Kyoto, that Yoshitsune met Benkei. A popular version of the story maintains that Benkei would hide by night under the Goyo bridge, and challenge all who passed to a swordfight. He would keep the swords of those he defeated. In this way Benkei had collected 999 swords and was in search of the one-thousandth sword when he encountered Yoshitsune.

Yoshitsune and Benkei remain among Japan’s best-loved heroes. Their adventures have given birth to a host of myths, legends and stories, while incidents from their lives often form the theme of Kabuki plays and Noh performances.

The following are the recurring elements in the story:

Mythic ElementOne Piece ElementChapter
BenkeiGyukimaru/Onimaruchapter 936
999 SwordsUnderground Chamberchapter 953
Goyo BridgeOihagi Bridge
Minamoto YoshitsuneUshimaru Shimotsukichapter 953

It’s worth to notice that historically Minamoto Yoshitsune was killed due to betrayal (in the same way it happens to Ushimaru in the series). It’s very interesting to notice that the Zoro Shimotsuki theory here is heavily supported by having many sources about a potential surviving son fathered by Yoshitsune with his mistress Shizuka, who fled the castle while carrying is unborn child… not a fan of the theory, but it still starts to have more legs now.

5. Shimabara Rebellion

The Shimabara Rebellion was the largest civil conflict in Japan during the Edo period, and was one of only a handful of instances of serious unrest during the relatively peaceful period of the Tokugawa shogunate’s rule.

The Shimabara Rebellion was a Catholic peasant uprising in Japan that occurred from 1637 to 1638. The rebellion occurred in reaction to tax increases and the persecution of Christians by the Tokugawa Shogunate, and the Tokugawa sent 125,000 troops to suppress the rebels at Hara Castle. In the wake of the rebellion, the prohibition of Christianity was strictly enforced, and Japan’s isolationism was tightened and the official persecution of Christians continued until the 1850s. Some interesting elements are the fact that the Rebellion grew around the Hara castle (which was a dismantled castle), the fact that Myamoto Musashi fought with the besieging forces as well as the Koga ninja and that the rebels were ultimately defeated. Emosaku Yamada is believed to have been a traitor from the Tokugawa shogunate.

Historic ElementOne Piece ElementChapter
Tokugawa ShogunateKurozumi Shogunate
Shimabara RebelsNinja-Pirate-Mink Alliancechapter 920
Hara CastleRuins of Odens Castlechapter 919
Koga NinjaOrochi Oniwabanshuchapter 931
Emosaku Yamada (traitor)Kurozumi Kanjuro (traitor)chapter 974
Miyamoto Musashi??

It’s important to notice that the Kurozumi Shogunate is realistically associated with the Tokugawa Shogunate, since the period in which Japan was under tight isolationism was during the Tokugawa Shogunate. The most notorious person who was fighting under the Tokugawa Shogunate at the time was Miyamoto Musashi, known as being historically “one of the strongest swordsman in history”. Is there somebody else (possibly a dual-wielding samurai) we still don’t know who could represent such a strong samurai? Maybe the Mimawarigumi’s captain?

[OP QUIZ] How Well Do You Know Roronoa Zoro?

Luffy’s Final Bounty