GENDER BENDER: THE CONFUSION BEHIND ONE PIECE HEROINE YAMATO’S SEXUALITY
Several years have passed since Yamato’s introduction during One Piece’s Wano arc, yet fans remain unable to reach a consensus on Yamato’s gender.
With each passing year, Eiichiro Oda unveils new information about Yamato, but instead of resolving the gender debate, it only serves to further confuse fans.
Yamato is the child of Kaido, who possesses the mythical dog-dog fruit. During the battle at Onigashima, Yamato crossed paths with Luffy and his crew, and they formed an alliance to confront Kaido.
From a young age, Yamato idolized Kozuki Oden for his aspirations to liberate Wano from its oppressive regime. This admiration even leads Yamato to adopt the name “Oden” and use masculine pronouns.
Interestingly, Kaido refers to Yamato as his son rather than his daughter, for reasons unknown. Additionally, everyone else in One Piece addresses Yamato using male pronouns, including Luffy, who affectionately calls Yamato “Yamabro.”
Despite having a feminine appearance, Yamato is perceived as transgender by a portion of the One Piece fandom. Their argument stems from the consistent use of male pronouns by everyone around Yamato, and the absence of any correction from Yamato’s side.
In September 2021, Eiichiro Oda confirmed in Vivre Card that Yamato is biologically female, temporarily putting the speculations to rest.
However, in June 2022, Eiichiro Oda introduced a panel in the manga that revived the discussion. In this particular scene, Yamato is depicted bathing alongside Luffy and other male characters, while the female members of Luffy’s crew bathe separately.
To add to the ongoing debate, a recent color spread in One Piece featured Yamato among the One Piece girls.
The enigma surrounding Yamato’s gender continues to captivate fans, and the search for clarity persists amidst these intriguing developments.
AND THE AMBIGUITY CONTINUES…
According to some fans, Yamato’s use of male pronouns as a tomboy stems from a complex upbringing where she was forced by her father to live as a boy, fulfilling his longing for a son. Additionally, Yamato’s admiration for Kozuki Oden further influenced her desire to emulate him. As a result, these fans argue that Yamato identifies as a transgender man.
Regrettably, this perspective tends to dismiss opposing viewpoints as outright transphobic, without allowing for open discussion or differing interpretations.
The ongoing debate surrounding Yamato’s gender received a fresh spark when the English Toei Animation Twitter account tweeted on January 27th to promote Yamato’s fight against her father in episode 1049 of the One Piece anime. In the tweet, the studio referred to Yamato using masculine pronouns.
“Yamato rages against his father to free Wano!” wrote the studio. “Catch the latest episode of #OnePiece, streaming now on Crunchyroll!”
But that’s not it either
Despite Toei Animation’s tweet, there is a substantial body of evidence supporting the argument that Yamato is, indeed, a cisgender woman.
In chapter 984 of the One Piece manga, when Yamato is initially introduced, she herself states that she has decided “to be a man.” However, it is important to note that in the accompanying text box, Yamato is explicitly identified as “Kaido’s Daughter.” This textual reference suggests that Yamato’s gender is, in fact, female.
Yamato’s gender declaration, which states “I chose to be a man,” is often cited by activists as evidence supporting the belief that Yamato is a transgender man. However, it is crucial to understand that this statement is not intended to be taken literally. Instead, it signifies Yamato’s desire to embody the spirit and characteristics of Oden, who happens to be male. Nowhere in the original Japanese text does Yamato explicitly express a desire to become a man in a broader sense.
AND YET ANOTHER EVIDENCE
Toei Animation’s use of male pronouns for Yamato contradicts their own tweet from November 3rd, 2022, where they explicitly wished a Happy Birthday to the “Princess.” This inconsistency in their messaging further adds to the confusion surrounding Yamato’s gender and fuels the ongoing debate among fans.
The debate surrounding Yamato’s gender is likely to continue for some time. Both fans and Eiichiro Oda, the creator of One Piece, contribute to the confusion surrounding Yamato’s gender.
The portrayal of Yamato participating in a mixed-gender bath, followed by subsequent scenes placing her in an all-female context, presents an apparent inconsistency. This incongruity has fueled discussions and debates among fans, further adding to the complexity of the topic.
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