Okama are people who were born male but have adopted various female traits, ranging from simply crossdressing to actually changing their biological sex. The Kamabakka Kingdom is the okama kingdom, although okama live all over the world.
The okama generally wear items that are normally only worn by women and tend to wear these clothes regardless of their body shape. Much of their clothing may look like abstract renditions of what women might wear, outfits resembling what may be targeted to enhancing a women's sexuality. Not all are clean shaven and most do not have feminine body shapes, instead simply wearing female clothing, makeup or wigs. Many of the okama who inhabit the Kamabakka Kingdom are very tall and large humans, easily twice the size of an average human like Sanji. Okama animals also have notable stubble on their faces and wear wigs, dresses, and makeup as well.
The Newkama wear clothing more suited for their body types. Due to being able to switch genders because of Emporio Ivankov's Devil Fruit, there are biological females as well as biological males in their number, although it is unknown how many or if any of them were originally female before becoming Newkama. Unlike the island's okama, they wear a wider variety of clothing, with some even modeled on animals or resembling undergarments.
|Francois||Bellet's Father||Tibany||Sanji ‡||99 Masters of Newkama Kenpo|
|Newkama Six Forces||Splash||Splatter||Morley||Caroline ≠|
|Pon and Mofu ≠|
The Kamabakka Kingdom is home to the practice of the Okama Kenpo martial arts and also has 99 Masters of Newkama Kenpo. Okama are feared both for their mastery of their Martial Arts and for their status as Okama.
Members of the Kamabakka Kingdom are also skilled chefs capable of preparing Attack Cuisine, a special kind of food native to their island. They normally do not share the recipes for Attack Cuisine with outsiders and in order to learn them, one must defeat each of the 99 masters of Newkama Kenpo who are the keepers of the recipes.
Since they are former prisoners of Impel Down, it can be assumed that the Newkama are quite strong fighters, although it is unknown if they themselves are skilled at using Newkama or Okama Kenpo as they are only ever shown using swords or guns in battle.
Unlike the Kuja, who are born on their island, their kingdom is a place where "those with a heart of a maiden" gather and therefore their memberships come from across the world to learn the okama way. This is not just restricted to humans, but to the animals of the island too. They do not see the issues related with being an okama that others might see, even though their own status as okama can be off putting to others.
As Sanji explained, he wanted to be more than just friends with women. However, the concept of loving a woman is not part of their beliefs as they wish only to befriend them, not to love them. They are not without understanding of the image of a handsome individual but are very open on their feelings to the point where some felt Sanji's rejection of their advances was only because he was being shy.
The okama of the Kamabakka Kingdom can be quite forceful about their beliefs towards newcomers on their island, often giving chase and trying to catch them by force in order to make them wear women's clothing and wigs as part of their initiation into the okama way, and may pursue potential candidates for days on end. Sanji himself experienced this firsthand and was left a bit traumatized from it.
The Newkama (
Imprisonment of Emporio Ivankov
For being a revolutionary commander, Emporio Ivankov was arrested and sent to level 5 of Impel Down. Iva and many other level 5 prisoners disappeared into level 5.5, until he aided Monkey D. Luffy in escaping from Impel Down.
Escape from Impel Down
After escaping from Impel Down, Ivankov and his Newkama subordinates aided Luffy in rescuing his brother. The okama of the Kamabakka Kingdom "aided" Luffy's crewmate Sanji in his training for the next two years, which proved to be a traumatizing experience.
Translation and Dub Issues
Okama is Japanese slang for homosexual or transvestite. Literally meaning "a pot, a kettle", this word, always with the honorific prefix "O-", refers to a gay man, especially one who is viewed as effeminate or a drag queen. The term can also be used pejoratively against such individuals. Within the context of One Piece, "okama" seems to refer mainly to transvestites. The word originated in Edo period slang for the anus.
When the anime reached the Arabasta arc, Toei decided not to use the term "Okama", and all references to such were changed to "Ballerina" (バレリーナ Barerīna?) or "Ballet" (バレエ Barē?). The reasons for this are unknown; however, the policy that caused the alteration was changed before the release of the Eighth Film as the proper term is used in there. Starting with the Impel Down arc, the TV series also followed suit.
The FUNimation version of the anime accurately represents the material given to them, therefore FUNimation refers to Okama as "Ballerinas" during Arabasta, and "Crossdresser" in Movie 8. Starting with the Impel Down Arc, they use the term "queer".
- Newkama is a pun between "new okama" and the word "newcomer".
- Bentham and Ivankov are the only known okama to be able to switch genders on their own, due to their Devil Fruits.
- Eric is a filler mercenary who wields the Kama Kama no Mi. Due to the "Kama" part of his powers, Luffy keeps calling him an okama, much to Eric's frustration.
- The song "Oh, Come My Way" is a pun of the words "Okama Way".