Samurai are a class of warriors in Wano Country. Although the title is typically applied directly towards swordsmen, it can also be used as a generic term for all Wano Country warriors, including ninja and sumo wrestlers.
The samurai class (士族 shizoku?, literally meaning "Warrior Family") have high social status in Wano Country. Under Kurozumi Orochi's corrupt rule, anyone of samurai class may order or kill the lower class without legal repercussions, whether it is to retain their honor or for their self-serving reasons. For a lower class citizen to be married into the samurai class is considered an honor and it would be an insult to the samurai's honor if said lower class refuses the proposal.
20 years ago, the Kozuki Family was known as one of the highest of the samurai classes, having not only existed for centuries in the country, but also having ruled the country as well, until the family was executed in an attack by the current Shogun of Wano Kurozumi Orochi and the Emperor Kaidou.
Code of Honor
In accordance with their social status, samurai are expected to be honorable, educated, and extremely well-disciplined people. If a samurai has a master, then conduct from them that is unbecoming of a samurai reflects poorly on their master. How a samurai dresses and carries their self in public also affects public perception of their family, as they will often accompany their master whenever he or she travels.
Samurai are typically very prideful and care greatly about the honor of their self and their family. When interacting with others, they have been shown to reject luxuries offered to them, especially if they feel it would put them in a subordinate or dependent position to the gift giver. Samurai also talk in a very formal dialect, with certain slang terms (such as the cry "Sunacchi") being seen as improper for high-class warriors.
Another core tenet of the samurai's code is to remain unflinchingly loyal and obedient to one's leader, master, and/or family at all times until death. When a samurai's master dies, an honorable samurai typically either serves their surviving family or next of kin if any exist, or if the master was killed, the samurai will seek to avenge them by killing the one who attacked them. Changing allegiances to another group, particularly the group responsible for the master's death, is seen as extremely dishonorable and shameful. This trait is well-known even to outsiders like Kaidou.
While these standards were just about universally upheld during the reign of the Kozuki Family, Kurozumi Orochi's time as shogun saw a significant degrading of the code. People of the samurai warrior class have been shown abusing their status to harm commoners as they see fit, viewing themselves as having the right to do whatever they would like to people of lesser status. Additionally, very few samurai today adhere to the code of loyalty, with numerous warriors who served the Kozuki Family having defected to the Kurozumi Family's side when Orochi took over; a quarter-century later when Kaidou deposed Orochi, the vast majority of samurai who served the shogun immediately swore allegiance to the pirate rather than trying to fight him and avenge their previous master.
The samurai are what give Wano Country its ability to remain independent and not reliant on either the World Government or Four Emperors, as they are said to be so strong that Marines do not go near them. Fleet Admiral Sakazuki himself noted the potential danger of the samurai, and thus decided not to send Admiral Kizaru to Wano Country. It has been noted that, over the course of generations, particularly powerful samurai have risen up to lead the rest. This distinction was first given to the legendary Ryuma who lived centuries ago, and Kozuki Oden was recognized as one as well. Oden briefly fought on equal ground with the pirate Whitebeard, who was reputed as the Strongest Man in the World, and a decade later would lead a squadron of nine samurai into battle against the immensely powerful pirate Kaidou and his crew, the Beasts Pirates. Despite the Beasts Pirates numbering 1,000 strong, Oden and his nine Scabbards held strong against them, and though they were ultimately defeated, the Beasts Pirates' victory did not come without foul play involved.
Samurai are well-known for their swordsmanship skills. A variety of swordfighting styles have been demonstrated, including specialized versions like Kitsunebi-ryu, which allows the user to cut through fire. Nonstandard samurai like ninja and sumo wrestlers use different weapons, with ninja using a variety of tools for ninjutsu techniques and sumo wrestlers fighting hand-to-hand. Samurai also practice martial arts, with karate and judo having been mentioned.
A large number of samurai can use Busoshoku Haki, which they call Ryuo. Their usage of Haki focuses on the concept of "flow" and having the power move through their bodies. The samurai also seem to be well-aware of advanced applications of this Haki, and its usage seems to be more well-known and used compared to the outside world. Some samurai also possess Kenbunshoku Haki, though it is unknown how or if they recognize this power.
The overall strength of Wano's samurai has declined over the last 30 years, as during his time as shogun Orochi forbade the citizens of Wano from carrying weapons as well as training and instructing in combat and martial arts. Additionally, the majority of strong samurai leaders opposed the rule of Orochi, leading him to kill or imprison them and leave the younger samurai without anyone to follow. Although Oden and his nine Scabbards were able to greatly challenge the Beasts Pirates, dozens of loosely-gathered samurai who invaded Onigashima 10 years later were killed with ease. Hyogoro's display of swordsmanship on Onigashima in the present day was overpowering to a degree that other samurai had not been seen in many years, and took down many enemy samurai with ease, leading his allies to reminisce about the samurai leaders of old.
- While the term samurai was not used in the storyline proper until the Thriller Bark Arc, their motifs and general fashion influenced many earlier Cover Page illustrations, beginning with Chapter 70's color spread. Among these, Chapter 310's color spread is particularly notable for depicting Luffy's Wano Country armor (complete with Kozuki emblem) fifteen years before its in-story debut.
- Samurai – Wikipedia article about samurai
- Rōnin – Wikipedia article about rōnin
- Shizoku – Wikipedia article about shizoku