EVERYTHING ABOUT JOYBOY IN ONE PIECE
In Chapter 628 of One Piece, we’re told for the very first time about a mysterious character called Joy Boy. And over time, he’s turned into maybe the single most important character in the entire story next to Luffy So let’s dig in to every single thing we know about Joy Boy for a fact as well as everything that has been hinted at.
Why do we know only so little about this character? Well, not having years ago. People who know One Piece know that these dates line up perfectly with a time period called the Void Century. The Void Century is an entire one hundred years of history that’s just…gone.
The World Government, the organization that controls the entire One Piece world, eliminated every shred of information and history connected to this time period. Almost nothing at all remains. No archaelogoical ruins, no books, it’s all just vanished with barely a trace. Except for one big exception, of course: The Poneglyphs.
These big indestructible blocks are scattered across the world in a mysterious language. One of the only people in the entire world that knows how to read the poneglyphs is Nico Robin, the archaeologist of the Straw Hat pirates. And it’s thanks to Robin reading a poneglyph that we first heard the name Joy Boy in the series.
While the crew was on Fishman Island, Robin read a poneglyph there and told us that it described a promise between Joy Boy and Poseidon from over 800 years ago. Poseidon is one of the ancient weapons and their power is always reincarnated through the Fishman Royalty of Fishman Island. Whoever holds the power of Poseidon can command the Sea Kings, gigantic, super powerful sea creatures.
Right now the power of Poseidon belongs to the Mermaid Princess Shirahoshi, who Luffy saved during the Fishman Island arc – always leave it to Luffy to save a princess. The promise between Joy Boy and Poseidon 800 years ago had something to do with using the Sea Kings to lift up the massive ark called the Noah that sits at the bottom of the sea.
It probably involves bringing the fishmen to live among the surface along with the other races of the One Piece world. However, for an unknown reason, Joy Boy was unable to hold up his side of the deal. The poneglyph isn’t actually just a historical record – it’s an apology to Fishman Island. It was also around this same time that Joy Boy was also partners with Zunesha – a massive elephant.
And I mean MASSIVE – Zunesha is confirmed to be 35 km tall – that means Zunesha is 3 times higher than a Sky Island. Zunesha is SO big in fact, that a whole island lives on top of him. The minks, a race of animal/human hybrids, built their country Zou right on top of this giant elephant. The crazy thing is that 800 years after the Void Century, Zunesha is still alive and kicking and has even communicated with Luffy.
Zunesha doesn’t literally talk – he communicates with other characters through a mysterious power called the Voice of All Things. This power is also supposedly the way that Roger was able to “read” poneglyphs without knowing how to actually translate the writing. The thing is though – that entire 800 years, Zunesha wasn’t freely walking around the ocean. He was doing time.
That’s right – this elephant is a criminal. 800 years ago after committing an unknown crime, Zunesha was sentenced to walk a certain path in the ocean continually for all that time. It was only once Momonosuke gave him the order to do something else that he could.
For some reason, Momonosuke, the Shogun of Wano, has the power to communicate with Zunesha as well as even give orders to this gigantic creature. There are only two more things that are confirmed pieces of info about Joy Boy. First off, Joy Boy is the one who really left behind the treasure known as One Piece. The series started off with the Pirate King Gol D.
Roger telling the world that he left a treasure behind, but the truth is more complicated than that. In reality, at the end of his journey, Roger actually found some kind of object of enormous importance that was left behind by Joy Boy. On this island, Roger learned the truth of the ancient history and the Void Century and wished that he could have been alive in Joy Boy’s time.
The mysterious treasure that Joy Boy left behind caused Roger to laugh like crazy, leading him to name this island Laugh Tale. He also revealed that for some reason, he arrived at Laugh Tale too early. There goes Oda being mysterious again. We’re not sure why Roger was “too early” in arriving to Laugh Tale, but it probably has to do with Joy Boy’s second coming.
That’s right – Joy Boy’s coming back. According to a long-held prophecy, Joy Boy would be reincarnated 800 years after the Void Century – or 20 years after Roger reached Laugh Tale. This prophecy is known in part thanks to a character named Kozuki Oden, the former shogun of Wano Country. The Kozuki Clan in ancient times were the ones who actually wrote the poneglyphs.
Oden sailed with Gol D. Roger to Laugh Tale and kept a logbook of their travels. Roger and Oden learned that they’d arrived “too early”, but that in 20 years Joy Boy would return to Wano. This led Oden to make his goal of opening Wano’s borders to welcome Joy Boy in 20 years’ time. And the second Joy Boy…is none other than Monkey D. Luffy.
That’s right – our main character Luffy is the second coming of the legendary hero Joy Boy. During the fight with the Emperor of the Sea, Kaidou, Luffy awakened a new power. What Luffy calls “Gear 5” is actually the awakening of his devil fruit. After all of these years in the series, we learned that Luffy’s devil fruit wasn’t actually the rubber fruit – it was a super powerful fruit called the Sun God Nika fruit.
We still don’t know much about the deity the Sun God Nika, but we can guess that it’s connected to Joyboy in some way. When Luffy transformed his hair and clothes turned all white and he couldn’t stop laughing. He also gained new powers this are seemingly only limited by his imagination. When Luffy first appeared in this new form, he was also jumping across the battlefield silhouetted by the moon.
This mirrors the very first time we learned about the Sun God Nika from Kaidou’s subordinate Who’s Who. He tells that when he was in prison, fellow inmates would tell hopeful tales of a liberator called the Sun God Nika. During this explanation, we also saw a figure with a similar silhouette to Gear 5 Luffy. However, when Luffy awakend this form, Zunesha, the giant elephant said something fascinating.
He said he could hear the “drums of liberation” seemingly referring to Luffy’s heartbeat. He the announced that “Joy Boy had returned.” Clearly Luffy, Joy Boy, and Nika are all closely related somehow. It’s ironic that Luffy awakened this form while fighting with Kaidou because it seemed that Kaidou was trying to find Joy Boy or possibly even trying to become Joy Boy himself.
It’s hinted that he might have chosen Wano as his base because the prophecy hinted that Joy Boy would appear there. Kaidou’s right-hand man, King, had told him the legends of Joy Boy long ago and Kaidou seemed to become fascinated with the prophecy and legends of Joy Boy. Kaidou almost defeated Luffy several times during their battle.
After one defeat, he dropped Luffy into the sea, stating “So, you couldn’t be Joy Boy either.” Clearly Kaidou had seen others try and fail to fill the role of Joy Boy. It might the case that Kaidou himself failed at becoming “Joy Boy.” Even after seeing Kaidou’s flashbacks, much of his past is mysterious.
It would seem that he was obsessed with being the strongest, with creating warfare all across the world. Being the World’s Strongest Creature, it seemed that his crew followed the rule of “Survival of the Fittest.” However, it seems that another goal of his was to find Joy Boy all along. After all, part of the prophecy of Joy Boy’s return involved Wano Country and its borders opening.
Wano Country had closed borders for years and was isolated from the rest of the world. Joy Boy – someone who spreads joy or happiness – and the Sun God Nika, who represents freedom – as well as the drums of liberation: All of these are connected in ways we can’t quite see yet. However, since it’s still such a mystery that gives the fan base a huge opportunity to make awesome theories about how Joy Boy will play a part in the story.
And if you don’t want to miss any updates on Joy Boy and one piece in general, you should make sure to subscribe to the channel. But before we talk about speculation, we’ll look at a likely origin for Joy Boy. Oda might actually be drawing on history when creating the idea of Joy Boy in One Piece.
The idea likely comes from a Haitian God called…well, Joyboy. In Vodou beliefs, Joyboy is a God of hope and music. It’s likely that Joyboy was originally an African God that was brought to the Caribbean during the slave trade. This God is said to spread laughter and joy with drumming and dancing – which would seem to connect to the idea of the “drums of liberation.”
This God also gave hope to enslaved people, which would seem to parallel what we’ve been told about Sun God Nika in the story, who is a symbol of hope for enslaved people in One Piece. And to some fans, it seems like Joy Boy and his huge significance have come out of nowhere.
However, we all know that Oda is the master of foreshadowing and left us a lot of clues. We already mentioned that Joy Boy was originally mentioned in a poneglyph all the way back on Fishman Island, but we’ve been getting plenty of hints before that, too. In Skypiea, when Luffy was seen silhouetted in front of a bonfire in a pose that looks just like the Sun God Nika.
Oda has even said that it was one of his favorite panels of the whole series. In that same arc, the Shandians worshipped a Sun God. The Giants also worship a Sun God. And the Sun Pirates, who were formed by former slaves, wear the mark of the Sun – an early hint about slaves praying to the Sun God Nika for freedom. All of these oppressed people are awaiting the “Dawn of the World” – a Dawn that can only come with the arrival of the Sun.
Now that we’ve been over all the things we know for sure about Joy Boy, I want to take some time to talk about the craziest theories about this legendary character. First off – did the original Joy Boy also wear a Straw Hat? In a frozen cellar in Mariejois, the capital of the world government, the secret ruler of the world government, Imu keeps a massive Straw Hat.
Why? Did this secret object belong to the first Joy Boy? And what then is the significance of the smaller straw hat that was passed from Roger to Shanks and then to Luffy? Also, what did Joy Boy do that was so significant? We have so little information about him that it’s hard to say what he might have done.
Could he have been the ruler of the Ancient Kingdom that went up against the World Government? The story has recently revealed that the Ancient Kingdom was technologically advanced – if Joy Boy was its ruler, could he have had control over the Ancient Weapons? Holding that kind of power would be enough to make the World Government fearful as well as jealous.
I mean, could Joy Boy have even created the Ancient Weapons…well, if he’s much like Luffy probably not. And speaking of that advanced technology that Dr. Vegapunk has revealed existed in the Ancient Kingdom – what connection does Joy Boy have to their mysterious power source?
Does Joy Boy have something to do with the giant robot that scaled the Red Line and tried to attack Mariejois 200 years ago? We’ve only just learned about this powerful weapon of the Ancient Kingdom, but it seems pretty convenient that at the same time it attacked Mariejois,
Fishmen were starting to fight for their rights. Does the mysterious technology of Joy Boy’s Ancient Kingdom have something to do with people fighting for liberation or the coming “dawn”? Was he the world’s first pirate? Maybe he was a literal pirate king – not in the sense that Roger was pirate king, having achieved all a pirate could hope to achieve. Joy Boy might have been a the actual ruler of a pirate kingdom.
It would make a load of sense then why the World Government would try to erase his existence. He was their enemy in their war for supremacy over the One Piece world. In addition, if he was a pirate it would make sense that the World Government would outlaw piracy, even against pirates who don’t steal or harm people.
Did he seek a similar dream to Luffy, wanting to spread freedom and joy wherever he went? Did he unite all the oppressed races of the One Piece world? If Joy Boy or the Sun God Nika are beacons of hope for enslaved people, perhaps his dream was to bring people together and prevent discrimination.
For instance, the promise the the Fishmen might have been to use the Noah to bring them to the surface so that they could live under the sun alongside humans. Perhaps the minks wouldn’t have to hide on Zunesha’s back anymore and could also step into the light. Maybe Luffy will be able to keep the promise that the original Joy Boy broke.
And if the original Joy Boy had a giant straw hat – does that mean that Joy Boy was a giant? And if he lived that long ago…could he have been an ancient giant? In fact, there’s some pretty strong evidence that Joy Boy could be Oars – the giant zombie that the Warlord Gekko Moriah revived.
After all, if Joy Boy had a giant elephant, shouldn’t he himself be giant, too? And maybe it was more than a coincidence that Luffy’s shadow ended up in Oars. But if that’s not convincing, then you might just need to check out this blog all about how Joy Boy was an ancient giant!
That’s me, Andreea Blaga, author of the blog anime-everything.com. I work as a content creator in the US. I am also passionate about Japanese Anime.