Kuina was a childhood friend of Zoro and the daughter of Koushirou, who has his own dojo in her village. There, she was the best among the trainees, always emerging victorious in 2000 duels against Zoro. She is also the reason why Zoro acquired the three sword style. The Wado-Ichi-Monji was once in her possession. Her grandfather, Shimotsuki Kozaburo, came from Wano Country and founded Shimotsuki.
Kuina was a slender girl with short dark blue hair and dark brown eyes. She always dressed in a light white blouse and shorts. Lieutenant Tashigi of the Navy bore an extreme resemblance to Kuina. When Zoro first saw Tashigi, he almost thought he was looking at Kuina; he then quickly realized that this could not be her.
In Zoro’s flashback, she is initially characterized as a person who seemed very self-confident about her abilities as a swordswoman and therefore slightly arrogant. This was exemplified when, in response to one of Zoro’s defeats, she smugly remarked that Zoro was weak because he couldn’t even defeat her with two swords. However, she was a very frustrated girl as she believed it was getting harder for her as a woman to keep up with the boys in swordplay as she got older. She felt her gender would prevent her from being able to become a sword master. In addition to this, she found no support from her father Koushirou, who even further discouraged her by telling her that women could not become sword masters. This feeling of fear about the future was very upsetting to her. After the 2001th fight with Zoro, however, she opened her heart to Zoro, who then tried to make her understand that it made no difference whether one was a boy or a girl. Kuina was very touched by these words and was grateful to him for giving her back her self-confidence. With a promise, the two sealed Kuina’s regained courage.
Skills and strength
In training she always used a simple bamboo sword, but in the 2001th fight against Zoro she made use of the Wado-Ichi-Monji, one of the 21 king swords. Kuina was the strongest among her peers and trainees in her father’s dojo. Zoro, who was known to be the strongest of the dojo after her death, and could even defeat adults, was no challenge to her. She trained hard to be able to surpass Zoro in the future. In the end, she won duels against him in 2001.
First encounter with Zoro – The first fight
Her first encounter with Zoro was at her father’s dojo. Zoro came to make a name for himself as Dojoyaburi (Jap. 道場破り someone who visits a dojo and defeats all its members). He was firmly convinced to win and demanded a drawing board from Koushirou if he won. Koushirou, of course, chose Kuina as Zoro’s opponent. The latter entered with three bamboo swords in each hand and three in his mouth, whereupon, however, a sword fell out of his mouth every time he bowed. Kuina had an easy time of it, with two well-aimed strikes she disarmed Zoro first, but she gave him time to regroup. Zoro only took one sword in each hand this time, but that didn’t help him either, because after an attempted charge Kuina put an end to the fight and knocked Zoro out. She was disappointed with Zoro’s way of fighting, because in her opinion fighting with two swords is old fashioned. Zoro vowed to train so hard and then finally beat Kuina.
The 2000 fight – The dream is history
After a year of hard training and 1999 defeats to Kuina, the 2000 fight was up for her and Zoro. Again Kuina won in front of her father and one of his friends (the friend is missing from the manga), who was also a skilled swordsman. Kuina tried to make the exhausted Zoro understand that he should give up trying to better himself in order to beat her. Zoro would not listen to her and was determined to defeat her. That very evening, Kuina overheard her father and his friend having a conversation in which the friend raved about Zoro’s fighting techniques and strength. He was surprised that he hadn’t managed to defeat her until today. Koushirou then commented that that time will come. Zoro will eventually beat them when they grow up and not only that, all male swordsmen would be stronger than them then. Kuina burst into the conversation and demanded an explanation on his words. The latter only emphasized it again and repeated it a second time for Kuina. The latter then walked away with tears in her eyes, still unable to believe what her father had just said.
The Last Fight – The Mutual Promise
Kuina, who was training in the moonlight until late in the evening, was challenged to a duel with real swords by Zoro, who intended to test her courage. In a fierce but rather unbalanced battle, Kuina first disarmed Zoro with her Wado-Ichi-Monji, who even dueled with two swords before she took him down. That was the 2001 victory. When Zoro then became frustrated, Kuina opened her heart and revealed she was the one plagued by frustration because as a woman, she had no chance of realizing her dream and becoming a master of the sword. In tears, she confessed to Zoro that she would rather have been born a boy, which again he could find no sympathy for, as he was beaten fairly in battle. Indignant, he announced to her that all this was not a matter of gender and that he would one day defeat her because he would train hard. Kuina was moved by these words and was grateful to Zoro. He then asked them to make a promise to each other: One of them would someday become the best swordsman in the world.This information comes from an anime filler.
Zoro, on his way to the dojo, encountered Kuina crying by the side of the road, she does not show her tears and merely asked Zoro gruffly what he was doing here. He had come to challenge Kuina to a final battle, the only condition being that they would fight with real swords. Kuina accepted the challenge and at the same time fetched her family heirloom from the dojo, the Wado-Ichi-Monji. The fight began, after a short time Kuina noticed Zoro’s tiredness, she pointed out to him that it would surely be difficult to fight with two real swords. Zoro ignored her criticism, but he was already too slow to dodge Kuina’s final attack. She disarmed him for the 2001th time.
Zoro was completely out of breath on the ground, complaining about his weaknesses, wondering why he couldn’t manage to defeat her. Kuina then revealed that she was the only one with anything to complain about. She told Zoro that becoming the best swordswoman in the world was an impossible goal for her. She feared the future, for the probability that Zoro would eventually catch up with her and thus defeat her was far too great. Zoro found her opinion absurd, his point of view was that it was not strength that mattered in battle, but fighting technique and also confidence. If he were to defeat her someday, he would not attribute it to her gender, but he will be proud of his fighting technique and progress. Kuina was very touched by these words and was grateful to Zoro. The latter asked them to make a promise to each other. One of them would eventually be the best swordsman in the world.
The End – The Oath Must Live
The next day, news reached Zoro that Kuina had suffered a fatal accident when she fell down the stairs. Zoro then rushed to Kuina, whose face was covered by a white cloth in accordance with Japanese custom, and, in light of the promise made the day before, shouted at her in an agitated manner. After being soothed by Koushirou with words about the fragility of human beings, Zoro demanded the Wado-Ichi-Monji from him with the promise that he would one day be the best swordsman in the world, with a name so great that it would reach Kuina even in heaven.This information comes from an anime filler.
After a hard fight against her father’s friend, Kuina went to pick up an errand from a blacksmith, but she stepped awkwardly and fell down the stairs, killing her. When Zoro heard the terrible news, he didn’t cry or scream, just stood and gazed silently, but you could tell he was deeply upset.
After the funeral of Kuina, Zoro demanded the Wado-Ichi-Monji from Koushirou one evening with the promise to be the best swordsman in the world one day. Koushirou was pleased with Zoro and entrusted him with the sword, arguing that it must surely have been Kuina’s last will and testament.
- The name Kuina, like many female Japanese names, comes from a species of bird.
- On the cover of chapter 617, you can see her grave.
- Later in One Piece, Kuina still appears in Zoro’s memories, but only for a short time.
- In Chapter 000, she is seen in her mother’s arms shortly after her birth.
- Her favorite dish was fried eggs with milk.