There are several similarities between the two characters and also the characters they interact with.

  1. They are both extremely skilled swordsmen.
  2. Their names/titles are slightly similar and hint at being swordsmen. I'm not entirely sure about Roronoa but Kenshin's name was derived from some samurai novel. Also, vaguely note how execution is a main topic in and is constantly mentioned in One Piece and the character Kenshin was based on a samurai who was executed.
  3. Kenshin was released in 1996 and One Piece came later in 1999.

From ANN's plot summary of Rurouni Kenshin

Himura Kenshin is a vagabond with a dark past and sunny disposition. Not a ronin but a rurouni, he was never a samurai, but an assassin of utmost skill in the Meiji restoration, who in the turning point of the war simply walked away. His travels lead him to Tokyo in the 11th year of the Meiji era, where he befriends a female Kendo master, a former thief, a brawler and a doctor all with their own secrets. Together they fight off the enemies surfacing from the dark past that Kenshin cannot escape. (Seems familiar with a certain character's merry band of men?)

From One Piece plot summary:

... Along his ways, with luck and determination, he finds himself many members who are devoted but to different causes. (Sounds familiar with a certain wanderer?)

So I would like to ask, is there any source that confirms whether the character Roronoa Zoro from One Piece is related in any way to Kenshin, or whether One Piece is somewhat influenced by Kenshin?

  • i seem to recall Zoro's family name was based on a real life french pirate named François l'Ollonais.
    – Dimitri mx
    Commented Apr 20, 2013 at 22:54
  • Note that I'm not entirely sure about Roronoa but Kenshin's name was derived from some samurai novel. which cites urban dictionary is a misunderstanding. The term rurouni is coined by the author himself for the series. The term is explained on Japanese Wikipedia, but I'm not sure how to translate: タイトルの「るろうに」とは流れ者や放浪者を意味する本作の造語であり、漢字表記は「流浪人」
    – nhahtdh
    Commented May 13, 2015 at 17:31
  • Btw, Kenshin in Japanese is 剣心, which contains the character for sword and heart.
    – nhahtdh
    Commented May 13, 2015 at 17:35

1 Answer 1


Although it is never really stated they are "based on each other", Nobuhiro Watsuki helped in the making of One Piece.

In the manga series "Rurouni Kenshin", the Straw Hats' flag design was used on a bomb to start a vengeance hit on one of the main characters of the series. Before writing "One Piece", Oda worked as an assistant to Nobuhiro Watsuki, the creator of "Rurouni Kenshin".

Also, Nobuhiro Watsuki usually creates his characters based on historical figures, or figures from other anime/manga:

Watsuki bases many of his characters on historical figures, characters from other manga/anime, and video games series. For example, Himura Kenshin was based on Kawakami Gensai, one of the Four Hitokiri of the Bakumatsu.

Watsuki also mentored Eiichiro Oda, the creator of One Piece. So Oda's creations might have been a bit influenced by Watsuki, making Zoro somewhat resembling Kenshin.

Nobuhiro Watsuki is known for mentoring several manga artists who eventually got serialized. For a while there was a time when the most popular Jump manga authors were all his assistants.

  • Eiichiro Oda - creator of One Piece

Sources: Nobuhiro Watsuki, Eiichiro Oda

  • nice answer.. but why do you have blockquotes, but no links. ;)
    – iKlsR
    Commented Apr 22, 2013 at 8:49
  • @iKlsR was at school so had to rush it a bit ill add the source links now ;)
    – Dimitri mx
    Commented Apr 22, 2013 at 10:41

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