How did Monkey D. Luffy get his straw hat in ‘One Piece’?

Monkey D.Luffy's straw hat in One Piece
via Crunchyroll

With one simple, measly straw hat, Eiichiro Oda was able to change the anime stratosphere in a seemingly easy manner. Though the world may appear to have been written on a whim from the surface, One Piece‘s idiosyncratic story has been assembled and torn apart time and time again since 1997. In a world that includes some of the most complex layers in anime, One Piece is still fun and quirky, weaving a meandering tale of piracy.

From its introduction, the One Piece universe is met through the eyes of a young and naive boy in the East Blue sea, who dreams of becoming the King of Pirates. Amid his skyrocketing ambition, the boy, whose name is Monkey D. Luffy, becomes infamous during his journey to become a well-known pirate in the treacherous waters of the wide blue sea. Some of his defining traits include the infamous scar under his eye, rubber body, and of course, the straw hat that sends shivers down the spines of the most powerful pirates at sea. But how exactly did Luffy get the notorious straw hat?

Who had the Straw Hat before Luffy?

One Piece Luffy's Straw Hat
Image via Crunchyroll

Right at the start of the story, prior to heading out on his ginormous and eventful journey, Luffy meets his idol and role model, Shanks, the leader of the Red Pirates. Despite not knowing his fame, or even his status as an Emperor of the Sea, Luffy aims to become a pirate at all costs — much like his idol. Unfortunately, Luffy’s wings spread too wide and his ambition grew a little too large for his small body.

While attempting to fight against a crew of pirates visiting his homeland, Luffy’s actions are recognized by a gang of criminals, who proceed to kidnap the boy and promptly throw him into the sea. Luffy attempts to swim to the surface to no avail, nearly being eaten by a sea monster until Shanks hops in, saving Luffy and losing his arm in the process.

Despite losing a limb while saving the boy, Shanks assures Luffy that everything will be alright right before taking off on his adventure at sea. With a promise that Luffy and Shanks will reunite again, the older pirate leaves his most prized possession in the hands of the boy — a straw hat with a red ribbon around it. From that moment onward, Luffy would never let go of his straw hat, wishing to give it back to his owner once he inevitably meets Shanks yet again.

How did Shanks get the Straw Hat?

Shanks with the straw hat in One Piece
via Crunchyroll

As friendship and promise materialized through a straw hat, the accessory eventually became a much larger symbol than anticipated. Luffy’s beloved crew became known as the “Straw Hat Pirates” for being led by their infamous captain Luffy, who always sports the hat on every occasion — for the most part, at least.

The item, prior to belonging to Shanks and Luffy, had an unexpected owner. During the Straw Hats’ departure from Fishman Island, Rayleigh reveals the original owner of the item was actually the former Pirate King, Gol D. Roger. According to the former crew member of the Roger Pirates, prior to landing in Shanks and Luffy’s life, the straw hat was in the hands of the late Gol D. Roger, who gave Shanks the hat when the red-haired pirate was just Roger’s mentee. Years later, Shanks would do the same to Luffy.

In the One Piece arc “Mary Geoise,” fans are met with a giant straw hat that has been kept in a freezer for, allegedly, centuries. No more information has ever been revealed regarding the object. However, many have speculated it was the hat formerly used by the legendary and mysterious character known as Joyboy.

Currently, the straw hat is still thoroughly treasured by Luffy, who never lets go of the hat — especially if anyone poses a threat to the safety of the item. Over the course of the story, the straw hat has only been damaged twice, and its nearly stellar state is a representation of how much it is cherished by Luffy and his crew. As a symbol of the universe created by Oda, the straw hat is as beloved by fans as it is by Luffy himself.

One Piece‘s most recent arc “Wano” is still airing on Crunchyroll.