Eiichiro Oda's One Piece is filled with countless mysteries and perhaps the biggest one of the lot is the one surrounding the treasure of One Piece. Introduced in the very first chapter, Gol D. Roger announces to the world that he left everything that the world had to offer in one place, which is what triggered the Great Pirate Era. Although initially, the One Piece was thought to be a massive treasure of gold and riches, with time, more information regarding the treasure was revealed to the fans and it was evident that there is much more to it than what fans thought.
The idea of the Void Century, a blank in history that dates back to 900 years ago, and the Ancient Kingdom, a very prominent kingdom during the time of the Void Century, was introduced with time and fans immediately drew the connection to the mysterious island, Laugh Tale. Shortly after the timeskip, Eiichiro Oda finally name-dropped the man who could very well be key to everything in the One Piece series – Joy Boy.
Joy Boy is known to have been a very prominent figure who lived long ago in the One Piece world. It is believed that Joy Boy lived during the Void Century and was, in fact, related to the Ancient Kingdom that the scholars of Ohara talked about. His very first mention in the story came during the Fishman Island arc from the Ryugu Poneglyph in the Sea Forest. According to Nico Robin, the Poneglyph mentioned an apology from Joy Boy to the Fishmen for not being able to keep his promise to them. The promise in question was to take the Fishmen to the surface using the power of Poseidon, an Ancient Weapon, and Noah, the giant ark that lies in the Fishman District of the island. Immediately, fans can make a connection to the war against the World Government which, according to the Poneglyph in the Shandora ruins, was around the same time.
It is quite likely that Joy Boy fought the 20 kingdoms who would later become the World Government of the One Piece world. At some point, Joy Boy also found the Final Island in the Grand Line and left all his treasure there. At the same time, Joy Boy also left the One Piece there. When Gol D. Roger, the King of the Pirates, reached the Final Island, he declared himself to be the first man after Joy Boy in 800 years to reach the place and acquire the vast treasure that he left there. The island was subsequently named "Laugh Tale" by Gol D. Roger.
While not much about Joy Boy's story has been directly revealed to the fans, by connecting the dots, it is quite easy to figure out more information about him. According to Whitebeard, there will one day come a man who shoulders the weight of history on his shoulders and inherit the will of the likes of Roger and Ace to turn the world upside down by challenging the World Government itself. At the same time, when Kozuki Oden reached Laugh Tale, he immediately realized that Joy Boy would one day return. In fact, his goal after finding out the true history became to open the borders of Wano Country and prepare the place for the arrival of Joy Boy in 20 years.
It is quite clear that the Joy Boy being hinted at by Whitebeard and mentioned by Oden is none other than Luffy. Whitebeard's claim about Joy Boy fighting the World Government is quite a clear indication that he fought long ago in the major war that took place during the Void Century. From his goal of taking the Fishmen to the surface and being a part of a massive kingdom, it can be inferred that Joy Boy wanted to unite all the races. However, Joy Boy clearly failed at doing so, which is why he apologized to the people of Fishman Island. Joy Boy's will was inherited by Luffy, and in time, Luffy will also inherit the title of "Joy Boy" when he liberates the world from the clutches of the World Government.
Joy Boy was the first person to reach the Final Island, or Laugh Tale, and the treasure that he left behind was essentially the One Piece. Predicting what exactly this grand treasure is, is quite difficult and is easily the most asked question among the fans. In the past, Oda mentioned that the One Piece is something tangible, meaning the idea that it is the "memories we made along the way" or something akin to that is out of the question. Without a doubt, Laugh Tale has two of the most important things – the One Piece and the Rio Poneglyph.
The latter is a collection of nine specific Poneglyphs that tell the true history of the entire world. They also reveal everything about the Ancient Weapon and the name "D." which is yet another big mystery. Perhaps, the Rio Poneglyph itself could be considered a part of the One Piece. Yet, Roger also mentioned that there was a vast treasure that Joy Boy left behind.
This treasure could well be something that helps the successor of Joy Boy, in this case, Luffy, realize his dream of uniting all the people of the world. Joy Boy clearly wanted to form a strong connection with the various people of the world and something that connects the people could well be the ideal treasure that he left behind. Undoubtedly, there are quite a few things that fit the description, and while it is hard to predict what exactly the treasure is, saying that the One Piece is something that helps people from all over the world connect and form a bond is certainly not a stretch.
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