Eiichiro Oda is a Japanese manga artist best known for his iconic work One Piece. For those who may not be familiar with the term manga, it is a style of Japanese comics and graphic novels, such as One Piece and Naruto.
One Piece, Oda’s main work, is the best-selling manga in the history of manga series. The work has broken records in Japan and internationally and continues to do so today. We take a look at the genius behind this masterpiece.
Eiichiro Oda Biography (Age)
Eiichiro was born on 1 January 1975 in Kumamoto, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan. Already at the tender age of 4 years, he decided to become a manga artist and shied away from any opportunity to get a “real job”. It is fair to say that his dream came true. Oda has had inspirations in his life that have brought him to where he is today. Pirates’ interest in Oda and his work was sparked by the popular TV animation series Vicky the Viking, and his greatest influence on manga comes from Akira Toriyama and his series Dragon Ball.
Oda began his journey to manga royalty when he was a teenager, at the age of seventeen to be exact. His first submitted work, “Wanted!”, took second place in the coveted Tezuka Award and won other prizes. This success earned him a position at Weekly Shonen Jump magazine, where he first worked as an assistant for Shinobu Kaitani’s series Police Gang.
When he was 19 years old, Oda had begun working with Nobuhiro Watsuki on Rurouni Kenshin. Previously, he had worked with Mizu Tomodachi Kappaman and Masaya Tokuhiro for Jungle King Tar-chan. Oda also drew two one-shot stories themed by pirates, entitled Romance Dawn. The protagonist of “Romance Dawn”, Monkey D. Luffy, was later to play the same role in “One Piece”.
After several years of learning and improving his artistic style, Oda started One Piece in 1997. The series began with the weekly Shonen Jump and over the years became the most popular manga in Japan and the best-selling of all time. One Piece tells the story of a little boy who has the desire to become king of the pirates and goes on a never-ending journey with Nakamas.
To give you an idea of how brilliant One Piece has been, let’s look at some numbers. By February 2005 One Piece had sold up to 100 million collected tankobon volumes. In a rapid six-year run, the number reached over 200 million volumes. By December 2014, 320,866,000 copies had been printed worldwide, and by October 2017, 430 million volumes were in circulation worldwide.
One Piece breaks records for fun, continues to grow, and regularly surpasses all previous records. Volume 56 of One Piece had the highest first print run of any manga, at 2.85 million copies. The next volume was printed in 2010 with 3 million copies. One Piece won the 41st Grand Prize of the Japanese Cartoonists Association in 2013.
In 2007, Oda and his manga friend Akira Toriyama created a crossover one-time movie that included characters from One Piece and Toriyama’s Dragon Ball and was entitled Cross Epoch. Dragon Ball is the chalice of inspiration for One Piece. Eiichiro is very committed to the fans of One Piece. Even when he became ill and was bedridden, he took the time to draw new chapters of One Piece, which Masashi Kishimoto revealed in 2013. Oda is a fan of the rapper Eminem and is also a fan of the singer’s Brook Benton, Izumi Katou, Avril Lavigne, and Bryan Adams.
In addition to his involvement in manga creation, Eiichiro Oda is also involved in many charitable causes. In 2018, he donated $8 million to help the Kumamoto Prefecture after an earthquake struck it in 2016.
His Wife (Chiaki Inaba) and Kids
Eiichiro Oda is married to a former model, Chiaki Inaba. Oda got to know Inaba when she cosplayed Nami at Jump Fiesta performances, which was in 2002.
The two began seeing each other, and two years later, in 2004, the mangaka made the bond with Inaba. In 2006 the couple was blessed with a daughter.