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 comic books and graphic novels, case in point include One Piece and Naruto.
Oda’s signature work, One Piece is the best-selling manga in the history of manga series. The work has broken records in Japan, internationally, and continues to do so till date. We take a look at the genius behind this masterpiece.
Eiichiro Oda Biography (Age)
Born in Kumamoto, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan on January 1, 1975, Eiichiro decided from the tender age of 4 that he would become a manga artist and shunned every opportunity to get a “real job”. It is fair to say his dream turned out alright. Oda through his life has had inspirations which have propelled him to where he is today. The pirate interest evident in Oda and his work was sparked by the popular TV Animation series Vicky the Viking and his biggest influence in manga comes from Akira Toriyama and his series titled Dragon Ball.
Oda began his journey to manga royalty when he was a teen, at the age of seventeen to be precise. His first submitted work, Wanted! came in at second place in the coveted Tezuka Award as well as winning other prizes. This achievement got him a job at Weekly Shonen Jump magazine, initially working as an assistant to Shinobu Kaitani’s series Police Gang.
By the time he was 19, Oda had started working with Nobuhiro Watsuki on Rurouni Kenshin. He had been previously with Mizu Tomodachi Kappaman and Masaya Tokuhiro on Jungle King Tar-chan. Oda also drew two pirate-themed one-shot stories titled Romance Dawn. The protagonist of Romance Dawn, Monkey D. Luffy would later play the same role on One Piece.
After a few years of learning and improving his artistic style, in 1997, Oda began One Piece. It began serialization on the Weekly Shonen Jump and has gone on through the years to become the most popular manga in Japan and best-selling of all time. One Piece tells the story of a young boy who has the desire to be King of the Pirates and sets off on a never-ending journey with Nakamas.
To give you an idea of how brilliant One Piece has been, let’s look at a few numbers. By February of 2005, One Piece had sold as much as 100 million collected tankōbon volumes. Fast forward to six years, the figure reached over 200 million volumes. Its copies printed worldwide by December 2014 stood at a staggering 320, 866,000 and as at October 2017, it stood at a whopping 430 million volumes in circulation the world over.
One Piece has been breaking the records for fun, continually rising and beating whatever records previously set on a regular basis. Volume 56 of One Piece set the highest initial print of any manga at 2.85 million copies. The next volume print was 3 million in 2010. One Piece won the 41st Japan Cartoonists Association Award Grand Prize in 2013.
Oda and his Manga buddy, Akira Toriyama created a crossover one-shot in 2007 which contained characters from both One Piece and Toriyama’s Dragon Ball, it was titled Cross Epoch. Dragon Ball holds the chalice of inspiration for One Piece. Eiichiro is very committed to the fans of One Piece that even when he fell ill and was bedridden, he still took out time to draw new chapters of One Piece, this was revealed by Masashi Kishimoto in 2013. Oda is a fan of rapper Eminem and is also a fan of singers Brook Benton, Izumi Katou, Avril Lavigne, and Bryan Adams.
Aside from his involvement in manga creation, Eiichiro Oda is also involved in many charity endeavors. In 2018, he gifted 8 million US dollars to help the Kumamoto Prefecture after it was hit by an earthquake in 2016.
His Wife (Chiaki Inaba) and Kids
Eiichiro Oda is married to a former model, Chiaki Inaba. Oda met Inaba when she cosplayed Nami during Jump Fiesta performances, this was back in 2002.
The pair began to see each other and two years later, in 2004, the mangaka tied the knot with Inaba. The couple was blessed with a daughter in 2006.