It’s been the top-selling manga in Japan since 2008 and one of the world’s most popular anime series, but who is the creator of One Piece?
Like most other anime series and unlike western comics, One Piece was long a one-man operation. One person did the art and writing for the series and while that isn’t strictly the case anymore, it has kept the series focused and effectively paced despite running for 25 years now. Here’s all you need to know about the mangaka.
One Piece was created by series writer and artist Eiichiro Oda.
Oda was born in 1975 in Kumamoto. He loved writing and drawing since he was a child and chased that dream, first working for Shueisha’s Shonen Jump at the young age of 17.
As a senior in high school, Oda spent four months creating his first full-length manga inspired by his interests in westerns. He created the satirical, supernatural western Wanted! and won a ¥500,000 prize for his work at the 44th Tezuka Awards and attracted attention from professionals in the industry.
After graduating high school in 1993, Oda went to Kyushu Tokai University as an architecture major. He was still working on manga during this time, creating God’s Gift for the Future and Ikki Yako, which won first place at the Hop Step Awards.
Oda started his professional career as an assistant for Shonen Jump creators. This included being an assistant for the last few chapters of Midoriyama Police Gang, something that inspired his work. He then spent 18 months assisting Masaya Tokuhiro during the last year of Jungle King Tar-chan, helping him develop a technique for creating backgrounds.
Oda began his final assistant tenure under Nobuhiro Watsuki working on Rurouni Kenshin. At the time, Watsuki was one of Shonen Jump’s most popular creators but Oda also was dealing with rejections of his own concepts throughout this stage in his career.
Oda decided he would do a “last resort” draft. Called Romance Dawn, it was an idea he had about pirates since high school. The concept was approved for further development and was published in the Shonen Jump Summer Special.
After the success of Romance Dawn, he created a second draft within two weeks. This was also published and praised. While some were skeptical of the concept, Oda continued to push for the idea. By 1997, the series was approved for serialization in Weekly Shonen Jump. Romance Dawn was eventually transformed into One Piece.
Eiichiro Oda is married to model and actress named Chiaki Inabi.
At the time, Oda was 27 at the time and Inabi was 23. The two started dating almost immediately. After two years of dating, the couple got married on November 7, 2004. Two years later, Inaba gave birth to a baby girl. A second child came in 2009. The family now lives in a mansion in Nerima. It’s said that she inspired Nami, a member of Luffy’s crew.