Kumamoto native Eiichiro Oda is a long-time supporter of the earthquake-stricken area, writing supportive messages, contributing art for local products, and participating in the ONE PIECE Kumamoto Reconstruction Project. The hit manga creator recently opened his wallet to gift the area 800 million yen (US$8 million).
Kumamoto governor Ikuo Kabashima announced at a prefectural assembly on June 15 that the government will commemorate Eiichiro Oda‘s outreach by placing bronze statues of the Straw Hat Pirates throughout earthquake affected areas. The announcement follows previous disputes over plans to place the Luffy statue near the prefectural government offices.
Kabashima and the Kumamoto prefectural government asked for opinions about where to place the Luffy statue, and residents responded with requests to put Luffy in downtown areas or sightseeing locations. Kabashima is consulting directly with Oda and publisher Shueisha.
Oda’s 800 million yen donation was offered in two separate gifts, one for 500 million yen under Luffy’s name and a second donation of 300 million yen. Some of this money will be used to construct the statues.
Kumamoto Prefecture suffered a damaging earthquake in 2016 that even affected its iconic Kumamoto Castle. Since the quake, the anime industry and its fans have come out to show show support and raise money for repairs. Participants include Pokemon Go, One Piece, Anime Tamago (formerly Anime Mirai), and Prince of Tennis creator Takeshi Konomi.