Eiichiro Oda is famous for writing the hit series, One Piece. One Piece has been in serialization since 1997 and it has about 96 volumes, 20 seasons, 14 films, over 30 video games, and its very own theme park, Tokyo One Piece Tower. After seeing how much One Piece has contributed to pop culture, it is not surprising that Oda has a net worth of a little over $200 million as of 2020.
In true mangaka fashion, not much is known about Oda’s personal life besides his birthplace, his beginnings in the manga business, his mansion, and his marriage to his wife. Even when he does interviews now, he requests that his face be edited out or that the camera does not record his face.
Oda was born in January 1975 in Kumamoto. At a young age, he knew he wanted to become a mangaka and set on a journey to do so.
At the age of 17, Oda won the Tezuka Award for his short story Wanted!. As a result, he was offered a job at Shonen Jump and became the assistant to three mangakas: Liar Game’s Shinobu Kaitani, Jungle King Tar-chan’s Masaya Tokuhiro, and Rurouni Kenshin’s Nobuhiro Watsuki. During that time, he released two one-shots titled Romance Dawn with Luffy as the protagonist. A year later, Oda began releasing One Piece.
Not only did One Piece bring him fame and fortune, but it also led him to meet Chiaki Inaba.
Chiaki Inaba was a model prior to meeting Oda and not much is known about her career. The two met at Jump Festa 2002 where Inaba played Nami in a stage play version of One Piece. The couple was married in 2004 and now has two kids.
Through One Piece, Oda was also able to give back to his hometown.
When Kumamoto was struck by two earthquakes in 2016, Oda donated ¥800 million (about 7 million dollars) to the city. Not only did Oda donate this money, but he also created art specifically for the city to get people to donate money to the relief fund. He also released a series of items with Kumamoto’s mascot, Kumamon, and the Straw Hat Crew to also help with raising money.
As a result of his philanthropy, 8 statues of the Straw Hat Crew are being installed all over Kuwamoto as a part of the relief fund. Four of the statues were installed in 2019 and the other four are due to be installed this year.
This is also a way to ensure that the city gains revenue by promoting more tourism. This Luffy statue was placed in front of the Kumamoto Prefectural Government office in 2018.
He is an amazing writer as well. What other mangaka has made their audience cry over the burning of a ship? As a series, One Piece has given Oda the platform to tell this story; however, the thing most people notice is his art style.
His art has been regarded around the world as iconic pieces of pop culture. Luffy and the Straw Hat pirates have found themselves referenced in series such as Gintama, Naruto, and Haikyuu. His art has also inspired many artists around the world to create art.
His art style is very iconic, and a lot of people would be able to easily recognize it. His art is held in high regard even though critics complain about the odd proportions of the female characters and his overall strange drawings.
However, those critiques did not stop him from creating multiple art books. The series is known as One Piece Color Walk Compendium, and there are currently over 10 books in the series.
One Piece Color Walk Compendium: Water Seven to Paramount War (2) was released in October 2019. This book covers the Water Seven Arc to the Paramount War. Like most manga art books, it features the art from the series as well as some never before seen sketches, author notes, and interviews with the author.
Even though most of Oda’s work revolves around One Piece, he does have an outside project that is not directly related to One Piece.
With the French company S.T. Dupont, Oda designed a lighter and a pen for the luxury company. The line is called the “Sleeping Mermaid Collection”. The pen goes for $1,800 on eBay and the lighter is valued at $ 2,250. The merchandise was referenced in One Piece Film Z.
Oda continues to write One Piece, and he is now a part of Netflix’s One Piece live-action adaptation team as an executive producer. This is only going to further Oda’s name in the industry.