‘One Piece’ Fans Celebrate Luffy’s Birthday

The Yomiuri Shimbun
“One Piece” fans celebrate the birthday of the manga’s main character Luffy with the prefectural mascot Kumamon in Kumamoto on Friday.

KUMAMOTO — About 300 fans of the popular manga “One Piece” celebrated the birthday of the main character Luffy on Friday in front of the prefectural government building in Kumamoto, where a bronze statue of the character stands.

The manga’s creator and Kumamoto City native Eiichiro Oda donated ¥800 million to the prefecture to help with reconstruction efforts following the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake. Part of the donation went toward installation of the statue, which was completed in 2018.

The manga follows the adventures of Luffy and his Straw Hat Pirate crew as they search for the One Piece — the greatest treasure in the world. Statues of Luffy’s crewmates have also been erected in Aso, Mashiki and other quake-affected areas.

The prefecture hosts 10 statues of “One Piece” characters across nine municipalities, and local governments have been holding celebrations to mark their birthdays since July in response to demand from fans of the acclaimed series.

Fans marked the occasion Friday by pulling crackers with the prefectural bear mascot Kumamon, who was dressed as Luffy.

“It’s great to celebrate with all these fans,” said a 43-year-old from Tosu, Saga Prefecture. “It’s renewed my love for ‘One Piece’ and Kumamoto.”