Two huge earthquakes have hit southern Japan, and one of the most affected areas is Kumamoto Prefecture and Oita Prefecture. Previously, mangaka had expressed their solidarity with the victims by drawing some tribute illustrations featuring Kumamoto’s mascot, Kumamon. However, recently two big names in the name industry have been added to the list.
One Piece mangaka, Eiichiro Oda took some time off from his always-busy schedule to make this special message, featuring Monkey D. Luffy of course!
There was a big earthquake in Kumamoto. (all of Kyushu) I was born in Kumamoto, it’s my hometown. To those who were greatly affected by the damage, I hope you’re doing well from the bottom of my heart. I was able to directly contact my family and friends, but they’re all very scared. But they’re doing their best. Everyone I got in touch with said things to put me at ease. They’re so tough!! But there is a limit to how long people can steel themselves. Before that thread breaks, I want to calm them down somehow. It’s crucial that adults don’t worry their kids. Most of all, I want to make kids laugh! If they laugh, adults can do their best! It’s still hard now for ordinary people to lend a hand, but I will definitely help with the relief effort. Stay strong, however you can!!
It wasn’t only Oda who showed some love and gave words of encouragement from One Piece. The Straw Hat Pirates seiyuu, Ikue Ohtani (Chopper), Kazuya Nakai (Zoro), Akemi Okamura (Nami), Yuriko Yamaguchi (Robin), Kazuki Yao (Franky), Kappei Yamaguchi (Usopp), and Mayumi Tanaka (Luffy), also promised to help in any way they can.
They also signed this board to give encouragement to the victims, not only from Kumamoto, but also from nearby Oita Prefecture, which was also greatly affected by the quake.
However, another big name mangaka is also personally affected by the tragedy. His name is Hajime Isayama, the magaka behind Attack on Titan, who was born in Oita Prefecture and one of the most severely hit. In his blog, he wrote:
“When times have been tough for me, even under very harsh circumstances, I’m reminded of manga heroes who fight for their lives, and I remember that they toughed it out. I drew the illustration with those feelings.”
While many mangaka only drew Kumamon, Isayama, being from Oita himself, also included Mejiron, the prefecture’s bird mascot who is not as well known as its Kumamoto counterpart.
Japan Times has offered a post on Kumamoto quake info, on where to go, how to help. The earthquakes have affected a lot of lives in Japan, so to the people living in the affected areas, Gabatte!