This is an interview with One Piece author Eiichiro Oda that was published in the One Piece: Blue Grand Data File volume. Unlike many interviews where author Oda is in the presence of co-workers or individuals he does/must respect, this was a one-on-one interview and where his mischievous and relaxed nature that readers have come to love through his SBS segments is in full force. The above mentioned book went on sale in Japan on August 7th, 2002. The information is accurate as of publishing, but no date was provided for the interview. To my knowledge this is the first time the interview has appeared in English anywhere so I would appreciate your cooperation in not spreading a copied and pasted version for posting on other websites. I do, however, strongly encourage anyone to use this as a resource or as a starting point to create their own translation. I have attempted to "translocalize" this as much as possible. That said, in instances where I have altered the original text I have clearly made note of any such changes below Oda's answer. I should also point out that I have made every attempt to explain or provide additional information on people, places or things that Oda mentions that may seem foreign to those unfamiliar with Japanese culture. Please direct any other questions you might have to me and I would be happy to discuss them with you. Thank you and please enjoy.
Q.01 What is your date of birth?
Showa 50 January 1st
[Showa 50 is 1975]
Q.02 What is your blood-type?
Q.03 Where are you originally from?
Q.04 In your childhood, what kind of boy were you?
A bug collecting kid.
Q.05 What were your favorite and least favorite subjects?
Liked Fine Arts and hated Math.
Q.06 As a student, what club activities were you in?
Q.07 What JUMP manga of the past did you like?
Q.08 What manga artist influenced you and also, which manga artist do you respect?
Akira Toriyama sensei
Q.09 What motivated you to think about becoming a manga artist? Also, around what age was this?
Because you don’t have to do a [real] job. At age 4.
Q.10 If you didn’t become a manga artist what kind of work would you have gone into?
Never thought about it.
Q.11 Which historic figure do you like and respect?
Nobunaga Oda (I don’t respect him. Just our last names are the same so no real reason.)
Q.12 What individual do you have an aspiration to become like?
Akira Toriyama sensei
Q.13 What is your motto sensei?
Never thought about it.
Q.14 Up to now, what has someone said to you that has left a lasting impression?
“Writing is expressing!"
Q.15 What real pirate has left an impression on you and is there a certain figure you’re interested in?
Edward Teach (Blackbeard)
Q.16 What do you think you’ll have become in 30 years?
Q.17 Is there any one thing that you simply cannot forgive?
Someone who doesn’t give a greeting.
Q. 18 Who are your good manga artist friends?
Our group of assistants from Nobuhiro Watsuki sensei’s place. (Hiroyuki Takei, Mikio Itou, etc.) Shimabu- (Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro)
[Nobuhiro Watsuki was the author of Rurouni Kenshin.]
[Hiroyuki Takei went on to create Shaman King.]
[Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro was author of Seikimatsu Leader Den Takeshi. Mere days after the volume which this interview is contained in was put on sale, Shimabukuro was arrested for paying a 16-year-old girl to perform lewd acts. He went on to write Toriko and continues his friendship with Oda despite being a convicted sexual predator.]
Q.19 Recently what has made you most happy?
My connection with the animation allows me to make friends with a lot of people.
Q.20 What are you most interested in right now?
Stuff related to a man named Sou Kuramoto.
[Sou Kuramoto is famous for his writing abilities in both film and drama. He wrote the screenplay for the film Eki ‘Station’, which starred the legendary Ken Takakura (Mr. Baseball, Black Rain). He has also written one of Japan’s most successful and endearing serial dramas, Kita no Kuni kara ‘From a North Country’ Kunie Tanaka was the star of this series upon whom Oda based a very important character.]
Q.21 Is there a particular item you’re into collection now?
Q.22 What is your hobby sensei?
Q.23 If you were an animal, what would you be?
A sloth that means serious business, if it’s in the mood.
Q.24 If you were to keep a pet, what kind of living creature would you own?
Q.25 (Tashigi, Kuina, Nojiko and so on are characters with bird names but) What kind of bird do you like best?
Q.26 What sport do you like (or are talented at) and what sport do you dislike (or have a tough time with)?
I like soccer, I don’t dislike any sport.
Q.27 What food do you like and what food do you dislike?
I like meat, I don’t dislike any food.
Q.28 If there’s a kind of food you’ve recently gotten into, please tell us what it is.
Q.29 How do you spend your days off?
Somehow or other I just get outside.
Q.30 If you had the time, what would you do?
Q.31 What place(s) do you definitely want to visit once?
Mongolia, Maldives, India
Q.32 Are you with the indoors clique or the outdoors clique?
Indoor wishing I was outdoors.
Q.33 What do you do to blow off stress?
Write an interesting manga.
Q.34 What’s your favorite place?
A teensy garden.
Q.35 In your normal lifestyle, when do you feel happiest?
When writing an interesting manga.
Q.36 Other than One Piece, is there a manga genre you’d like to try and write?
Q.37 Is there a secret which no one around knows?
The secret of the naming of the title One Piece.
Q.38 Has another person ever pointed out a habit of yours?
It seems when I concentrate I stick my tongue out.
Q.39 Please describe your personality in one word.
Q.40 What kind of thing written in a fan letter makes you most happy?
Q.41 If there’s something you’d like to say to readers on this occasion, please shout it out.
THANK YOU FOR READING
Q.01 Do you have a favorite television program?
I don’t really watch television. But if there are some comedians on I’ll watch.
Q.02 What animation do you like?
Miyazaki’s pieces and such as well as old animation from other countries.
Q.03 What manga do you like?
Akazukin Cha Cha, Gag Manga Biyori.
[Here is a link to Akazukin Cha Cha ‘Red Riding Hood Cha Cha’ info I found on Absolute Anime.]
[Here is a link to the Gag Manga Biyori ‘Gag Manga Weather’ DVD promotion site. Beware, no English.]
Q.04 What magazine do you read with great pleasure?
Q.05 Which performer are you into?
[Yoshichi Shimada and Yohachi Shimada’s manzai comedy pair that no longer performs. In fact, it is impressive that Oda even knows they exist. They began their routine in 1972 before Oda was born. This is likely due to a brief revival of their routine in the early 1990’s. Both members were pupils of Yonosuke Shimada (hence their stage name including Shimada) who was also the mentor for the incorrigible Shinsuke Shimada. Most recently, Yohachi Shimada had a role in the film Samehada Otoko to Momojiri Onna ‘Sharkskin Man & Peach Hip Girl’ which is available in the US.]
Q.06 Morning Musume. Who do you like best?
[Morning Musume is the ever-changing vocal group famous for its prepubescent singers with an army of Lolita-complex crazed fans. In 2002, Japanese comedian Ken Shimura performed one of his staple characters, Baka Tono ‘Idiot Prince’ in a MM subgroup single, Ai~n! The Dance Song. Oda is essentially dumping any and all interest in the real group here. This is not the first time (and certainly not the last) that Oda has made reference to Ken Shimura’s routines. He has stated that on the cover of Vol. 3, Luffy is performing one of Shimura’s poses, ‘Ai~n’. Chopper’s happy dance seen throughout the series is also mimicking the dance of yet another one of Shimura’s characters, Hen na Ojisan ‘Weird Old Man’ In Vol. 34; Oda again referenced Shimura’s Idiot Prince character by placing his wig and makeup on Luffy in the SBS. The majority of gags from his Space Time short comic were also from Shimura and his comedy group’s famous lines and skits.]
Q.07 Up to now, what video game have you gotten into the most?
[Oda used the popular abbreviation ‘dorakue’ for the series]
Q.08 Which singers do you like?
Bryan Adams, Izumi Katou, Eminem, Brook Benton.
[This Izumi Kato’s official site.]
Q.09 What kind of music do you listen to at your place of work?
Q.10 Please tell me your top three favorite films?
Seven Samurai, Young Guns, Nightmare Before Christmas.
Q.11 What movie genre do you like and dislike?
Like Westerns, dislike tear jerkers.
Q.12 What movie has made you cry the most?
Q.13 Do you have a particular favorite Director, actor or actress?
Akira Kurosawa, Hayao Miyazaki, Tim Burton, Baz Luhrmann, Tarantino.
Q.14 What novel do you like?
The Adventurers (Boukensha tachi)
[So long as I’m not confusing the piece, the full title is The Adventurers - Gamba and His 15 Companions. Of interesting note, that ‘companions’ is nakama in the title. Coincidence? I THINK NOT! I have not read the book, but it looks to be one of a series of books that deal with Redwall-like adventures. An animated version of this was also released as a movie and includes the voice talent of Masako Nozawa famous for playing the voice of Son Goku in Dragon Ball and Dr. Kureha in One Piece.]
Q.15 What genre of Western clothing do you like?
Q.16 What’s your favorite play spot?
Yebisu Garden Place
[Not too shabby Oda.]
Q.01 What is necessary for becoming a manga author?
Something you want to draw. And a deep persistent soul.
Q.02 Please tell us those who you experienced being an assistant for in the past.
Shinobu Kaitani sensei, Masaya Tokuhiro sensei and Nobuhiro Watsuki.
[Shinobu Kaitani was author of Midoriyama Police Gang]
[Masaya Tokuhiro was the author of Jungle King Tar-chan]
[Nobuhiro Watsuki, as mentioned above, was the author of Rurouni Kenshin]
Q.03 Since becoming a manga author, what has changed around you?
I get called ‘sensei’ so I feel somewhat embarrassed but grateful.
Q.04 In the creation of manga, what is your schedule for one week?
Three days of sketching and three days of working on the final piece.
Q.05 What is your attire while drawing manga?
Suit (That’s a lie) Full-body tights (That’s an even bigger lie)
Q.06 Around what times do you usually get up and then go to bed?
Depends what I feel like.
Q.07 In order to become Oda sensei’s assistant, what should one do?
Depend on your luck.
Q.08 When is it that you gets your ideas flowing?
When I head to my desk and think.
Q.09 The characters that appear in One Piece are filled with personality. Is there a secret key to making your characters?
Meeting lots of different people. And just how I feel.
Q.10 When creating new characters, what do you use as a design reference?
Stuff like Western clothing and things from around that area.
Q.11 In continually drawing manga, was there ever anything that you would consider painful?
When I can’t make a story well.
Q.12 If you were to make a new penname for yourself, what would you make it?
Oda Topknot or There We Goro.
[Oda actually says ‘Oda Chonmage’. A chonmage is the topknot seen on samurai.]
[Oda actually says ‘Yokkora Goro’. The phrase ‘yokkora shoi’ is commonly used when moving oneself, say for example out of a really comfy chair (usually by older women) hence my attempt at somewhat carrying the pun. Oda is also having fun here using the common name Goro as the ‘go’ means 5 and the ‘ro’ is the last character of his first name and might possibly be read as a 6.]
Q.01 In One Piece, what is your favorite story?
All of them.
Q.02 If you were to eat a Devil’s Fruit, which would you eat?
BARA BARA FRUIT
Q.03 Oda sensei becomes a pirate. What is your crew’s name?
Our Feet Firmly Planted in the Ground Pirate Crew
[Oda actually says ‘Funbari Kaizokudan’. The verb funbaru is to firmly brace one’s legs.]
Q.04 Will there be any more members joining the Luffy Pirate Crew?
That depends on Luffy’s heart’s content.
Q.01 Regarding sensei’s home prefecture, is there a special product from Kumamoto you would like to recommend?
Sliced raw horsemeat and lotus root with mustard. They’re delicious so eat em’ up.
[The dishes in Japanese are ‘basashi’ and ‘karashirenkon’.
Q.02 While sleeping, what kind of dreams do you have?
Dreams about products that can’t be made with present technology.
Q.03 You end up getting a time machine. Where will you go?
SEE SOME DINOSAURS THEN SOME SAMURAI AND THEN ROBOTS