The Kumamoto earthquakes devastated Kyushu in April of this year. Killing 120 people, they tore through several of the region’s iconic landmarks, including Kumamoto Castle which had stood since the 15th century in Kumamoto city. Kumamoto city itself is also known for being the birthplace of manga artist Eiichiro Oda. And so, Oda has stood in support of the One Piece Kumamoto Recovery Project, gathering Straw Hats nationwide in aid of the people and places affected.
The project encourages donations as part of its five components. All who donate over 10,000 yen to Kumamoto Castle between November 1st, 2016 and March 31st, 2017, will be dubbed “Masters of Castle Restoration” and receive an original item of One Piece merchandise. All who donate over 10,000 yen hometown tax to Mashiki, one of the most destroyed areas, will receive an original illustration from Oda. All profits made from Showa Note’s collaboration goods featuring One Piece and Kumamon, Kumamoto’s mascot character, will be donated to Kumamoto once they’re on sale in December. Stamp rallies in exchange for stickers will be held in Takamori and Yunomae, with One Piece memorabilia, including scripts, artwork and figures, on display at several locations. And finally, Kumagawa Rail Road and Manami Aso Railway will run One Piece wrapping trains until February 2017.
Soon after the disaster, the official One Piece website posted this illustration message from Oda:
A huge earthquake has struck Kumamoto (and all Kyushu area).
I was born in Kumamoto, it’s my hometown.
I would like to offer my deep and sincere sympathy to the people who have suffered direct damage.
I have been luckily able to make contact directly with my family and friends. They are still afraid, but are also trying to keep hanging on. Everyone even says things that make me feel relieved.
How strong they are!
But people cannot brace themselves forever. I hope the situation will be settled before their strength is entirely spent. Adults are doing their best not to make children worried. I want children to smile the most!! Because that’s the best encouragement for adults!!
Currently it is a little difficult to provide supports from private sectors, but I promise that I will definitely help the reconstruction. So please hang in there!
Luffy says, “Don’t give up!! I will surely go there!!”