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More "One Piece" Statues Eyed to Cheer Quake-Hit Kumamoto

More "One Piece" Statues Eyed to Cheer Quake-Hit Kumamoto

   Kumamoto, Jan. 10 (Jiji Press)--The Kumamoto prefectural government plans to set up more statues related to "One Piece," a hugely popular manga series, to cheer up local people after the southwestern Japan prefecture was hit by powerful earthquakes about three years ago.
   While venues for the statues of main characters from the manga will be decided by the prefectural government and the publisher, municipalities in the prefecture are in a tough race to host them.
   One Piece, created by Japanese cartoonist Eiichiro Oda, is an adventure story about Monkey D. Luffy, the protagonist of the manga series, who is a boy aiming to become the king of pirates, and his eight friends. The party is called "Mugiwara no Ichimi," or Straw Hat Pirates, because of Luffy's signature straw hat.
   One Piece has been published in Weekly Shonen Jump, a Japanese manga magazine mainly read by boys, since 1997, with the number of episodes having topped 900 last year. The manga is read in more than 40 nations and regions. Over 440 million One Piece comic books have been printed.
   Oda, born in the city of Kumamoto, received an honor from the Kumamoto prefectural government for supporting the local communities after the quakes by providing One Piece illustrations and donating a total of 800 million yen.

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