EIICHIRO ODA was born January 1, 1975 in the city of Kumamoto (in the prefecture of Kumamoto). He decided to pursue a career as a a manga artist at the age of 4 (because they didn’t have to work in companies as adults).
Unlike many youth who give up this dream, he kept nurturing it as he grew up; and at age 17, he received a Silver Honors (“jun-nyuusen”), the second highest honor available (that’s why I translitersated “jun”, which usually means “sub”, as “silver”) from the 44th semi-annual Tezuka Awards (a “story” manga artist scouting contest co-hosted by the editorial staffs of Weekly Jump and Monthly Jump, this is the contest that many other familiar.
Weekly Jump faces, such as Yoshihiro Togashi, Hiroyuki Takei, Daisuke Higuchi, Takeshi Obata, Masanori Morita, Ryu Fujisaki, and even Masakazu Katsura got their big breaks) with his short story, WANTED!. His pen-name back then was “Getsu ka sui moku kin do”, i. e. “Moon Fire Water Wood Gold Earth”, or more commonly, “Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat”. ) His first work as a pro was Kami Kara Mirai no Present (A Gift of the Future from God), published in the October 1993 issue of Jump Original (Monthly Jump’s bimonthly spinoff). His talent was further noticed by the Weekly Jump staff when he got Gold Honors (“nyuusen”, i. e. he top honors much like a gold medal, which explains the transliteration once again) in the Hop-Step Awards (WJ’s monthly talent scout contest, now called the Tenkaichi Manga Awards) in 1993 with his work Ikki Yakou (One Devil’s Night Trip).
In 1994, he decided to leave college after the end of his freshman year to head out to Tokyo, and there, he studied as an assistant for three Jump authors: Shinobu Kaitani (Midoriyama Police Gang), Masaya Tokuhiro (Jungle no Ouja Tar-chan and Mizu no Tomodachi Kapparman), and Nobuhiro Watsuki (Rurouni Kenshin). During his apprenticehood, Mr. Oda published two short stories: Monsters in the 1994 Autumn Special (the seasonal spinoff magazine created by the Weekly Jump staff, now called Akamaru Jump) and the first of the two versions of Romance Dawn in the 1996 Summer Special. A few months later, he broke into the pages of Weekly Jump with the second incarnation of Romance Dawn, published in issue #41 of 1996. And as with any other short story that does well in Jump, the series ONE PIECE (yeah, the one that you’re reading this website for) started in #34 of 1997… and the rest is history. =)