A bronze statue of Jinbei was installed and unveiled at Kumamoto’s Sumiyoshi Kaigan Park on July 23, 2022. The unveiling was streamed live on One Piece Kumamoto Reconstruction Project‘s official YouTube channel and on the special live stream of One Piece Day 2.
Jinbei’s statue is the 10th and the final one in line of Straw Hat pirates statues that are being installed in Kumamoto prefecture as part of its revival project.
The official twitter account of One Piece staff tweeted the images of the statue following the unveiling ceremony. A special illustration was drawn by Oda to commemorate the release.
Earlier this year, Zoro’s bronze statue was unveiled at Ozu Central Park in Kumamoto. It was preceded by Robin’s bronze statue, which was installed at Eiichiro Oda’s hometown on Oct 9, 2021.
The Kumamoto revival project began in 2016, after Oda, a Kumamoto native, vowed to help with the town’s reconstruction after being hit by an earthquake in April 2016.
“I was born in Kumamoto. It is my hometown. To everyone greatly affected by the damage, I hope you are doing well from the bottom of my heart. I was able to reach my family and friends. They are scared but hanging in there. Everyone I contacted said things to put me at ease. They are so strong!! But there is a limit to human endurance. Before they reach their limit, I want to comfort them somehow. Adults must not worry their children. Most of all, I want the children to laugh! If they laugh, adults can do their best! Right now, it is still hard for us civilians to help. But I will definitely help with the relief effort! Don’t give up,” Oda’s message after the earthquake read.
As part of the collaboration between One Piece and Kumamoto prefecture, exclusive merchandise and goods were created to hand out to people who donated to the earthquake ravaged town. A series of other similar events were carried out to help with the rebuilding of the town.
In April 2018 Oda was awarded the “People’s Honor Award” to honor his contributions. The author has contributed over 800 million yen ($7.1 Million) for the earthquake relief in the area.
The first statue to be installed in Kumamoto as part of its reconstruction was of Monkey D. Luffy on Nov 30, 2018 outside Kumamoto Prefectural Government Office. It was followed by Sanji and Usopp’s statues in 2019 and Chopper’s in 2020.
While statues might seem a bit sketchy to spend relief money, the idea here is to attract tourists to the area. By making Kumamoto’s Tourist spots tourers will pay to use local facilities and buy local goods.
Researchers from Shokei University surveyed people who visited the Luffy statue in 2019 and 2020 and estimated that the statue attracts 55,211 visitors per year, putting 2.67 billion yen into the local economy.
To make this whole project more interesting, Oda also wrote a backstory to tie the statues together. According to the story, when Luffy’s crew landed in Kumamoto, they saw the damage and decided to help out.
Luffy deployed his crew around the prefecture, sending each one to a place where their skill set would be useful to the local people. Each of the statues has an information board, informing visitors about the local area and the damage it sustained.
Source: Twitter, YouTube
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