ONE PIECE’s one and only Jinbe has joined the merry Straw Hat Pirate crew in Kumamoto!
If your first thought is cosplay, think again.
Kumamoto Prefecture is actually rather famous for housing no less than ten stunning ONE PIECE statues among which Jinbe is just the latest addition.
The gargantuan Jinbe statue was erected last month, on July 23, 2022, at the Sumiyoshi Kaigan Koen seaside park in Uto, Kumamoto Prefecture, Kyūshū.
Earlier in April 2022, it was revealed that the Jinbe statue would be installed in July 2022, with the precise date pending confirmation. Regrettably, we failed to follow up in a timely manner, but we believe that good news is never late in coming, so we’re about to rectify the mistake!
Straw Hat Pirates’ Quest for Kumamoto
How come there are so many famous ONE PIECE pirates in Kumamoto?
The reason is of a thoughtful, generous nature. Scilicet, the statues were erected to boost the prefectural recovery efforts following the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes.
Given that the ONE PIECE author Eiichiro Oda is from Kumamoto City, it’s no wonder that he and the publisher Shueisha teamed up with the Kumamoto government to help the stricken prefecture recover in the wake of the disaster.
A series of activities commenced immediately after the tragic events, with the ONE PIECE statue initiative promptly chiming in. The Kumamoto Revival Project has been abuzz with activity ever since, with the mangaka donating ¥800 million for the prefectural reconstruction efforts.
The gesture was promptly revered; Oda was granted the People’s Honor Award by the Kumamoto authorities in 2018.
The Straw Hats and the Castle
Truth be told, even without the Mugiwara Pirates, Kumamoto has plenty of attractions to display. The Kumamoto Castle (Kumamoto-jō) alone is attracting myriads of delighted tourists without any help from Luffy and the company.
Sadly, the Castle wasn’t spared, either: it was severely damaged in the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes. While some portions have been repaired, the complete restoration works are expected to conclude no sooner than 2036.
With luck, the Kumamoto Straw Hat Pirates will inspire further initiatives to step up the reconstruction. With One Piece Film: Red continually breaking its own world record, perhaps not all hope is lost!
In fact, the prospect just might be more optimistic than it may seem at first.
Namely, sixty-six individuals including the students of the local Shokei University’s Faculty of Contemporary Culture conducted research on the matter between October 2019 and January 2020, according to The Mainichi. In August 2020, the researchers promptly reported that the Kumamoto Luffy statue alone had managed to bolster the local economy by ¥2.6 billion (ca. $24 million) in just two years!
Pirates simply must live up to their reputation and Luffy is leading by example!
Where to find the Straw Hats in Kumamoto?
While Jinbe is overlooking the Uto seaside, other pirates are scattered elsewhere in the prefecture.
It’s been five eventful years since the first Straw Hat Pirate appeared in Kumamoto. The first statue to have been erected was Luffy’s; it was installed in Kumamoto City on November 30, 2018.
Luffy is ‘guarding’ the entrance to the Kumamoto Prefectural Offices. The exact address is: Kumamoto Prefectural Offices, Suizenji 6 chome 18-1, Chuo-ku, Kumamoto 862-8570.
Luffy was solitary for nearly an entire year before “Black Leg” Sanji and Usopp joined him.
The statue of Sanji was unveiled on December 7, 2019, while Usopp’s was installed on the following day. Sanji graces Mashiki — the town that sustained the heaviest earthquake damage in 2016. The statue is located in the athletic park behind the Mashiki Gymnasium.
The exact address is: Mashiki-machi Koryujoho Center, Kiyama 236, Mashiki-machi, Kamimashiki-gun, Kumamoto 861-2242.
Usopp stands guard in front of the Aso Bus Station, right next to the Aso Roadside Station. The location was well chosen; passengers from both stations are certain to be waylaid by the Syrup Village pirate as soon as they arrive!
The exact address is: JR Aso Station, Kurokawa, Aso, Kumamoto 869-2225.
The Tony Tony Chopper and Brook statues came next. They were revealed on November 7 and 8, 2020, respectively. The “Cotton Candy Lover” graces the entrance of the Kumamoto City Zoological and Botanical Gardens.
The exact address is: Kumamoto City Zoological and Botanical Gardens, Kengun 5-chome 14-2, Higashi-ku, Kumamoto 862-0911.
The “Soul King” is perched in the middle of the Fureai Hiroba Park, close to the Mifune Dinosaur Museum.
The exact address is: Fureai Hiroba, Kinokura 1253, Mifune, Kamimashiki-gun, Kumamoto 861-3204.
Franky’s statue was unveiled next to the Takamori Station in Aso on November 21, 2020. The “Iron Man” is greeting commuters just like Usopp.
The exact address is: Takamori Station, Takamori, Takamori, Aso, Kumamoto 869-1602.
The Nami statue is located in the village of Nishihara amid vibrant orange trees, as is likely to suit the taste of the “Cat Burglar.” The statue was unveiled near the Moe no Sato Mt. Tawara Exchange Center on July 31, 2021.
The exact address is: Moe no Sato Mt. Tawara Exchange Center, Komori 2115-3, Nishihara, Aso-gun, Kumamoto.
The “Light of the Revolution,” unpredictable Nico Robin got her Kumamoto statue on October 9, 2021. Being an archaeologist, it is only fitting that her statue is located within the Kumamoto Earthquake Memorial Museum (formerly The Minamiaso Tokai University campus).
The exact address is: Tokai University — Minamiaso Campus, Kawayo, Minamiaso-mura, Aso-gun, Kumamoto 869-1404.
The Roronoa Zoro statue was unveiled on January 22, 2022, in Ozu. The “Pirate Hunter” is gracing Central Park, so it’s difficult to overlook him!
The exact address is: Ozu Central Park, Ozu 1156-3, Kikuchi-gun, Kumamoto 869-1233.
Finally, the “Knight of the Sea” Jinbe statue (pictured on top) is perched in the Sumiyoshi Kaigan Park, alongside the main road leading to the Amakusa region.
The exact address is: Sumiyoshi Kaigan Park, Sumiyoshi-machi, Uto City 3162-1.
Quite befitting of the Straw Hat Pirates, to be all around the place! Even though visiting all of their Kumamoto statues may seem like an arduous task, at least you’ll get waylaid when getting off the bus!
Remember the Kumamoto Castle’s plight, too! Contribute by buying a drink or a snack. Every little is a gain!