On October 24, Weekly Shonen Jump announced a One Piece campaign to raise funds for Kumamoto Prefecture, which was badly damaged by earthquakes in April this year. Eiichiro Oda, the creator of One Pieceand a Kumamoto native, celebrated the project with this artwork of the Straw Hat Pirates in front of Kumamoto Castle (which was damaged).
Two trains with One Piece artwork will run in the prefecture: the Kumagawa Rail Road from Hitoyoshi Hot Springs to Yunomae, which went into action on October 29, and the Minami Aso Railway in Minami (South) Aso and Takamori, which will begin service on November 27. Masami Tsuruta, Yunomae’s mayor, attended the Kumagawa One Piece train launch ceremony and commented, “Everyone’s smiles are returning; if only all of Kumamoto could feel better.” The trains feature announcements by the One Piece voice actors and passengers receive cards depicting One Piece characters in the settings they are passing through.
The other aspects of the campaign will be:
- Kumamoto Castle Restoration: Those who donate over 10,000 yen to restore Kumamoto Castle will be designated “Masters of Castle Restoration” and can receive exclusive One Piece merchandise.
- Mashiki Tax Payment: Those who donate over 10,000 yen to Mashiki, the town most badly damaged by the earthquakes, will also receive exclusive One Piece goods.
- Takamori and Yunomae Stamp Rallies: Visit locations around these towns and collect stamps which can be exchanged for stickers. One Piece memorabilia, including scripts, artwork and figures, will be on display at several locations.
- One Piece and Kumamon (the beloved bear mascot of Kumamoto Prefecture) charity goods, which will go on sale in December
Oda had earlier expressed his support for his hometown in a hand-written note, which also included Kumamon. Luffy’s voice actress, Mayumi Tanaka, and the One Piece kabuki troupe also cheered the region on.