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An interview

The Internet is a truly wonderful place. One now-defunct OP site that I used to visit often had the transcript of a television interview that a local television station back in Kumamoto (the home-state of our beloved author). This show, "Issho DE Night", is an ultra-local program (to the level that I can call it "a show on the community channel") apparently on TV Kumamoto (which strangely enough is one of the Fuji network stations that currently airs the OP anime); and the maintainer of the transcript got a 4th-gen VHS from someone living in Kumamoto (another reason to love the Internet, I guess).

The show was aired to recipients of this local television show on January 4, 1998.

  (Program begins)

Host   This week, we are inviting people from Kumamoto whose works are known all over Japan...
Reporter   ... and will be broadcasting it from the new home of our host, Issei-san.
(shift scene to airport)

Reporter   Right now, I am at the Kumamoto Airport, filled with people who are coming back home to spend New Year's Day with their families.
We have received information that... (ta-dah!) ... among these crowds is a manga artist from Kumamoto that is currently running this series in Shonen Jump; and we have come here to pick him up.
Well, I heard that Oda-sensei is still young, so my expectations are rather high... I'm looking forward to this.
(As the reporter holds onto the Jump...)

Staff   (not into mic; barely audible) So we've been waiting here a while.
Reporter   (cough) Oh, are you Oda-sensei by perchance?
Oda-sensei   Yes.
Reporter   Oh, welcome home. And nice to meet you.
Oda-sensei   Same here.
Reporter   My name is Hayashi, and I'm from TV Kumamoto. We're here to escort you home.
Oda-sensei   Oh, thank you very much.
Reporter   I assume you were on your way home. How long has it been since you were last here?
Oda-sensei   Oh, it's been a whole year.
Reporter   Oh, a whole year?
(Now at Oda-sensei's house. The reporter gets an autograph.)

Reporter   I've never seen one before... (sigh) It's real....
Oda-sensei   Yes.
Reporter   Wow, a real autograph!
Oh wow....
Wow... I'm tremendously happy! Thank you very much!
Aren't you jealous, Issei-san? This is mine!
(now at the house)

Host   Happy New Year.
Reporter   Happy New Year.
Oda-sensei   Happy New Year.
Reporter   Welcome!
Host   Yes! Welcome home!
Oda-sensei   Oh, thank you. I'm back, I guess.
Reporter   Oh, please, sit however you like. Make yourself comfortable.
Oda-sensei   All right...
Host   Yes.
Reporter   This isn't something to make you nervous.
Oda-sensei   Okay.
Host   Yes. Let's be really casual about it.
Oda-sensei   All right.
Reporter   Really! It's all right, this is an easygoing household!
Host   Yup, yup. But that's going too far. (they are filming at the host's house)
Reporter   (laughs)
Host   This is my house.
Reporter   So, how about a toast?
Host   Why, yes.
Oda-sensei   Yes.
Host   Then... welcome back! Cheers!
Reporter   Welcome home! And thanks for coming!
Oda-sensei   T-Thank you.
Host   Man, this is good.
(Introducing Oda-sensei)

Reporter   So let me introduce him once again. Well, currently, he runs a series over here in Shounen Jump... uh... (laughs)
Host   What is it?
Reporter   (chuckle) ... he runs the series ONE PIECE in Jump. Eiichiro Oda-sensei.
Host   Thanks for the intro. And sorry about that.
Oda-sensei   It's all right. (laughs)
Host   How does it feel to be back in Kumamoto?
Oda-sensei   Well, it is relaxing.
Host   Relaxing?
Oda-sensei   Yes.
Host   Well, um... I don't understand how manga... ... how manga artists live. I've always wondered how they went along their daily lives....
Reporter   Hmm...
Oda-sensei   Oh? W-We draw manga like people normally work, we eat, and we sleep.
Reporter   (laugh) But, um... (laughs)
(How to draw manga)

Host   .... For instance?
Oda-sensei   There is a process called the "name".
Host   Name?
Oda-sensei   Yes.
Host   What is a "name"?
Oda-sensei   A "name" is a draft before the rough draft in a manga.
Host   I see...
Oda-sensei   I plan out the frames, and make very rough sketches.
Host   Hmm...
Oda-sensei   Basically, yeah, I create the story. I create the story, then submit them to the meetings of the editorial staff.
Host/Reporter   I see...
Oda-sensei   And sometimes it gets used, and sometimes it gets axed. It varies.
Host/Reporter   I see...
Oda-sensei   If it's a good story, it will pass. If it's not good, you can be rejected for years on end
Jost/Reporter   Oooooh....
Host   And so ONE PIECE has been published now.
Oda-sensei   Yes.
Host   So do they tell you that you made it via a postcard or something?
Oda-sensei   No, not at all. But the editor that is in charge of me said "Yeah, we'll use it. No, wait, we're running a series with it."
Host/Reporter   A series.
Oda-sensei   They decided it would be a series!
Host   A series!
Oda-sensei   Yes!
Host   Let's toast to that!
Oda-sensei   Why, yes, thank you.
Reporter   (laughs) Congratulations.
And so, you've been running this series since last June.
Host   (Hands Oda-sensei some tea)
Oda-sensei   Oh, thank you.
Reporter   And at the end of last year.... so it just came out. On December 27. This compilation.
Host   Oooooo....
Reporter   It came out.
Host   Oh, he started with the sea urchin!
Reporter   (laughs)
Oda-sensei   Yeah. It's delicious.
Host   You started things off with the sea urchin.
Oda-sensei   Yup.
Host   So there is no sense of order?
Oda-sensei   Nope, there are none.
Reporter   No more waiting... especially for an artist that hires 4 assistants!
Host   Oh, I see, that's why he can eat sea urchins.
Oda-sensei   I eat sea urchins, too.
Reporter   (laughs)
(What kind of a manga is it?)

Host   So what's the story?
Oda-sensei   Oh, um... it's a story about pirates. Yes, they have a huge adventure.
Host   Oh, then, L-Luffy?
Oda-sensei   Yes, Luffy. The story is about his huge adventures.
Host   I see. Oh, so while he has the adventures, there are things that are... how to say it... humanitarian?
Oda-sensei   In a way, yes. It is heart-warming.
Host   Yes...

Host   Oda-sensei.
Oda-sensei   Yes?
Host   You know...
Oda-sensei   It's embarrassing.
Host   I mean, you see, this kind, smiling face!
He seems like someone from a porn movie more than Oda-sensei, an artist.
Oda-sensei   Really!
Reporter   (chuckle) I see...
But why are you smiling so much? The year has just begun...
Host   Why?
Oda-sensei   Well, uh, it's an occasion to celebrate.
Host   It is, isn't it?
Oda-sensei   Yes.
Reporter   Are you guys planning something weird after this?
Host   Of course not.
Reporter   Are you planning to go somewhere after this?
Host/Oda-sensei   Oh, of course not.
(In the end)

Host   So, um.... We had Oda-san draw this.
Something like a motto for this year, or just his slogan.
So, will you show us?
Oda-sensei   Sure.
Host   (ta-dah.) "No problem."
Oda-sensei   Yes.
Host   What doesn't have a problem?
Oda-sensei   I'm not really sure.
Host   So, what kind of a year would you like this year to be?
Oda-sensei   Well, for starters, I want ONE PIECE to succeed.
Yes, and I want to do the best with it.
Host   Of course. I wish you the best in the future.
Thank you for coming today.
Lastly, since you came back to your native land, will you send a message out to the people in front of the TV?
Oda-sensei   A message?
Host   Yes.
Oda-sensei   Well, Happy New Year.
Let's spend this year like the last, with no problems to worry about.
Host   Yes, let's do it.
Oda-sensei   Yes, do our b--
Reporter   Huh?
Oda-sensei   Let's do our best!
Host   Let's do our best!
Oda-sensei   Let's do our best!
Host   Let's do our best!
Yes, we shall do our best.
Oda-sensei   Yes.
Host   Right?
Oda-sensei   Thanks.
Host   And so... um... it's extremely easy for him to draw, but he's not that great with speaking....
Oda-sensei   I'm not good at speaking.
All   (laughs)
Oda-sensei   I'm sorry.
Host   Oh, it's all right. We'll be cheering for you, so do your best as well.
Oda-sensei   Thank you very much.
Host   So support ONE PIECE!
Oda-sensei   Please do.
Host   And so, our guest today was Mr. Eiichiro Oda.
Reporter   Yes. Thank you so much for coming today.
Oda-sensei   Oh, thank you.

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