Masashi Kishimoto (岸本 斉史 Kishimoto Masashi?) (born 8 November, 1974) is a Japanese manga artist, well known for creating the manga series Naruto. His younger twin brother, Seishi Kishimoto, is also a manga artist and creator of the manga series 666 Satan and Blazer Drive. Two of his former assistants, Osamu Kajisa (Tattoo Hearts) and Yuuichi Itakura (Hand's), have also gone on to moderate success following their work on Naruto.
Kishimoto's first work as a manga artist was Karakuri, which he submitted to Shueisha in 1995. This earned him the Weekly Shōnen Jump's monthly "Hop Step Award," granted to promising new manga artists. In 1999, Naruto was serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump. Naruto is still ongoing, with more than 60 volumes and just over 57 released in English, and has sold over 100 million copies in Japan and over 4 million copies were sold in the US followed by over 93 million copies worldwide (outside Japan and United States) as of volume 36, also being adapted into two successful anime series. The Naruto manga series has become one of Viz Media's top properties, accounting for nearly 10% of all manga sales in 2006. The seventh volume of Viz's release became the first manga to ever win a Quill Award when it claimed the award for "Best Graphic Novel" in 2006. Besides his work in the manga, Kishimoto also designed an extra costume for the video game character Lars Alexandersson for Tekken 6.
In his interviews and exclusively in the Naruto manga, he commonly mentions his deceased plant, Ukki-kun. According to Kishimoto, the first time he had an office plant, due to missing the country atmosphere, he fed it undiluted plant food. He continued purchasing several other plants afterwards, but many of them perished.
When Kishimoto was originally creating the Naruto series, he looked to other shōnen manga for influences while attempting to make his characters as unique as possible. Kishimoto cites Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball series as one of these influences, noting that Son Goku, the protagonist of Dragon Ball, was a key factor when creating Naruto Uzumaki due to his energetic and mischievous personality. To complement the character Naruto, Kishimoto worked on creating a rival that was a "cool genius", as he believed this was "the archetypal rival character". After reviewing different manga for ideas, he ultimately developed Sasuke Uchiha. When creating the primary heroine, Kishimoto admitted, "I don't have a definite image of what a heroine should be". He eventually created Sakura Haruno, emphasizing "her energy and flirtatious spirit" as her primary characteristics. These three characters would be the mold for the other three main Naruto teams. For Kishimoto, Sasuke remains the most difficult character for him to draw. While drawing, errors and mishaps commonly result in Sasuke's youthful appearance being lost, a result of Kishimoto's inexperience in drawing characters mature beyond their years. Despite the time and energy Kishimoto spends drawing Sasuke, Sasuke has become his favorite character.
When drawing the characters, Kishimoto follows a five-step process that he consistently follows: concept and rough sketch, drafting, inking, shading, and coloring. These steps are followed when he is drawing the actual manga and making the color illustrations that commonly adorn the cover of tankōbon, the cover of Weekly Shōnen Jump, or other media, but the toolkit he utilizes occasionally changes. For instance, he utilized an airbrush for one illustration for a Weekly Shōnen Jump cover, but decided not to use it for future drawings largely due to the cleanup required.
When Kishimoto was creating the setting of the Naruto manga, he initially concentrated on the designs for the village of Konohagakure, the primary setting of the series. Kishimoto asserts that his design for Konohagakure was created "pretty spontaneously without much thought", but admits that the scenery is based on his home in Okayama Prefecture. Kishimoto created Konohagakure without specifying a specific era or location in the real world, noting that the village is "just a place in [his] head". Without a specific time period, Kishimoto included modern elements in the series such as convenience stores, but specifically excluded projectile weapons and vehicles from the storyline. For reference materials, Kishimoto performs his own research into Japanese culture and alludes to it in his work. In an interview, he commented that he "often visits Japanese gardens and [goes] to Kabuki performances" for reference material.
Kishimoto added that, as Naruto takes place in a "Japanese fantasy world," the creator has to "set certain rules, in a systematic way" so that he could easily "convey the story". Kishimoto wanted to "draw on" the Chinese zodiac tradition, which had a long-standing presence in Japan; the zodiac hand signs originate from this. Regarding technology Kishimoto said that Naruto would not have any firearms. He said he may include automobiles, aircraft, and "low-processing" computers; Kishimoto specified the computers would "maybe" be eight-bit and that they would "definitely not" be sixteen-bit.
- Karakuri one-shot (1996, Hop Step Award winner, published in Hop Step Award Selection 18 ('95~'96) (1996), Akamaru Jump Winter (1997), and Naruto: The Official Premium Fanbook (2009))
- Naruto pilot (1997, published in Akamaru Jump Summer (1997) and Naruto: The Official Fanbook (2002))
- Karakuri (April 1998 – May 1998, serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump)
- Naruto (November 1999 – ongoing, serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump)
- Naruto: First Official Data Book (NARUTO―ナルト―[秘伝·臨の書]キャラクターオフィシャルデータBOOK Naruto Hiden: Rin no Sho Kyarakutā Ofisharu Dēta Book?, lit. "Naruto [Secret Book: Record of Confrontation] Character Official Data Book")
- Naruto: The Official Fanbook (NARUTO―ナルト―[秘伝·兵の書]オフォシャルファンBOOK Naruto Hiden: Hyō no Sho Ofisharu Fan Book?, lit. "Naruto [Secret Book: Record of Warriors] Official Fan Book")
- The Art of Naruto: Uzumaki (岸本斉史画集 UZUMAKI Kishimoto Masashi Gashū: Uzumaki?, lit. "The Art of Masashi Kishimoto: Uzumaki")
- Naruto: Second Official Data Book (NARUTO―ナルト―[秘伝·闘の書]キャラクターオフィシャルデータBOOK Naruto Hiden: Tō no Sho Kyarakutā Ofisharu Dēta Book?, lit. "Naruto [Secret Book: Record of Battle] Character Official Data Book")
- Naruto: Third Official Data Book (NARUTO―ナルト―[秘伝·者の書]キャラクターオフィシャルデータBOOK Naruto Hiden: Sha no Sho Kyarakutā Ofisharu Dēta Book?, lit. "Naruto [Secret Book: Record of Someone] Character Official Data Book")
- The Art of Naruto: Naruto (NARUTO―ナルト―イラスト集 NARUTO Naruto Irasuto-shū: Naruto?, lit. "Naruto Illustration Collection: Naruto")
- Naruto: The Official Premium Fanbook (NARUTO―ナルト―[秘伝·皆の書]オフィシャルプレミアムファンBOOK Naruto Hiden: Kai no Sho Ofisharu Puremiamu Fan Book?, lit. "Naruto [Secret Book: Record of Everyone] Official Premium Fan Book")
- Tekken 6 (2009, guest character designer)
- Kishimoto, Masashi (2002-10-04). NARUTO―ナルト―[秘伝·兵の書]オフォシャルファンBOOK (in Japanese). Japan: Shueisha. p. 205. ISBN 4-08-873321-5.
- SHONEN JUMP talks with NARUTO creator MASASHI KISHIMOTO: The Hokage Speaks, American Shonen Jump (May 2006)
- Naruto Vol. 24, p.169
- Naruto vol. 6, p.66
- Vizmedia/Shueisha (August 11, 2009). "The Origin of Naruto - Naruto Shippuden - Official U.S Site". Press release. http://naruto.viz.com/manga.php.
- Viz Media (March 7, 2006). "USA Today's Top 150 Best Seller list features Viz Media's Shonen Jump's Naruto manga at number 29". Press release. http://www.viz.com/news/newsroom/2006/03_naruto.php.
- "Naruto Nabs Quill Award". ICv2. 2006-10-12. Retrieved 2008-04-07.
- Ciolek, Todd (August 5, 2009). "The X Button Guilty Motivation". Anime News Network. Retrieved August 7, 2009.
- Naruto manga volume 1, page 148 — ISBN 1-56931-900-6
- Kishimoto, Masashi (2007). Uzumaki: the Art of Naruto. Viz Media. p. 138. ISBN 1-4215-1407-9.
- Kishimoto, Masashi (2007). Uzumaki: the Art of Naruto. Viz Media. p. 139. ISBN 1-4215-1407-9.
- Kishimoto, Masashi (2007). Uzumaki: the Art of Naruto. Viz Media. p. 140. ISBN 1-4215-1407-9.
- Kishimoto, Masashi (2004). Naruto, Volume 3. Viz Media. p. 26. ISBN 1-59116-187-8.
- Kishimoto, Masashi (2007). Uzumaki: the Art of Naruto. Viz Media. pp. 112–114. ISBN 1-4215-1407-9.
- Kishimoto, Masashi (2007). Uzumaki: the Art of Naruto. Viz Media. p. 118. ISBN 1-4215-1407-9.
- Kishimoto, Masashi (2007). Uzumaki: the Art of Naruto. Viz Media. p. 145. ISBN 1-4215-1407-9.
- Shonen Jump #33 Volume 3, Issue 9 September 2005. Viz Media. p. 8.
- Kishimoto, Masashi (4 July 2002). NARUTO―ナルト―[秘伝·臨の書]キャラクターオフィシャルデータBOOK. Naruto (in Japanese). Japan: Shueisha. ISBN 4-08-873288-X.
- Kishimoto, Masashi (4 October 2002). NARUTO―ナルト―[秘伝·兵の書]オフォシャルファンBOOK. Naruto (in Japanese). Japan: Shueisha. ISBN 4-08-873321-5.
- Kishimoto, Masashi (2 July 2004). NARUTO―ナルト― 岸本斉史画集 UZUMAKI. Naruto (in Japanese). Japan: Shueisha. ISBN 4-08-873706-7.
- Kishimoto, Masashi (4 April 2005). NARUTO―ナルト―[秘伝·闘の書]キャラクターオフィシャルデータBOOK. Naruto (in Japanese). Japan: Shueisha. ISBN 4-08-873734-2.
- Kishimoto, Masashi (4 April 2008). PAINT JUMP Art of NARUTO－ナルト－. Naruto (in Japanese). Japan: Shueisha. ISBN 978-4-08-782168-0.
- Kishimoto, Masashi (4 September 2008). NARUTO―ナルト―[秘伝·者の書]キャラクターオフィシャルデータBOOK. Naruto (in Japanese). Japan: Shueisha. ISBN 978-4-08-874247-2.
- Kishimoto, Masashi (8 July 2009). NARUTO―ナルト―イラスト集 NARUTO. Naruto (in Japanese). Japan: Shueisha. ISBN 978-4-08-874823-8.
- Kishimoto, Masashi (4 December 2009). NARUTO―ナルト―[秘伝·皆の書]オフィシャルプレミアムファンBOOK. Naruto (in Japanese). Japan: Shueisha. ISBN 978-4-08-874834-4.
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