Masashi Kishimoto

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In this Japanese name, the family name is “Kishimoto”.
Masashi Kishimoto
Born Kishimoto Masashi
岸本 斉史
November 8, 1974 (age 38)
Nagi, Okayama, Japan
Residence Okayama Prefecture, Japan
Nationality Japanese
Occupation Manga artist
Known for Naruto
Influenced by Katsuhiro Otomo, Akira Toriyama
Relatives Seishi Kishimoto (younger twin brother)

Masashi Kishimoto (岸本 斉史 Kishimoto Masashi?, born 8 November 1974[1]) is a Japanese manga artist, well known for creating the manga series Naruto. A reader of manga ever since a young age, Kishimoto showed a desire to write his own manga, citing authors Akira Toriyama and Katsuhiro Otomo as his main inspirations. His younger twin brother, Seishi Kishimoto, is also a manga artist and creator of the manga series 666 Satan (O-Parts Hunter) and Blazer Drive. During the publication of Naruto, Kishimoto got married and became a father.[2]



Early life

Masashi Kishimoto was born on November 8, 1974 as the older identical twin of Seishi Kishimoto in the Okayama Prefecture, Japan.[1] During his childhood, Kishimoto showed interest in drawing characters from the shows he watched, such as Dr. Slumps Arale and Doraemon‘s titular protagonist.[3][4] In elementary school, Kishimoto started watching the anime series Kinnikuman and Dragon Ball alongside his twin.[5] During the following years, Kishimoto started idolizing Dragon Ball‘s author Akira Toriyama, enjoying not only his series Dragon Ball and Dr. Slump, but also Dragon Quest, a role-playing video game for which Toriyama was art designer. While he could not afford to buy Weekly Shōnen Jump where the Dragon Ball manga was published, he followed the series thanks to a friend from school who had subscribed to the magazine.[6][7] By high school Kishimoto started losing interest in manga as he started playing baseball and basketball, sports he practiced at his school. However, upon seeing a poster for the animated film Akira, Kishimoto became fascinated with the way the illustration was made and wished to imitate the series’ creator Katsuhiro Otomo‘s style.[8]

During his last years of school, Kishimoto spent time drawing manga and went to an art college hoping he would become a manga artist.[9] Upon entering college, Kishimoto decided he should try creating a Chanbara manga since Weekly Shōnen Jump had not published a title from that genre. However, during the same years, Kishimoto started reading Hiroaki Samura‘s Blade of the Immortal and Nobuhiro Watsuki‘s Rurouni Kenshin which used such genre. Kishimoto recalls having never been surprised by manga ever since reading Akira and found that he still was not able to compete against them.[10] In his second year of college, Kishimoto started drawing manga for magazine contests. However, he noted that his works were similar to seinen manga, aimed towards a young adult demographic, rather than the shōnen manga read by children.[11] Wishing to write a manga for Shōnen Jump that targets a young demographic, Kishimoto found his style unsuitable for the magazine.[12] When watching the anime series Hashire Melos!, Kishimoto was surprised by the character designs employed by the animators and he started researching works from animators. He later met Tetsuya Nishio, designer from the anime adaptation of the manga Ninku who he deemed as a big influence.[13] Now emulating the way of drawing from multiple character designers from anime series, Kishimoto noted that his style started resembling shōnen series.[14]


Kishimoto’s first work as a manga artist was Karakuri (カラクリ?), which he submitted to Shueisha in 1995. This earned him Weekly Shōnen Jump’s monthly “Hop Step Award” in 1996, granted to promising new manga artists.[15] This was followed in 1997 by a one-shot version of Naruto (NARUTO-ナルト-?), published in Akamaru Jump Summer. In December 1997, Kishimoto premiered as a Weekly Shōnen Jump artist with a serialized version of Karakuri in Weekly Shōnen Jump 1998 No. 4-5, but it was immediately canceled due to poor performance in reader polls. In September 1999, a serialized version of Naruto premiered in ‘Weekly Shōnen Jump 1999 No. 43, and quickly became a hit. Naruto is still ongoing, with over 60 volumes published, and has sold over 113 million copies in Japan and over 95 million copies in the US,[16] 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,[17] accounting for nearly 10% of all manga sales in the US in 2006.[18] 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.[18] Responding to Naruto‘s success, Kishimoto said in Naruto Collector Winter 2007/2008 that he was “very glad that the American audience has accepted and understood ninja. It shows that the American audience has good taste… because it means they can accept something previously unfamiliar to them.”[19]

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.[20][21][22] In 2009, Kishimoto designed an extra costume for the video game character Lars Alexandersson for Tekken 6, and in 2010 this character appeared in Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 as part of a special cross-promotion.[23] In 2010, Kishimoto also produced a one-shot baseball manga, Bench (ベンチ Benchi?), as part of Jump’s “Top of the Super Legend” project, a series of six one-shot manga by famed Weekly Shōnen Jump artists. For the ninth Naruto film, Road to Ninja: Naruto the Movie, Kishimoto was responsible for both the story and characters’ designs.[24] In order to promote the film, Kishimoto also worked in Motion Comic Naruto a DVD that shows scenes from the manga in 3D that was given to the first 1.5 million people who went to the cinema.[25] Regarding Naruto‘s publication Kishimoto told Tetsuya Nishio in July 2012 that the series would take over a year and a half to end. However, Kishimoto admitted that it now appears that the manga will continue beyond that timeframe.[26]


  • 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 one-shot (1997; published in Akamaru Jump Summer (1997) and Naruto: The Official Fanbook (2002))
  • Karakuri (December 21, 1997; debuted and canceled in Weekly Shōnen Jump 1998 No. 4-5)
  • Naruto (September 21, 1999 – ongoing; serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump, debuted in Weekly Shōnen Jump 1999 No. 43)
  • Bench one-shot (October 11, 2010, published in Weekly Shōnen Jump 2010 No. 45)


  • 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”)[27]
  • Naruto: The Official Fanbook (NARUTO―ナルト―[秘伝·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”)[28]
  • 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”)[29]
  • 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”)[30]
  • 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”)[31]


  • The Art of Naruto: Uzumaki (岸本斉史画集 UZUMAKI Kishimoto Masashi Gashū: Uzumaki?, lit. “The Art of Masashi Kishimoto: Uzumaki”)[32]
  • Paint Jump: Art of Naruto (PAINT JUMP Art of NARUTO-ナルト-?)[33]
  • The Art of Naruto: Naruto (NARUTO―ナルト―イラスト集 NARUTO Naruto Irasuto-shū: Naruto?, lit. “Naruto Illustration Collection: Naruto”)[34]


  • Naruto: Tales of a Gutsy Ninja (NARUTO―ナルト―ド根性忍伝 Naruto: Dokonjō Ninden?) — 2010, illustrator
  • Naruto: Blood Prison (NARUTO―ナルト―鬼燈の城(ブラッド・プリズン) Naruto: Buraddo Purizun?) — 2011, illustrator



While as a child, Kishimoto enjoyed reading manga, he was inspired to write one after seeing a promotional image for the film Akira. This made him analyze the artwork of Akira‘s original author, Katsuhiro Otomo, as well as Akira Toriyama, another artist he admired. Realizing both had their own style regarding the designs, Kishimoto decided to draw manga while crafting his own images.[8] 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.[35] Kishimoto cites Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball series as one of his influences, noting that Goku, the protagonist of Dragon Ball, was a key factor when creating Naruto Uzumaki due to his energetic and mischievous personality.[36] When redesigning three characters for the series, Kishimoto cites The Matrix, one of his favorite movies, as an inspiration for such outfits.[37] He has also cited Yoshihiro Togashi as one of his favorite manga authors,[38] while the manga Sasuke by Sanpei Shirato, a series which Kishimoto likes, inspired Kishimoto in the development of the character Sasuke Uchiha.[39] During the series’ publication, Kishimoto got married and had children. The changes to his personal life affected the series as he made the protagonist Naruto Uzumaki shortly meet his parents, something the author wanted the character to feel based on his own experience as a father.[2]

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.[40] 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.[41]


  1. ^ a b Kishimoto, Masashi (2002-10-04) (in Japanese). NARUTO―ナルト―[秘伝·兵の書]オフォシャルファンBOOK. Japan: Shueisha. p. 205. ISBN 4-08-873321-5.
  2. ^ a b Kido, Misaki C. (January 2012). “Interview with Masashi Kishamoto (Creator of Naruto)”. Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha (Viz Media) (01-30-12): 118–121.
  3. ^ Kishimoto, Masashi (2005). Naruto, Volume 7. Viz Media. p. 66. ISBN 978-1-59116-875-1.
  4. ^ Kishimoto, Masashi (2005). Naruto, Volume 7. Viz Media. p. 104. ISBN 978-1-59116-875-1.
  5. ^ Kishimoto, Masashi (2005). Naruto, Volume 8. Viz Media. p. 27. ISBN 978-1-4215-0124-6.
  6. ^ Kishimoto, Masashi (2005). Naruto, Volume 8. Viz Media. p. 66. ISBN 978-1-4215-0124-6.
  7. ^ Kishimoto, Masashi (2005). Naruto, Volume 8. Viz Media. p. 86. ISBN 978-1-4215-0124-6.
  8. ^ a b Kishimoto, Masashi (2006). Naruto, Volume 10. Viz Media. p. 157. ISBN 978-1-4215-0240-3.
  9. ^ Kishimoto, Masashi (2007). Naruto, Volume 13. Viz Media. p. 26. ISBN 978-1-4215-1087-3.
  10. ^ Kishimoto, Masashi (2007). Naruto, Volume 13. Viz Media. p. 66. ISBN 978-1-4215-1087-3.
  11. ^ Kishimoto, Masashi (2007). Naruto, Volume 15. Viz Media. p. 66. ISBN 978-1-4215-1089-7.
  12. ^ Kishimoto, Masashi (2007). Naruto, Volume 15. Viz Media. p. 86. ISBN 978-1-4215-1089-7.
  13. ^ Kishimoto, Masashi (2007). Naruto, Volume 15. Viz Media. p. 106. ISBN 978-1-4215-1089-7.
  14. ^ Kishimoto, Masashi (2007). Naruto, Volume 15. Viz Media. p. 126. ISBN 978-1-4215-1089-7.
  15. ^ Kishimoto, Masashi (2007). Naruto, Volume 16. Viz Media. p. 150. ISBN 978-1-4215-1090-3.
  16. ^ “The Origin of Naruto – Naruto Shippuden – Official U.S Site” (Press release). Vizmedia/Shueisha. 11 August 2009.
  17. ^ “USA Today’s Top 150 Best Seller list features Viz Media’s Shonen Jump’s Naruto manga at number 29” (Press release). Viz Media. 7 March 2006.
  18. ^ a b “Naruto Nabs Quill Award”. ICv2. 2006-10-12. Retrieved 2008-04-07.
  19. ^ “10th Anniversary: The Masashi Kishimoto Files”. Shonen Jump (Viz Media) 7 (11). November 2009.
  20. ^ SHONEN JUMP talks with NARUTO creator MASASHI KISHIMOTO: The Hokage Speaks, American Shonen Jump (May 2006)
  21. ^ Naruto Vol. 24, p. 169.
  22. ^ Naruto vol. 6, p. 66.
  23. ^ Ciolek, Todd (5 August 2009). “The X Button Guilty Motivation”. Anime News Network. Retrieved 7 August 2009.
  24. ^ “Naruto: Road to Ninja Film’s Story, Designs Penned by Kishimoto”. Anime News Network. March 21, 2012. Retrieved March 21, 2012.
  25. ^ “1.5 Million Naruto Movie-Goers to Get Motion Comic DVD”. Anime News Network. Retrieved July 29, 2012.
  26. ^ “Kishimoto: Naruto Manga to Continue Longer Than 1.5 Years”. Anime News Network. July 27, 2012. Retrieved August 3, 2012.
  27. ^ Kishimoto, Masashi (4 July 2002) (in Japanese). 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. Japan: Shueisha. ISBN 4-08-873288-X.
  28. ^ Kishimoto, Masashi (4 October 2002) (in Japanese). NARUTO―ナルト―[秘伝·兵の書]オフォシャルファンBOOK. Naruto. Japan: Shueisha. ISBN 4-08-873321-5.
  29. ^ Kishimoto, Masashi (4 April 2005) (in Japanese). 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. Japan: Shueisha. ISBN 4-08-873734-2.
  30. ^ Kishimoto, Masashi (4 September 2008) (in Japanese). 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. Japan: Shueisha. ISBN 978-4-08-874247-2.
  31. ^ Kishimoto, Masashi (4 December 2009) (in Japanese). 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. Japan: Shueisha. ISBN 978-4-08-874834-4.
  32. ^ Kishimoto, Masashi (2 July 2004) (in Japanese). NARUTO―ナルト― 岸本斉史画集 UZUMAKI. Naruto. Japan: Shueisha. ISBN 4-08-873706-7.
  33. ^ Kishimoto, Masashi (4 April 2008) (in Japanese). PAINT JUMP Art of NARUTO-ナルト-. Naruto. Japan: Shueisha. ISBN 978-4-08-782168-0.
  34. ^ Kishimoto, Masashi (8 July 2009) (in Japanese). NARUTO―ナルト―イラスト集 NARUTO. Naruto. Japan: Shueisha. ISBN 978-4-08-874823-8.
  35. ^ Kishimoto, Masashi (2007). Uzumaki: the Art of Naruto. Viz Media. p. 138. ISBN 1-4215-1407-9.
  36. ^ Kishimoto, Masashi (2007). Uzumaki: the Art of Naruto. Viz Media. p. 139. ISBN 1-4215-1407-9.
  37. ^ Kishimoto, Masashi (2007). Uzumaki: The Art of Naruto. Viz Media. p. 127. ISBN 1-4215-1407-9.
  38. ^ Kishimoto, Masashi (December 4, 2009) (in Japanese). 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. Japan: Shueisha. p. 74–81. ISBN 978-4-08-874834-4.
  39. ^ “Interview: Tracking Down the Source”. Shonen Jump Naruto Collector 3 (Viz Media). August 2007.
  40. ^ Kishimoto, Masashi (2007). Uzumaki: the Art of Naruto. Viz Media. pp. 112–114. ISBN 1-4215-1407-9.
  41. ^ Kishimoto, Masashi (2007). Uzumaki: the Art of Naruto. Viz Media. p. 118. ISBN 1-4215-1407-9.


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