December 26, 2008 |
At 34, Masashi Kishimoto is one of the most successful manga-ka, or manga artists, in the world. His long-running series about ninja-in-training Naruto Uzumaki has sold tens of millions of books around the world. Kishimoto, born in the rural prefecture of Okayama, lives in Tokyo, where he works with several assistants. Although Naruto can be insufferably cocky at times, Kishimoto seems a bit overwhelmed by the runaway success of his first major creation. "It's rather awkward to talk about what makes Naruto appealing to audiences, but I think his being a knucklehead gives him an appeal," Kishimoto said in an interview conducted via e-mail with help from translator Hiromi Psaila.