Masashi Kishimoto (岸本 斉史, Kishimoto Masashi, born November 8, 1974) is a Japanese manga artist, well known for creating the manga series Naruto which was in serialisation from 1999 to 2014. He has a twin younger brother, Seishi, who also is a manga artist.
He's mostly known to be the Mangaka creator of Naruto. But he wrote some others manga before writing Naruto, such as Karakuri, Michikusa (a slice-of-life manga), and an action manga named Asian Punk. He then wrote the pilot version of Naruto, under the guidance of Kosuke Yahagi, his first editor, which was well received. He then received an offer for the serialisation of his manga Karakuri, but was cancelled immediately due to poor reception. He then went on writing Seinen Manga with Yakyuou and Mario (a Seinen mafia manga, he'll write later a complete one shot manga on this.) hoping to having better luck on Seinen magazines. Yahagi eventually persuades him to stay on Shounen, and he wrote Magic Mushroom, but is stopped by Yahagi when both of them agree to submit a reworked version of Naruto for serialization, and the rest is history.
On November 10th 2014, Kishimoto ended the 15-year run of Naruto. By the end of the publication, Naruto had spanned 72 volumes and (as of September 2014) generated global sales of more than 200 million copies. Masashi Kishimoto then took the time to take his wife on honeymoon, which he never had the time to do during Naruto's serialization.
Shonen Jump began publishing his new manga Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru, (which he's been working on since 2016) on May 2019, where he worked as the writer of the manga while being illustrated by Akira Okubo. It ended in March 2020.
Works associated with him:
- Asian Punk
- Naruto (1997) - The Naruto pilot
- Naruto - The work that catapulted him to fame.
- Boruto - Sequel to Naruto, acting as an editor and story supervisor, and from 2020 as a writer
- Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru - Writer of the manga.
Masashi Kishimoto and his works provide examples of:
- Creator-Preferred Adaptation: Kishimoto considers the best adaptation of Naruto to be... the Ultimate Ninja Storm video game series! He often says himself that it's more exciting than the manga, as detailed in this 2013 Saiyan Island interview.
- Creator's Favorite: At approximately 25:00 of this 2015 Viz Shonen Jump podcast, Kishimoto reveals that his favorite female character is Hinata, because "she's not violent at all."
- Creator's Pest: Kishimoto dislikes Sakura just as much as the majority of the fandom does:
- In this 2010 Jump Festa interview, Kishimoto admits that Sakura hasn't been much of a heroine by that point, and that there is no way she would become Hokage before Naruto. He also confesses that he intentionally made Sakura "detestable" for giving Naruto her infamous fake love confession in Chapter 469:Sakura's Voice Actress: With the latest developments, Sakura has...
Kishimoto: That chick is detestable for using Naruto's good will, but, well that's just how I'd think to write a realistic girl. You hear all the time that Sakura is a detestable person, but that's what seems to be the intention.
- In this 2014 Jump Festa interview, Kishimoto reveals that Sakura was included in the narrative because of Executive Meddling. He admits that he didn't plan on creating her because he's not good with female characters.
- In this 2014 Fuji TV Kobayashi interview, Kishimoto reveals that he thought Sakura would appeal to female fans, but he was surprised when she actually became hated. He acknowledges that a lot of people, including young girls, hate Sakura, and it's gotten to the point where he now continues on regretting her character as well. He also explains that the reason why Sakura's parents have never appeared in any canon work is specifically because of her detractors—Sakura is that unpopular that even if he expanded on her character by making her parents canon, she would still be hated and both she and her parents would be on the sidelines anyways, so he saw no point in canonizing them. As time went on, it was too late for Kishimoto to drop Sakura, so he tried to increase her popularity by making her more physically beautiful without changing her characterization, but in the end it had no effect because no one noticed. Finally, he states that Sakura was "always a pain to draw."
- In the aforementioned 2015 Viz Shonen Jump podcast, Kishimoto states that Sakura is not his favorite female character, because she's really violent and "kind of a hard woman."
- In this 2010 Jump Festa interview, Kishimoto admits that Sakura hasn't been much of a heroine by that point, and that there is no way she would become Hokage before Naruto. He also confesses that he intentionally made Sakura "detestable" for giving Naruto her infamous fake love confession in Chapter 469:
- Forgetful Jones: Is often given this trademark by the fandom, for not using more character X or Y. The truth is, as he revealed later, he thought about using more unused characters, but never quite found the right moment to do it, as he explained with Rock Lee:Interviewer: "Ah, right! So did you decide to include Rock Lee in the story more because he became so popular?"
Kishimoto: "Not necessarily. It's just what I heard. It kind of surprised me how popular he was, but it didn't necessarily lead to more plotlines with him in it, or anything like that. That's not to say that I didn't consider writing him in more or creating more stories about him, but the timing was never right, so I never had the opportunity."
- God Never Said That: The Naruto fandom has accused him several times of contradicting himself in interviews; however, the vast majority of times, those were actually instances of this:
- Kishimoto is often mentioned as having said that Sasuke is his favorite character, particularly by people who think he's a Creator's Pet with too much screentime. He actually said Sasuke is his favorite character... to draw.
- During mid-2014, persistent rumors circulated about how Kishimoto had stated that the manga would end in 2014; in truth, he did say that the manga was nearing completion and was in its final arc, but didn't put forward a concrete deadline. This is a very peculiar example in that the manga did end in 2014 after all, so anyone who believed the rumor was Right for the Wrong Reasons.
- During the fandom meltdown surrounding the resolution of the series' Romance Arcs, several "translations" of Word of God were strategically circulated that were so out of touch with the original source that they had to have been deliberately engineered to cause grief, facilitate denial and mislead impressionable minds. Those consisted of a myriad in-universe and out-of-universe disheartening "true" reasons that the Official Couple got together - it was only because one of them felt sorry for the other and settled for her as a consolation prize; it only happened because of Executive Meddling and the author caving in to fan demands; the TRUE love standing in its way was there and mutual, but it never got to materialize merely due to some tragic misunderstanding, or ill-conceived and needless martyrdom on the part of the characters - the author failed to follow through on it on a vindictive whim, or because his hand was forced.
Compared to all of this, the truth is ridiculously banal; the Official Couple got together in the usual way that fictional couples do — because the author decided, from the early stages of the manga, that it would be great if they were to fall in love, so they did. No reservations, no cynical "yeah, but"s about it. Some of the "true" alternate explanations were just fabricated whole-cloth; others were "inspired" by actual Word of God that had little resemblance to them, and instead described considerations that are much less scandalous and are par-for-the-course for the occasion, e.g. "I threw in some nuggets towards one pairing just to throw their fans off, but I never thought about making that pairing official, because I already decided on the Official Couple at an early stage."
- Kishimoto's involvement with the production of the non-canon movie Naruto the Movie: Road to Ninja which is heavily loaded with Naruto/Sakura Ship Teasing, made a lot of their shipping fans to claim that the author was giving an explicit endorsement of the pairing and that it was meant to be the official one; in reality, Kishimoto was only involved with the characters' designs and story draft, while the actual script of the movie was done by Yuka Miyata, who was infamous for her Naruto/Sakura-teasing scene additions to the anime filler that didn't exist in the manga (although she stopped doing this after the manga ended and the anime continued to drag on, for obvious reasons).
- When the series was reaching its end, quite a few fans claimed that Kishimoto had confirmed that in the ending Naruto would have a son named Shinachiku, based on an interview made during the promotion of the aforementioned Road To Ninja movie; in reality during the interview Kishimoto when asked if Naruto would have a child how would he call him, he jokingly answered that probably Shinachiku. The real names for Naruto's children turned out to be Boruto and Himawari.
- A few of their shippers claimed that Kishimoto had confirmed in an interview that Naruto and Sakura's relationship was based upon his and his wife's; in reality during the interview when asked if his relationship was more similar to Naruto/Hinata than Sasuke/Sakura, he answers "it might not actually be like either", then when comparing Hinata to his wife he describes the latter as "strong", then it's the interviewer who suggests that Sakura could be more similar to Kishi's wife personality-wise (Naruto's relationship and dynamics with Sakura were not even mentioned).
- Some fans claimed that Kishimoto wanted to reboot the series after he finished it. In reality, according to this 2016 Jump Festa interview, the one who actually said that was his assistant, Mikio Ikemoto. Kishimoto has consistently said that he's happy with Naruto and the way he finished it, and Ikemoto stated that he loved the idea of making a sequel rather than a reboot, so after Kishimoto endorsed him to Shueisha, he began writing the Boruto manga under Kishimoto's supervision.
- Gratuitous Princess: In several of his works, the potential Love Interest happens to be a princess of sorts:
- Mario: Saori, a Mafia Princess out for revenge.
- Naruto: Hinata, heiress of the Hyuga clan and also the "Byakugan Princess".
- Samurai 8: Ann, Hachimaru's "Fated Princess".
- No Hugging, No Kissing:
- While Naruto has romance in it, even as an important part of its plot (and is a massively popular subject for Shipping fics), effectively NONE of it ever takes place on-page, due to his self-confessed inability to write romance, which he attributes to chronic embarrassment. Even in the epilogue chapter, you barely get to see any of the married couples interact with each other and the main ones everyone wanted to see, Naruto/Hinata and Sasuke/Sakura, didn't even appear on page at the same time (although in Sasuke's case, at least he has the excuse that he's Walking the Earth).
- Subverted with Naruto/Hinata, considering they get The Big Damn Kiss in the climax of the Canon movie The Last: Naruto the Movie. Kishimoto initially said he thought he wouldn't be able to watch the particular scene, but surprisingly enough he managed it and felt like "his kids had finally grown up and flown away from home."
- Shrug of God:
- Famously, during an interview, when the interviewer told him that many fans were hoping that Hinata would get a chance to be with Naruto, his answer was... "I hope so too". And she did, as shown in the Distant Finale and detailed in The Last.
- He said he wasn't even sure what gender Fu◊, the Seven-Tailed Horned Beetle◊ jinchūriki, is (was?) in one of the fanbooks. By the time Fu is later seen in the manga proper, he'd decided Fu was a girl.
- Post main series finale, he has claimed that he doesn't know who the mother of Rock Lee's son, Metal Lee, is.
- Trolling Creator: He's not as bad as some others, but the way he wrote the pairings raised a few eyebrows:
- He explains in this 2017 Jump Festa interview that he already decided that Naruto/Hinata would be the main Official Couple since the early stages of the manga, and he inserted all the Naruto/Sakura Red Herrings specifically to troll shipping fans.
- He trolled the shipping fandom again (specifically the Sasuke/Karin shippers who suggested that Sarada was in reality Karin's daughter) in the Post-Script Season Naruto Gaiden, with the revelation that Sarada could actually be the daughter of Sasuke with Karin instead of Sakura, he even added scene of a DNA test to confirm this causing the fandom to explode... but then in the end it was revealed that Sakura was indeed Sarada's biological mother all along, while Karin was the midwife during Sarada's birth. With this, Kishimoto's status of troll is fully confirmed.
- Worthy Opponent: He seems to be very good friend with One Piece's Eiichiro Oda, and the feeling is mutual. In fact, what cement this trope, is that Oda considered Naruto his biggest rival in Jump and felt the success of One Piece was partly because, since he had a rival, it motivated him to work ever harder. Kishimoto himself, already saw Oda as a legend when he started Naruto, much to the latter's embarrassment.