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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. 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.
Masashi Kishimoto was born on November 8, 1974 as the older identical twin of Seishi Kishimoto in the Okayama Prefecture, Japan. During his childhood, Kishimoto showed interest in drawing characters from the shows he watched, such as Dr. Slump's Arale and Doraemon's titular protagonist. In elementary school, Kishimoto started watching the anime series Kinnikuman and Dragon Ball alongside his twin. 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 Ballmanga was published, he followed the series thanks to a friend from school who had subscribed to the magazine. 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.
During his last years of school, Kishimoto spent time drawing manga and went to an art college hoping he would become a manga artist. 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. 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. Wishing to write a manga for Shōnen Jump that targets a young demographic, Kishimoto found his style unsuitable for the magazine. 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. Now emulating the way of drawing from multiple character designers from anime series, Kishimoto noted that his style started resembling shōnen series.
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