In the series’ 89th compiled volume, Oda wrote an author’s comment that has upset Japanese nationalists. Oda described eating with a group of people, and when one piece of karaage (Japanese fried chicken) was left on a plate, someone exclaimed “Sergent Yokio is left behind! Someone end the war!!”
The comment refers to Sergent Shouichi Yokoi, who was one of the last holdouts of the Japanese Imperial Army. In 1943, Yokoi was stationed in Guam and hid in the jungle after the United States captured the island a year later. He was discovered by local hunters in 1974 while waiting for the Imperial Army to rescue him. Yokoi became a national hero and became immortalized after commenting, “it is with much embarrassment that I return.”
Nationalistic commentators accused Oda of disparaging Yokoi, who has become a symbol of Japanese loyalty. Commentators said that Yokoi should be revered for his undying loyalty to Japan and pitied for living in a Guam jungle for 28 years. Japan, like most countries, has a strong contingent of citizens that believe that joking about war veterans should be off limits.
Despite the mounting pressure, it doesn’t seem like Oda will issue an apology. However, the Weekly Shonen Jump editors have apologized on his behalf, citing that his comments “lacked consideration.”