Are One Piece Navy Admirals designed after real life persons?

Inspiration behind One Piece Navy Admirals

We know that Eiichiro Oda has put his heart and soul into One Piece, but that’s not all. He has also put his favorite actors into One Piece as the inspiration behind his characters. These characters are none other than the One Piece Navy Admirals. 

In the SBS after chapter 558, a reader asked Oda if the admirals are based on some specific Japanese actors. And Oda had an affirmative answer to that question. You’d be shocked to see the resemblance between the actors and the characters. So let’s see who the flag bearers of justice in One Piece are based on. 

Who are the One Piece Navy Admirals based on in real life?

Kuzan (Aokiji) – Yusaku Matsuda

Aokiji and Yusaku Matsuda
Aokiji is based on Japanese actor Yusaku Matsuda | Image Courtesy via IMDb

Aokiji was the first Navy admiral we were introduced to. The character is based on Japanese actor Yusaku Matsuda. They have the same hair and Aokiji looks identical to Yusaku Matsuda when he has glasses on.

The Navy admiral also bears evident similarities with the roles Yusaku Matsuda has played. Not just Aokiji, but the actor is also the inspiration behind many other anime characters. One of them is Spike from Cowboy Bebop. 

Borsalino (Kizaru) – Kunie Tanaka

Kizaru and Kunie Tanaka
Kunie Tanaka from Outlaw on the left | Image Courtesy via IMDb

Just one look at Kunie Tanaka gives it away that he was the inspiration behind Kizaru. The actor played a character called Borsalino in the movie ‘Truck Yarou’. He also wears a hat in the movie which is referenced in One Piece as well.

Fans also found Kizaru to have similar attire as Jean-Paul Belmondo from Borsalino. While Oda has confirmed that Kizaru is based on Kunie Tanaka, he hasn’t made any statements about Belmondo. 

Sakazuki (Akainu) – Bunta Sugawara

Akainu and Bunta Sugawara
Bunta Sugawara as a Yakuza from Battle without Honor or Humanity | Image Courtesy via IMDb

Sakazuki is based on renowned Japanese actor Bunta Sugawara. His character is based on Bunta Sugawara’s character in the Battle without Honor or Humanity series. The movie also featured Kunie Tanaka.

When Oda confirmed that the inspiration behind Akainu was Bunta Sugawara, he revealed that he wanted the readers to find the character cool. Akainu has similar tattoos and the appearances of the actor and the character bear striking resemblance to one another.

Issho (Fujitora) – Shintaro Katsu

Fujitora and Shintaro Katsu
Fujitora bears striking resemblance with Shintaro Katsu’s Zatoichi | Image Courtesy via IMDb

Fujitora is based on Shintaro Katsu’s role ‘Zatoichi’. Beyond the similar appearances, the characters also have the same mannerisms and introductions. Zatoichi is also blind and the character is played by many actors besides Shintaro Katsu.

In Volume 74’s SBS Oda shared with the readers that despite so many characters playing the role, he specifically based it on Shintaro Katsu’s version of the character. 

Aramaki (Ryokugyu) – Yoshio Harada 


Ryokugyu is based on Yoshio Harada. Even before the proper character design of Ryokugyu was revealed in the manga, fans could see the striking similarities between the actor and the character, based on his silhouette in Chapter 905.

The Navy admiral is based on the character Aramaki in the Japanese Movie Ronin Gai. In the movie, Aramaki is a ruthless Samurai. We can expect Ryokugyu to follow in the footsteps of the Samurai based on the similarities in their character traits. 


If we follow the trajectory of the inspirations behind the Navy Admirals we can also predict the direction of the story to some extent. The way Aramaki redeems himself in Ronin Gai might be referenced in the manga in the future.

At this point, we are well aware of how Oda likes to expand the One Piece universe and it’s truly commendable. The way he incorporates his favorite actors from real life into his characters reminds us of his skill set as a mangaka. 

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