A statue of the famous manga character Monkey D. 'Straw Hat' Luffy stands at Gateway Eakamai Shopping Mall in Bangkok on Jan. 10, 2016. (Shutterstock/File)
The first Southeast Asian exhibition of Japan's best-selling manga "One Piece" is now under way in Malaysia to commemorate the 20th anniversary of its publication.
The exhibition at Isetan Japan Store Kuala Lumpur in the capital's posh Bukit Bintang district highlights cartoonist Eiichiro Oda's globally popular comic depicting the world of Monkey D. Luffy and his crew of Straw Hat Pirates.
"Young people in Malaysia are very lively, vibrant and receptive toward manga trends," says Hiroyuki Nakano, chief editor of Weekly Shonen Jump in which "One Piece" has been serialized for the last two decades.
More than 350 million copies of the comic series have been sold in Japan alone since its debut in the weekly magazine in 1997. One of Japan's most iconic mangas is also widely read in Asia, Europe and the United States.
Maya Furuie, manager of the Japanese department store, says, "We are not only targeting local fans, but also tourists from other countries."
The exhibition titled "Eiichiro Oda presents Hello, ONE PIECE Luffy is here!" offers virtual reality experience and displays a replica of cartoonist Oda's workplace.
The organizers anticipate 20,000 visitors to the exhibition which opened Saturday and runs through Oct. 18.
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