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Author/artist Masashi Kishimoto was born in 1974 in rural Okayama Prefecture, Japan. Like many kids, he was first inspired to become a manga artist in elementary school when he read Dragon Ball by Akira Toriyama. After spending time in art college, he won the Hop Step Award for new manga artists with his story Karakuri. After considering various genres for his next project, Kishimoto decided on a story steeped in traditional Japanese culture. His first version of Naruto, drawn in 1997, was a one-shot story about fox spirits; his final version, which debuted in Weekly Shonen Jump in 1999, quickly became the most popular ninja manga in the world. The series would also spawn multiple anime series, movies, novels, video games and more. Having concluded the series in late 2014, Masashi Kishimoto has kept himself busy this year with the sidestory Naruto: The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring and writing the story for the latest Naruto movie, Boruto: Naruto the Movie both of which will focus on the title character's son, Boruto.