A life-size bronze statue of Luffy, the protagonist of the popular manga "One Piece," is shown to the public in front of the Kumamoto prefectural government office on Nov. 30.

KUMAMOTO--Luffy, of the Straw Hat Pirates gang, has sailed back to the hometown of his creator, offering a boost to recovery efforts from the powerful earthquakes in 2016.

A life-size bronze statue of the protagonist of the popular adventure manga "One Piece" was unveiled in front of the prefectural government office here on Nov. 30.

The statue of Luffy, raising his fist into the air, was erected to support post-quake reconstruction and also to celebrate the prefectural people’s honor award given to Eiichiro Oda, the author of "One Piece," who is from Kumamoto.

About 1,500 "One Piece" fans from areas in and outside of Kumamoto Prefecture attended the unveiling ceremony, the prefectural government said.

Kumamon, the prefecture's popular mascot, was also in attendance.

“All the people in Kumamoto will continue to be my fellows. Hey, guys, let’s sail toward reconstruction (from the earthquakes),” Luffy said in a recorded voice.

Plans are also in the works to erect statues of eight other members of his crew in the prefecture.

The serial comic is carried in the Weekly Shonen Jump manga anthology.

After the April 2016 earthquakes, Oda donated a total of 800 million yen ($7.04 million) to the prefectural government. He also sent messages and "One Piece" goods to support reconstruction.

Oda posted a message on the official "One Piece" website, which read, “More than two years have passed since the Kumamoto earthquakes. During the period, disasters also occurred in various parts of Japan.

“All of us have to work together to the best of our abilities. If this Luffy becomes an incentive to attract people to Kumamoto, he will be a great guy.”