[Image: Eiichiro Oda]

Yesterday, a Chinese company based in Shanghai apparently issued a press release claiming it had purchased One Piece’s copyright from creator Eiichiro Oda for 1.6 billion yen (US$ 15.1 million) and was planning to make a live-action movie. That is simply false, the manga’s publisher said today.

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The original press release stated that Japanese actor Masataka Kubota was going to play Monkey D. Luffy, while Chinese idol singer Xie Leilei was to play the character Charlotte Purin. Numerous sites in Japan and the West published the release as fact. One Piece is hugely popular in China, and the country finances numerous movies these days, so the press release seemed to hold water at first glance. Though, the rights only going for $15 million?

[Image via Business Wire]

Shueisha, which publishes One Piece, has completely denied the press release’s validity, telling Japanese website Krankin! that it “was not true.”

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Kotaku reached out to Kubota’s talent agency, and a representative replied that the only projects he’s currently involved with are listed on its website. A Chinese-made One Piece movie is not one of them.

The original press release on Business Wire lists Shanghai Minghuan Investment as the company that had purchased the One Piece rights. Kotaku sent an email to the address on the release, but it bounced back with a 550 error.

Japanese site Otakuma had one of its Chinese speaking staffers call the Shanghai Minghuan Investment phone number that was listed, but it wasn’t for such a company but rather, an unrelated individual. Shocking, I know.

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