Masashi Kishimoto ( 岸本 斉史 Kishimoto Masashi) is a Japanese manga artist, well known for creating the manga series Naruto. His younger twin brother, Seishi Kishimoto
, is also a manga artist and creator of the manga series O-Parts Hunter ( 666 Satan) and Blazer Drive. Two of his former assistants, Osamu Kajisa ( Tattoo Hearts) and Yuuichi Itakura ( Hand 's), have also gone on to moderate success following their work on Naruto.
Kishimoto 's first work as a manga artist was Karakuri ( カラクリ?), which he submitted to Shueisha in 1995. This earned him the Weekly Shōnen Jump 's monthly " Hop Step Award " in 1996, granted to promising new manga artists. This was followed in 1997 by a pilot version of Naruto ( NARUTO－ナルト－), published in Akamaru Jump Summer. In 1998, Kishimoto premiered as a Weekly Shōnen Jump artist with a serialized version of Karakuri in Weekly Shōnen Jump, but it proved unpopular and was canceled soon after. In 1999, a serialized version of Naruto began publication in Weekly Shōnen Jump and quickly became a hit.