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Dragon Ball

Toriyama’s first drawing of Goku, before he was introduced to the world, was found in a restaurant in Japan

The famous mangaka was a regular at an Italian pasta place and gave the owners the first illustration of the Dragon Ball protagonist before its premiere.

Primer dibujo de Goku por Akira Toriyama

The recent death of Akira Toriyama, the famous creator of manga such as ‘Dragon Ball’ or ‘Dr. Slump,’ has shocked the whole world, causing countless expressions of affection and respect for the famous mangaka; not for nothing is one of the most influential personalities in pop culture in recent history, with a work that has transcended its own limits beyond manga. But everything has a beginning, and so does the idyll between Toriyama and Goku. So much so, that the first drawing of Goku, made by its author before his presentation to the whole world in 1984, has come to light.

This was the first illustration of Goku to see the light of day

But to learn more about this strange story, we have to go back a few months before it was first published in Shonen Jump magazine that same year, in July 1984. Toriyama was a regular customer at an Italian pasta restaurant in Japan. After a trip to China in search of inspiration, he was asked in the same restaurant what his next story would be after the success of Dr. Slump. And Toriyama replied with an illustration of a boy with a tail and a peculiar hairstyle.

Primer dibujo de Goku por Akira Toriyama
Full screen
First illustration of Goku by Akira Toriyama before his official release.

Yes, it was Goku before his presentation to the whole world. The owner of the restaurant, Nagata-san, wanted to immortalize such an amazing document by displaying it on his wall together with other sketches of the artist, among which we can see drawings of ‘Dr. Slump.’ All of this is accompanied by the writing and signature of Toriyama himself, where you can see the date of its creation and the title ‘Dragon Ball,’ which was completely unknown at that time.

This was reported by the Japanese media CBC News, which visited the restaurant to get more details about such an endearing story, including an interview with the owner in a video in which both the first drawing of Goku and the rest of Akira Toriyama’s illustrations can be seen as a form of gratitude.

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