100 books like Hayao Miyazaki's World Picture

By Dani Cavallaro,

Here are 100 books that Hayao Miyazaki's World Picture fans have personally recommended if you like Hayao Miyazaki's World Picture. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Miyazakiworld: A Life in Art

Eric Reinders Author Of The Moral Narratives of Hayao Miyazaki

From my list on Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki.

Who am I?

Princess Mononoke blew my mind. And as I read about Miyazaki himself I thought: here is a kindred spirit. I thought I’d try teaching a course on Miyazaki, not sure if I could sustain a whole semester just about his work—and then I found, there’s way more than a semester’s worth to talk about. After teaching about Miyazaki for a few years, I had to write it all down. Some reviews of my book say my essays are personal, and it’s true, for better or worse—it isn’t about Studio Ghibli or the production process or even about Japan—it’s my reflections on these great films. 

Eric's book list on Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki

Eric Reinders Why did Eric love this book?

This is an excellent “life in art,” or a series of chapters on the major works in a biographical context.

Napier discusses such questions as: his feelings about the fact that his family profited from the war, making fan belts for fighter planes; his feelings about his father compared to his mother; the relation of the works to his professional life—the studio, his collaborators, his periodic burn-out and work ethic.

By Susan J. Napier,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Miyazakiworld as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The story of filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki's life and work, including his significant impact on Japan and the world-"an essential work in anime scholarship." (Angelica Frey, Hyperallergic)

A thirtieth-century toxic jungle, a bathhouse for tired gods, a red-haired fish girl, and a furry woodland spirit-what do these have in common? They all spring from the mind of Hayao Miyazaki, one of the greatest living animators, known worldwide for films such as My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, and The Wind Rises.

Japanese culture and animation scholar Susan Napier explores the life and art of this extraordinary Japanese…


Book cover of Hayao Miyazaki: Master of Japanese Animation

Eric Reinders Author Of The Moral Narratives of Hayao Miyazaki

From my list on Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki.

Who am I?

Princess Mononoke blew my mind. And as I read about Miyazaki himself I thought: here is a kindred spirit. I thought I’d try teaching a course on Miyazaki, not sure if I could sustain a whole semester just about his work—and then I found, there’s way more than a semester’s worth to talk about. After teaching about Miyazaki for a few years, I had to write it all down. Some reviews of my book say my essays are personal, and it’s true, for better or worse—it isn’t about Studio Ghibli or the production process or even about Japan—it’s my reflections on these great films. 

Eric's book list on Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki

Eric Reinders Why did Eric love this book?

This is an excellent general review of the films from Castle of Cagliostro to Princess Mononoke, including plot outline, character studies, technical notes, and appreciations of the films. She is very insightful about the artistic technique. And there’s an interesting chapter at the end about Miyazaki merchandise. This would be a good starting point for a fan. 

By Helen McCarthy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hayao Miyazaki as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Anime is a huge market, and this is the exclusive, definitive book on the leading master of Japanese animation today, Hayao Miyazaki. Disney has licensed the Miyazaki line (e.g., Kiki's Delivery Service ) and plans another major release this summer. This book supplies informed discussions of style and narrative for each of Miyazaki's major films, with all the data and detail fans want.


Book cover of Starting Point: 1979-1996

Eric Reinders Author Of The Moral Narratives of Hayao Miyazaki

From my list on Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki.

Who am I?

Princess Mononoke blew my mind. And as I read about Miyazaki himself I thought: here is a kindred spirit. I thought I’d try teaching a course on Miyazaki, not sure if I could sustain a whole semester just about his work—and then I found, there’s way more than a semester’s worth to talk about. After teaching about Miyazaki for a few years, I had to write it all down. Some reviews of my book say my essays are personal, and it’s true, for better or worse—it isn’t about Studio Ghibli or the production process or even about Japan—it’s my reflections on these great films. 

Eric's book list on Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki

Eric Reinders Why did Eric love this book?

These are collections of writings by Miyazaki in translation: interviews, essays, production notes, doodles, and even poems. These are sometimes directly related to the films, and sometimes on general themes such as artistic integrity, the environment, and contemporary Japan. You get a picture of Miyazaki: deeply thoughtful, ethically engaged, and playfully child-like. Plus, lots of cool illustrations. The second volume goes up through Howls’ Moving Castle. 

By Hayao Miyazaki,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Starting Point as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A hefty compilation of essays (both pictorial and prose), notes, concept sketches and interviews by (and with) Hayao Miyazaki. Arguably the most respected animation director in the world, Miyazaki is the genius behind Howl's Moving Castle, Princess Mononokeand the Academy Award-winning film, Spirited Away.


Book cover of Spirited Away

Eric Reinders Author Of The Moral Narratives of Hayao Miyazaki

From my list on Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki.

Who am I?

Princess Mononoke blew my mind. And as I read about Miyazaki himself I thought: here is a kindred spirit. I thought I’d try teaching a course on Miyazaki, not sure if I could sustain a whole semester just about his work—and then I found, there’s way more than a semester’s worth to talk about. After teaching about Miyazaki for a few years, I had to write it all down. Some reviews of my book say my essays are personal, and it’s true, for better or worse—it isn’t about Studio Ghibli or the production process or even about Japan—it’s my reflections on these great films. 

Eric's book list on Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki

Eric Reinders Why did Eric love this book?

This short book is a detailed study of just one great film, scholarly but without jargon. 

Along the way, he points out many details I had missed. He also demonstrates the connections of Spirited Away to Miyazawa Kenji’s Night of the Milky Way Railway, and other sources and inter-textual references. Very interesting and revealing.

By Andrew Osmond,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Spirited Away as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Spirited Away, directed by the veteran anime film-maker Hayao Miyazaki, is Japan's most successful film, and one of the top-grossing 'foreign language' films ever released. Set in modern Japan, the film is a wildly imaginative fantasy, at once personal and universal. It tells the story of a listless little girl, Chihiro, who stumbles into a magical world where gods relax in a palatial bathhouse, where there are giant babies and hard-working soot sprites, and where a train
runs across the sea.

Andrew Osmond's insightful study describes how Miyazaki directed Spirited Away with a degree of creative control undreamt of in…


Book cover of Hayao Miyazaki

Susan J. Napier Author Of Miyazakiworld: A Life in Art

From my list on if you love animation or Japanese popular culture.

Who am I?

I am the Goldthwaite Professor of Rhetoric and Japanese at Tufts University. I’ve lived in Japan for 8 years beginning when I was 17 when I travelled to Tokyo and lived on my own, teaching English, and studying Japanese. I became a scholar of Japanese literature, and then in the 1990s became interested in Japanese animation (anime) and in animation in general. I’ve written five books on either Japanese literature or anime-related subjects, and I am currently working on a project comparing the animated films of the Walt Disney Studio with the films of Studio Ghibli.

Susan's book list on if you love animation or Japanese popular culture

Susan J. Napier Why did Susan love this book?

This gorgeous catalogue is an event in itself that commemorates an even more interesting event, the fact that the brand new Museum of the Academy of Motion Pictures chose as its first special exhibition not the work of an American director, and not the work of a live-action auteur but the work of a Japanese animation director who lives and creates thousands of miles from Hollywood. The catalogue is not only beautifully illustrated with scenes from Miyazaki movies and reproductions of many of Miyazaki’s storyboards, but also contains some excellent essays by the exhibition’s curators, including Jessica Niebel and Daniel Kothensculte. The curators draw on their film and art expertise to give insightful, sensitive readings of the director and his contributions to the world of cinema.

By Hayao Miyazaki, Jessica Niebel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hayao Miyazaki as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A richly illustrated journey through the extraordinary cinematic worlds of beloved filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki

For over four decades, Hayao Miyazaki has been enchanting audiences of all ages. His animated films, often featuring children navigating unfamiliar and challenging worlds, offer timeless explorations of youth and what it means to grow up. Celebrated and admired around the globe for his artistic vision, craftsmanship and deeply humanistic values, Miyazaki has influenced generations of artists. The universal appeal of his evocative natural settings and complex characters, many among them strong girls and young women, cuts across cultural boundaries.

This book is published on the…


Book cover of Wild Minds: The Artists and Rivalries That Inspired the Golden Age of Animation

David A. Bossert Author Of Claude Coats: Walt Disney's Imagineer: The Making of Disneyland from Toad Hall to the Haunted Mansion and Beyond

From my list on Disney from a Disney historian.

Who am I?

I'm a student of animation and Disney history. As a Disney historian, I find much joy in writing the stories that intrigue and peak my curiosity. Stories that haven't been told or explored in-depth are exciting to bring to life because readers are hungry for new information on the Disney universe. And so am I. In choosing my writing projects it's important that no one else has written more than a cursory amount or nothing at all on the subject matter. I equally like to read books that shed new light on topics that I’m interested in and doing so in an authoritative voice. I hope you will enjoy the selection of books listed here.    

David's book list on Disney from a Disney historian

David A. Bossert Why did David love this book?

Wild Minds is a wonderful and engrossing history of the early days of the animation industry. From Winsor McCay to Otto Messmer, Max Fleischer, and Walt Disney, this book twists and turns weaving a fantastic tapestry of the talented and highly competitive artists that invented animation techniques that are still being used today. Read about the choices Fleischer and Disney made that ended the former and vaulted the latter into stardom. A wild read for any animation history buff. 

By Reid Mitenbuler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Wild Minds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The vivid and untold story of the Golden Age of classic animation and the often larger-than-life artists who created some of the most iconic cartoon characters of the twentieth century

In 1911, famed cartoonist Winsor McCay debuted one of the first animated cartoons, based on his sophisticated newspaper strip "Little Nemo in Slumberland," itself inspired by Freud's recent research on dreams. McCay is largely forgotten today, but he unleashed an art form, and the creative energy of artists from Otto Messmer and Max Fleischer to Walt Disney and Warner Bros.' Chuck Jones. Their origin stories, rivalries, and sheer genius, as…


Book cover of Walt Disney's Bambi: The Sketchbook Series

Ron Husband Author Of Quick Sketching with Ron Husband

From my list on sketching, anatomy and animation for the artist.

Who am I?

I've been drawing for over 68 years and carrying a sketchbook for over 60 of those years. I've seen success as an author, I'm an award-winning illustrator of books and magazines and animated many classic Disney features. Am I an expert on sketching humans and animals? ...No. I'm constantly learning in my effort to capture humans and animals in action by following the basic principles of drawing as they apply to quick sketching. My learning is aided by these books as I prepare lesson plans or the encouragement and inspiration found within their pages. I'm married to LaVonne, my high school sweetheart of 50 years, and have three grown children and six grandchildren.

Ron's book list on sketching, anatomy and animation for the artist

Ron Husband Why did Ron love this book?

Bambi, Sleeping Beauty, and Peter Pan are also part of this series. This compilation of drawings by master animators Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, Milt Kahl, Mark Davis, John Lounsbery, storyman Joe Grant and more are truly encouraging and inspiring. Before the drawings are passed along to the clean-up stage, we see the unique and beautiful drawings of the animators with the circles for heads and construction lines visible used to convey balance, proportion, perspective, silhouette, and attitude, all while drawing the character on model. We will all have a greater appreciation for the level of drawing mastery shared inside the pages of these books. 

By Disney Book Group,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Walt Disney's Bambi as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Spring 1997 is the fifty-fifth anniversary of the theatrical release of Bambi. This celebratory volume is filled with original sketches and color studies from the Animation Research Library and the personal collections of Bambi animators Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas, many of which have never before been seen by the public. Walt Disney's Bambi reveals how animators Ollie Johnston, Frank Thomas, Marc Davis, Ty Wong and others transformed the Felix Salten story; how each of the beloved characters evolved; how the palette of the seasons was refined; and how the life of the forest was breathed into the animation.


Book cover of Ink & Paint: The Women of Walt Disney's Animation

Jake S. Friedman Author Of The Disney Revolt: The Great Labor War of Animation's Golden Age

From my list on American history that read like you’re binge-watching.

Who am I?

I'm an expert in animation history, having written three books on it, dozens of articles, and appeared on TV documentaries about it. I've also been a college professor for about 13 years, so I know what a story needs to maintain interest. These books have that. They're about different chunks of American history, some political, some artistic, all cultural. But they're also focused on the people who made the history, and showing how they got to where they were, and why they matter. These books let me walk in the shoes of subjects, and whisk me back to their time and place. If a book passes the empathy/time-machine test, it has won me over.

Jake's book list on American history that read like you’re binge-watching

Jake S. Friedman Why did Jake love this book?

A treasure trove of artwork, photos, and most of all, a record of the women of Disney history. Expertly and lovingly researched.

This book chronicles Disney animation behind-the-scenes throughout its entire run, decade by decade. Sometimes arduous, sometimes creative, but generally positive. Who would have thought that among the women of the Ink & Paint department were actual chemists mixing colors?! These women have been widely unsung, making them the true underdogs of Disney animation. And I’m always a sucker for an underdog.

Not to mention the few women early on who rose through the ranks to become designers and even animators, lest they be forgotten. This book breathed vibrant life into a wing of Disney animation that I personally had never explored before.  

By Mindy Johnson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ink & Paint as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the earliest origins of animated imagery, the colorful link between paper and screen was created by legions of female artists working on the slick surface of celluloid sheets.

With calligraphic precision and Rembrandtesque mastery, these women painstakingly brought pencil drawings to vibrant, dimensional life. Yet perhaps as a reflection of the transparent canvas they created on, the contributions and history of these animation artists have remained virtually invisible and largely undocumented, until now.

Walt Disney's pioneering efforts in animation transformed novelty cartoons into visual masterpieces, establishing many "firsts" for women within the entertainment industry along the way. Focusing on…


Book cover of Drawn to Life

Ron Husband Author Of Quick Sketching with Ron Husband

From my list on sketching, anatomy and animation for the artist.

Who am I?

I've been drawing for over 68 years and carrying a sketchbook for over 60 of those years. I've seen success as an author, I'm an award-winning illustrator of books and magazines and animated many classic Disney features. Am I an expert on sketching humans and animals? ...No. I'm constantly learning in my effort to capture humans and animals in action by following the basic principles of drawing as they apply to quick sketching. My learning is aided by these books as I prepare lesson plans or the encouragement and inspiration found within their pages. I'm married to LaVonne, my high school sweetheart of 50 years, and have three grown children and six grandchildren.

Ron's book list on sketching, anatomy and animation for the artist

Ron Husband Why did Ron love this book?

This two-book volume of notes, drawings, wise sayings, and philosophy are and have been invaluable assets to the learning curve of myself and numerous others. I have these same handouts, in storage boxes, saved over the years. I was there in the lunch-time drawing classes Walt taught at the Disney Studio. Before each drawing session he would hand out these xerox pages. On occasion some of my sketches were included in these handouts. With humor and enthusiasm, Walt encouraged us to push the models pose, see the possibilities and more, all with a goal of making better animation drawings. 

By Walt Stanchfield,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Drawn to Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Discover the lessons that helped bring about a new golden age of Disney animation!

Published for the first time ever, Drawn to Life is a two volume collection of the legendary lectures from long-time Disney animator Walt Stanchfield. For over twenty years, Walt helped breathe life into the new golden age of animation with these teachings at the Walt Disney Animation Studios and influenced such talented artists as Tim Burton, Brad Bird, Glen Keane, and John Lasseter. These writings represent the quintessential refresher for fine artists and film professionals, and it is a vital tutorial for students who are now…


Book cover of The 50 Greatest Cartoons: As Selected by 1,000 Animation Professionals

J.B. Kaufman Author Of Pinocchio: The Making of the Disney Epic

From my list on American animation history.

Who am I?

Like so many others, I discovered Disney in childhood. When I was five years old my parents took me to see a Disney movie in a theater, and the experience was so overwhelming that I still recall it vividly. It was the beginning of a lifelong passion for classic films, a passion that has led me to a career as a film historian. For me, writing a book about a film is mainly an excuse to do the research, to get inside a film and explore it, and find out what makes it tick. It’s invariably a fascinating journey, and if I can share that fascination with readers, I’m happy.

J.B.'s book list on American animation history

J.B. Kaufman Why did J.B. love this book?

Ordinarily I don’t believe in “greatest” comparisons, but this book is different. Animation historian extraordinaire Jerry Beck surveyed more than a thousand historians and animation professionals to ascertain their picks, compiled the results into a list of fifty “greatest” cartoons, and then created this book with a separate entry for each film. It’s both informative and an endless delight, with well-illustrated celebrations of classic cartoon gems from the Disney, Warner, Fleischer, and MGM studios as well as the smaller, more obscure companies. You may disagree with the rankings or the choices, but this is undeniably a deep dive into a cornucopia of treasures. And Jerry didn’t stop there; fifteen years later he followed up with a similar but more specialized volume, The 100 Greatest Looney Tunes.

By Jerry Beck,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The 50 Greatest Cartoons as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Showcases some of the greatest cartoons of all time, including characters from Disney, Warner Brothers, Fleischer Studio, Walter Lantz, MGM, and others.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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