100 books like Miyazakiworld

By Susan J. Napier,

Here are 100 books that Miyazakiworld fans have personally recommended if you like Miyazakiworld. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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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's World Picture

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?

Whereas my book is about the ideas that come out of the films, this book is on the philosophy of Miyazaki himself, based on his writings and interviews. It is organized not by film or chronology, but by themes, such as Time, Space, Vision, and my favorite, “The Courage to Smile.” She describes the director’s picture of the world and uses the films as illustrations. The book has certain fannish qualities, but is enriched by a creative selection of contemporary philosophers. 

By Dani Cavallaro,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Hayao Miyazaki has gained worldwide recognition as a leading figure in the history of animation, alongside Walt Disney, Milt Kahl, Tex Avery, Chuck Jones, Yuri Norstein and John Lasseter. In both his films and his writings, Miyazaki invites us to reflect on the unexamined beliefs that govern our lives. His eclectic body of work addresses compelling philosophical and political questions and demands critical attention. This study examines his views on contemporary culture and economics from a broad spectrum of perspectives, from Zen and classical philosophy and Romanticism, to existentialism, critical theory, poststructuralism and psychoanalytic theory.


Book cover of Sharing a House with the Never-Ending Man: 15 Years at Studio Ghibli

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?

And here is your dessert course! 

Fluent in Japanese and with a background in Japanese literature, Steve Alpert worked initially at Disney in Japan and then for a number of years at Miyazaki’s Ghibli Studio and writes about his experiences in this delightful and frequently hilarious book. He gives us fascinating details about Miyazaki and his fellow director Takahata and producer Suzuki, especially in relation to what are perhaps the two most famous of Miyazaki’s movies, Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away.

The chapter on Princess Mononoke is particularly interesting as it includes a detailed and very funny account of negotiations between Ghibli and Disney as to how to translate the film’s elegant Japanese script and complex worldview into something that could be understood by an American audience. The Disney executives keep asking Alpert “Who’s the bad guy?” and seem unable to cope with the answer that “There is no…

By Steve Alpert,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sharing a House with the Never-Ending Man as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This highly entertaining business memoir describes what it was like to work for Japan's premiere animation studio, Studio Ghibli, and its reigning genius Hayao Miyazaki. Steve Alpert, a Japanese-speaking American, was the "resident foreigner" in the offices of Ghibli and its parent Tokuma Shoten and played a central role when Miyazaki's films were starting to take off in international markets. Alpert describes hauling heavy film canisters of Princess Mononoke to Russia and California, experiencing a screaming Harvey Weinstein, dealing with Disney marketers, and then triumphantly attending glittering galas celebrating the Oscar-winning Spirited Away.

His one-of-a-kind portraits of Miyazaki and long-time…


Book cover of Otaku Food! Japanese Soul Food Inspired by Anime and Pop Culture

Gianni Simone Author Of Otaku Japan: The Fascinating World of Japanese Manga, Anime, Gaming, Cosplay, Toys, Idols and More!

From my list on otaku Japan.

Who am I?

I have lived in Japan for the last 30 years but my love for manga, anime, and games is much older and dates back to when UFO Robot Grendizer was first shown on Italian TV a fateful summer evening in 1978. Many years later, I was able to turn my passion for all things Japanese into a job and now I regularly write about politics, society, sports, travel, and culture in all its forms. However, I often go back to my first love and combine walking, urban exploration, and my otaku cravings into looking for new stores and visiting manga and anime locations in and around Tokyo.

Gianni's book list on otaku Japan

Gianni Simone Why did Gianni love this book?

Both the Italians and the Japanese are obsessed with food, and I’m an Italian living in Japan. You do the math. My first shocking encounter with sushi notwithstanding (I mistook wasabi for some kind of green mayonnaise) I love Japanese cuisine, and anime stories are full of people eating all kinds of food. 

If you have found yourself watching an anime and wishing that you could taste a particular dish, with this book you can go one step further: you can make it yourself. Here you will find simple but detailed instructions on how to make lots of Japanese dishes, and their connections with a particular anime title. I wish I owned this book when I first entered Otakudom. 

By Danielle Baghernejad,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Otaku Food! Japanese Soul Food Inspired by Anime and Pop Culture as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Experience the World of Japanese Pop Culture Through a Whole New Medium-Japanese Food!

#1 New Release in Animated Humor & Entertainment

With dishes inspired by otaku culture, this cookbook brings Japanese anime and manga to chefs of all levels.

Experience Japanese culture like never before. Japan fever has taken the West by storm. Praised for its attention to detail, it's no wonder that some of the most appealing images are colorfully culinary. From beautifully animated bowls of ramen and curry to cakes and confectionery, Japanese food culture never looked so good. If only you could reach out and take a…


Book cover of Japanamerica

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 book has remained consistently influential and thought-provoking from the time it was written in 2006. Kelts uses the notion of the moebius strip to analyze the sometimes surprisingly rich and complex dynamics in the mutual relationship between Japanese and American popular culture. He explains how much each country’s art and entertainment culture has influenced the other in an interweaving tapestry of history, art, and inspiration. At a time when the question of cultural appropriation is still a provocative subject, Kelt’s book reminds us of how fruitful cultural interchange can be.

By Roland Kelts,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Anime, or Japanese animation, is Asia's equivalent of the Harry Potter phenomenon in the rest of the world. While Hollywood struggles to fill seats, Japanese anime releases are increasingly outpacing American movies in sheer numbers and, more importantly, in the devotion they inspire in their fans. But just as Harry Potter is both "universal" and very English, anime is also deeply Japanese, making its popularity in the rest of the world surprising. "Japanamerica" is the first book that directly addresses our experience with anime and the Japanese pop phenomenon, covering everything from Hayao Miyazaki's epics, the burgeoning world of hentai,…


Book cover of The Moe Manifesto: An Insider's Look at the Worlds of Manga, Anime, and Gaming

Gianni Simone Author Of Otaku Japan: The Fascinating World of Japanese Manga, Anime, Gaming, Cosplay, Toys, Idols and More!

From my list on otaku Japan.

Who am I?

I have lived in Japan for the last 30 years but my love for manga, anime, and games is much older and dates back to when UFO Robot Grendizer was first shown on Italian TV a fateful summer evening in 1978. Many years later, I was able to turn my passion for all things Japanese into a job and now I regularly write about politics, society, sports, travel, and culture in all its forms. However, I often go back to my first love and combine walking, urban exploration, and my otaku cravings into looking for new stores and visiting manga and anime locations in and around Tokyo.

Gianni's book list on otaku Japan

Gianni Simone Why did Gianni love this book?

Patrick Galbraith is arguably one of the leading experts on all things otaku. He has written dozens of article and essays and a few books on the subject, and choosing one to showcase here was not easy. The Moe Manifesto is not an entry-level work; it’s for hardcore fans who want to dive headfirst into the otaku rabbit hole. Even I often consult it for inspiration when I write about Japanese subcultures. 

The book’s main selling point – especially if you can’t read Japanese – is that Galbraith has assembled a unique lineup of experts (university professors, social and cultural critics, writers, illustrators and other assorted creatives) that he has extensively interviewed about different aspects of otaku culture. There’s a lot of serious food for thought here.

By Patrick W. Galbraith,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Moe is a huge cultural phenomenon and one of the driving forces behind the enormous success of Japanese anime and manga--not just in Japan but now throughout the world.

In Japan, avid fans of manga comics, anime films and video games use the term Moe to refer to the strong sense of emotional attachment they feel for their favorite characters. These fans have a powerful desire to protect and nurture the youthful, beautiful and innocent characters they adore--like Sagisawa Moe in Dinosaur Planet and Tomoe Hotaru in Sailor Moon. They create their own websites, characters, stories, discussion groups, toys and…


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 Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics

Gianni Simone Author Of Otaku Japan: The Fascinating World of Japanese Manga, Anime, Gaming, Cosplay, Toys, Idols and More!

From my list on otaku Japan.

Who am I?

I have lived in Japan for the last 30 years but my love for manga, anime, and games is much older and dates back to when UFO Robot Grendizer was first shown on Italian TV a fateful summer evening in 1978. Many years later, I was able to turn my passion for all things Japanese into a job and now I regularly write about politics, society, sports, travel, and culture in all its forms. However, I often go back to my first love and combine walking, urban exploration, and my otaku cravings into looking for new stores and visiting manga and anime locations in and around Tokyo.

Gianni's book list on otaku Japan

Gianni Simone Why did Gianni love this book?

This book came out only a few years after my first encounter with anime and just blew me away, introducing me to a completely different world – a world that at the time was mostly out of reach because Western translations were still rare. 

Having been published in 1983, it may be considered outdated, but manga translator and historian Frederick Schodt is a master narrator and does a great job of explaining how Japanese comics evolved during manga’s golden age. Now we can find any kind of information on the internet, but Schodt’s thorough analysis and engaging prose are second to none. 

If you are into cultural history and like to go beyond simple manga talk, this is still a must-read.

By Frederik L. Schodt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Illustrated with the most representative examples of the genre, this book in English explores the world of Japanese comics. Since first published in 1983, Manga! Manga!: The World of Japanese Comics has been the book to read for all those interested in Japanese comics. It is virtually the bible' from which all studies and appreciation of manga begins. More than that, given the influence of Japanese manga on animation and on American-produced comics as well, Manga! Manga! provides the background against which these other arts can be understood. The book includes 96 pages'


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Japan, traditionally animated filmss, and Hayao Miyazaki?

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