100 books like Spirited Away

By Andrew Osmond,

Here are 100 books that Spirited Away fans have personally recommended if you like Spirited Away. 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 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 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 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 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 My Neighbor Totoro

Marisha Wojciechowska Author Of My Globetrotter Book: Paris

From my list on for globetrotter kids.

Who am I?

My Globetrotter Book’s creative adventure originated from a deep desire to show the world to my son... I am from Quebec, Canada, but I have lived and traveled across the globe with my family for 20+ years and – so far – have lived in Montreal, Paris, New York, Tokyo, and Bangkok! I work as an international consultant on water security issues with the United Nations and other international organisations. My son has grown up, so now, I continue to inspire other kids to explore the myriad beauties and cultures of the world and, as of 2022, to "journey within" with the creation of My Bodytrotter Book.

Marisha's book list on for globetrotter kids

Marisha Wojciechowska Why did Marisha love this book?

For any child who has an interest in Japan, this is a must! This Studio Ghibli animation is also delightful in its graphic novel form. Set in rural Japan, the two young sisters Satsuki and Mei meet Totoro, a magical colossal good-natured creature who lives in the trunk of a big tree. The story is infused with enchantment, humor, and childhood delight. All children deserve to have their childhood enriched with this Japanese jewel.

By Tsugiko Kubo,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of Studio Ghibli's most beloved classics.

The beloved animation classic by legendary Studio Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki, My Neighbor Totoro, is now a novel. This edition features original illustrations by Miyazaki himself, accompanying a story by veteran children's author Tsugiko Kubo.

Eleven-year-old Satsuki and her sassy little sister Mei have moved to the country to be closer to their ailing mother. Soon, in the woods behind their spooky old house, Satsuki and Mei discover a forest spirit named Totoro. When Mei goes missing, it's up to Satsuki to find her sister, and she'll need help from some new, and…


Book cover of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

Tim Probert Author Of The Girl & the Galdurian

From my list on vivid and compelling worlds to get lost in.

Who am I?

I am an illustrator and author and fantasy stories are some of my favorites. I love getting lost in a book. It might be a cliche, but the ability of a book to take you to a place you’ve never been, or might not even exist, is an amazing power. These are the types of stories I love to create and these books have been a great influence on my own work. 

Tim's book list on vivid and compelling worlds to get lost in

Tim Probert Why did Tim love this book?

Hayao Miyazaki is rightly renowned as one of the greatest animation directors of all time. But he also created this amazing comic over many years, while also directing films. Nausicaä is a fantasy epic, over 1000+ pages of lush drawings telling a beautiful story. It’s a post-apocalyptic world filled with warring factions, giant insects, and dark secrets. One young woman is trying to find her way through this world and put things right, though the right thing to do isn’t always clear. It’s a great story that I recommend to anyone who loves comics, adventures, or the environment. 

By Hayao Miyazaki,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is an epic fantasy tale written and illustrated by legendary Studio Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki, creator of My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle. A modern masterpiece, the entire series is now available in this deluxe box set containing two hardcover volumes with interior colour pages and a bonus poster.


Book cover of Kiki's Delivery Service

Lee Edward Födi Author Of Spell Sweeper

From my list on with magical brooms.

Who am I?

I’ve always been a lover of enchanted items—particularly brooms. Maybe this is because my grandfather used to handmake his own brooms (I can still remember that magical and musty smell of his workshop). It took me a long time to write my own “broom book,” with something different and distinctive to say. The books on my list are some that inspired me along my journey. In addition to being a writer, I teach creative writing and art therapy, which means I’ve logged many hours leading lit circles with kids. I feel it has given me a pretty good handle (pardon the pun) on what makes a child’s imagination soar.

Lee's book list on with magical brooms

Lee Edward Födi Why did Lee love this book?

Following Kokiri, she shyly mounted her broom and kicked off the ground. Instantly, her body grew light—she was floating!

This is the classic book that inspired the beloved film of the same name. Thirteen-year-old Kiki sets off, in the tradition of witches, to find a town to serve for a year. When she arrives at the seaside town of Koriko, she starts her own business—delivering parcels by broomstick. At first, she assumes it will be easy—hey, she’s Kiki!—but she soon discovers that winning over the locals of Koriko is not so easy. Thankfully, she’s got her wise-cracking cat Jiji on her side . . . as well as her magical broom. This book is absolutely charming!

By Eiko Kadono, Emily Balistrieri (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Kiki's Delivery Service as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

Soar into this modern Japanese classic about a young witch and her clever cat with this new translation by Emily Balistrieri which will delight fans of the beloved Studio Ghibli animated movie as well as new readers.

'A magical, joyous read, brought to life by the most beautiful illustrations' - Harriet Muncaster, author of Isadora Moon

'A charming and beautifully written story' - Laura Ellen Anderson, author of Amelia Fang

Kiki is a trainee witch. On her thirteenth birthday she must follow tradition and leave home to find a new village. She knows she has to use only her powers…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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