Hayao Miyazaki’s 40-Year-Old Graphic Novel to Get English Translation

There is no question about it Hayao Miyazaki creates incredible stories like no other. The animated filmmaker is most well-known, of course, for his riveting Studio Ghibli movies. These works of art take the viewer into fantastical worlds that somehow remain utterly relatable. They introduce us to beloved characters and teach us important lessons. And now, English-speaking Miyazaki fans can enjoy a whole new facet of the creator’s work. In 1983, nearly 40 years ago, Hayao Miyazaki published a graphic novel, Shuna’s Journey. And in 2022, Miyazaki’s graphic novel will receive a translation into English.

Shuna's Journey Cover Hayao Miyazaki's graphic novel to get an English translation including images from Princess Mononoke and Nausicaa of the Valley of the wind
Studio Ghibli/Hayao Miyazaki

Of course, undoubtedly, reading any kind of written work in its native tongue offers the most authentic experience. But translation creates art all its own. And we love how excited translator Alex Dudok de Wit feels about the opportunity to translate Miyazaki’s graphic novel.

In addition to shedding light on the make-up of the story, de Wit offers Miyazaki fans greater context on what they can expect.  He notes that Princess Mononoke borrows visual and narrative ideas from Shuna’s Journey. Additionally, Miyazaki’s graphic novel has a lot in common with the world of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. Knowing this should greatly excite those unfamiliar with Shuna’s Journey, as the mentioned films are two of Miyazaki’s most loved.

As Mark Siegel, editorial and creative director of First Second, the publisher of the translation, further shares:

Fans of Princess Mononoke and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind — there are millions of us — will delight in finding early hints of these masterworks in gorgeous watercolor pages by Miyazaki’s own hand.

The official synopsis for Shuna’s Journey, first written in 1983, shares more about the tale:

Shuna, the prince of a poor land, watches in despair as his people work themselves to death harvesting the little grain that grows there. And so, when a traveler presents him with a sample of seeds from a mysterious western land, he sets out to find the source of the golden grain, dreaming of a better life for his subjects.

It is not long before he meets a proud girl named Thea. After freeing her from captivity, he is pursued by her enemies, and while Thea escapes north, Shuna continues toward the west, finally reaching the Land of the God-Folk.

Will Shuna ever see Thea again? And will he make it back home from his quest for the golden grain?

Gods mixed with practical concerns mixed with romance. Sounds like a Miyazaki story to us.

The English translation of Miyazaki’s graphic novel releases on November 1. But you can pre-order it today. Hopefully, this new Miyazaki adventure will help us in the wait for Hayao Miyazaki’s next (and last?) Studio Ghibli movie.

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