Miyazaki Hayao’s The Journey of Shuna

Posted By yonghow on January 29th, 2009

The Journey of Shuna is a relatively unknown, little gem of a manga illustrated by master animator/director Miyazaki Hayao a whopping 26 years ago in 1983 – predating his first major manga/anime masterpiece Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind by a year.

The story tells the tale of Shuna, a teenage boy who must leave his impoverished home and travel to faraway lands in search of food to ensure the survival of his village. Both the story and characters from Shuna resemble a hybrid mix of those appearing in his later films Nausicaa, Princess Mononoke, and Tales of Earthsea (directed by his son Goro Miyazaki ).  Shuna for example, looks like a cross between Asbel ( Nausicaa ) and Ashitaka ( Mononoke ), Thea like Nausicaa and San, even Ashitaka’s ride Yakkul appears exactly as he did in Princess Mononoke.

Technically speaking , Shuna is less of a manga and more a picture book because there are no dialogue balloons, and the image panels are large, with only 1 or 2 per page. Its also smaller than a regular tankoubon (単行本) manga, just about the size of a postcard.

The Journey of Shuna is painted in Miyazaki-san’s usual palette of gorgeous watercolors, vibrant but slighted muted with a sense of warm harmony, and very detailed backgrounds.

Speaking of Miyazaki-san’s beautiful watercolors, why isn’t Ponyo’s blu-ray out yet ? I’m itching to watch it again !

You can get a copy of The Journey of Shuna here.


15 Responses to “Miyazaki Hayao’s The Journey of Shuna”

tragic comedy

If you look at Miyazaki-san’s picture in the book, it appears he hasnt changed at all since 1983 except for the facial hair!

its a pretty cool read. the book is kinda like the base prototype for all his later ideas…sort of.


Watercolour comics. That’s pretty rare.


I should’ve ordered some books from your ebay store and pick them up in person when I was in Tokyo. Would’ve saved a lot on shipping costs!

Nevertheless, the book looks beautiful, so I might just go ahead a purchase it.


wow.. this is a really beautiful book. hope they will release a english version for international market.


tragic comedy – Haha, you’re right !

Parka – Yep, especially when its not just on select chapters but the entire book.

Otto – Let me know what books you are keen on, I’m sure I can give you some kind of discount.

Mr Hill – Hmm…its been over 20 years since it was published…I wonder if they’ll ever get around to it…

Tim Maughan

Hmmm…been putting off getting this as waiting for English version for years…even resisted picking up a copy at the Ghibli Museum…but am very tempted after seeing these photos… Feel a purchase might be coming on!

Dave kearney

I heard of this book from Helen Mc Carthy’s book Hayao Miyazaki Master of japanese animation. There is a small picture and note about it on page 31 so I went looking for it. When I saw this site and saw the pictures I clicked the get it here link and bought it immidietly. Nearly $50.00 Australian but looks like it will be worth it. Now if I can just find Nausicaa and glider model kit from Bandai again I will be happy.


aaahh! yet another amazing and mind-fogging work of note by miyazaki!


WOOw!! Miyasaki´s art is incredible, tragic comedy is right, he hasn´t change his style since the 80,s, but i don´t think that really matter, his art is sublime. 😛

this manga is really something.


Miyazaki Hayao is a master of story telling. Just looking at these pictures reminded me of Princess Monoke and how it touched me. You have inspired me to watch his other films. I’ll be watching Nausicaa and Ponyo as soon as possible.

Julia A.

Miyazaki Hayao is something. He just doesn’t create a story… He creates a MASTERPIECE!:)

Manga at it’s finest.


Miyazaki’s watercolor technique is fantastic! you don’t often see art work of that caliber ion a comic, especially done in watercolor. I have a friend who illustrates comics in the fantasy style, and he uses an airbrush, or did, until he switched over to a Mac.

Great art work! Thanks for the look.

Amanda Miller

How fortunate I was to have stumbled upon these images on my break today. Simply breathtaking.

Hope you’ve gotten Ponyo on Blu Ray by now!

Pixie Lady

I read this picture book online (english version). His art is beautiful and he pays attention to every detail. His drawings aren’t like the typical Japanese art and clearly he’s against the ‘status quo’ from the looks of his manga-ish works. I do hope Viz Media will release an english version of this. Just change the japanese words to english will be enough. And DON’T change the format and the panelling and everything of the book.


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