Miyazaki's Favorite Childhood Book in English for the First Time - How Do You Live? by Genzaburo Yoshino
influenced Japanese readers for generations, and inspired legendary director Hayao Miyazaki's upcoming final film
First published in 1937, Genzaburō Yoshino's enchanting novel HOW DO YOU LIVE? (Publication Date: October 26, 2021; $17.95) is finally available in English for the first time. Award-winning filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle) has long referred to this coming-of-age classic beloved by millions of Japanese readers as not only a major influence on his work but also his favorite childhood book, and he has recently announced plans to base his final film on it. Brilliantly translated by Bruno Navasky and with a foreword by fantasy master Neil Gaiman, who wrote the English-language adaptation of Miyazaki's Princess Mononoke, this new edition will introduce legions of new readers to Yoshino's timeless tale.
HOW DO YOU LIVE? begins with fifteen-year-old Copper, who has recently suffered the loss of his father, gazing out over his hometown of Tokyo, watching the thousands of people below, and beginning to ponder life's big questions. How many people are in the world? What do their lives look like? Are humans really made of molecules? The book moves between Copper's story and his uncle's journal entries, in which he gives advice and helps Copper learn pivotal truths about the way the world works. Over the course of a year in his life, Copper, like his namesake Copernicus, embarks on a journey of philosophical enlightenment, and uses his discoveries about the heavens, earth and human nature to determine the best way to live. Yoshino perfectly captures the beauty and strangeness of pre-war Japan – the changing of the seasons, the fried tofu and taiyaki stands, and the lush landscapes, as Copper explores the city on his bike and learns from friends and family what really matters most in life.
“It's funny and sad in a particularly Japanese way. As I read more of the book, I discovered that it contains lessons on everything: art, science, language, history, politics and philosophy,” translator Bruno Navasky writes. “It also contains a quiet but powerful message on the value of thinking for oneself and standing up for others during troubled times.”
“Books like this are important,” writes Neil Gaiman in the book's foreword. “I'm so glad Mr. Miyazaki is making his film because it means that eighty-four years after it was written, Yoshino's novel can be read in English, in Bruno Navasky's gentle and winning translation, and that I got to read it.” Perfect for fans of The Little Prince and the Alchemist, as well as Miyazaki fans eager to understand some of his most important influences, HOW DO YOU LIVE? is a whimsical and wise novel that will forever change the way readers think about their place in the world.