08 March 2009

Emilio Vallecillo

Mr. Sakai,
Your comic has been a wonderful part of my life since I discovered it at the city library when I was in 7th grade. Your hard work, masterful art and brilliant storytelling have kept me enthralled for the last eight years and I hope they will continue to entertain both myself and others for years to come. I send to you my heartfelt thanks and appreciation for bringing to life the polite, friendly and at times deadly Miyamoto Usagi. I send you my best wishes and gratitude.

Emilio Vallecillo

Josip "CezarJ" Cubela

Sensei Sakai, I bow before you with my greatest respect to you and your work. 

My first encounter with Usagi Yojimbo was as a kid. I was playing on the commodore 64 already 2 years, thanks to my brother teaching me how to use it. Once in a while, my brother got himself some new games, and one of them was Usagi Yojimbo. The game was different. It wasn't one of those scrolling action-only shooters, which were very common then. You could bow to the other person or draw your sword and fight. But knowing when to bow and when to fight was beyond my comprehension. There was something more complex behind it, and that made it somehow interesting for me then. I was 6 years old. 

I stand at the comic book store to buy myself some magic cards and see the samurai bunny, which I have played many years before. It was the second TPB issue of Usagi named "Samurai". They didn't have the first, but the vendor assured me that you could read the comic at a later issue, without having much of a problem. I chose to buy it out of curiosity. As I started reading, feelings of nostalgia washed over me. Seeing Usagi trained to become a samurai was intriguing, and I wanted to know more about this rabbit and the world he was living. One by one I collected the comics, enjoying them often, (very often!), always waiting for the next issue to arrive to my store. I was 19 years old. 

The more I read Usagi, the more I asked myself if it was possible to learn something through the use of the sword. So I searched the internet. I was surprised to see that there were some dojos in my area! So I immediately visited one with my friend. That day was unforgettable. Seeing all the blades being drawn out and back into of the saya, the people cutting the air before them, an enemy they have envisioned only in their minds - that was a dream come true. So I started my training there at once. The same day, I didn't carry any water buckets as Usagi did, but I learned the lesson from him that I had to train regularly to become something. I had the will to change myself because of him. I was 20 years old. 

You have to know, until that time, I was very thin, and didn't have much confidence in myself. I was hanging around the computer all the day or watching TV. This changed then. I started with the bokken first, of course, sensei wouldn't allow it otherwise. I was very cautious at the beginning, but learned that without enough determination, I couldn't parry correctly, or my attack just bounced off too lightly from my opponents defenses. With time I learned other things, things that were outside of katas and sword strategies. I learned how to foresee things, be it an item that is about to fall down, or what a persons body language is telling me. I reacted to those things subconsciously, even surprised myself a few times of what I did. And with all this came confidence in myself that I can do things if I want to, something I have lacked. With that newfound knowledge I met my first girlfriend. I was 21 years old. 

I am training since then, and got myself an original Japanese iaito (training sword, all is made exactly like a real katana, except the blade, which is blunt and made of an aluminum/zinc alloy), and I still learn from the way of the sword. I also had the honor to meet and learn for a short time from a real samurai, Sekiguch Komei, soke of the Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu style. A life-experience that will forever stay with me. 

I still read your comics, paying them the same respect as I pay to my sword. They have changed my life. They have changed me for the better. Now I know when to draw my sword and when to bow to others. 

Sensei Sakai, I bow before you with my greatest respect to you and your work. 

Josip Cubela, 25 years old.  (CezarJ)Shimizu Sensei and Josip Cubela

Alex "ChickRockGuitar" Greg

Pasted Graphic 1

Charlene "Charley" "Lady Keiko_ronin Usagi" Green

Charlene Green3.11.09

Joe D

Thanks Mr. Sakai-san,

I know you’re always busy but you always have time to e-mail me on the usagi yojimbo forum. And you’re always friendly towards me. Even if I feel like I bug you a lot. You are truly the nicest guy in the business. I hope someday to do comic books like you. I hope we can see each other again in another comic convention like the mid Ohio comic con this year. I hope you’re able to continue making Usagi Yojimbo for many more years.



Mat Richens

Mat Richens 3.10.09

Ronald D Edge

From childhood after WWII and through the fifties and sixties, comics were a magical part of my life. My favorites were the Disney comics, with the wide ranging adventures of Donald, the nephews, and Scrooge. Those comics were filled knowledge, history, insight, and deep caring and humanity. Anyone, child or adult, who read and loved these comics was the better person for it.

I never thought any comic creation could trump the Ducks and Carl Barks and Don Rosa. But that was before Stan Sakai gave us Usagi Yojimbo.

Now I am 63, and I still collect comics, although my focus is a little more narrow than it once was. But life is busy, and sometimes the joys of life have to wait. But the one comic that does NOT wait to be read after each monthly trip to my comic book store is Usagi Yojimbo. It is a sad month when there is no issue, but a joy when there is a new installment of the saga of Usagi's life and times waiting for me.

I was always fascinated by Japanese history and culture, and so one of the great things in the 25 years of Usagi has been the marvelous stories that weave in fascinating illustration of such things as the making of the Samurai's swords; the harvesting and making of seaweed as a crop; the tea ceremony; the history and legends of the emperor's sword; the traditions of flying kites; the characters from Japanese folklore and superstition. The list could go on and on, and all of it was and remains a stunning achievement by Stan Sakai, for which I will be forever grateful.

Above all, Usagi appeals to me because of the commitment to honor, duty, and courage that permeates the actions and thoughts of the main recurring characters, most importantly Usagi himself.

One issue that stands out in my mind was the tale of Usagi crossing a mountain ridge in the snow, and encountering a young girl who wishes to save her father. By the end of the story, it is revealed it was the ghost, the spirit of the girl, and Usagi's actions have helped her find peace.

These are the comics I would put in the hands of my children. That is perhaps the highest accolade I can offer in today's world.

Thank you, Stan Sakai, for the magic you bring into my life with each issue.

Ronald D. Edge
Director of Information Services
Indiana University Athletics  

Chad Bentley

Chad Bentley 3.9.09

Alex Allred

Mr. Sakai,

Thank you sir for the endlessly entertaining stories, enlightening cultural references and inspirational characters. I can't wait to share them with my children some day.

Alex Allred, 26
Everett, Washington