Fan Letter

Michael Kenji "maka" Takahara

Dear Stan,

In 1996, I read my first Usagi Yojimbo graphic novel on Oahu while visiting my parents. The local library has five on the shelf and I read all five in two days. Your art was so clean and your storytelling was addictive.

College had opened my eyes to Japanese culture, through a Japanese cinema course and an intro to Asian-American studies course. Reading UY gave me a profound sense of pride for my Japanese culture/history. The stories were set in Japan, highlighted Japanese history and culture while being completely engaging regardless of reader’s background. You were telling great stories that entertained and introduced people to the Japanese experience. The fact that this comic series was written by, penciled, inked and lettered by a Japanese-American man made me proud. One of our own did good.

But as I visited, I began to appreciate you more than just my idealized Japanese-American comic legend. You actually took the time to welcome people when they joined the dojo message board, answer their questions, share parts of your life and interact with them.

You treat your fans with respect.

Your respect is one of the key reasons why the Usagi Yojimbo Dojo is the BEST comic message boards on the internet. Your openness, willingness and positive posts helps set the example. As a result, we all have virtually met some of the nicest, thoughtful and generous people at Dojo.

Lately, Usagi Yojimbo has given me another joy: my ten years old daughter, Angela, is absorbed in Usagi Yojimbo’s world. She tore through all 22 graphic novels in about two weeks. She is constantly rereading them. I’ve been reading to her the issues that aren’t collected yet. It feels great to share our excitement together and spend quality time with her.

She will say something like, “That is so sad” when we read UY #116 “The Outlaw” or “Why did Gen say, ‘Sakura doesn’t have a brother?” We ask each other questions and come up with answers together. It is amazing to gain insight into her thoughts. I love that we are taking time to listen and share with one another.

Angela recently bought sandals because they “are like the one’s in old Japan.” “At first they were uncomfortable but now they are good.” We caught her in the back of the car saying “Ashshawashawasha” and waving her hands wildly. “What are you doing, Angela?” “I just had to act out that part of Usagi now.”

I hope my seven years old daughter, Cami, and I will have a similar Usagi experience together.

Positive Psychologist, Martin E. P. Seligman said when one takes the time to write a gratitude letter and presents it to another, that simple act can increase the happiness of the receiver and the giver for six months.

I hope this whole gratitude gift brings you much happiness. It already has for me.

With gratitude, respect, hope and peace,

Michael Kenji “maka” Takahara

Mat "Mayhem"

To Stan,

Twenty five years may seem an immeasurable amount of time in a person's life, especially when it has been devoted so thoroughly and passionately towards a single endeavor. Usagi is you, and you are Usagi. However what is more immeasurable is the joy, thrill, happiness and pleasure that Usagi has given myself, and every other reader over that time. I believe that Usagi fans, not to mention your good self, are some of the best people I've been fortunate to meet, and it all has been possible thanks to your creation.

Thank you Stan.
Thank you for your dedication.
And here is to many more years to come.

Mat (Mayhem)

Jamie S. Rich


I'd like to extend my best wishes to you on this milestone of your career. While I got to rib you in the 100th issue, it's all sincerity this time around. You've been a true friend in comics, and a model for how one should conduct oneself both as a professional and as a person. Your dedication to your craft is phenomenal, and your devotion to your fellow man is admirable.

25 years is an amazing achievement. I'd wish you 25 more, but you need a rest sometime. What say we split the difference at 13?

Your friend,
Jamie S. Rich

Jeff "Shaxper" Heller

Jeff Heller 7.7.09

Cynthia Fluharty

Attached is probably one of the first (if not THE first) picture I ever took of Stan.  My first convention was 1987, and that was when I was introduced to "Tales of the Beanworld", "Cutey Bunny"-- and "Usagi Yojimbo".

Can't believe it's been so long.  Congratulations to Stan, and here's to 25 more years.


Nikki "Jotaro9" Caudill

A Special note for Stan Sakai:

My name is Nichelle (Nikki) Caudill. I am a young Fantasy writer who has yet to get her work published. I just wanted to let you know how much I sincerely appreciate your work. It has truly been an inspiration to me over the years, being why I chose to draw the main character from my novels showing his respect for Usagi.
My characters, in their own world, live their lives by a code of honor that is based on the Samurai’s way of life, and I often look to Usagi’s adventures for inspiration as to what a truly honorable person would do in certain situations.
The ideals that your stories provide have always filled me with a sense of peace and resolution, and one day I hope to aspire to your greatness in my writing skills.
I only hope that one day my work will be published, and if it is, I would hope that I could be compared to you in some ways, even though we work in different mediums. Your humor and skills are unparalleled, and so, I thank you again for inspiring this young writer as well as so many others.

-Ever your friend,
Nichelle Caudill

David Herbert

Mr Sakai-san,

Arigato gozaimasu for the fantastic and thoroughly enjoyable alternative world that is that of Usagi Yojimbo.  I only collect one comic series (Usagi of course!) and anything else UY that I can find.  I've spent many, many hours devotedly being transported to the anthropomorphic world of UY and I hope you'll continue amazing the world with this brilliant work.  Many congratulations for 25 years of an outstanding achievement.

David Herbert
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Greg Greene

Greg Greene 7.8.09

Brian Nutter

Brian Nutter 7.8.09

Brendan Wright

Brendan Wright 7.7.09

Ray Uehara

Rey Uehara 7.7.09

Sean Leslie

I have been reading comic books for over 20 years. When someone has been reading comic books for as long as I have, the harder it becomes to find books that excite me in ways that are exciting and fresh. It was about three years ago that I read a review on that was praising a recent issue of Usagi Yojimbo. I had discovered Akira Kurosawa when I was in college and fell in love with his films. The review mentioned the similarities between Kurosawa’s films and your books so I decided to give it a try and ordered the first trade paperback.
Usagi Yojimbo is one of those rare comics that I only discover once maybe every five years. It is one of those comics that introduce you to a new world and is so exciting you soon forget you are even reading a comic book. The story was well paced and had everything I loved about Kurosawa’s films in it and more. The art captured action beautifully and had a sense of fun about it that many comics are missing these days. I was so taken by the story that this samurai rabbit stayed in my thoughts for the rest of the week. I had to have more and I quickly ordered all remaining trade paperbacks within a month and spent many nights reading until way after midnight.
That same year I went to Comic Con and brought all my Usagi books down with me on the drive from Salt Lake City. You were extremely nice and happily signed all my books. I tried to articulate how much I loved your work but I am sure I tripped over my words and didn’t convey just how exciting I thought your books were. I even bought an unused cover to add to my comic book galley and still display it proudly today.
Books like Usagi Yojimbo remind me why I got into and still read comics. I regret I have only been around reading your work for three years out of the twenty-five you have been publishing. But you can be assured I will certainly be there for the next twenty-five. Congrats on your anniversary and thank you so much for sharing your stories with everyone. Comic books would not be the same without you.
-Sean Leslie
Salt Lake City, UT


Hans 7.3.09

Rebecca Womack

Dear Stan,

Thanks for 25 years of great stories and art. One of my son's earliest memories is reading Usagi with me before bedtime.

Usagi inspired my son in many ways...from thinking before acting to respecting everyone...

Congrats on Usagi's (and yours) 25th anniversary!!!!!!

Rebecca Womack/ Blue Lotus

Jon Francois

Usagi Yojimbo is one of those rare long-running comic books that isn’t a corporate property, crossover crazy, or treats death like the common cold. One might ask how Stan Sakai is able to keep a character going in the market of today without resorting to common tricks of the industry.

The simple answer is that he is a great storyteller that relies on maintaining the integrity of the story and the actions within have consequences. Usagi must struggle like the rest of us. This creates an incredibly powerful bond between the character and the audience. It also helps that the character has been the vision of a single storyteller who contributes the dialogue and the visuals. The growth is natural and isn’t forced so that a new creator is able to tell the story they wish.

Thank you for Usagi Yojimbo Mr. Sakai. This character consistently displays such honor, nobility, and fights the good fight. It's obvious to all who have met you that Usagi reflects the personality of his creator. I look forward to reading Usagi’s adventures for years to come.


Jon Francois (Crofton, MD)

Trent "Musashi" McNeeley

Trent McNeeley 6.24

Carl Murray

Dear Stan Sakai

Happy 25
th Anniversary!
The Usagi Youjimbo series has been a wonderful addition to the world, especially my side in Australia.
The principls expressed in your stories are a great inspiration in every day life.
I have been reading Usagi for 20 years, and find these principles are still just as relevant now as they were when I was younger.

Thanks for sharing your timeless creation, Miyamoto Usagi.

Carl Murray

Vincent Bumatay

Vincent Bumatay 6.21

Robert Kassebaum

The Usagi Yojimbo Experience

It is the Year of the Rabbit -- 1999. The place is the San Diego Comic Convention, celebrating its 30th anniversary. It is a warm Friday night and I am waiting in line for the Eisner Awards. You Stan, with your family, walk down the hall and pass by me. I call out and wish to you luck. You look and wave back as you enter the room. You are nominated for three Eisners and came away with one: Best Serialized Story. Saturday I come to your booth and get you to sign the program. I congratulate you and we chat about last night. I am also there for another reason: The UYD Event. Yet this gathering different than those in the past, it is the 15th anniversary of Usagi Yojimbo -- a milestone for the comic series. Dojo members from far and wide come to celebrate the tales of the Ronin Rabbit. We talk, take pictures, and hug. It is a great turn out -- a true Usagi Yojimbo Experience.
Now, ten years after, the 25
th anniversary is here and I feel Matt Brady put it best in the article he wrote about you and the comic for issue #1167 of the Comics Buyer’s Guide, “This rabbit bodyguard keeps on going… and going… and going.” And why not, Usagi Yojimbo keeps evolving -- both in writing and art -- with each issue. So what can one say but thank you. Yes, thank you Stan, for putting up with me these past 25 at the SDCC. I know I can be overwhelming at times. Thank you for making me feel like family. I always enjoy talking to Sharon at each convention and catching up on the past year. And thank you for your creation, Usagi Yojimbo. It is still one of the best comics being published today. So yes, happy 25th anniversary Stan -- another milestone to be sure.
While the Usagi Yojimbo Experience keeps getting better with each issue, the celebration of anniversaries will come and go. Each will be looked forward to and be as important as the last. I believe the next big event, Stan, is just around the corner. Just think, in the year 2034, it will be the 50
th anniversary of Usagi Yojimbo -- a stone throw away. I will be 74 years young and you Stan, an energetic 81, definitely a time for the UYD to gather and party like it is 1999. And I hope the Dojo puts another gift like this one together for you. I think I know what to write because history often repeats itself. Maybe it will start a little like this: It is the Year of the Ox -- 2009. The place is the Comic-Con International: San Diego, celebrating its 40th anniversary…

--Robert Kassebaum

Normand H.J. Robert

Mr. Sakai,
Congratulations on your milestone of 25 years presenting Usagi Yojimbo to me and my family here on the Island of Oahu!!
The anticipation of the monthly new product has not decreased at all from the first day I began reading Usagi.
All the Best in Your Many More Years of Creativity!!
Normand H.J. Robert

Todd Kiyoshi Tanaka

Dear Stan Sakai,

How can I put into words the affect you have had upon me through your Usagi
Yojimbo creation, story telling, and artistry throughout the years?

Collecting comics as a young child, I was naturally drawn to the usual
superheroes dawning red and blue web tights, clad in gold and red metal
armored suits, even teams of superheroes, each with distinctively different
special powers and dressed in blue tights with the number 4 on their
chests'.  Many moons and many years passed as though I was a cloud in a time
lapse film clip, and now posed with life decisions of whether to pursue
pre-med, international business, or what was really in my heart, art

At about this time, I discovered this endearing ronin rabbit and
have always kept him close to my heart.  I began collecting everything Usagi
Yojimbo.  The content and emotion gripped me in a very healthy way.  It was
so pure, captivating and refreshing.  The fact that a black and white comic
could have moved me so much and kept my attention and interest to keep
coming back for more speaks for the essence of quality story telling and
amazing imagery.  

When a comic book can make you hungry, you know it is being done well. Ummmm...I could live on Musubi and Ochasuke!  Growing up with those foods, and seeing them inked in a comic book, really hit home.

Again, it is very difficult to put into words, the feeling I get simply
mentioning the name Usagi Yojimbo and reminiscing with my younger sister
(her middle name Tomie) about the episodes of Usagi Yojimbo we experienced
back in the 80's.  Thank you Stan Sakai for all you have done for the world
and the wonderful impact you have had upon my more trying years.  Now, 40
years of age and a business owner, I still get that special feeling when
talking about the one and only Usagi Yojimbo.

Peace, Harmony, and My Deepest Gratitude,

Todd Kiyoshi Tanaka

Kay Otani

How can I thank you for the joy you have given me over the years?

I still reread the entire series from time to time from the first stories.

Sometimes, when I have been especially stressed or sad, they have literally given me strength to go on.  (What would Usagi do in this situation?)

Making each small thing well,
The artisan practices his craft.
Intended grandeur often fails,
But great works are built in small steps.

Happy anniversary Stan!

Steven James Walker

I grew up in Minnesota and first met the Ronin Rabit in the pages of TMNT some time around UY V1 # 10 or so.  It was what 1988?  87? I was in 7th grade? I went and got all the back issues, and have been collecting it ever since.  I get them imported here to the shop and get both the trades and the monthly books.  I've missed a few years here and there, but I've been able to get most of the missing issues. I almost have every UY book and appearance there is, but not all here.  (Most live in closet at my parents in Maryland).  I wish I could afford to ship them here (safely in a container and insured).  

Steven James Walker 7.7.09

Patricia "Usagi" Heise

Hallo Stan!

I am so excited about Usagi’s 25th Anniversary! I really don’t know what to say except thank you for creating Usagi and keeping the stories alive and going. The Ronin Rabbit is a classic for many people of all ages. Please keep up the great work and all the hard work you do!

Patricia “Usagi” Heise ^_^

Simon Smith

Thank you for bringing us Usagi'’s travels for 25 years! Here’s to 25 more!

Gladys Albinana

Thank you for 25 years of brilliant storytelling.

Keenan "Ronin K" Luciani

Congrats, Sakai Sensei, on 25 years of a fantabulous samurai rabbit epic! 

-Keenan Luciani (Ronin K)

Brent Heustess

Black lines on paper
They leap from page to our hearts
The years have been kind

               Brent Heustess
               Austin, TX

Todd "Shogun" Bustillo


Congratulations on 25 successful years of writing and drawing Usagi Yojimbo. You have accomplished what only few creators in the world of independent comics can claim to, and you have done so without any disruption to the quality and sincerity of your work.  It remains as it always has; a true, accurate portrait of historical Japan, with characters, stories, and situations that continue to delight the young and the old, not to mention us middle-agers.  

I remember the first time I read the pages of Usagi Yojimbo. I was only 12 years old and somewhat new to the world of comics myself.  I say “somewhat” because my exposure to comics was strictly limited to what I could find on the racks at liquor stores and Waldenbooks at the local mall. Namely Marvel and DC stuff. Then one day my Dad took me to my very first comic book store, and I was finally exposed to the full world of comics.  The possibilities seemed endless.  From black-and-whites, to Manga, to trade paperbacks and limited edition hard covers, not to mention an endless supply of back issues of new and old comics to enjoy. Of course, with limited funds I was forced to keep my options within reason. I only read the very best. One day I found Usagi and my life hasn’t been the same since.  Usagi truly was at that point in time, and just the same today, the best damned comic book ever produced.

I consider myself fortunate to have followed Usagi for most of these 25 years continuously and always eagerly awaiting the next issue with great anticipation. Usagi isn’t just a comic book anymore, but an integral part of my life, as I know it is for many others out there.  I can remember when I finally got to meet you at the San Diego Comic Con back in the 80s.  It was an amazing experience for a young kid and I look back on those days fondly.  I remember the overwhelming excitement as only a teenage fanboy can experience when I first landed that copy of Albedo NR 2, or while following the Dragon Bellow Conspiracy series, or when I got my first commissioned piece of Stan Sakai artwork, or when I got my first fan letter printed in one of the Fantagraphics issues…there were many moments of sheer bliss then that seem like they happened just yesterday, and those experiences remain an important part of me.  And now at 35 years of age, with my own son, I am able to pass on that importance and those experiences.

Usagi Yojimbo has been such an essential part of my life for so long now, fueling so much enthusiasm, that I really must say “thank you”.  I am really glad you have given me the opportunity to support Usagi through the Usagi Yojimbo Dojo website and the countless fans who have been brought together to share their interest in this impeccable series.  Usagi fans are a different breed of comic book fans. They are passionate, enthusiastic, intellectual, respectful, and have really great taste in what they read.  It has been an honor serving you and your readers through the Dojo and I will continue to do so as long as I am able to type on a keyboard.  I truly hope my efforts to give back to yourself and Usagi fandom for making UY what it is today have been fruitful.  And of course if there is anything else I can ever do to help, you know my swords are at your disposal.

25 years went by fast, but what an accomplishment. You truly deserve to feel proud of what you have done. Bravo, Stan.  Here’s to 25 more.

Sincerely yours,

Todd “Shogun” Bustillo
Usagi Yojimbo fan


Sean Shreder

Mr. Sakai,
Simply: Thank You

Tino "photino101"f

Hawaii Nō ka‘oi

Corky Trinidad and Stan Sakai

From: Tino aka photino101

Daren Burger

March 17, 2009

Dear Mr. Sakai,

With regard to a certain long-eared friend, I’d like to wish you Happy 25th Anniversary! It has always been a pleasure to read your intellectual, detailed, and thought-provoking stories. From the lettering and the simple-yet-elegant costume designs, to your cast of characters, their motivations, and interactions, your comic has always been and will continue to be one of the very best in the marketplace.

A toast is in order -- here’s to another 25 years of Usagi and company!

A devoted fan,

Daren Burger

Mike, Matheu, and Alannah

Dear Stan Sakai,

Been reading your book since the 80's. Always looking forward to the next issue. Great story line, great character, who can ask for more! Thank you for the moments that you have provided me to escape this world and enter Usagi Yojimbo's.

Warm regards, Mike, Matheu, and Alannah (Trenton, NJ)

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

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.



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  

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