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.


Amy Lam

Amy Lam 6.08.09-1
Amy Lam 6.08.09-2

Ray Uehara

Rey Uehara 7.7.09


Hans 7.3.09

Trent "Musashi" McNeeley

Trent McNeeley 6.24

Vincent Bumatay

Vincent Bumatay 6.21

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


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