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Kiki’s Magic: Author Eiko Kadono Reveals the Secrets of Kiki’s Delivery Service

Kiki, a teenage witch, and her partner, the black cat Jiji, ride on a broom through the night sky. A radio hangs from the broomstick as they head towards an unfamiliar city, pushed forward by tailwinds and the music flowing from the radio. This opening scene from the novel Kiki’s Delivery Service(published by Fukuinkan Shoten), which has received anime and live-action adaptions, is beloved by people around the world.The creator of this enchanting story is author Eiko Kadono, a 1957 Waseda alumnus. Kadono, who received the 2018 Hans Christian Andersen Award, is the author of over 250 books, including six in the Kiki’s Delivery Service series, which depicts Kiki’s life between the ages of 13 and 35. What led to the creation of Kadono’s representative work, Kiki’s Delivery Service? We spoke with Kadono to discover the source of her imaginative creativity.

【#1】It’s Unknown how the Story Ends, which Makes it Interesting for Both the Writer and Reader

【#2】As She Developed the Story, Two Thoughts Inspired Kadono to Depict Kiki as a Mother

【#3】Witches are Beings who Connect the Seen to the Unseen

【Part2】Becoming a Professional Writer at 42: The Moment Eiko Kadono, Author of Kiki’s Delivery Service, Found Her Calling


Eiko Kadono
Born in Fukagawa, Tokyo, Kadono graduated from Waseda University’s School of Education in 1957. In 1959, she moved to Brazil, where she lived for two years. She made her writing debut with the non-fiction story Brazil and My Friend Luizinho (published by Poplar), based on her experience in Brazil. In 1985, she published her representative work, Kiki’s Delivery Service (published by Fukuinkan Shoten), for which she won the Noma Prize for Children’s Literature, the Shogakukan Children’s Publication Culture Award, and the IBBY Honor List. The novel has received animated, theatrical, and live-action adaptations in Japan, and in 2016, it received a theatrical adaption in London. She is the author of several other series, including the Chiisana Obake series. She received the Purple Ribbon Medal of Honor in 2000 and the Gold Rays with Rosette medal of the Order of the Rising Sun in 2014. She is also the recipient of the 2018 Hans Christian Andersen Award.

Interviewer and Writer: Chika Igaya
Born in Tokyo, Igaya completed her master’s at Meiji University’s Graduate School, where she specialized in archaeology. After working as a newspaper reporter and news editor for website Niconico, she helped established the Huffington Post Japan, of which she was the sole domestic reporter. She has been a reporter for Bengo4.com since 2017. She is the author of several books, including Hibi, Kimono ni Kappogi (published by Chikuma Shobo), Tsunagaru Toshokan (published by Chikuma Shinsho), Machi no Mirai wo Kono Te de Tsukuru (published by Gentosha) and coauthor of Naushika no Hikogu, Tsukuttemita (published by Gentosha). In February 2019, she published Sono Joho ha Doko kara? (published by Chikuma Purima Shinsho)

Photography: Hajime Kato

Editor: Kaori Matsumoto

Design: Shinpei Nakaya, PRMO

Interview and Photography Assistance: Garage Bluebell (https://garagebluebell.jimdo.com/

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