Kiki's Delivery Service (novel)

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This article is about the novels. For other uses, see Kiki's Delivery Service (disambiguation).
Majo no Takkyūbin
Kiki's Delivery Service
Kiki's Delivery Service Majo no Takkyubin (Book Cover).jpg
Japanese book cover
Author Eiko Kadono
Original title 魔女の宅急便
Majo no Takkyūbin
Translator Lynne E. Riggs
Illustrator Akiko Hayashi
Cover artist Akiko Hayashi
Country Japan
Language Japanese
Series Majo no Takkyūbin
Genre Children's, Fantasy novel
Publisher Fukuinkan Shoten
Publication date
January 25, 1985
Published in English
February 1, 2003
Media type Print (Paperback)
Pages 259 pp
ISBN 4-8340-0119-9
OCLC 166865908
LC Class MLCSJ 86/174 (P)
Followed by Majo no Takkyūbin 2: Kiki to Atarashii Mahou
(Kiki's Delivery Service 2: Kiki and Her New Magic)

Kiki's Delivery Service (魔女の宅急便 Majo no Takkyūbin?, lit. Witch's Express Home Delivery) is a children's fantasy novel written by Eiko Kadono and illustrated by Akiko Hayashi. It was first published by Fukuinkan Shoten on January 25, 1985. It is the basis of the 1989 Studio Ghibli anime film of the same title and of the 2014 live action film also of the same name.

The book won numerous awards in Japan. Encouraged by this and by the success of the film, Kadono has written four more novels, over a period of several years, and created a book series. The most recent was published in October 2009.


The book follows Kiki, a young witch. Her mother is also a witch, but her father is not. Kiki is now thirteen and must spend a year on her own in a town without other witches. She must use her magic abilities to earn her living. She is accompanied by her cat Jiji.


Title interpretation[edit]

The word takkyūbin (宅急便, literally home-fast-mail) in the Japanese title is a trademark of Yamato Transport, though it is used today as a synonym for takuhaibin (宅配便, literally home-delivery-mail). The company not only approved the use of the trademark — though its permission was not required under Japanese trademark laws[1] — but also enthusiastically sponsored the anime film version of the book, as the company uses a stylized depiction of a black mother cat carrying her kitten as its corporate logo.[2]


Non-Japanese versions of Majo no Takkyūbin were not published until 2003 when the book became available in English, Italian, Korean and Chinese. The Swedish and Indonesian editions were published in 2006.

Differences in title[edit]

Not all translations of the book follow the original title. Some include the name of the central character.[3]

English edition[edit]

This edition is translated by Lynne E. Riggs and illustrated by Akiko Hayashi. The cover is by Irvin Cheung. The book is 176 pages and, like the original Japanese edition, has eleven chapters.

Related media[edit]

Film adaptations[edit]

The book was adapted in 1989 as an animated film by Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. Disney was also interested in its own live-action take on Kiki in 2005, but no developments have emerged since then. Jeff Stockwell was assigned to the script, and Don Murphy was going to be the producer.[4]

A live-action film adaptation of the same novel and with the same name starring Fuka Koshiba was released on March 1, 2014.[5][6] The film is based on the first 2 novels and have figure skater turned actor Fuka Koshiba playing Kiki[7] premiered in Japan on March 1, 2014.[6]

Novel sequels[edit]

Title Release Date Notes
Majo no Takkyūbin 2: Kiki to Atarashii Mahō (魔女の宅急便その2 キキと新しい魔法 Witch's Express Home Delivery 2: Kiki and Her New Magic?) June 30, 1993
Majo no Takkyūbin 3: Kiki to mō Hitori no Majo (魔女の宅急便その3 キキともうひとりの魔女 Witch's Express Home Delivery 3: Kiki and the Other Witch?) October 20, 2000
  • Contains 12 chapters
Majo no Takkyūbin 4: Kiki no Koi (魔女の宅急便その4 キキの恋 Witch's Express Home Delivery 4: Kiki's Love?) March 10, 2004
  • Contains 10 chapters
Majo no Takkyūbin 5: Mahō no Tomarigi (魔女の宅急便その5 魔法の止まり木 Witch's Express Home Delivery 5: Perch of Magic?) May 9, 2007
Majo no Takkyūbin 6: Sorezore no Tabidachi (魔女の宅急便その6 それぞれの旅立ち Witch's Express Home Delivery 6: Each and Every Departure?) October 2009

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • 23rd Noma Award for Juvenile Literature
  • 34th Shogakukan Award for Children's Literature
  • Holds a place on the IBBY Honour List for 1986[9]


External links[edit]