Kiki's Delivery Service (novel)

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Majo no Takkyūbin
Kiki's Delivery Service
Kiki's Delivery Service Majo no Takkyubin (Book Cover).jpg
Japanese book cover
AuthorEiko Kadono
Original title魔女の宅急便
Majo no Takkyūbin
TranslatorLynne E. Riggs
IllustratorAkiko Hayashi
Cover artistAkiko Hayashi
SeriesMajo no Takkyūbin
GenreChildren's, Fantasy novel
PublisherFukuinkan Shoten
Publication date
January 25, 1985
Published in English
February 1, 2003
Media typePrint (Paperback)
Pages259 pp
LC ClassMLCSJ 86/174 (P)
Followed byMajo 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 May 2017.


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 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. The French version was released in 2019.

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 with Jeff Stockwell writing the script and Susan Montford, Don Murphy, and Mark Gordon as producers, but no developments have emerged since then.[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 actress 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 ISBN 978-4-8340-1174-6
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 ISBN 978-4-8340-1704-5
  • 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 ISBN 978-4-8340-0586-8
  • 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 ISBN 978-4-8340-2263-6
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 7, 2009 ISBN 978-4-8340-2466-1
Majo no Takkyūbin Tokubetsu-hen: Kiki ni Deatta Hitobito (魔女の宅急便 特別編 キキに出会った人びと, Witch's Express Home Delivery Special Edition:People who met Kiki) January 25, 2016 ISBN 978-4-8340-8236-4
Majo no Takkyūbin Tokubetsu-hen 2: Kiki to Jiji (魔女の宅急便 特別編その2 キキとジジ, Witch's Express Home Delivery Special Edition2: Kiki and Jiji) May 25, 2017 ISBN 978-4-8340-8338-5

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • 23rd Noma Award for Juvenile Literature
  • 34th Shogakukan Award for Children's Literature
  • Hans Christian Andersen Award 2018
  • Holds a place on the IBBY Honour List for 1986[9]


  1. ^ Institute of Intellectual Property Archived 2007-02-08 at the Wayback Machine "Overview of Japanese Trademark Law by Dr. Shoen Ono." Retrieved on 2007-2-11.
  2. ^ IBM e-business: jStart Program: Case studies: Web services: Yamato Transport Group. Archived 2007-10-12 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 2007-1-4.
  3. ^ Kadono's Kiki's Delivery Service Works page in English, Retrieved on 2007-6-22
  4. ^ "Disney to Redo Kiki's Delivery Service". animationmagazine. April 5, 2005. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
  5. ^ "Kiki's Delivery Service To Get A Live-Action Film Adaptation". Japanverse. April 23, 2013.
  6. ^ a b "Live-Action Kiki's Delivery Service's Teaser Video Streamed". Anime News Network. 2013-10-25. Retrieved 2013-10-28.
  7. ^ "Take Your First Look At Shimizu's Live Action KIKI's DELIVERY SERVICE". Retrieved 2013-05-31.
  8. ^ Novel Pictures of Kiki's Delivery Service at Retrieved 2007-6-22.
  9. ^ IBBY Honour List (1956-2006), a browseable pdf archive at Austrian Literature Online, retrieved 2007-06-22

External links[edit]