Stan Sakai
Stan Sakai in his studio, 2015
BornMasahiko Sakai (坂井 雅彦)
(1953-05-25) May 25, 1953 (age 70)
Kyoto, Japan[1]
Area(s)Artist, writer, and letterer.
Notable works
Usagi Yojimbo

Stan Sakai (スタン坂井, Sutan Sakai, born May 25, 1953) is a Japanese-born American cartoonist and comic book creator.[3] He is best known as the creator of the comic series Usagi Yojimbo.[4][5]


He began his career by lettering comic books (notably Groo the Wanderer by Sergio Aragonés and Mark Evanier) and wrote and illustrated The Adventures of Nilson Groundthumper and Hermy; a comic series with a medieval setting, influenced by Sergio Aragonés' Groo the Wanderer. The characters first appeared in Albedo #1 in 1984, and they were subsequently featured in issues of Critters, Grimjack, Amazing Heroes and Furrlough.

Sakai became famous with the creation of Usagi Yojimbo, the epic saga of Miyamoto Usagi, a samurai rabbit living in late-sixteenth and early-seventeenth-century Japan.[6][7][8][9] First published in 1984, the comic continues to this day, with Sakai as the lone author and nearly sole artist (Tom Luth serves as the main colorist on the series, and Sergio Aragonés has made two small contributions to the series: the story "Broken Ritual" is based on an idea by Aragonés, and he served as a guest inker for the black-and-white version of the story "Return to Adachi Plain" that is featured in the Volume 11 trade paperback edition of Usagi Yojimbo). He also created a futuristic spinoff series Space Usagi.[10] His favorite movie is Satomi Hakkenden (1959). The Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles's Little Tokyo presented an exhibit entitled "Year of the Rabbit: Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo" from July 9 through October 30, 2011.

Sakai wrote and illustrated the story "I'm Not in Springfield Anymore!" for Bart Simpson's Treehouse of Horror #7 and illustrated the back cover of Treehouse of Horror #6.

Stan Sakai with Kevin Eastman (Co-creator of TMNT) at San Diego Comic-Con 2017

Sakai was the artist for Riblet, the back-up feature in the trade paperback of Stupid, Stupid Rat Tails.

In 2013, Sakai illustrated the limited comic book series 47 Ronin, an adaptation of the famed story of the 47 Ronin written by Dark Horse Comics Publisher Mike Richardson and with Lone Wolf and Cub writer Kazuo Koike as an editorial consultant.

The seventh episode of the 2012 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series' fifth season, "Yojimbo", was written by Sakai and features Miyamoto Usagi, who has appeared in a few TMNT shows to date.

In 2020, it was announced that Sakai would serve as an executive producer on the upcoming Netflix original CGI animated series Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles, which is based on "Usagi Yojimbo".[11]

In April 2022, Sakai was reported among the more than three dozen comics creators who contributed to Operation USA's benefit anthology book, Comics for Ukraine: Sunflower Seeds, a project spearheaded by IDW Publishing Special Projects Editor Scott Dunbier, whose profits would be donated to relief efforts for Ukrainian refugees resulting from the February 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.[12][13] Sakai's contribution is an original Usagi Yojimbo story in which the main character come to the aid of refugees fleeing the invasion of their land by a warlord, themes that speak to the events in Ukraine.[14]


From 1993 through 2005, Stan Sakai has received twenty-one Eisner Award nominations. He has also been nominated for the Comics Buyer's Guide Award for Favorite Writer in 1999 and 2000. In 2020, Sakai was inducted into the Eisner Award Hall of Fame.


Usagi Yojimbo

Other works


  1. ^ "The Art of 'Usagi Yojimbo' at the Cartoon Art Museum". Animation Insider. Archived from the original on January 30, 2012. Retrieved 2010-11-25.
  2. ^ "Usagi Yojimbo creator comes back to where it all began". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Archived from the original on March 29, 2020. Retrieved November 25, 2010.
  3. ^ "USAGI YOJIMBO: Stan Sakai and Diana Schutz". Archived from the original on December 5, 2008. Retrieved 2010-09-02.
  4. ^ "Interview: Stan Sakai: Down the Rabbit Hole with Usagi Yojimbo". The Trades. Archived from the original on March 26, 2010. Retrieved November 25, 2010.
  5. ^ Solomon, Charles (March 8, 1993). "Take one part Toshiro Mifune. Then add adventure and humor to get artist Stan Sakai's 'Usagi Yojimbo.'". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  6. ^ Solomon, Charles (December 18, 2005). "Don't get between the rabbit and his sword". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  7. ^ "25 YEARS OF "USAGI YOJIMBO"". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  8. ^ "25 Years of the Rabbit Ronin: Stan Sakai on Usagi". Newsarama. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  9. ^ "BCC: SPOTLIGHT ON STAN SAKAI". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  10. ^ "Stan Sakai Talks Usagi Yojimbo". Comics. Archived from the original on June 15, 2011. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
  11. ^ "Comic legend Stan Sakai and 'Usagi Yojimbo' embark on a new adventure with Netflix in an all-new animated kids series 'Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles'". Netflix Media Center. Retrieved July 15, 2020.
  12. ^ Kaplan, Rebecca O. (April 18, 2022). "ZOOP launches benefit anthology COMICS FOR UKRAINE: SUNFLOWER SEEDS". The Beat. Archived from the original on April 18, 2022. Retrieved April 26, 2022.
  13. ^ Brooke, David (April 18, 2022). "'Comics for Ukraine: Sunflower Seeds' to benefit Ukrainian refugees". AIPT. Archived from the original on April 26, 2022. Retrieved April 26, 2022.
  14. ^ Kit, Borys (April 20, 2022). "Comic Book Creators Team for Ukraine Relief Effort Anthology 'Sunflower Seed'". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on April 20, 2022. Retrieved April 30, 2022.
  15. ^ "Stan Sakai: The Cartoonist". Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  16. ^ "Miscellaneous Awards". Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  17. ^ "Inkpot Awards". Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  18. ^ "1999 Haxtur Awards". Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  19. ^ "2000 Haxtur Awards". Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  20. ^ "The Ursa Major Awards - 2001 winners". Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  21. ^ "2002 National Cartoonists Society Awards". Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  22. ^ "The Ursa Major Awards - 2002 winners". Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  23. ^ "The Ursa Major Awards - 2003 winners". Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  24. ^[bare URL PDF]
  25. ^ "The Ursa Major Awards - 2004 winners". Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  26. ^ "The Ursa Major Awards - 2005 winners". Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  27. ^ "2007 Harvey Award Nominees and Winners". Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  28. ^ "More photos of Stan Sakai's Cultural Ambassador Award - Fantagraphics". April 22, 2011. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  29. ^ "The Comics Reporter". Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  30. ^ "2014 Winners".
  31. ^ "2016 Harvey Award Winners Announced". Retrieved November 1, 2018.