How Do You Live? – A New Coming-of-Age Tale by Hayao Miyazaki Based on a Classic Japanese Novel

In this new movie from legendary Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki, a young boy learns about courage and progress. It’s based on a 1937 novel by Genzaburo Yoshino.

After announcing his retirement a decade ago, Miyazaki came out of the woodwork to direct How Do You Live? The film is scheduled to be released in 2023.


Hayao Miyazaki swore off making animated movies in 2013, but he came out of retirement in 2016 to start work on his next film. He’s based the film on the 1937 novel How Do You Live?, a coming-of-age tale about a teenage boy named Junchi Honda (nicknamed “Koperu”) who lives with his uncle.

The story is a mixture of fiction and philosophy, alternating between the perspective of Koperu’s uncle and himself. As Koperu grows up, he experiences both emotional and ethical trials with his uncle as they share diary writings and notes about their journey.

The movie is written and directed by the legendary anime filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki, and produced by Studio Ghibli. It is based on the 1937 Japanese novel of the same name by Genzaburo Yoshino. It is set to be released on July 14, 2023.


First published in 1937, Yoshino Genzaburo’s “How Do You Live?” has long been acknowledged in Japan as a crossover classic for young readers. It has been cited as a favorite childhood book by animator Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Howl’s Moving Castle).

In the movie, we follow 15-year-old Copper, nicknamed Koperu after astronomer Nicholas Copernicus, as he ponders life’s big questions. His musings are interspersed with his uncle’s letters, which give him advice and teach him pivotal truths about the way the world works.

Bruno Navasky’s English translation, released in October by Algonquin Young Readers, has generated a lot of interest for the film. But he has a tough job on his hands: the novel is a very hard read, and it’s not easy to get into, let alone finish.

Release date

After a decade-long hiatus from filmmaking, legendary Studio Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki is back to work on his latest movie. The film, which will be based on the 1937 novel How Do You Live? by Yoshino Genzaburo, is said to be Miyazaki’s favorite book of all time.

The long-awaited anime hit will open in Japanese theaters on July 14 next year. The official Studio Ghibli Japan Twitter account tweeted about the release date, as well as a new hand-drawn teaser poster featuring an image of a bird-like creature.

The animation is based on the same book, and will focus on a boy named Koperu (voiced by Yukito Kishida) who struggles to understand the meaning of life after his father dies. He also grapples with poverty and poverty-induced mental illness. It’s a coming-of-age tale that will likely explore Miyazaki’s signature themes of family, friendship, spiritual growth and tackling poverty.

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