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Yu Suzuki presents the long awaited third installment in the Shenmue series.
Yu Suzuki presents the long awaited third installment in the Shenmue series.
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69,320 backers pledged $6,333,295 to help bring this project to life.

Interview with Shenmue’s Main Character Designer

Posted by Ys Net (Creator)

Hello Everyone!

Shenmue has a diverse and huge cast of characters. Hundreds of unique personalities, each with their own story, each going about their own lives in the world of Shenmue. Giving these people shape and breathing life into them was artist and designer Kenji Miyawaki. His work with the character concepts and character design helped populate Shenmue with many of the colorful and unforgettable characters that made the story so inviting.

In today’s interview, Miyawaki-san gets into how he had come to work for Sega, what it was like being involved in the production of Shenmue, and elaborates on how a certain character came about. Please welcome, Kenji Miyawaki!

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Thank you very much Miyawaki-san! Your art has ignited the imaginations of all us Shenmue fans. We all look forward to what you have in store for us next! His artwork will most certainly be included in the printed artbook reward, as well as with the grab bag rewards.

Kenji Miyawaki's artwork from Shenmue:

Joseph Steiner, James Wherley, and 235 more people like this update.


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    1. Gabriele Gubinelli on

      So much Love in these sketches :D

    2. Missing avatar

      TCprod on

      @Peter Lutz

      Hello, helllouw, remastering 1&2 is work on top of 3, hello?! how is that helping the making of 3 hell-OOOO?!?!?

      Damn it just stop it already.

    3. Missing avatar

      Kenshiro on

      Cool up date!! Thank you!! :-)

    4. Missing avatar

      AM2Model3 on

      Thank you i love the art and character design! I cant wait to see new ones in shenmue3!

    5. Yohmi on

      So much life and energy in these illustrations :)

    6. Missing avatar

      Tomi Valkonen on

      Beautiful art and bonus points for Night of the Living Dead shirt.

    7. Jonathan Goldberg, the harmony artist on

      @Tony Q.

      Thank you for the effort. I love Shenmue Dojo.

      @Amir Shaikh

      My thoughts exactly. I always thought Xiuying rubbed off as another interpretation of the enigmatic "Obi-Wan Kenobi/Yoda" dynamic that George Lucas utilized, decades ago.

    8. Tony Q. on

      Great video!
      Theses designs and this music reminds me of very good and happy memories!
      I can't wait to play the next Shenmue!
      For people who whant to watch these videos in japanese with english or french subtitles you can watch it on Shenmue Dojo channel on youtube.

    9. Marcel on

      I really love the Shenhua sketch and his drawing style.
      I would add the original voice in the background, or subtitles in the new videos. thanks!

    10. strider16 on

      Do the next english videos with subtitles, in artistical videos like these I would like to hear the voice from the artist.

    11. Marcel on

      His concept artworks are great, Xiuying is a very interesting and beautiful character.
      Thanks for showing us the man behind the main character designs.

    12. Robert Battersby on

      Man, what a master of his craft.
      I really love how he describes his inspiration for designing Xiuying.

    13. JetStrange on

      @The update, Thats really awersome :) and beautiful.

      @Peter Lutz I would agree with you on it but what you did was pretty rude. This is talking about a guy who did the character artwork and you commented about getting shenmue 1 and 2... Atleast have some respect for the update. All n all Im with you just post it in the comment section of the main campaign page.

    14. Zzhh on

      Thank you Kenji Miyazaki! Beautiful art ever!

    15. Missing avatar

      Benjamin Moran on

      Loving these interviews! Keep it up!

    16. Missing avatar

      5upstove on

      Just a nitpick about the English dub: "Bajiquan" should be pronounced as "Ba-ji-chuan", instead of "Ba-ji-kwan" in the video. Same goes for "Pi-gua-kwan" and "Pi-gua-chuan." Otherwise, very informative video.

    17. Amir Shaikh on

      Finally someone mentions Xiuying, in all this talk of Ren I've been wondering if we'd see her in Shenmue 3. I feel like the moment we learn she was Master Tao defied expectations in a very similar fashion to Yoda's reveal in empire strikes back. Expecting a wise old man and getting this young woman as a martial arts master instead, absolutely brilliant. Knowing that Yu is rounding up folks from Shenmue 1 & 2 gives me so much more confidence in this project.

    18. Missing avatar

      Padraic on

      not like it's impossible some people seem to think a remaster excists and that SEGA never released it. Guess its not impossible especially if Shenmue 3 does well

    19. Peter Lutz

      An awesome strech goal would be a Shenmue 1 & 2 Remaster. Don´t you think?

    20. Missing avatar

      breakYODAy on

      That was a great interview. Keep them coming!

    21. Missing avatar

      Padraic on

      nice update now that's more like it. Great sketches artwork is amazing

    22. Missing avatar

      MOE on

      A simple and effective plan to help Shenmue is adding NEW backers among people you know:

      1.) Backers, kindly ask 2 or 3 of your gaming friends to each give $29 for Shenmue. This video serves as a good introduction:… This article is another good intro to Shenmue:

      2.) $29 is very reasonable for this great game (ideal amount for people who don't know about it yet but are interested in video games generally)

      3.) If we all do this and reach 2-3 new people among our friends/co-workers etc. this Kickstarter reaches well over 100K backers!

      Keep posting on Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels and PERSONALLY contact people you know or speak to friends about this campaign...thanks.

    23. Missing avatar

      Nunes on

      Fantastic work ! Thanks for te vidéo :-)

    24. Edward Zee Jones on

      Awesome Japan, please put those illustrations as a banner on the main page.

    25. Edward Zee Jones on

      I love it. Awesome Japan, more of this please.

    26. Wüll on

      Amazing guy. I can't wait to see what he comes up with for 3!

    27. ShenmueFan on

      what a great new pledge goal to be drawn or have a drawn pic of your favourite shenmue character signed by Kenji Miyawaki. Cmon awesome japan lets get more goals up and get to 5 million.

    28. Missing avatar

      Mark on

      New pledge tier: Kenji Miyawaki draws you or your original character

    29. Zed_psx on

      Miyawaki and yoji shinkawa the best artist around

    30. Missing avatar

      Keizh on

      I really, really, REALLY LOVE the art of Shenmue. It's one of the things I love the most of the game.

    31. Missing avatar

      Jeremy Creek on

      I have a tattoo of his sketch of Shenhua. I fell in love with his art from the first moment I saw them. Safe to say shenmue would not be what it is today without his interpretation of the characters.

    32. Goro on

      great update!

    33. SilverbackSi on

      Nice, I like the freeflow look of the drawings.

    34. Jonathan Goldberg, the harmony artist on

      Awesome! I LOVE Xiuying Hong! Love her character design and personality - So full of wisdom, so full of beauty.

      ; )

      Cheers to Kenji Miyawaki-san's return to Shenmue! Domo arigato!

      : )

    35. Ghost of Duma on

      that Xiuying illustration is awesome!

    36. Ghost of Duma on

      Can't wait to get the printed artbook!

    37. Muffin on

      Magnifique!! Bravo Mr Kenji Miyawaki !!

    38. Dannielle Tinder on

      Beautiful art design, here!

    39. Missing avatar

      Joel on

      Nice to have Miyawaki onboard the Shenmue III-project, someone has to make sure that Xiuying is not mishandled, should she return. Easily my favorite character as well!

    40. Missing avatar

      TCprod on

      Finally, if nobody mentions Xiuying, then the main freakin character designer has to do it.

    41. Jcgamer60 on

      Excellent job - your art has brought great joy to millions of people.

    42. mabec on

      Thanks for the update, please keep them more frequent

    43. Lucio Hang-On on

      My anticipation for Shenmue 3 is growing day by day! And these updates are adding to that. Superb!


      Beautiful! Thank you, Miyawaki-sama for your masterful work! It will live on forever!

    45. Missing avatar

      Russell Glover on

      Nice video. Really insightful, thank you