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The Twelve Kingdoms (十二国記, Jūni Kokuki; also known as Record of 12 Countries or Juuni Kokki, a common inaccurate reading) is a popular Japanese light novel series created by Fuyumi Ono. The first entry in the series ("The Shadow of the Moon, The Sea of Shadow") was published in Japan in 1991; the last volume was released in 2001. The series was published by Kodansha and contains illustrations by Akihiro Yamada.
The Chinese mythology-influenced books were adapted into an animated television series in 2002. The Studio Pierrot production aired on Japan's NHK from April 9, 2002 to August 30, 2003, totaling 45 episodes.
The novels were licensed in the United States by Tokyopop and the first four volumes were released between March 2007 and November 2010 as part of their Pop Fiction line. After that, the English license reverted to Kodansha USA. The entire anime series has been released on DVD in the United States by Media Blasters.
The Twelve Kingdoms tells several stories from the world of the Twelve Kingdoms, located on several islands accessible through magic. On the islands, magic works and societies similar to classical China exist. While the inhabitants of the Twelve Kingdoms are aware of the existence of our world, the reverse is not true.