Makoto Shinkai | Biography 2021
Makoto Shinkai | Biography 2021

Quick Information

  • Full Name Makoto Shinkai
  • Occupation Animator, Film-maker, Manga Artist
  • Nationality Japan
  • Birthplace Nagano Prefecture, Japan
  • Born Year And Birthday Feb 09, 1973
  • Age 48 Years, 4 Months
Creator of 'Your Name'

Makoto Shinkai | Biography 2021

'Your Name' was the biggest hit of Makoto Shinkai. The theatrical feature-length animated film was a romantic fantasy drama based on his novel of the same name. The film won multiple awards, including the 'Award of the Japanese Academy' for 'Best Screenplay and the 'Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award' for 'Best Animation.' Released in 2016, 'Your Name' was a huge commercial success earning over 24.5 billion yen. By 2017, it was the highest-grossing anime film of all time, winning over Studio Ghibli's Spirited Away. As of May 2021, 'Your Name' was the second-highest-grossing anime movie of all time, according to Game Rant. The film was also ranked as the No. 1 body-swap film by IMDb in December 2020.


Quick Information
  • Full Name Makoto Shinkai
  • Occupation Animator, Film-maker, Manga Artist
  • Nationality Japan
  • Birthplace Nagano Prefecture, Japan
  • Birth Date Feb 09, 1973
  • Age 48 Years, 4 Months

Makoto Shinkai is a Japanese animator, manga artist, and filmmaker best known as the director of the hit anime Your Name (2016).

Who is Makoto Shinkai?

Makoto Shinkai is a Japanese manga artist, animator, screenwriter, director, and cinematographer. He released his first anime, She and Her Cat, a five-minute short animated video in 1999. His other anime include Voices of a Distant Star (2002), The Place Promised in Our Early Days (2004), 5 Centimeters Per Second (2007), Children Who Chase Lost Voices (2011), and The Garden of Words (2013).

In 2016, he released his biggest hit, Your Name, which was ranked as No. 1 body-swap films by IMDb. He was listed on '10 Animators to Watch in 2016' by Variety the same year. In 2017, Your Name became the highest-grossing anime of all time, besting Studio Ghibli's Spirited Away. As of May 2021, Your Name is the second-highest-grossing anime movie of all time, according to Game Rant. Shinkai released another hit feature anime Weathering With You, in 2019.

Early Life and Education

Makoto Niitsu, also known as Makoto Shinkai, was born on February 9, 1973, in Koumi, Nagano Prefecture, Japan. Since his childhood, Shinkar has been a cat person, and he keeps raising cats at all stages of his life. He explained, "Ever since I was a child I always had cats with me. I'm from the Nagano prefecture, and while living there I had cats, and after I came to Tokyo I also picked up some strays and started raising them. So I definitely always had cats with me."

Shinkai's passion for creating manga started in middle school, and it continued during his days at the university. He studied Japanese literature at Chuo University in Hachioji, Japan. At Chuo, he was a member of the juvenile literature club, and he drew picture books for children. In March 1996, Shinkar graduated from the Faculty of Letters, Chuo University.

Early Career

After graduation, Shinkai started working at a video game company Falcom. During his five years at Falcom, he worked as an artist, making video clips for games and web designing for Falcom's games. His time at Falcom influenced his later works in the film. He met the composer Tenmon at Falcom, who later provided music scores in most of his films.

Getting into Anime World

Shinkai was also involved in creating self-produced animations while working at Falcom. In 1999, he entered the animation world by releasing his five-minute short video titled She and Her Cat, a story about a male cat adopted by a young woman on a rainy day, and the story was told from the cat's perspective. This short video animation created in monochrome earned him the grand prize at the '12th DoGA CG Animation' contest in 2000.

With this success, he decided to do his solo animation works. In 2001, when he was 28, Shinkai quit his job at Falcom to work on the ambitious project Voices of a Distant Star. It was a 25-minute digital animation project in which he served as a screenwriter, animator, director, and voice actor. The animation received rave reviews and was eventually released in North America by ADV Films in 2002.

In an interview with Anime News Network in August 2011, he said, "I debuted with Voices of a Distant Star, but I'm not sure if I could call that "directing," since I made it by myself. It's my work, so yes, I was called "director." But I didn't really understand what "directing" was at the time. All the works after that involved working with other people in order to make the animation come out...but still, I wasn't sure about what "directing" meant. I drew the pictures myself, and directed others in certain ways...but it's been a learning process."

Rise to Fame

In 2004, Shinkai made the anime feature debut with a 90-minute animation titled The Place Promised in Our Early Days. It was released across Japan on November 20, 2004. Besides receiving critical acclaim, the anime won many honors, including the '59th Mainichi Film Concours' for 'Best Animation Film,' beating Howl's Moving Castle. 

In 2007, he released a 63-minute romantic drama anime 5 Centimeters Per Second, a story about long-distance relationships' mundane and harsh reality. Premiered on March 3, 2007, the anime consisted of three interconnected short stories titled Cherry BlossomCosmonaut, and 5 Centimeters Per Second that focused on the main crux, primarily centering on a young man named Takaki. The anime won 'Best Animated Feature Film' at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards and the 'Lancia Platinum Grand Prize' at Italy's Future Film Festival.

Turning Point

After 5 Centimeters Per Second, Shinkai spent the year 2008 in London, where he began writing for his next film, Children Who Chase Lost Voices. He returned to Japan in 2009 and worked on the film for two years. According to Shinkai, he understood what it meant to be an anime director after working on this film. He explained, "After two years working on [Hoshi o Ou Kodomo], I think I finally understand what being an animation director is about. I feel like this is my real directorial debut. Now that I've learned how to be a director, I think "yes, I want to make the next movie as a director." "

The film's production was wrapped in March and was released in theaters across Japan in May 2011. The film won the international 'Golden Monkey King Award' at the 8th China International Cartoon and Animation Festival. The following year, the Cabinet Secretariat's National Policy Unit sent him a Letter of Appreciation stating him as one of the "Global Messengers of Japan."

Big Hits

On May 31, 2013, Shinkai released his biggest hit so far, The Garden of Words, a 46-minute anime film depicting the romantic relationship between a 15-year-old boy and a 27-year-old woman. The film won him 'Best Anime Feature Film' in Germany's Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film in 2013. He also bagged the 'Shinmai Select Prize' the same year. He then continued to receive credits domestically and internationally as one of the next generations of anime film directors. 

His next big hit film, Your Name, was released on August 26, 2016. He released another big hit in 2019 titled, Weathering With You.

'Your Name'

The theatrical feature-length animated film Your Name was started in the summer of 2014 and released in the year 2016. It was a romantic fantasy drama film based on his novel of the same name. It depicts a story about two teenage strangers who find themselves linked bizarrely. The film also received great critical acclaim and won multiple awards, including the 'Award of the Japanese Academy' for 'Best Screenplay and the 'Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award' for 'Best Animation.' 

Your Name was a huge commercial success earning over 24.5 billion yen and recording the second-highest box-office revenue in Japanese film history until March 6, 2017. By 2017, it was the highest-grossing anime film of all time, winning over Studio Ghibli's Spirited Away. As of May 2021, Your Name is the second-highest-grossing anime movie of all time, according to Game Rant. The film was also ranked as the No. 1 body-swap film by IMDb in December 2020.

'Weathering With You'

After the tremendous success of Your Name, Shinkai chose to make his next movie, which everyone could relate to. He explained, "Since Your Name was viewed by a great number of people, I thought I might as well make the next movie dealing with a theme that everyone can relate to… so that everyone wants to go to see it. I wanted to make a movie that is like a big ship that many people can board. When I thought about what themes would work, I decided the weather would."

His latest feature, Weathering With You, a story of a high-school boy who builds a friendship with a girl who could manipulate the weather, was released in 2019. He bested Studio Ghibli's Spirited Away again in TV ratings in January 2021.

Personal Life

Anime director Shinkai married actress and producer Chieko Misaka. The couple together has a daughter, Chise Niitsu, born in 2010. In 2019, his 8-year-old daughter Chise Nitsu starred in the film Show Me The Way To The Station, playing as Sayaka, a story based on an award-winning novel written by Ijuin Shizu.

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