Makoto Shinkai at Otakon 2011
March 9, 1973
Koumi, Nagano, Japan
|Occupation||Film director, Producer, Writer, Animator, Voice actor, Manga artist|
|Known for||Voices of a Distant Star,
The Place Promised in Our Early Days,
5 Centimeters Per Second,
Children Who Chase Lost Voices
Makoto Shinkai (新海 誠 Shinkai Makoto ), born as Makoto Niitsu (新津 誠 Niitsu Makoto , born March 9, 1973) is a Japanese director of anime and former graphic designer. A native of the Nagano Prefecture, Shinkai studied Japanese literature at Chuo University where he was a member of juvenile literature club where he drew picture books. He traces his passion for creation to the manga, anime, and novels he was exposed to while in middle school. His favorite anime is Castle in the Sky by Hayao Miyazaki. Shinkai has been called "The New Miyazaki" in several reviews including Anime Advocates and ActiveAnime, comparisons which he calls an "overestimation".
After graduating from Chuo in 1994 he got a job at Falcom, a video game company and where he worked for 5 years by making video clips for games and graphic design including web content. During this time he met musician Tenmon who would later collaborate in all of his movies by providing the music score.
In 1999, Shinkai released She and Her Cat, a five minute short piece done in monochrome. It won several awards, including the grand prize at the 2000 DoGA CG Animation contest. The short details the life of a cat, entirely from the cat's perspective, as it passes time with its owner, a young woman.
After winning the grand prize, Shinkai began thinking about a follow-up while he continued for Falcom. A few months later in June 2000, Shinkai was inspired to begin Voices of a Distant Star by drawing a picture of a girl in a cockpit grasping a cell phone. Some time later, he was contacted by Mangazoo, who offered to "work with him," giving him a grant to turn his idea into an anime they could sell. In May 2001, he quit his job at Falcom and began to work on Voices. In an interview, Shinkai noted that production took around seven months of "real work."
Voices of a Distant Star was followed by the 90 minute long The Place Promised in Our Early Days, which was released nationwide in Japan on November 20, 2004. It was critically acclaimed, winning many honors. Shinkai's next project was titled 5 Centimeters per Second and premiered 3 March 2007. It consists of three short films titled Cherry Blossom, Cosmonaut, and 5 Centimeters Per Second. The total play time is about 63 minutes. In September 2007 Nagano's leading newspaper, Shinano Mainichi Shinbun, released a TV commercial animated by Makoto Shinkai. Aside from his own projects, Shinkai also assists in animating visual novel opening movies for Minori, a visual novel company.
Shinkai spent 2008 in London, resting since the completion of 5 Centimeters per Second. He returned to Japan in 2009 to start work on his next project. He released two concept drawings for this film in December 2009. Shinkai noted that this film would be his longest animation film to date and described the story as a "lively" animated film with adventure, action, and romance centered on a cheerful and spirited girl on a journey to say "farewell". In November 2010, he revealed that his next work would be titled Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below. A teaser trailer was released on November 9, and the film was released on May 7, 2011.
Shinkai is currently working on his next feature, Kotonoha no Niwa (Garden of Words), set to release on May 31, 2013.
- Other Worlds (遠い世界 Tooi Sekai ) - Director / Animator, 1997 (short film)
- She and Her Cat (彼女と彼女の猫 Kanojo to Kanojo no Neko ) - Director / Writer / Animator / voice of Her Cat, 1999
- Voices of a Distant Star (ほしのこえ Hoshi no Koe ) - Director / Writer / Producer / voice of Noboru Terao (original voice), 2002
- Egao (みんなのうた「笑顔」 Minna no Uta "Egao" ) - Director, 2003 (Music Video for Hiromi Iwasaki)
- The Place Promised in Our Early Days (雲のむこう、約束の場所 Kumo no Mukō, Yakusoku no Basho ) - Director / Writer / Producer / Storyboards / Background art / Design/Modeler / Theme Song Lyrics, 2004
- 5 Centimeters Per Second (秒速5センチメートル Byōsoku Go Senchimētoru ) - Director / Writer / Producer / Storyboard / Art Director / Color design, 2007
- A Gathering of Cats (猫の集会 Neko no Shūkai ) - Director / Storyboards / Background art / Color design / Photography, 2007 (TV short film featured on Ani*Kuri15)
- Children Who Chase Lost Voices (星を追う子ども Hoshi o Ou Kodomo ) - Director / Writer / Producer, 2011
- Someone's Gaze (だれかのまなざし Dareka no Manazashi ) - Director, 2013 (short film)
- The Garden of Words (言の葉の庭 Kotonoha no Niwa ) - Director / Writer, 2013
Video games 
- Bittersweet Fools - Trailer & OP Director, 2001
- Wind: A Breath of Heart - Trailer & OP Director / Computer Animator, 2002-2004
- Haru no Ashioto - Trailer & OP Director, 2004
- Ef: A Fairy Tale of the Two. - Trailer & OP Director, 2006
Literary works 
- Slug, 1994 (picture-book)
- 5 Centimeters per Second, 2007 (novel)
- Beyond the Tower, 2002
- Voices from a Distant Star, 2004
- The Place Promised in Our Early Days, 2005-present
- 5 Centimeters per Second, 2010-2011
- Children who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below, 2011
The cats(Chobi and Mimi) from She and Her Cat are mentioned and appear in 5 Centimeters Per Second and in A Gathering of Cats.
- "MAKOTO SHINKAI - THE PLACE PROMISED IN OUR EARLY DAYS DIRECTOR". Active Anime. 2005-09-27. Retrieved 2011-12-19.
- "Distant Star's Shinkai Posts Images for Next Anime". Anime News Network. 2009-12-24. Retrieved 2010-08-28.
- "Paradise Kiss, Mardock Scramble, Gon Promos Streamed (Makoto Shinkai's latest work, Hoshi o Ou Kodomo, to have teaser on November 9)". Anime News Network. 2010-11-02. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
- "Makoto Shinkai's Hoshi o Ou Kodomo Teaser Posted in HD". Anime News Network. 2010-11-09. Retrieved 2010-11-09.
- Makoto Shinkai's Website (Japanese)
- Makoto Shinkai Fan Web
- Makoto Shinkai Fan Forum
- Makoto Shinkai at the Internet Movie Database
- Makoto Shinkai at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Entry in the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction