Eiji Aonuma

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Eiji Aonuma
青沼 英二
Aonuma in 2013
Eiji Onozuka (小野塚 英二)

(1963-03-16) March 16, 1963 (age 60)
Alma materTokyo University of the Arts
Occupation(s)Video game designer, director, producer
Years active1988–present
WorksThe Legend of Zelda
TitleSenior Officer, Nintendo EPD

Eiji Aonuma (Japanese: 青沼 英二, Hepburn: Aonuma Eiji, born March 16, 1963) is a Japanese video game designer, director, and producer at Nintendo. He is a senior officer within their Nintendo EPD division and serves as the producer of The Legend of Zelda franchise.


Aonuma was born as Eiji Onozuka[1] on March 16, 1963, in Nagano Prefecture, Japan.[2][3] He graduated from the Tokyo University of the Arts in 1988 with a master's degree in composition design, working on animated puppets called karakuri.[4][5] After graduating, he was interviewed at Nintendo. Aonuma met Shigeru Miyamoto during the interview, and showed Miyamoto samples of his college work.[6] He landed a job at Nintendo without ever having played a video game before. He asked his girlfriend about video games, and she introduced him to two Yuji Horii games, Dragon Quest (1986) on the Famicom and The Portopia Serial Murder Case (1983) on the PC-8801, which were the first video games he ever played.[7] His first projects involved graphic design, creating sprites for Nintendo Entertainment System games such as 1991's NES Open Tournament Golf. Aonuma was director on 1996's Marvelous: Mōhitotsu no Takarajima for the Super NES.[6]

Miyamoto later recruited Aonuma to join the development team for The Legend of Zelda series.[6] He was a lead designer for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and its sequel The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. Following work on The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, he considered moving on to other projects but was convinced by Miyamoto to continue with the series.[8] Aonuma has since led the production of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess,[9] Phantom Hourglass,[9] Spirit Tracks,[9] Link's Crossbow Training,[9] Skyward Sword,[9] A Link Between Worlds,[10] Breath of the Wild,[11] and Tears of the Kingdom.[12]

Aonuma plays percussion as a founding member of the Wind Wakers, a brass band formed in 1995. The band comprises over 70 Nintendo employees who perform a few concerts a year.[13][14][15] He was promoted to the position of deputy general manager within the company's Entertainment Planning & Development (EPD) division in June 2019.[16] By 2023, Aonuma had been promoted to senior officer at EPD.[17]


Aonuma received a lifetime achievement award at the 2016 Golden Joystick Awards.[18] In 2023, the Ministry of Culture in France chose to distinguish Aonuma with the Order of Arts and Letters.[19]


Year Title Role
1991 NES Open Tournament Golf Graphic design
1996 BS Super Mario USA Power Challenge Graphic design
Marvelous: Mōhitotsu no Takarajima Director, graphic design
1998 The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Director, dungeon design
2000 The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask Director
2002 The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
2004 The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap Supervisor
The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures Producer
2006 The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Director
2007 Link's Crossbow Training Producer
The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
2009 The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks
2011 The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D
The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
2013 The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
2014 Hyrule Warriors Supervision
2015 The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D Producer
The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes
2016 Hyrule Warriors Legends Supervision
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD Producer
2017 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
2018 Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition Supervision
2019 The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening Producer
2020 Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity Supervision
2021 The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD Producer
2023 The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom


  1. ^ 小野塚 英二
  2. ^ "今度のゼルダは「ダンジョンがたいへん」らしい。その1". 「ゼルダの伝説 時のオカリナ」の情報・産地直送!. Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shinbun. November 28, 1998. Retrieved June 27, 2010.
  3. ^ "ニンドリドットコム〜ゼルダの伝説 夢幻の砂時計 開発スタッフインタビュー〜". NINDORI.com. August 2007. Archived from the original on September 13, 2007. Retrieved March 15, 2013.
  4. ^ まず2Dゲームで開発、社員300人で1週間遊ぶ!? 新作ゼルダ、任天堂の驚愕の開発手法に迫る。「時オカ」企画書も公開! 【ゲームの企画書:任天堂・青沼英二×スクエニ・藤澤仁】 (3/4) (in Japanese). Denfaminiko Gamer. 2 March 2017. Archived from the original on 4 December 2022. Retrieved 1 July 2023.
  5. ^ ゼルダの伝説、情開・青沼英二氏インタビュー (in Japanese). Inside. 23 July 2003. Archived from the original on 1 July 2023. Retrieved 1 July 2023.
  6. ^ a b c Szczepaniak, John. "Before They Were Famous". Retro Gamer. Imagine Publishing (35): 77.
  7. ^ "Latest Zelda's making process & "Ocarina of Time" proposal disclosed (Nintendo Eiji Aonuma x SQEX Jin Fujisawa) (interview)". DenfaminicoGamer. June 9, 2017. Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  8. ^ Electronic Gaming Monthly, Issue 213, March 2007. Page 79.
  9. ^ a b c d e "IGN: GDC 2004: The History of Zelda". IGN. Ziff Davis. March 25, 2004. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  10. ^ McWhertor, Michael (April 17, 2013). "The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past sequel coming to Nintendo 3DS this holiday". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved April 17, 2013.
  11. ^ Narcisse, Evan (October 14, 2013). "The Man In Charge of Zelda Says He Wants to Keep Changing It". Kotaku. Gawker Media. Archived from the original on October 15, 2013. Retrieved June 20, 2014.
  12. ^ Shea, Brian (June 11, 2019). "Breath Of The Wild's Director Is Returning For The Sequel". Game Informer. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  13. ^ Puha, Thomas; Kennedy, Sam (October 16, 2007). "1up Profiles Zelda Director Eiji Aonuma". 1up.com. Archived from the original on June 3, 2016. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
  14. ^ Hilliard, Kyle. "Zelda Producer Eiji Aonuma Talks Creating Majora's Mask And His Personal Hobbies". Game Informer. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
  15. ^ Cole, Michael (May 17, 2004). "GDC 2004 - Eiji Aonuma Zelda Roundtable". Nintendo World Report. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
  16. ^ Doolan, Liam (June 15, 2019). "Eiji Aonuma And Multiple Others Have Been Promoted At Nintendo". Nintendo Life. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  17. ^ "Ask the Developer Vol. 9, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom—Part 1 - News - Nintendo Official Site". www.nintendo.com. Retrieved 16 May 2023.
  18. ^ Whitehead, Thomas (November 18, 2016). "Eiji Aonuma Wins Golden Joystick Lifetime Achievement Award as Pokémon GO Picks Up Two Gongs". Nintendo Life. Gamer Network. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
  19. ^ "Eiji Aonuma, co-créateur des jeux vidéo Zelda, nommé Chevalier de l'ordre des arts et des lettres". Le Figaro (in French). 2023-11-02. Retrieved 2023-11-05.

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