Eiji Aonuma

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Eiji Aonuma
青沼 英二
Eiji Aonuma at E3 2013 (cropped headshot).jpg
Aonuma in 2013
Eiji Onozuka (小野塚 英二)[1]

(1963-03-16) March 16, 1963 (age 59)[2]
Alma materTokyo University of the Arts
OccupationVideo game designer, director, producer
The Legend of Zelda
TitleDeputy General Manager at Nintendo EPD (2019–present)

Eiji Aonuma (Japanese: 青沼 英二, Hepburn: Aonuma Eiji, born March 16, 1963) is a Japanese video game designer, director, and producer. He works for Nintendo as the project manager of their The Legend of Zelda series. Aonuma is also one of the deputy general managers of Nintendo's Entertainment Planning & Development division, having served that role since 2019.


Aonuma graduated from the Tokyo University of the Arts in 1988 with a masters degree in composition design, working on marionettes.[3][4] After graduating, he was interviewed at Nintendo. Aonuma met Shigeru Miyamoto during the interview, and showed Miyamoto samples of his college work.[5] 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.[6]

His first projects involved graphic design, creating sprites for Nintendo Entertainment System games such as 1991's NES Open Tournament Golf. Aonuma was director of development on 1996's Marvelous: Mōhitotsu no Takarajima for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.[5] In a move which Aonuma attributes to his position on the Marvelous team, Miyamoto recruited Aonuma to join the development team for the Zelda series.[5] He spent several years as a lead designer of The Legend of Zelda series: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and its sequel Majora's Mask, both for the Nintendo 64; and The Wind Waker, the first Zelda game for the GameCube. After The Wind Waker, he considered moving on to other projects, but was convinced by Shigeru Miyamoto to continue with the Zelda series.[7]

Aonuma then led the production of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, the second major Zelda game to be released for the GameCube and a launch game for the Wii. He then produced a sequel to The Wind Waker for the Nintendo DS, The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, followed by another Nintendo DS title, The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks. He also produced Link's Crossbow Training and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword for the Wii, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds for the Nintendo 3DS, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for the Nintendo Switch and Wii U.[8][9][10] In November 2016, Aonuma received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Golden Joystick Awards.[11]

In addition to producing Zelda games, Aonuma plays percussion as a member of a brass band he founded with five others in 1995, known as The Wind Wakers, named after the game of the same name. The band comprises over 70 Nintendo employees who perform four concerts a year.[12][13][14] In June 2019, he was promoted to the position of deputy general manager within the company's Entertainment Planning & Development division.[15]


Year Game title Role
1991 NES Open Tournament Golf Sprite designer
1996 BS Super Mario USA Power Challenge Graphic designer
Marvelous: Mōhitotsu no Takarajima Director
1998 The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
2000 The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
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 Supervisor
2015 The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D Producer
The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes
2016 Hyrule Warriors Legends Supervisor
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD Producer
2017 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
2018 Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition Supervisor
2019 The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening Producer
2020 Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity Supervisor
2021 The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD Producer
2023 Untitled Breath of the Wild sequel[16]


  1. ^ "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.
  2. ^ "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.
  3. ^ "Eiji Aonuma (Part 1): Before The Legend of Zelda". Switchaboo. August 22, 2019. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  4. ^ Woolf, Nicky (November 25, 2009). "Legend of Zelda director Eiji Aonuma | Interview". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c Szczepaniak, John. "Before They Were Famous". Retro Gamer. Imagine Publishing (35): 77.
  6. ^ "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.
  7. ^ Electronic Gaming Monthly, Issue 213, March 2007. Page 79.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ "IGN: GDC 2004: The History of Zelda". IGN. Ziff Davis. March 25, 2004. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  10. ^ "IGN: Miyamoto and Aonuma on Zelda". IGN. Ziff Davis. December 4, 2002. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ Hilliard, Kyle. "Zelda Producer Eiji Aonuma Talks Creating Majora's Mask And His Personal Hobbies". Game Informer. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
  14. ^ Cole, Michael (May 17, 2004). "GDC 2004 - Eiji Aonuma Zelda Roundtable". Nintendo World Report. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
  15. ^ Doolan, Liam (June 15, 2019). "Eiji Aonuma And Multiple Others Have Been Promoted At Nintendo". Nintendo Life. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  16. ^ Shea, Brian (June 11, 2019). "Breath Of The Wild's Director Is Returning For The Sequel". Game Informer. Retrieved June 12, 2019.

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