Makoto Shinkai

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Makoto Shinkai
Makoto Shinkhai in Moscow.JPG
Makoto Shinkai in Moscow 2013
BornMakoto Niitsu
(1973-02-09) February 9, 1973 (age 45)
Koumi, Nagano, Japan
ResidenceTokyo, Japan[1]
EducationChuo University
OccupationAnimator, director, writer, producer, editor, cinematographer, voice actor, manga artist
Known forVoices of a Distant Star
The Place Promised in Our Early Days
5 Centimeters per Second
Children Who Chase Lost Voices
The Garden of Words
Your Name
Spouse(s)Misaka Chieko

Makoto Shinkai (新海 誠, Shinkai Makoto, born Makoto Niitsu (新津 誠, Niitsu Makoto); February 9, 1973) is a Japanese animator, director, writer, producer, editor, cinematographer, voice actor, manga artist and former graphic designer best known for directing Your Name, the highest-grossing anime film of all time[2] and was listed by Variety as one of 10 animators to watch in 2016.[3] Asteroid 55222 Makotoshinkai is named after him.[4]


A native of Nagano Prefecture, Shinkai studied Japanese literature at Chuo University, where he was a member of juvenile literature club and drew picture books. He traces his passion for creation to the manga, anime and novels he was exposed to in middle school. His favorite anime is Castle in the Sky by Hayao Miyazaki. Shinkai has been called "The New Miyazaki" in several reviews,[5][6] including those by Anime Advocates and ActiveAnime—comparisons he calls an "overestimation".[7]

He is married to retired actress and producer Chieko Misaka, star of films including Versus by Ryuhei Kitamura; they have a daughter, child actress Chise Niitsu (born 2010).[8][9]


After graduating from Chuo in 1994 he got a job at Falcom, a video game company where he worked for 5 years making video clips for games and graphic design including web content.[10] During this time he met musician Tenmon, who later scored many of his movies.

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 12th DoGA CG Animation contest (2000). DoGA is an independent nonprofit company set up to encourage entry-level animators with software and advice.[11] 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 working for Falcom. 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 Manga Zoo (today a smartphone app), which 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".[10]

Voices of a Distant Star was followed by the 90-minute The Place Promised in Our Early Days, which was released nationwide in Japan on November 20, 2004. It was critically acclaimed, winning many honors.[12][13] Shinkai's next project was 5 Centimeters per Second and premiered 3 March 2007. It consists of three short films: Cherry Blossom, Cosmonaut, and 5 Centimeters per Second.[14] The total run time is about 63 minutes. In September 2007 Nagano's leading newspaper, Shinano Mainichi Shinbun, released a TV commercial animated by Shinkai.

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 it 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".[15] 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.[16][17]

His next feature, The Garden of Words, was released on May 31, 2013.[18]

In August 26, 2016, Shinkai released Your Name. The film received critical acclaim,[19] was praised for its animation and emotional impact, and was also a commercial success, becoming the fourth-highest-grossing film of all time in Japan and, as of January 16, 2017, the highest-grossing anime film of all time, overtaking Miyazaki's Spirited Away.[2][20] In 2017, it was announced that he was working on a new project.[21]



Title Year Credited as Role Notes
Director Writer Producer Other Actor
The World be Enclosed
(囲まれた世界 Kakomareta sekai)
1998 Yes Animator Short film
Other Worlds
(遠い世界 Tooi Sekai)
1998 Yes Animator Short film
She and Her Cat
(彼女と彼女の猫 Kanojo to Kanojo no Neko)
1999 Yes Yes Animator Yes Her cat (Voice over) Short film
Voices of a Distant Star
(ほしのこえ Hoshi no Koe)
2002 Yes Yes Yes Yes Noboru Terao (Voice over) Short film
(みんなのうた「笑顔」 Minna no Uta "Egao")
2003 Yes Short film
The Place Promised in Our Early Days
(雲のむこう、約束の場所 Kumo no Mukō, Yakusoku no Basho)
2004 Yes Yes Yes
  • Storyboards
  • Background art
  • Design
  • Theme song lyrics
5 Centimeters per Second
(秒速5センチメートル Byōsoku Go Senchimētoru)
2007 Yes Yes Yes
  • Storyboard
  • Art director
  • Color design
Children Who Chase Lost Voices
(星を追う子ども Hoshi o Ou Kodomo)
2011 Yes Yes Yes
Someone's Gaze
(だれかのまなざし Dareka no Manazashi)
2013 Yes Short film
The Garden of Words
(言の葉の庭 Kotonoha no Niwa)
2013 Yes Yes
  • Photography
  • Color design
  • Editing
Your Name
(君の名は。Kimi no na wa.)
2016 Yes Yes
  • Photography
  • Color design
  • Editing

Video games[edit]

Title Year Credited as Notes
Director Animator Other
The Legend of Heroes V: A Cagesong of the Ocean 1999 Yes
As Makoto Niitsu
Ys 2 Eternal 2000 Yes
As Makoto Niitsu
Bittersweet Fools 2001 Yes
(Trailer & Opening)
Wind: A Breath of Heart 2002–04 Yes
(Trailer & Opening)
Haru no Ashioto 2004 Yes
(Trailer & Opening)
Ef: A Fairy Tale of the Two 2006


(Trailer & Opening)


Title Year Credited as Notes
Director Editor Other
Bosphorus Tunnel
(ボスポラス海峡トンネル Bosuporasu Kaikyō Ton'neru)
2011 Yes Background art TV commercial released by Taisei Corporation[22]
Sri Lanka Highway
(スリランカ高速道路 Suriranka Kōzokudōro)
2013 Yes Yes
  • Storyboards
  • Photography
TV commercial released by Taisei Corporation, featuring the theme song "Fight" (ファイト, Faito) by Anri Kumaki[23]
Vietnam Noi Bai Airport
(ベトナム・ノイバイ空港 Betonamu Noibai Kūkō)
2014 Yes Yes
  • Storyboards
  • Shooting
TV commercial released by Taisei Corporation[24]
Z-Kai: Cross Road
(Z会 「クロスロード」 Kurosu Rodo)
  • Storyboards
  • Screenplay
  • Production
  • Supervision
TV commercial released by Z-Kai[25]

Literary works[edit]

Title Year Publisher Notes
Slug 1994 N/A Picture-book
5 Centimeters per Second 2007 Media Factory Novel
The Garden of Words 2014 Kadokawa Shoten Novel
Your Name. 2016 Kadokawa Novel


Title Year Publisher(s) Notes
Beyond the Tower 2002 N/A
Voices from a Distant Star 2004 Kodansha
The Place Promised in Our Early Days 2006 Kodansha
5 Centimeters per Second 2010–11 Kodansha
Vertical, Inc. (English)
Children who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below 2011 Media Factory
The Garden of Words 2013 Kodansha
Vertical, Inc. (English)
Your Name. 2016 Media Factory


  • I Dream to Protect You (きみを守るためにぼくは夢をみる, Kimi wo Mamoru Tame ni Boku wa Yume wo Miru) - Illustrator (2003–2011)


Year Award Category Work/Nominee Result
2003 8th AMD Award Best Director Voices of a Distant Star Won[26]
2016 29th Tokyo International Film Festival Arigatō Award Your Name Won[27]
2016 29th Nikkan Sports Film Award Best Director Your Name. Won
2017 44th Annie Awards Outstanding Achievement, Directing in an Animated Feature Production Your Name. Nominated[28]
2017 59th Blue Ribbon Awards Best Director Your Name. Nominated
2017 40th Japan Academy Prize Director of the Year Your Name. Nominated[29]
2017 16th Tokyo Anime Award Best Director Your Name. Won
2017 26th Japan Movie Critics Awards Best Animation Director Your Name. Won[30]


  1. ^ "Makoto Shinkai | Profile". (in Japanese). Retrieved 2018-08-11.
  2. ^ a b Shepherd, Jack (2017-01-17). "'Your Name' beats 'Spirited Away' to become highest-grossing anime ever". The Independent. Retrieved 2017-05-10.
  3. ^ "Makoto Shinkai – 'Distant Star' creator now in view". Variety. 2016-05-05. Retrieved 2016-05-10.
  4. ^ "JPL Small-Body Database Browser — 55222 Makotoshinkai (2001 RP63)". NASA. 2001-09-12. Retrieved 2011-12-19.
  5. ^ Rose, Steve (2016-11-09). "Makoto Shinkai: Could the anime director be cinema's 'new Miyazaki'?". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-08-10.
  6. ^ Rich, Motoko (2016-12-04). "The Anime Master of Missed Connections Makes Strong Contact in Japan". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-08-10.
  7. ^ "Makoto Shinkai - 'The Place Promised in Our Early Days' Director". Active Anime. 2005-09-27. Retrieved 2011-12-19.
  8. ^ "君の名は。」新海誠監督の妻は女優・三坂知絵子だった" ['Your Name' director Makoto Shinkai's wife, Misaka Chieko, was an actress]. Nikkan Gendai (in Japanese). 2016-10-15. Retrieved 2017-11-25.
  9. ^ Sherman, Jennifer (2018-06-24). "Anime Director Makoto Shinkai's Daughter Chise Niitsu Gets 1st Starring Film Role". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2018-08-10.
  10. ^ a b Manry, Gia (2011-08-17). "Interview: Makoto Shinkai". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2018-08-10.
  11. ^ "Project Team DoGA". DoGA. Retrieved 2011-12-19.
  12. ^ "Makoto Shinkai". Japan Speaker Bureau. Retrieved 2018-08-10.
  13. ^ Shannon, Jeff (2005-06-17). "Glowing visuals, sweetly emotional tale mark strong anime feature debut". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2018-08-10.
  14. ^ Scheib, Ronnie (2008-03-06). "Five Centimeters Per Second". Variety. Retrieved 2010-08-28.
  15. ^ Loo, Egan (2009-12-24). "Distant Star's Shinkai Posts Images for Next Anime". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2010-08-28.
  16. ^ Loo, Egan (2010-11-02). "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. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
  17. ^ Loo, Egan (2010-11-09). "Makoto Shinkai's Hoshi o Ou Kodomo Teaser Posted in HD". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2010-11-09.
  18. ^ "Video: Japanese anime movie 'Garden of Words' 5-min preview". Digital Journal. 2013-05-12. Retrieved 2016-05-10.
  19. ^ "'Your Name.' Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2018-08-10.
  20. ^ Blair, Gavin J. (2017-01-27). "How Anime 'Your Name' Became an Unlikely Phenomenon". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2017-11-25.
  21. ^ Bayle, Alfred (2017-05-18). "Anime directors Mamoru Hosoda, Makoto Shinkai working on new films". Retrieved 2017-11-25.
  22. ^ "Other voices-遠い声- » 大成建設テレビCM" [Other voices - Taisei TV CM] (in Japanese). Makoto Shinkai / CoMix Wave Films. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  23. ^ "Other voices-遠い声- » 大成建設テレビCM「スリランカ高速道路」篇" [Other voices - Taisei TV CM "Sri Lanka highway"] (in Japanese). Makoto Shinkai / CoMix Wave Films. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  24. ^ "Other voices-遠い声- » 大成建設テレビCM「ベトナム・ノイバイ空港」篇" [Other voices - Taisei TV CM "Vietnam Noi Bai Airport"] (in Japanese). Makoto Shinkai / CoMix Wave Films. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  25. ^ "Other voices-遠い声- » Z会「クロスロード」" [Other voices - Z-Kai: Cross Road] (in Japanese). Makoto Shinkai / CoMix Wave Films. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  26. ^ "Digital Contents of the Year '02/第8回 AMD アワード" [Digital Contents of the Year '02 / 8th AMD Award]. (in Japanese). 2003-02-05. Retrieved 2018-08-12.
  27. ^ Schilling, Mark (2016-11-03). "'Yesterday' Takes Top Prize at Tokyo Film Festival". Variety. Retrieved 2018-08-12.
  28. ^ Coggan, Devan (2016-02-07). "Annie Awards 2016 winners list: 'Inside Out' takes top prizes". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2018-08-12.
  29. ^ Schilling, Mark (2016-01-18). "Kore'eda's 'Our Little Sister' Scores Record Nominations For Japanese Awards". Variety. Retrieved 2018-08-12.
  30. ^ "第26回受賞作品" [The 26th Winning Work]. Japan Movie Critics Awards Official Website (in Japanese). 2017-05-16. Retrieved 2018-08-12.

External links[edit]