Naoko Yamada

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Naoko Yamada
Native name 山田 尚子
Born (1984-11-28) November 28, 1984 (age 33)
Gunma Prefecture, Japan
Nationality Japanese
Occupation Animator, television and film director
Naoko Yamada signature.png

Naoko Yamada (山田 尚子, Yamada Naoko, born November 28, 1984) is a Japanese animator, television and film director. Working at Kyoto Animation, she directed the K-On!, Tamako Market anime series and the anime film A Silent Voice.

Early life and education[edit]

Yamada was born in Gunma Prefecture on November 28, 1984.[1][2] She enjoyed drawing as a child and would copy images from the Patlabor and Dragonball anime series.[2] She joined the volleyball club in primary school and the tennis and photography clubs in high school.[2] At the Kyoto University of Art and Design,[3] she studied oil painting and was a member of the special effects club.[2]


Yamada intended to work in film after university, but she decided to join Kyoto Animation after seeing an advertisement.[2] Her first assignment at KyoAni was drawing inbetween frames for Inuyasha.[2] She was eventually promoted to a key animator for Air.[2]

After working as an episode director of Clannad, she was asked to make her chief directorial debut with K-On!, an adaptation of a slice-of-life manga.[2] The series was very successful, spurring a second season and a film. In 2013, she directed Tamako Market, and followed it with the film Tamako Love Story in 2014. For Tamako Love Story, she was awarded the New Face Award at the Japan Media Arts Festival.[4] She storyboarded the entire film herself,[5] and also wrote the lyrics for the opening theme song, Everybody Loves Somebody.[6] Yamada's next project was the feature film A Silent Voice, an adaptation of the manga of the same name, that reflected on elements of bullying and physical impairment in Japan. The film opened at #2 in the Japanese Box Office and grossed a total of ¥2.3 billion, the 19th highest-grossing film in Japan in 2016.[7] The film also received multiple award nominations, including Best Animation Film in the Mainichi Film Awards and the Excellent Animation of the Year in the Japan Academy Prize.

For Yamada, the most important part of being a director is to observe people. She describes herself as a "method" director, emphasizing the minds of the characters.[2]




  1. ^ 増田弘道 (26 June 2012). "宮崎駿氏は71歳だけど……アニメ監督の高齢化は進んでいるか?" [Mr. Hayao Miyazaki is 71 years old ... Are animation directors getting older?]. ITmedia (in Japanese). Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Noel, John (14 October 2012). "Scotland Loves Anime 2012: Day 3, Naoko Yamada Q&A session". chaostangent. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  3. ^ "キャリタス進学" [Career+: Entering University] (in Japanese). 京都造形芸術大学 (Kyoto Art and Design University). Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  4. ^ "Giovanni's Island Film Wins Media Arts Award". Anime News Network. 28 September 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  5. ^ "監督インタビュー" [Director interview]. Tamako Love Story official website (in Japanese). 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  6. ^ "マニュエラ作家陣活躍の「たまこまーけっと」歌モノベスト" [Manual of Errors Artists' Tamako Market best musical pieces]. 音楽ナタリー (in Japanese). 18 March 2015. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  7. ^ "Top 20 Highest-Grossing Films in Japan Has 6 Anime Films". Anime News Network. December 18, 2016. Retrieved December 20, 2016. 
  8. ^ a b c Cavallaro, Dani (2012). Kyoto Animation: A Critical Study and Filmography. McFarland. pp. 178–179. 
  9. ^ "YAMADA Naoko". (in French). Retrieved 4 August 2014. 
  10. ^ "Tamako Love Story Film Introduced in 3-Minute Promo Video". Anime News Network. 10 May 2014. Retrieved 4 August 2014. 
  11. ^ "Kyoto Animation to Produce A Silent Voice Film With Director Naoko Yamada". Anime News Network. 11 October 2015. Retrieved 11 October 2015. 

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