- Birthday: 09. February 1973
- Birthplace: Koumi, Nagano, Japan
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 many 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.
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.
His latest feature, Kotonoha no Niwa (Garden of Words) was released on May 31, 2013.