Makoto Shinkai (born 1973), actually Makoto Niitsu, Japanese movie director and animator, often referred to as “the new Hayao Miyazaki”.
After graduating with a degree in Japanese literature from the Department of Literature at Chūō University in 1994, Makoto Shinkai worked as a computer graphic designer for Nihon Falcom Corporationfor five years. It’s where he met Tenmon – the composer of music for many of his later films. In 1997, as an amateur artist, he started creating short animated movies (for example Tooi sekai). In 1999, he made his debut with the five-minute film She and Her Cat, well- received by critics and awarded many times. In 2001, he quit his job as a graphic designer to concentrate on producing Voices of a Distant Star. Completed in January 2002, the film brought Shinkai fame and further awards.
Shinkai’s work was significantly influenced by Hayao Miyazaki. He also looks for other sources of inspiration, often in Japanese literature. Shinkai’s films are usually low budget, often made with the collaboration of the director’s friends and family.