Yoshiaki Kawajiri

Yoshiaki Kawajiri

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Yoshiaki Kawajiri

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is a critically acclaimed writer and director of Japanese animation. He is the creator of titles such as Wicked City, Ninja Scroll, and Bloodlust.


Kawajiri was born on November 18, 1950 and grew up in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. After he graduated from Yokohama High School in 1968 he began working for a few years as an animator at Mushi Production Animation until it closed in 1972. He then joined Madhouse Studio and in the 1970s was promoted to animation director and finally debuted as a film director with 1984's Lensman, directing jointly with the more experienced Kazuyuki Hirokawa (Kawajiri also did the character design along with Kazuo Tomizawa). Gaining an interest in darker animation, he next directed The Running Man. Afterwards, he was instructed to make a 35 minute short based on Hideyuki Kikuchi's novels, which was released as Wicked City. After completing it, however, his producers were so impressed, he was asked to make it feature length. Kawajiri enjoyed the dark tone so much he agreed and managed to complete the entire film in under a year.

After Wicked City received such critical and commercial success when released in 1987, Kawajiri gained a lot more freedom and began scripting and designing his own film set in feudal Japan, which was released as Ninja Scroll, about the Japanese folk hero Jubei Yagyu. After the western release in 1996, Kawajiri's status as a director received international recognition and was asked in 2002 to direct a...
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