Born in 1935 in Mie Prefecture, Japan. After graduating from The University of Tokyo with a degree in French literature, he joined Toei Animation Company. He debuted as a director with the animated TV series Ken, The Wild Boy (1963 – 1965), and directed his first animated feature film, The Little Norse Prince Valiant (1968). He left Toei in 1971 and worked at various studios such as A Production, Zuiyo Eizo and Nippon Animation, and directed many popular TV series including Lupin The Third (first series, 1971 – 1972), Heidi a Girl of the Alps (1974), Marco, From the Apennines to the Andes (1976), and Anne of Green Gables (1979), and feature films such as The Adventure of Panda and Friends (1972), Downtown Story (1981) and Gauche the Cellist (1981).
Takahata co-founded Studio Ghibli in 1985 with Hayao Miyazaki, and has directed five feature films since: Grave of the Fireflies (1988), Only Yesterday (1991), Pom Poko (1994), which received the Feature Film Prize at Annecy International Animation Film Festival in 1995, My Neighbors the Yamadas (1999), which was chosen by The Museum of Modern Art in New York for its film collection, the first Japanese animated feature film to be so honored, and his new film, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, released in November 2013 in Japan.
In 1998, Takahata received Japan’s Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon. He was awarded with the Honorific Leopard at Locarno International Film Festival in 2009.
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