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Yoshinori Kanada (金田 伊功 Kanada Yoshinori, February 5, 1952 – July 21, 2009) was an influential Japanese animator originally from Nara, Japan. His name Yī gōng (伊功), often mispronounced as Ikou (いこう). He went be several alias, some unintentional such as Isuke Kanada (金田伊助), due to incorrect subtitles, while Togusa Saburo was used during his tenure at Square Enix Togusa Saburo (戸隠三郎). He was a member of the Japan Animator and Performance Association (JAniCA).

He notably worked as an animator on Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service and Princess Mononoke. He also contributed to Mamoru Oshii's abandoned Lupin III movie in 1985.


Early Years

Kanada was born on February 5, 1952, in Nara Prefecture, Japan. He aspired to become a pilot like his father, who worked for the Japan Self-Defense Forces, but couldn't due to his poor eyesight. He was instead inspired by the 1969 animated film Flying Phantom Ship, in particular a scene done by Hayao Miyazaki. He began drawing fan illustrations of the heroine from Attack No. 1 by Chikako Urano, a manga that later became the first televised female sports anime series in the shōjo category.[1]


He soon dropped out of Tokyo Design Academy and soon became a staff member of Toei Animation. In 1970, he made his debut as an animator on Mahō no Mako-chan. He soon left Toei and joined Shingo Araki's new company Araki Production and began working on several science fiction-related series.[2] He excelled at depicting giant robots, which were extremely popular at the time.

He later became known for his popular 1984 work Birth, one of the first original video animations released in the market. Though he did not create many character designs, he was famous for his character animation skills. His work on Galaxy Express 999 (1979) and Harmagedon (1983) were very influential to an entire generation of animators in Japan. These two works also served as partial inspiration for Takashi Murakami's Superflat art movement.

During the 1980s and 1990s, he worked closely with director Hayao Miyazaki on several movies from Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind to Princess Mononoke. He was also known for breaking down the directorial system in animation, allowing individual key animators to exert their own style into a particular work.

He died at the age of 57 of a heart attack on July 21, 2009. His works inspired the art and works of animators such as Hiroyuki Imaishi, Pendleton Ward, Rebecca Sugar and Ian Jones-Quartey.


  1. "Anime's Revolutionary", Kanada Iko
  2. "The List of the Witch's Stagfu Shingo Araki" and "The Complete Collection of Witch's Toei Animation Chapter", バンダイ (1993)

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