Born in 1935 in Mie Prefecture, Japan. After graduating from Tokyo University with a degree in French literature, he joined the Toei Animation Company. His debut as a director came with the animated feature film “The Little Norse Prince Valiant” (1968). Takahata has since directed many popular TV series such as “Heidi” (1974), “From the Apennines to the Andes” (1976), and “Anne of Green Gables” (1979). His feature films include “Jarinko Chie” (1981), “Grave of the Fireflies” (1988), “Only Yesterday” (1991) and “Pom Poko” (1994). His most recent film, “My Neighbors the Yamadas” (1999), 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. He has also directed the live action documentary “The Story of Yanagawa Waterways” (1987) and been involved in the creation of the Japanese versions of foreign animated films such as Paul Grimault’s “Le Roi et l’Oiseau” and Michel Ocelot's "Kirikou et la Sorcière".
Takahata announced during the 62nd Locarno International Film Festival in 2009 that his next film will be based on the classic Japanese folktale Taketori Monogatari (The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter).