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Legendary Studio Ghibli colorist Michiyo Yasuda has died at 77

She helped create some of our favorite animated movies.


Sarah Weber

Internet Culture

Posted on Oct 11, 2016   Updated on May 25, 2021, 7:58 pm CDT

A key member of the Studio Ghibli team that brought us a library of animated classics including Spirited Away has died.

According to Japanese newspaper Mainichi, animator and colorist Michiyo Yasuda died Oct. 5 at the age of 77. She started her decades-long animation career in the late 1950s, before many women worked as creatives in the industry. She had a job in the ink and paint department at Japanese animation studio Toei when Isao Takahata and Hayao Miyazaki joined the company. The pair would go on to found Studio Ghibli. 

In addition to working on some of Studio Ghibli’s best-loved films, including Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, and Kiki’s Delivery Service, Yasuda was in charge of color design for a number of commercials and animated television shows. 

While Yasuda officially retried after Studio Ghibli released Ponyo in 2008, she came back in 2013 for Miyazaki’s award-winning The Wind Rises

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*First Published: Oct 11, 2016, 3:21 pm CDT