Born in 1973 in Ishikawa-ken, Japan, Hiromasa Yonebayashi studied design at the Kanazawa College of Art. During college, he worked part-time drawing caricatures and working on animation for television commercials. In 1996 Yonebayashi joined Studio Ghibli and worked as an animator on Princess Mononoke (1997) and My Neighbors the Yamadas (1999), and as Key Animator for Spirited Away (2001), The GHIBLIES (2002), Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) and Ponyo (2008). He was also the Assistant Supervising Animator for Tales from Earthsea (2006).
Besides working on Ghibli’s animated features, Yonebayashi has worked on the original short films for the Ghibli Museum, Mitaka. He was the Directing Animator for the Ghibli Museum’s Mei and the Baby Cat Bus (2002), and the Supervising Animator for Imaginary Flying Machines (2002) and he was also responsible for creating the storyboards and directing Evolution (2008), a short film documenting one of the Ghibli Museum’s attractions, the Films Go Round display.
Yonebayashi made his debut as the director of a feature animated film with Studio Ghibli’s The Secret World of Arrietty (2010), the top grossing domestic film of that year and the highest grossing Studio Ghibli film in the US. After working as a Key Animator on From Up on Poppy Hill (2011) and The Wind Rises (2013), Yonebayashi’s second feature animated film When Marnie Was There was nominated for an Academy Award © for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year in 2016.