Reiko Okuyama

奥山玲子, Reiko Kotabe (小田部玲子), Reiko Kitagawa (北川玲子)
Birth:Oct 26, 1936
Death:May 6, 2007
Years active:1957-2007
Hometown:Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan
Wiki jp Reiko Okuyama was notable for being one of the first female animators in the anime industry. She spent much of her early life confined to bed due to a series of illnesses and developed her interest in drawing during this time. After the end of World War II she entered mission school. After graduation she entered Tohoku University as per her fathers wishes but she eventually dropped out and left her home town to work in Tokyo. In 1957 Okuyama applied for a position at Toei Animation mistakenly believing that they were publishers of childrens books. Her drawing skills were enough for her to be hired as an inbetweener. Her first work was on the landmark feature film Panda and the Magic Serpent in 1958. She was later promoted to 2nd key animator on Magic Boy in spite of some sexual discrimination on the part of the studio heads. She was later promoted to key animator and eventually to animation director. She went freelance after briefly joining her husband Youichi Kotabe at Nippon Animation. As a freelancer she worked as a printmaker went on to illustrate several childrens books and continued to teach animation at the Tokyo Designer Academy which she had been doing since 1985. Okuyama passed away from pneumonia on May 6 2007.