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Born on October 31st, 1994 in Tokyo, Japan, Manaka Nagai was raised and grew up in Los Angeles, California. Her family moved back to Japan when she was almost thirteen. On her sixteenth birthday, she left her school and spent all of her free time watching films. At age 20, she moved to Hamburg, Germany and began studying film at the University of Fine Arts Hamburg (HFBK). She graduated in 2019 under Professor Udo Engel, and continued her Master studies there under Professor Angela Schanelec, graduating in 2022. Currently she lives and works in Tokyo, Japan.