Despite the abundance of Western influences, Shinkawa's style retains an unmistakably Eastern quality. This is unsurprising since the artist he most tried to emulate was Yoshitaka Amano.
"I have no problem with it [imitation]. That's how I started." - Shinkawa
Were artists and designers the subject of more interviews I reckon a significant portion of the Japanese contingent working in games today would point to Amano as an inspiration. This is due to the fact that he was the artist responsible for the logo and character designs of Square's early Final Fantasy games. In addition he also contributed to a variety of cherished anime.
During his years as an animator he had a hand in the creation of Tatsunoko classics such as Science Ninja Team Gatchaman and Tekkaman, and later worked on Vampire Hunter D.
Amano's art is characterised by elegant, wispy lines, the popularity of which endured even as the franchise moved away from its fantasy roots and headed towards Tetsuya Nomura's industrial, steampunk stylings.
As the design of Final Fantasy characters became increasingly dependant on belt buckles and spiky hair, Amano's artwork was defiantly contrary, continuing to render each character with soft features and a feminine allure. The qualities Amano imbued in Final Fantasy characters, such as Kain and Cecil, are no different from those possessed by Squall or Tidus years later.
Shinkawa's lessons from Amano don't manifest in the physical construction of Metal Gear Solid characters, instead they dictate the presence his work has on a page. Regardless of whether he's drawing a battle hardened soldier, a bipedal nuclear death machine or a futuristic Orbital Frame, the images have a lightness and fluttering majesty to them.
The exception to this is of course Raiden, the controversial protagonist of Metal Gear Solid 2, who was specifically designed to be unisexual so both male and female players could relate to the characer and, as such, is more overtly feminine.