by Chris MaGee
Sad news from the behind-the-scenes world of Japanese cinema today. Yoshiro Muraki, the art director on such films as Shiro Moritani's "Japan Sinks", Kon Ichikawa's "47 Ronin" and such Akira Kurosawa classics as "Yojimbo", "Kagemusha" and "Ran" died yesterday of heart failure. He was 85.
Born in 1924 in Osaka Muraki graduated from the Department of Architecture and Engineering, Chiba University in 1944 and went straight to Toho Studios were he worked as an assistant art director on such Kurosawa films as "Stray Dog" and "Seven Samurai". It wasn't until 1955 when he joined forces again with Kurosawa as a full fledged art director on the 1955 film "I Live in Fear", and he would continue to work with the master until Kurosawa's death in 1998.
His historically detailed and beautiful work on both "Kagemusha" and "Ran" would earn Muraki two Oscar nominations for Best Art Direction in 1980 and 1985.
Our deepst condolences to Muraki-san's surviving family and friends. Thanks to Tokyograph for this news.