Today we mourn the loss of another icon. We’ve learned of the passing of the illustrator Noriyoshi Ohrai (生頼範義, おうらい のりよし). His work is iconic and defined the Godzilla Heisei era. His work has permanently etched himself in the history of Godzilla by stirring the imagination of Godzilla fans and film goers with his creative depictions of new coming attractions. His hands also defined Star Wars and Goonies and more for Japanese movie goers.

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His work had been on exhibit in Japan. Here’s a short list of his career and work (Source: Ohrai.net)

  • 935 (Showa 10). Born in Akashi City, Hyogo Prefecture.
  • March, 1957 (Showa 32). Dropped out of the Oil Painting Course at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music.
  • 1962 (Showa 37) onwards. Began work laying out and illustrating books, and editing newspaper advertisements.
  • March, 1973 (Showa 48). Relocated to Miyazaki, his wife’s hometown, where he set up his studio the following year.
  • 1980 (Showa 55). Worked on the international poster for American film “Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back”. Won the Seiun Best Artist Award for his work on the poster at the Japanese SF convention.
  • 1981 (Showa 56). Held his first exhibition as an artist at Aoki Gallery in Miyazaki. The “Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back” international poster created a massive surge in demand for his artwork, both from within Japan and abroad.
  • 1980 to 2010. As well as book illustrations and film posters, ohrai produced a great many works in a variety of media, including commercial posters, game software, plastic model kits, and records.
  • 1984 (Showa 59). Poster Artwork for the film “Godzilla” (and also for the subsequent 8 films);
  • 1985 (Showa 60). Poster artwork for the film “The Goonies”;
  • 1988 (Showa 63) onwards. Package illustrations for the “Nobunaga’s Ambition” series of computer games, and;
  • 2006 (Heisei 18). Poster artwork for the film “The Sinking of Japan” (a remake of the 1973 original).

Noriyoshi Ohrai

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