Much as once a week I like to take time off to cover warships (Wednesdays), on Sundays (when I feel like working), I like to cover military art and the painters, illustrators, sculptors, and the like that produced them.
Combat Gallery Sunday : The Martial Art of Noriyoshi Ohrai
Born in 1935 in Akashi, Hyogo prefecture in what then was Imperian Japan, Ohrai (Ōrai) lived through the brutal firebombing of his country with B-29s flying overhead to blitz the Kawasaki Aircraft Industries factory outside of town and the shadow of old Akashi Castle looming. This intermingling of old and new in a traditional yet rapidly becoming dystopian society in his early development can be seen in Ohrai’s work.
Studying oil painting briefly at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, by 1962 he was hard at work in the Japanese film industry making movie posters which led to novel covers, illustrations for games and finally art collections of their own right.
He shot to international acclaim with the overseas poster for Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back in 1980 which of course led to a string of Gozilla posters, the Goonies poster, Japanese re-releases for the Star Wars series and others.
His martial work included his Zombie Hunter, Pacific Theater of Operations, a volume on Miyamoto Musashi, a drawing collection of the battleship Yamato and much of the manga art for Kazumasa Hirai’s books. Finally, his MGS, the Snake imagery for the Metal Gear series is superb.
Ōrai was awarded the Film Award in 2014, which includes the Distinguished Services Award for his achievements in film visuals by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan and Columbia University’s film school has an extensive collection of his work.
Kazumasa Hirai died himself in January at age 76, while the artist Ohrai passed last month on October 27, age 79.
Thank you for your work, sir.
Blogs I Follow
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- The Armourers Bench
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- Under Every Leaf.
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