TOKYO – Emi Wada, the Japanese costume designer who won an Oscar for her work in Akira Kurosawa’s “Ran,” has passed away, Japanese media reported on Sunday. She was 84 years old.
Wada died on November 13, according to reports, citing unidentified family sources and not giving the cause of death.
Wada was catapulted to stardom by the samurai costumes she created for the 1985 “Ran”, a gripping portrayal of a bloody plot and betrayal inspired by William Shakespeare’s “King Lear”.
When he accepted the Academy Award in 1986, Wada held the statue in the form of a man and said with a smile, “He doesn’t need my costumes.”
Wada has also designed costumes for other renowned directors, including Nagisa Oshima and Zhang Yimou, as well as for theater and opera.
Amon Miyamoto, a director who worked with Wada, congratulated her.
“I’ve never known someone who strives for perfection and authenticity as much as you do,” he said on his Facebook page.
“To have been able to create something with you is an honor that I will never forget for the rest of my life,” he added.
Wada was born in the ancient capital of Kyoto, a city filled with bamboo, wooden structures and stone gardens that she says inspired her sense of beauty.
She was keen to highlight the textures of the materials she used for her costumes. She considered her Japanese aesthetic and supported efforts to preserve the traditional Kyoto crafts that were often the source of her magnificent costumes.
Her husband Ben Wada, a director she married at the age of 20, helped her land her first jobs as a costume designer. He died in 2011.
“I have been doing this job for 60 years, I never tire of it. I consider myself really lucky,” Wada said in a 2017 video post for the Tokyo International Film Festival.
In 2020, she created the costumes for Ann Hui’s “Love After Love”, which premiered at the Venice International Film Festival.
The funeral was held with family and close friends, media said.
Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama