Yojiro Takita, one of Japan’s most acclaimed costume designers, has died of cancer at the age of 78, reports the Associated Press.
Yoshitaka Wada established his reputation for grand, sweeping costumes for early films like Eiji Tsuburaya’s Under the Sun (1961), starring Toshiro Mifune.
Wada would go on to win an Oscar in 1987 for his work on Panic in Needle Park (1983), in which Yôji Yamada gave a heartbreaking portrayal of a mentally challenged youth beset by poverty, regret and abandonment. He was named Best Costume Designer that year and later in 1996 won an Oscar for his work on Princess Mononoke (1997). For the film, Wada designed the costume worn by Princess Mei and used traditional Japanese origami techniques to create the characters’ outfits.
Katsuyuki Sugimura, who directed Panic in Needle Park, called Wada “a visionary dressmaker” in an emailed statement to The Wall Street Journal.
In a 2012 interview with Nikkei magazine, Takita recalled Wada’s work. “Wada considered what type of clothes [Yôji Yamada] wanted to wear, and what the aesthetic is he would pick. There is not another master in the film world like him.”
Over the course of a career spanning more than 50 years, Wada wore the mantle of master costume designer countless times, according to the Japan Times. “His success came from his sense of the delicate things that made up a character,” Takita said.
Wada, who is survived by his wife and seven children, died on Monday at the Hasegawa Hosokawa Medical Center.