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Toon world mourns Murakami

Legendary animator and director Jimmy Murakami, whose work includes the classic When the Wind Blows and The Snowman cartoons, has died.

Teruaki ‘Jimmy’ Murakami, who had a long and successful career in film and television, passed away at the age of 80 yesterday.

In 1986, Murakami directed When the Wind Blows, a haunting stop-motion animated drama about an elderly couple’s efforts to prepare for nuclear war, based on the graphic novel by British author and illustrator Raymond Briggs.

Murakami was also the supervising director on classic seasonal special The Snowman, another collaboration with Briggs, which continues to air on the UK’s Channel 4 at Christmas.

Over the course of his career, Murakami played an influential role at companies including Toei Animation in Japan and TVC London, and was co-founder of LA-based prodco Murakami Wolf, now Fred Wolf Films.

The Japanese-American director is also credited with developing Ireland’s current vibrant and active animation scene after relocating there during the 1970s.

Murakami worked on series such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles out of a studio in Dublin and embarked on a number of other international coproductions, helping to raise the profile of Irish animation.

Cathal Gaffney, CEO of Dublin-based animation prodco Brown Bag Films, tweeted yesterday that Murakami was a “founding father of Irish Animation.”

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