Hiro Murai

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Hiro Murai
1983 (age 38–39)

Tokyo, Japan
Alma materUniversity of Southern California
Years active2005–present

Hiro Murai (born 1983)[1] is a Japanese-born American filmmaker based in Los Angeles. His most notable works include internationally successful music videos for artists such as Childish Gambino, Earl Sweatshirt, Chet Faker, Flying Lotus, David Guetta, St. Vincent, The Shins, The Fray, Bloc Party, Queens of the Stone Age, and FKA Twigs.[2]

In 2013, he directed the short film Clapping for the Wrong Reasons,[3][4] a companion piece for Childish Gambino's second studio album, Because the Internet, and its attached screenplay. In the same year, he created a multi-panel video set for Frank Ocean's performance at the Grammys.[5][6]

In 2016, he directed several episodes of the comedy-drama Atlanta, collaborating again with Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino.[7] For his work on the show, he has received three nominations for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series.[8] In the same year, he directed a Nike campaign starring Chance The Rapper.[9]

He directed the music video for Childish Gambino's "This Is America", released on May 5, 2018, which had been described as ""the most talked-about music video of recent memory",[10] and which Billboard critics ranked 10th among the "greatest music videos of the 21st century."[11] In 2019, Murai won the Grammy Award for Best Music Video for directing the video.

In November 2018, the trailer for his debut feature film Guava Island starring Donald Glover and Rihanna premiered at the Pharos Festival in New Zealand as he collaborated with Donald Glover once again.[12] Guava Island was released on April 13, 2019, by Amazon Studios through Amazon Prime Video. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 74% based on reviews from 43 critics, with an average rating of 6.60/10.[13] On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 64 out of 100, based on 8 reviews, indicating "generally favorable" reviews.[14]

Murai is set to direct the science fiction feature film Man Alive, written by David Robert Mitchell,[15] as well as the science fiction miniseries Station Eleven for HBO Max.[16]

Early life and education[edit]

Murai was born to Japanese popular music composer Kunihiko Murai.[1] He moved to Los Angeles when he was nine years old and later graduated with a degree from the USC School of Cinematic Arts.[17]

After graduation, Murai turned to freelance work as the director of photography for numerous music videos, as well as VFX and storyboarding, most notably for Ace Norton. After some time Murai began to direct low budget films.


Music videos
Year Title Artist Director Other Notes Ref.
2005 "Small Apartment Party Epiphany" Make Believe Yes Co-directed with Brandon Driscoll-Luttringer and Steve Drypolcher
2006 "Crooked Teeth" Death Cab for Cutie Yes Director of photography
"Someday You Will Be Loved" Death Cab for Cutie Yes Director of photography
"Cobrastyle" Teddybears Yes Director of photography
2007 "Living a Lie" Aqueduct Yes Director of photography
2009 "Submarine Symphonika" The Submarines Yes Director of photography
"Signs (Armand Van Helden Remix)" Bloc Party Yes
"Me-Time" Busdriver Yes
"Heartless" The Fray Yes
"Unbalanced Pieces" Soulsavers Yes
"Staying In Love" Raphael Saadiq Yes
2010 "Airplanes" B.o.B featuring Hayley Williams Yes
"DJ Got Us Fallin' in Love" Usher featuring Pitbull Yes
"The Show Goes On" Lupe Fiasco Yes
2011 "Stereo Hearts" Gym Class Heroes featuring Adam Levine Yes
2012 "Shady Love" Scissor Sisters vs. Krystal Pepsy Yes
"Mind Control" Friends Yes
"It's Only Life" The Shins Yes
"She Wolf (Falling to Pieces)" David Guetta featuring Sia Yes
"Chum" Earl Sweatshirt Yes
"Cheerleader" St. Vincent Yes
2013 "Hive" Earl Sweatshirt Yes
"High Road" Cults Yes
"3005" Childish Gambino Yes
2014 "Smooth Sailing" Queens of the Stone Age Yes
"Sweatpants" Childish Gambino Yes
"Do You" Spoon Yes
"Gold" Chet Faker Yes
"#CAKE" Shabazz Palaces Yes
"Never Catch Me" Flying Lotus Yes
"Telegraph Ave" Childish Gambino Yes
2015 "Sober" Childish Gambino Yes
"Grief" Earl Sweatshirt Yes
2016 "Take It There" Massive Attack Yes
"Day Ones" Baauer Yes
"Black Man in a White World" Michael Kiwanuka Yes
2017 "Dis Generation" A Tribe Called Quest Yes [18]
2018 "This Is America" Childish Gambino Yes [19]
2020 "sad day" FKA Twigs Yes
Feature Film
Year Title Credits Notes Ref
2019 Guava Island Director Stars Donald Glover & Rihanna [20][21]
Year Title Director Producer Executive producer Notes Ref.
2016–present Atlanta Yes Yes Yes Directed 14 episodes, produced 10 episodes, executive produced 2 episodes [7]
2017 Legion Yes Episode: "Chapter 6"
2017 Sea Oak Yes Yes Amazon Video pilot
2017 Snowfall Yes Episode: "Trauma"
2018–present Barry Yes 4 episodes
2021–22 Station Eleven Yes Yes 2 episodes



  1. ^ a b "Music video by Tokyo-born filmmaker wins Grammy". Japan News. February 11, 2019.
  2. ^ "Music Videos". www.hiromurai.com. Archived from the original on 2016-07-28. Retrieved 2016-08-26.
  3. ^ "Other Films". www.hiromurai.com.
  4. ^ "Music Video Director Hiro Murai Is Donald Glover's Secret Weapon - DJBooth Article". Djbooth.net. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  5. ^ Murai, Hiro (2013-02-27), Frank Ocean "Forrest Gump" Grammy Visuals, retrieved 2018-11-26
  6. ^ "Behind the Scenes of Frank Ocean's Grammys Performance with Director Hiro Murai". The FADER. Retrieved 2018-11-26.
  7. ^ a b Nguyen, Hanh (13 September 2016). "'Atlanta': Hiro Murai Directs FX's Beautiful and Baffling Series | IndieWire". www.indiewire.com. Retrieved 2016-09-29.
  8. ^ "Hiro Murai". emmys.com. Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
  9. ^ Murai, Hiro (2016-08-06), Nike x Chance The Rapper - We The People, retrieved 2018-11-26
  10. ^ Kornhaber, Spencer (2018-05-07). "Donald Glover Is Watching You Watch Him". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2021-01-10.
  11. ^ "The 100 Greatest Music Videos of the 21st Century: Critics' Picks". Billboard. Retrieved 2021-01-10.
  12. ^ "'Guava Island' Trailer: Watch Donald Glover & Rihanna's New Movie Trailer". Stereogum. 2018-11-25. Retrieved 2018-11-26.
  13. ^ "Guava Island (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  14. ^ "Guava Island". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  15. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (2018-06-13). "'This Is America' Director Hiro Murai In Talks For Fox Sci-Fi Thriller 'Man Alive'". Deadline. Retrieved 2021-01-10.
  16. ^ Greene, Steve (2019-06-25). "'Station Eleven': Hiro Murai's Next TV Directing Gig Is Adapting a Post-Apocalyptic Novel". IndieWire. Retrieved 2021-01-10.
  17. ^ "An Interview with Director Hiro Murai". www.booooooom.com.
  18. ^ Blistein, Jon (March 30, 2017). "Watch A Tribe Called Quest's Gorgeous 'Dis Generation' Video". Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 8, 2018.
  19. ^ Kim, Michelle (March 6, 2018). "Watch Childish Gambino's Video for New Song "This Is America"". Pitchfork. Retrieved March 8, 2018.
  20. ^ Guava Island, retrieved 2018-11-26
  21. ^ "Donald Glover and Rihanna to Star in New Movie: Watch the Trailer | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 2018-11-26.
  22. ^ "NEWS: 2013 MVPA Award Nominees". VideoStatic. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  23. ^ "UK Music Video Awards 2014: Hiro Murai wins Best Director, DANIELS take Video Of The Year, Joseph Kahn accepts Icon Award on Promo News". PromoNews. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  24. ^ Park, Andrea (August 20, 2018). "Full list of 2018 MTV Video Music Awards winners". CBS News. Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  25. ^ Contreras, Cydney (February 10, 2019). "This Is America Best Music Video 2019 Grammy Award Dedicated to Childish Gambino's Late Father". E! Online. Retrieved February 10, 2019.

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