Hiro Murai

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Hiro Murai
1983 (age 39–40)

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

Hiro Murai (born 1983)[1] is a Japanese-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]

He received a Grammy Award in 2019 for Best Music Video for "This is America" with Childish Gambino.[3] He also received five Primetime Emmy Award nominations for the FX series Atlanta (2016–2022), and the HBO limited series Station Eleven (2021–2022).[4] He was a frequent director of Bill Hader's HBO series Barry (2018–2023) and executive produces the Hulu series The Bear (2022–present).

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. He graduated with a degree from the USC School of Cinematic Arts.[5]

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.


In 2013, he directed the short film Clapping for the Wrong Reasons,[6][7] 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.[8][9]

Since 2016, Murai has directed several episodes of the comedy-drama Atlanta, collaborating again with Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino).[10][11] 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.[12]

In 2016 he directed a Nike campaign starring Chance The Rapper.[13]

He directed the music video for Childish Gambino's "This Is America", released on May 5, 2018, which was described as "the most talked-about music video of recent memory",[14] and which Billboard critics ranked 10th among the "greatest music videos of the 21st century."[15] In 2019, Murai won the Grammy Award for Best Music Video for directing the video.[citation needed]

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.[16] 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.[17] On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 64 out of 100, based on 8 reviews, indicating "generally favorable" reviews.[18]

In 2021, Murai directed the first and third episode the science fiction miniseries Station Eleven for HBO Max.[19]

In June 2018, it was announced that he would direct a science fiction feature film, Man Alive, written by David Robert Mitchell.[20]



Year Title Credits Notes Ref
2019 Guava Island Director Stars Donald Glover & Rihanna [21][22]


Year Title Director Producer Executive
Notes Ref.
2016–2022 Atlanta Yes Yes Yes Directed 26 episodes; produced/executive produced 41 episodes [10]
2017 Legion Yes No No Episode: "Chapter 6" [23]
2017 Sea Oak Yes No Yes Amazon Video pilot [24]
2017 Snowfall Yes No No Episode: "Trauma" [25]
2018–2019 Barry Yes No No 4 episodes; HBO comedy series [26]
2021–2022 Station Eleven Yes No Yes 2 episodes; HBO Max limited series [27]
2022 The Bear No No Yes Hulu series [28]

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Artist Director Notes Ref.
2005 "Small Apartment Party Epiphany" Make Believe Yes Co-directed with Steve Drypolcher
Brandon Driscoll-Luttringer
2006 "Crooked Teeth" Death Cab for Cutie Director of photography
"Someday You Will Be Loved" Death Cab for Cutie Director of photography
"Cobrastyle" Teddybears Director of photography
2007 "Living a Lie" Aqueduct Director of photography
2009 "Submarine Symphonika" The Submarines 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 [29]
2018 "This Is America" Childish Gambino Yes [30]
2020 "sad day" FKA Twigs Yes

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • (2009) MVPA Award for Best Video under $25K. The Fray "Heartless"
  • (2012) Best Music Video Lists: Pitchfork / BuzzFeed / Consequence of Sound / Video Static / Co.Create / NPR Music - for St. Vincent "Cheerleader" and Earl Sweatshirt "Chum"
  • (2013) MVPA Best Electronic Video: David Guetta - "She Wolf"[31]
  • (2014) UKMVA Director of the Year / Best Rock / Indie Video International QOTSA for Smooth Sailing.[32]
  • (2014) Best Music Videos Lists: The Verge, Pitchfork, IMVDB, Stereogum
Award Year Category Nominated work Result Ref.
Grammy Awards 2019 Best Music Video "This Is America", Childish Gambino Won [33]
Hollywood Critics Association TV Awards 2022 Best Directing in a Streaming Limited or Anthology Series or Movie "Wheel of Fire", Station Eleven Nominated
Best Directing in a Broadcast Network or Cable Series, Comedy "New Jazz", Atlanta Nominated [34]
MTV Video Music Awards 2015 Best Direction "Sober", Childish Gambino Nominated [35]
2018 "This Is America", Childish Gambino Won [36]
Primetime Emmy Awards 2017 Outstanding Comedy Series Atlanta Nominated [37]
2018 Nominated [38]
Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series "Teddy Perkins", Atlanta Nominated
2022 "New Jazz", Atlanta Nominated [39]
Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series or Movie "Wheel of Fire", Station Eleven Nominated
UK Music Video Awards 2016 Best Director Himself Nominated [40]


  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 July 28, 2016. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
  3. ^ "ARTIST - Hiro Murai". Grammy Awards. Retrieved July 13, 2022.
  4. ^ "Hiro Murai - Emmy Awards, Nominations, and Wins". Emmy Awards. Retrieved July 13, 2022.
  5. ^ "An Interview with Director Hiro Murai". www.booooooom.com.
  6. ^ "Other Films". www.hiromurai.com.
  7. ^ "Music Video Director Hiro Murai Is Donald Glover's Secret Weapon - DJBooth Article". Djbooth.net. Retrieved August 31, 2016.
  8. ^ Murai, Hiro (February 27, 2013), Frank Ocean "Forrest Gump" Grammy Visuals, retrieved November 26, 2018
  9. ^ "Behind the Scenes of Frank Ocean's Grammys Performance with Director Hiro Murai". The FADER. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  10. ^ a b Nguyen, Hanh (September 13, 2016). "'Atlanta': Hiro Murai Directs FX's Beautiful and Baffling Series | IndieWire". www.indiewire.com. Retrieved September 29, 2016.
  11. ^ "Atlanta (TV Series 2016–2023): Full credits: Series directed by". IMDb. May 7, 2022. Retrieved May 7, 2022.
  12. ^ "Hiro Murai". emmys.com. Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
  13. ^ Murai, Hiro (August 6, 2016), Nike x Chance The Rapper - We The People, retrieved November 26, 2018
  14. ^ Kornhaber, Spencer (May 7, 2018). "Donald Glover Is Watching You Watch Him". The Atlantic. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
  15. ^ "The 100 Greatest Music Videos of the 21st Century: Critics' Picks". Billboard. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
  16. ^ "'Guava Island' Trailer: Watch Donald Glover & Rihanna's New Movie Trailer". Stereogum. November 25, 2018. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  17. ^ "Guava Island (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 14, 2019.
  18. ^ "Guava Island". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 14, 2019.
  19. ^ Greene, Steve (June 25, 2019). "'Station Eleven': Hiro Murai's Next TV Directing Gig Is Adapting a Post-Apocalyptic Novel". IndieWire. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
  20. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (June 13, 2018). "'This Is America' Director Hiro Murai In Talks For Fox Sci-Fi Thriller 'Man Alive'". Deadline. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
  21. ^ Guava Island, retrieved November 26, 2018
  22. ^ "Donald Glover and Rihanna to Star in New Movie: Watch the Trailer | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. November 25, 2018. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  23. ^ "'Twin Peaks' to Akira Kurosawa: How FX's Most In-Demand Director Learned His Visual Storytelling Style". IndieWire. June 2017. Retrieved July 13, 2022.
  24. ^ "'Sea Oak': Amazon Comedy Pilot Taps Hiro Murai To Direct; Evan Dunsky As EP/Co-Showrunner; Adds Cast". Deadline Hollywood. June 21, 2017. Retrieved July 13, 2022.
  25. ^ "The 25 Most Anticipated TV Shows of 2017". Complex. Retrieved July 13, 2022.
  26. ^ "Hiro Murai Throws Out Rulebook With 'Atlanta', Delivers Visceral Action With 'Barry' & Wows With "This Is America"". Deadline Hollywood. June 15, 2018. Retrieved July 13, 2022.
  27. ^ "'Station Eleven': Hiro Murai's Next TV Directing Gig Is Adapting a Post-Apocalyptic Novel". IndieWire. June 25, 2019. Retrieved July 13, 2022.
  28. ^ "FX Orders Family Restaurant Pilot 'The Bear' From Christopher Storer, Hiro Murai to Produce". Variety. March 19, 2021. Retrieved July 13, 2022.
  29. ^ Blistein, Jon (March 30, 2017). "Watch A Tribe Called Quest's Gorgeous 'Dis Generation' Video". Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 8, 2018.
  30. ^ Kim, Michelle (March 6, 2018). "Watch Childish Gambino's Video for New Song "This Is America"". Pitchfork. Retrieved March 8, 2018.
  31. ^ "NEWS: 2013 MVPA Award Nominees". VideoStatic. Retrieved August 31, 2016.
  32. ^ "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 August 31, 2016.
  33. ^ 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.
  34. ^ Gajewski, Ryan (August 14, 2022). "HCA TV Awards: 'White Lotus,' 'Abbott Elementary,' 'Better Call Saul' Lead Winners". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 14, 2022.
  35. ^ Lindner, Emilee (July 21, 2015). "2015 VMA Nominations: Get The Full List Now". MTV.com. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
  36. ^ Park, Andrea (August 20, 2018). "Full list of 2018 MTV Video Music Awards winners". CBS News. Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  37. ^ "69th Primetime Emmy Awards". Primetime Emmy Awards. Retrieved July 13, 2022.
  38. ^ "70th Primetime Emmy Awards". Primetime Emmy Awards. Retrieved July 13, 2022.
  39. ^ "74th Primetime Emmy Awards". Primetime Emmy Awards. Retrieved July 13, 2022.
  40. ^ "UK Music Video Awards 2016: here are the nominations..." www.ukmva.com. Retrieved February 9, 2019.

External links[edit]