The Empire Strikes Back / B1 / Ohrai style / Japan


The Empire Strikes Back
Year of Film
Irvin Kershner
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker, Frank Oz
Origin of Film
Genre(s) of Film
Sci-Fi | Adventure
Type of Poster
Style of Poster
Origin of Poster
Year of Poster
Noriyoshi Ohrai
Size (inches)
28 11/16" x 40 7/16"
SS or DS

This is the artwork style Japanese poster for the release of George Lucas’ sci-fi classic The Empire Strikes Back, which features a fantastic illustration by the Japanese artist Noriyoshi Ohrai which, in my opinion, is the best artwork for the best film in the six film saga. I’d have a hard time choosing between this and Tom Chantrell’s classic design for the greatest overall Star Wars poster artwork.

As well as this Japanese B1, the artwork featured on a Japanese B2 as well as several other international posters, including an Australian one sheet. Sadly it was not to be used for the US or UK campaigns. In 2010, for the ESB 30th anniversary, Lucasfilm released a limited edition one sheet of the poster taken from the original artwork transparency – see this article for more info.

Noriyoshi Ohrai is my favourite Japanese artist and certainly in my top five greatest film poster illustrators of all time. He’s responsible for a number of other Star Wars related posters, including this lovely 1982 B2 to celebrate the release of the Japanese dubbed version of the original film. He is also know for a series of Godzilla posters, some of which can be seen here. In March 2014 a retrospective exhibition was held in Japan of Ohrai’s work and I made the trip over to Miyazaki to see the exhibition and I’m very glad I did as it featured most of his original artwork and a whole array of posters and book covers. A full report will follow soon.

The posters I’ve managed to collect by him can be seen by clicking here.

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  1. Author
    Posted by Matthijs Gillot (@MMaRsu)
    Date Posted
    on 10 February 2020

    Where can one buy these?

  2. Author
    Posted by Richard Akiyama
    Date Posted
    on 28 July 2023

    Hi, i own an original OHRAI NORIYOSHI B1 but in a 47.25 X 63.25 large size folded.
    i bought it from a vintage movie poster dealer at a sci-fi show.
    ive looked on the internet and so far, i havent seen anyone with the size i have.
    it is not a reprint or fake because who would just print one fake? it would cost
    way too much to print one big size and if there were more than one, i would have
    heard about counterfeit versions that were printed bigger.
    is there anyway i can get in touch with someone who knows the son Ohrai to find
    out where did this size poster come from?
    my email to contact me is:
    [email protected]
    please let me know, i appreciate any help, thank you…

    –Rick Akiyama