The Asahi reports that Muraki Yoshiro, Kurosawa Akira's primary art director, died of heart failure on October 26. He was 85 years old. He entered the art department at Toho in 1946 and first worked as an assistant on Drunken Angel in 1948. From Record of a Living Being (1955) on, he was the art director on all of Kurosawa's films except Dersu Uzala. He also worked with such directors as Moritani Shiro, Ichikawa Kon, and Koizumi Takashi, as well on such hit Toho films as the "Shacho" and the "Nippon ichi" series. He was nominated for an Academy Award four times for Yojimbo (for costume design), Tora! Tora! Tora!, Kagemusha, and Ran, and received the Order of the Purple Ribbon (Shiju Hosho) in 1994.
There hasn't been a lot of research in English about art direction and production design in Japanese cinema, but Muraki is one figure, along with Kimura Takeo, Ikawa Norimichi, Nishioka Yoshinobu, Naito Akira, Nakamura Kimihiko and Sakaguchi Takeharu, about whom there are books in Japanese.
Yale, for instance, has these books:
Muraki Yoshiro no eiga bijutsu: kikigaki Kurosawa eiga no dezain / Tanno Tatsuya hen.
Tokyo no wasuremono: Kurosawa eiga no bijutsu kantoku ga egaita Showa / Muraki Yoshiro, Muraki Shinobu [cho] ; Hamano Yasuki hen.
They are worth checking out.