Tomoyuki Tanaka

Last updated
Tomoyuki Tanaka
田中 友幸
Born(1910-04-26)April 26, 1910
Kashiwara, Osaka, Japan
DiedApril 2, 1997(1997-04-02) (aged 86)
Tokyo, Japan
Occupation Film producer
Years active1940–1997
Known for Godzilla series
Spouse(s)Chieko Nakakita (1926–1997 (his death))

Tomoyuki Tanaka (田中 友幸, Tanaka Tomoyuki) was a Japanese film producer, most famous for creating the Godzilla franchise. He was born in Kashiwara, Osaka, Japan, on April 26, 1910, and died in Tokyo on April 2, 1997. Tanaka was married to the actress Chieko Nakakita (1926 2005). He died of a stroke at the age of 86. [1] [2]

Soon after graduating from Kansai University in 1940, Tanaka joined Taisho Studios which merged with Toho Studios in 1941. [3] After four years with the company, he began producing his own films, and his first effort, Three Women of the North , was released in 1945. [4] In his 60-year career with Toho, Tanaka produced more than 200 films.

He is best known as the creator, with storyteller Shigeru Kayama, director Ishirō Honda, writer Takeo Murata and special-effects wizard Eiji Tsuburaya, of Godzilla, the towering embodiment of post-World War II anxiety. Tanaka created Godzilla in 1954 in an effort to illustrate the terror Japanese felt after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In an interview in 1985, Tanaka summed up the symbolism of Godzilla: [5]

In those days, Japanese had a real horror of radiation, and that horror is what made Godzilla so huge. From the beginning he has symbolized nature's revenge on mankind.

The classic 1954 film Godzilla (1954; released in the U.S. in 1956 as Godzilla, King of the Monsters! ) would spawn a series of sequels, adding up to 36 films by 2021. Thirty-two movies have been produced by Toho, and four by the American studios TriStar Pictures and Legendary Pictures. Tanaka produced every Toho monster movie up to his death in 1997. [4] He often worked with the other three members of the Godzilla team: Honda, Tsuburaya, and composer Akira Ifukube, to complete such works as The Mysterians (1957) and Matango (1963). Tanaka produced six films directed by the acclaimed Akira Kurosawa. [2] Their film Kagemusha (1980) was nominated for a Best Foreign Film Oscar and took the Palme d'Or at Cannes.

The 1998 American reimagining of Godzilla was dedicated to his memory.

Related Research Articles

Godzilla Giant monster or kaiju

Godzilla is a fictional monster, or kaiju, originating from a series of Japanese films. The character first appeared in the 1954 film Godzilla and became a worldwide pop culture icon, appearing in various media, including 32 films produced by Toho, four Hollywood films and numerous video games, novels, comic books and television shows. Godzilla has been dubbed the "King of the Monsters", a phrase first used in Godzilla, King of the Monsters! (1956), the Americanized version of the original film.

<i>King Kong vs. Godzilla</i> 1962 film by Ishirō Honda

King Kong vs. Godzilla is a 1962 Japanese kaiju film directed by Ishirō Honda, with special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya. Produced and distributed by Toho Studios, it is the third film in the Godzilla franchise, and the first of two Toho-produced films featuring King Kong. It is also the first time that both characters appeared on film in color and widescreen. The film stars Tadao Takashima, Kenji Sahara, Yū Fujiki, Ichirō Arishima, and Mie Hama, with Shoichi Hirose as King Kong and Haruo Nakajima as Godzilla. In the film, as Godzilla is reawakened by an American submarine, a pharmaceutical company captures King Kong for promotional uses, which culminates into a battle on Mount Fuji.

<i>Ebirah, Horror of the Deep</i> 1966 film by Jun Fukuda

Ebirah, Horror of the Deep is a 1966 Japanese kaiju film directed by Jun Fukuda and produced and distributed by Toho Studios. The film stars Akira Takarada, Kumi Mizuno, Akihiko Hirata and Eisei Amamoto, and features the fictional monster characters Godzilla, Mothra, and Ebirah. It is the seventh film in the Godzilla franchise, and features special effects by Sadamasa Arikawa, under the supervision of Eiji Tsuburaya. In the film, Godzilla and Ebirah are portrayed by Haruo Nakajima and Hiroshi Sekita, respectively.

<i>Son of Godzilla</i> 1967 film by Jun Fukuda

Son of Godzilla is a 1967 Japanese kaiju film directed by Jun Fukuda, with special effects by Sadamasa Arikawa, under the supervision of Eiji Tsuburaya. Produced and distributed by Toho Studios, it is the eighth film in the Godzilla franchise. It stars Tadao Takashima, Akira Kubo, Akihiko Hirata, and Beverly Maeda, with Hiroshi Sekita, Seiji Onaka, and Haruo Nakajima as Godzilla, and Marchan the Dwarf as Minilla.

<i>Destroy All Monsters</i> 1968 Japanese science fiction Kaiju film directed by Ishirō Honda

Destroy All Monsters is a 1968 Japanese kaiju film directed by Ishirō Honda and written by Honda and Takeshi Kimura. The film, which was produced and distributed by Toho Studios, is the ninth film in the Godzilla franchise, and features eleven monster characters, including Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan, King Ghidorah, Anguirus, and Minilla. The film stars Akira Kubo, Jun Tazaki, Yukiko Kobayashi and Yoshio Tsuchiya, with special effects directed by Sadamasa Arikawa, which were provided under the supervision by Eiji Tsuburaya.

<i>Terror of Mechagodzilla</i> 1975 film by Ishirō Honda

Terror of Mechagodzilla, released in Japan as Mekagojira no Gyakushū is a 1975 Japanese kaiju film directed by Ishirō Honda, written by Yukiko Takayama, and produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka and Henry G. Saperstein, with special effects by Teruyoshi Nakano. The film was produced and distributed by Toho; it is the 15th film in the Godzilla franchise, serving as a direct sequel to the 1974 film Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, and is the final film in the franchise's Shōwa period.

<i>Godzilla</i> (1954 film) 1954 film directed by Ishirō Honda

Godzilla is a 1954 Japanese kaiju film directed by Ishirō Honda, with special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya. Produced and distributed by Toho Studios, it is the first film in the Godzilla franchise and the Shōwa era. The film stars Akira Takarada, Momoko Kōchi, Akihiko Hirata, and Takashi Shimura, with Haruo Nakajima and Katsumi Tezuka as Godzilla. In the film, Japan's authorities deal with the sudden appearance of a giant monster, whose attacks trigger fears of nuclear holocaust during post-war Japan.

<i>The Return of Godzilla</i> 1984 film by Kōji Yakusho, Koji Hashimoto

The Return of Godzilla is a 1984 Japanese kaiju film directed by Koji Hashimoto, with special effects by Teruyoshi Nakano. The film features the fictional monster character Godzilla. Produced and distributed by Toho Studios, it is the 16th film in the Godzilla franchise, and is the first film in the franchise's Heisei era, despite having been produced during the Shōwa period. In Japan, the film was followed by Godzilla vs. Biollante in 1989.

Eiji Tsuburaya Japanese film director

Eiji Tsuburaya was a Japanese special effects director responsible for many Japanese science-fiction films and television shows. He was one of the co-creators of the Godzilla series, as well as the main creator of the Ultra series. During his rise to post-war fame in the wake of Godzilla (1954), many press accounts gave Tsuburaya's birthdate as July 7, which falls on the high day of Tanabata, a sign of good fortune.

<i>Kaiju</i> Japanese genre of films featuring giant monsters

Kaiju is a Japanese genre of films featuring giant monsters. The term kaiju can refer to the giant monsters themselves, which are usually depicted attacking major cities and engaging the military, or other kaiju, in battle. The kaiju genre is a subgenre of tokusatsu entertainment.

<i>All Monsters Attack</i> 1969 film by Ishirō Honda

All Monsters Attack, released in Japan as Gojira-Minira-Gabara: Ōru Kaijū Daishingeki, is a 1969 Japanese kaiju film directed by Ishirō Honda, written by Shinichi Sekizawa, and produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka. The film, which was produced and distributed by Toho Studios, is the tenth film in the Godzilla series, and features the fictional monster characters Godzilla, Minilla, and Gabara. The film stars Tomonori Yazaki, Kenji Sahara, and Hideyo Amamoto, with special effects by Honda and Teruyoshi Nakano, and features Haruo Nakajima as Godzilla, Marchan the Dwarf as Minilla, and Yasuhiko Kakuyuki as Gabara.

<i>Invasion of Astro-Monster</i> 1965 film by Ishirō Honda

Invasion of Astro-Monster is a 1965 kaiju film directed by Ishirō Honda, with special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya. It is the sixth film in the Godzilla franchise and Shōwa period. The film was a Japanese-American co-production; it was the second collaboration between Toho Studios and UPA. The film stars Akira Takarada, Nick Adams, Kumi Mizuno, Akira Kubo, and Yoshio Tsuchiya, with Haruo Nakajima as Godzilla, Masaki Shinohara as Rodan, and Shoichi Hirose as King Ghidorah. In the film, aliens plead with humanity to borrow Godzilla and Rodan to defeat King Ghidorah, only to betray the humans and unleash the monsters on the Earth.

<i>Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster</i> 1964 film by Ishirō Honda

Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster is a 1964 Japanese kaiju film directed by Ishirō Honda, with special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya. Produced and distributed by Toho Studios, it is the fifth film in the Godzilla franchise, and was the second Godzilla film produced that year, after Mothra vs. Godzilla. The film stars Yosuke Natsuki, Hiroshi Koizumi, Akiko Wakabayashi, with Haruo Nakajima as Godzilla, Masanori Shinohara as Rodan, and Shoichi Hirose as King Ghidorah. In the film, a Venus alien, possessing the body of a princess, warns humanity of the arrival of King Ghidorah, with Godzilla, Rodan, and Mothra being their last hope for survival.

<i>Mothra vs. Godzilla</i> 1964 Japanese film directed by Ishirō Honda

Mothra vs. Godzilla is a 1964 Japanese kaiju film directed by Ishirō Honda, with special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya. Produced and distributed by Toho Studios, it is the fourth film in the Godzilla franchise. The film stars Akira Takarada, Yuriko Hoshi, Hiroshi Koizumi, Kenji Sahara, and the Peanuts, with Haruo Nakajima as Godzilla. In the film, humans beseech the aide of the insect-god Mothra to stop Godzilla from destroying Japan.

<i>Godzilla Raids Again</i> 1955 Japanese film directed by Motoyoshi Oda

Godzilla Raids Again is a 1955 Japanese kaiju film directed by Motoyoshi Oda, with special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya. Produced and distributed by Toho Studios, it is the second film in the Godzilla franchise. The film stars Hiroshi Koizumi, Setsuko Wakayama, Minoru Chiaki, and Takashi Shimura, with Haruo Nakajima as Godzilla and Katsumi Tezuka as Anguirus. In the film, Japan struggles to survive Godzilla's return, as well as its destructive battle against its ancient foe Anguirus.

<i>Frankenstein Conquers the World</i>

Frankenstein Conquers the World is a 1965 kaiju film directed by Ishirō Honda, with special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya. The film stars Nick Adams, Kumi Mizuno, Tadao Takashima, with Koji Furuhata as Frankenstein and Haruo Nakajima as Baragon. The film was a Japanese-American co-production; it was the first collaboration between Toho and Henry G. Saperstein. In the film, scientists investigate the origins of a mysterious child and his resistance to radiation that makes him grow to monstrous size, while a second monster ravages the countryside.

<i>The War of the Gargantuas</i>

The War of the Gargantuas is a 1966 kaiju film directed by Ishirō Honda, co-written by Honda and Takeshi Kimura, produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka and Kenichiro Tsunoda, with special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya. A sequel to Frankenstein Conquers the World, the film was a Japanese-American co-production; it was the third and final collaboration between Toho and Henry G. Saperstein. The film stars Russ Tamblyn, Kumi Mizuno, Kenji Sahara, with Yû Sekida as Sanda and Haruo Nakajima as Gaira. In the film, scientists investigate the sudden appearance of two giant hairy humanoid monsters that culminates into a battle in Tokyo.

<i>Godzilla, King of the Monsters!</i> 1956 film

Godzilla, King of the Monsters! is a 1956 kaiju film directed by Terry O. Morse and Ishirō Honda. It is a heavily re-edited American localization, commonly referred to as an "Americanization", of the 1954 Japanese film Godzilla. The film was a Japanese-American co-production, with the original footage produced by Toho, and the new footage produced by Jewell Enterprises. The film stars Raymond Burr, Frank Iwanaga, along with Akira Takarada, Momoko Kōchi, Akihiko Hirata, and Takashi Shimura, with Haruo Nakajima and Katsumi Tezuka as Godzilla. In the film, an American reporter covers a giant reptilian monster's attack on Japan.

Motoyoshi Oda

Motoyoshi Oda was a Japanese action film director.

<i>Mothra</i> (film) 1961 film directed by Ishirō Honda

Mothra is a 1961 Japanese kaiju film directed by Ishirō Honda, and written by Shinichi Sekizawa, with special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya. Produced and distributed by Toho Studios, it is the first film in the Mothra franchise. The film stars Frankie Sakai, Hiroshi Koizumi, Kyōko Kagawa, Jerry Ito, and The Peanuts.

References

  1. "田中友幸" [Tomoyuki Tanaka]. Nihon Jinmei Daijiten (in Japanese). Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2012. Archived from the original on 2007-08-25. Retrieved 2012-10-12.
  2. 1 2 WuDunn, Cheryl (4 April 1997). "Tomoyuki Tanaka, the Creator of Godzilla, Is Dead at 86". New York Times. New York, N.Y. Retrieved Oct 12, 2012.
  3. Kalat 2010, p. 16.
  4. 1 2 "Tomoyuki Tanaka". 2012. Retrieved Oct 12, 2012.
  5. Raftery, Brian M. (2000). "Forty-four years ago, Godzilla, King of the Monsters invaded the U.S". Entertainment Weekly. New York, N.Y.: Time, Inc. (537): 116.