Sunday, May 25, 2014

SHINJI CHUJO RULES! The Former Mothra Child Star Rocks Japan!

Musician Masami Tayama performs at the Marquee club in Nerima, Tokyo. Photo by Brett Homenick.

The Toho classic Mothra (1961) is a great film for any number of reasons. Its SFX, writing, and acting are all top-notch. While much is known about Frankie Sakai, Hiroshi Koizumi, Kyoko Kagawa, and even Jerry Ito, precious little information seems to be available about one of the film's supporting players, Masami Tayama.

Masami Tayama signs Mothra memorabilia for yours truly. 

Tayama-san memorably played Shinji Chujo, the pudgy, mouse-loving boy who tries to save the Shobijin from the clutches of the evil Nelson. Unlike other child actors, like Godzilla vs. Megalon's Hiroyuki Kawase, Tayama-san remains a public figure, though he has since entered a completely different line of entertainment.


Although he is now a professional singer, Tayama-san has fond memories of Mothra, especially his co-star Hiroshi Koizumi. After the concert at Marquee, I was invited to dinner with Tayama-san, who graciously signed several autographs and was happy to take photos. I enjoyed our meeting and hope to get another chance to see him again.

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