Thursday, May 28, 2015
GODZILLA BEATS THEM ALL! Dining with Godzilla Series Actor Hiroyuki Kawase!
The first human character I ever saw in any Godzilla movie was played by Hiroyuki Kawase. As Rokuro in Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973), he gave young viewers like myself at the time a character with whom to identify. I would later see Kawase-san in Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster (1971), Akira Kurosawa's Dodeskaden (1970), and Kihachi Okamoto's Battle of Okinawa (1971).
Tonight I was lucky enough to have dinner with Kawase-san. Joining us for the dinner was Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster director Yoshimitsu Banno. Banno-san had already met Kawase-san a couple of months ago, but it was rather impressive to see the director and his star talking shop 44 years after the film was released!
I finally remembered to ask Banno-san about the older people who watch the concert at the foot of Mt. Fuji just before the final battle between Hedorah and Godzilla. He explained that they were peasant farmers and that they were shown to emphasize the generational gap. The concert in the film was based on a real one (or a series of concerts) that took place at the foot of Mt. Fuji around that time.
Kawase-san was extremly friendly and approachable. Naturally, he doesn't think of himself as a movie star, having left the business altogether in the mid-'70s to focus on his schoolwork. But, given his connection with such icons as Godzilla and Akira Kurosawa, it's hard to see him as anything else.