Thursday, May 14, 2015

NIISAN TAKAHASHI: 1926-2015

Screenwriter Niisan Takahashi left an indelible mark on the history of Japanese monster movies. Photo by Brett Homenick.

I'm very saddened to report the passing of Showa Gamera series scribe Niisan Takahashi on May 5, 2015. He was 89. Takahashi-san was a screenwriter at Daiei Studios during its heyday, and he wrote all the screenplays for the early Gamera films, starting with Gammera the Invincible (1965) and culminating with Gamera Super Monster (1980).

Takahashi-san speaks about his life and career during a rare interview. Photo by Brett Homenick.

I had the distinct privilege of meeting Takahashi-san on two occasions (in the fall of 2012 and spring of 2013). Both times, my friend Yasushi and I went to a Coco's restaurant near his home in Chigasaki, Kanagawa. During our first meeting, I learned something quite fascinating about Takahashi-san, which I posted about elsewhere on this blog and will quote here:

The most fascinating thing I learned is that Mr. Takahashi has a middle Christian name. No, he wasn't born with it, but he took it on after a tragic event happened in his life. On December 31, 1982, his wife passed away after a lengthy illness. She was a Christian, so Takahashi-san researched notable Christians who also passed away on New Year's Eve. One he discovered was Pope Sylvester I, who died on December 31, 335. Takahashi-san decided to make Sylvester his adopted middle name in honor of his wife.

Posing for photos with Takahashi-san after completing an interview in the spring of 2013.

Takahashi-san was extremely friendly, giving me many gifts he had acquired over the years related to the Gamera series. These items included books and DVDs, and he was quite happy to sign anything we asked. During our last meeting, he wanted to sing the theme song he wrote for a movie called I Am Five Years Old (1970), which was also directed by Gamera series director Noriaki Yuasa. He was always proud of this song and wanted to share it with me.

My friend Yasushi and I conducted a lengthy interview with Takahashi-san, and I hope it will eventually get completed.

Rest in peace, Takahashi-san. I will always remember your kindness.

No comments:

Post a Comment