Shinji Chujo has really grown up. Most of us would remember Masami Tayama as the chubby youngster from the kaiju classic Mothra (1961), but the former child actor has been a musician and singer for decades, choosing to pursue a different form of entertainment.
Tayama-san recently moved to Shikoku, making his trips to the Tokyo area even rarer, but it is always a treat to see him perform live. On June 6, he came to Hino, Tokyo, to sing Japanese folk music to his appreciative audience.
I told Tayama-san about the recent passing of Hiroshi Koizumi, his Mothra co-star. He hadn't heard about it and was naturally saddened. We both agreed he was a true gentleman.
One of Tayama-san's trademark is his ubiquitous Superman hat, so I finally asked him about it. He told me he was a fan of the old George Reeves Superman TV show, making him by far the coolest fan of that program I've ever met.
When it was all said and done, Tayama-san and I (along with our mutual friend Tada-san) rode back toward the center of Tokyo together. On the train ride, Tada-san played some clips of kaiju movies he had prepared on his smartphone, including ones from Gamera 3 (1999) and Godzilla (1954).
Tayama-san's next live performance in Tokyo will be in September, and I hope to be in attendance for that.