Thursday, December 24, 2015

A CHRISTMAS EVE TOHO ALL-STAR EVENT! Three Godzilla Series Bring the Holiday Cheer!

Actors Yoshio Tsuchiya, Akira Kubo, and Yukiko Kobayashi pose for pictures during a special event on Christmas Eve. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Thursday, December 24, saw an all-star reunion of three major Toho stars at a restaurant called Nano in Shinjuku. The three actors were Yoshio Tsuchiya (Seven Samurai, The Human Vapor), Akira Kubo (Gorath, Monster Zero), and Yukiko Kobayashi (Detroy All Monsters, The Vampire Doll).

Yoshio Tsuchiya reacts to the ovation he receives from the audience. Photo by Brett Homenick.

In particular, it was a rare opportunity to meet Yoshio Tsuchiya, who doesn't often appear at events in Tokyo. I was very excited to meet him, as he acting credits are among the most impressive of any Toho actor. He's one of the principal cast members of Seven Samurai (1954)!

Akira Kubo enjoyed mingling with the fans. Photo by Brett Homenick.

During the Q&A, I was privileged to ask the only question from the audience, and I asked it of all three quests. I asked them what their favorite childhood memories are. Kubo-san replied that joining Toho as a 15-year-old actor was his favorite.

Kobayashi-san then told the audience that when she was born, her father (an actor in his own right) wanted a boy, and so she grew up dressing like a boy, and even enjoyed playing with guns rather than dolls.

Tsuchiya-san talked about being afraid of King Kong (1933) as a boy. He also went on to talk about how many actors left Tokyo and went to Yamanashi Prefecture to escape the war. Since Tsuchiya-san lived there, he got to know many actors during that time. One of the actors he got to know turned out to be Kobayashi-san's father!

Yukiko Kobayashi talks about her acting credits at Toho Studios and Tsuburaya Productions. Photo by Brett Homenick.

After the interview session wrapped, the three guests joined the audience in singing "Silent Night" in both Japanese and English. During the English portion, I was invited to join the guests onstage (so to speak) and to sing along with them. It was quite a surprise for me!

Yours truly with the three guests of honor, after singing "Silent Night" with them.

Following that, it was time for autographs. Since Tsuchiya-san is a rare presence at events, he signed more autographs than the other guests by far. Despite it all, he remained in good spirits.

This was my fourth time meeting Akira Kubo, and I was gratified to know that he recognized me. He mentioned that we first met in Kyoto at a screening of Monster Zero, which took place four years ago in 2011. Kubo-san was very kind and was a joy to speak with.

Kobayashi-san was also great to see again. The Vampire Doll is a great Japanese horror film, and she is excellent as the film's vampire.

It was my first time to meet Yoshio Tsuchiya, and what can I say? He's a legend, and it was very exciting to speak with him.

I had an excellent time at the event, and I must commend the organizers on a job well done. What better way to close out 2015 than with three Toho legends?

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