Tsuburaya Productions director Toshihiro Iijima during a Q&A session. Photo by Brett Homenick.
Today I attended another Ultraman event in Yokohama. The guest of honor again was director Toshihiro Iijima, who directed many episodes of Ultra Q (1966), Ultraman (1966-67), and Ultra Seven (1967-68). Episode 2 of Ultraman, which was directed by Iijima-san, was screened for attendees.
Actor Kai Shishido always keeps a friend in his shirt pocket. Photo by Brett Homenick.
Also on hand was actor Kai Shishido. If his surname sounds familiar, yes, he is the son of acclaimed Nikkatsu star Joe Shishido (Branded to Kill). Shishido-san portrayed Captain Shigeru Hijikata on Ultraman Max (2005-06), and a two-parter featuring Baltan Seijin from the series was screened in conjunction with his appearance.
While Ultraman was indeed the focal point of the day, I have to admit that a special surprise diverted my attention elsewhere.
Shintoho actress Kyoko Yashiro smiles for the camera. Photo by Brett Homenick.
I found out yesterday during the previous day's event that Iijima-san is married to Shintoho actress Kyoko Yashiro, who accompanied him on both days. Yashiro-san worked with acclaimed horror director Nobuo Nakagawa on The Lady Vampire (1959). She also appeared in Vampire Bride (1960) and The Ghost of the Girl Diver (1960). Suffice it to say, I was blown away -- in a good way!
Yashiro-san was very sweet and spoke to me about her career at Shintoho. I seemed much more interested in her career than anyone else was at the gathering, but I'm used to that by now!
All in all, it was a great day spent in great company. Many thanks to Iijima-san and Yashiro-san for their kindness and generosity.