From left to right: Susumu Kurobe, Toshihiro Iijima, and Bin Furuya reunite to celebrate Ultraman. Photo by Brett Homenick.
I attended a very special event at the Nakano Sunplaza in Tokyo. Hosted by Showa Hero, it saw a reunion of three key players from Tsuburaya Productions' seminal TV series Ultraman (1966-67).
Kurobe! Photo by Brett Homenick.
Headlining the guest list was actor Susumu Kurobe, who portrayed Shin Hayata (Ultraman's alter ego) in the series. Prior to his to turn in Ultraman, Kurobe-san was a Toho New Face who appeared in a wide range of movies. His most notable credits are Ghidrah the Three-Headed Monster (1964), Son of Godzilla (1967), King Kong Escapes (1967), Destroy All Monsters (1968), and Latitude Zero (1969). Kurobe-san returned to the Godzilla series during the Heisei era and can be seen in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991) and Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992). Of course, Kurobe-san has appeared in many other films and TV programs, tokusatsu and otherwise.
Bin Furuya. Photo by Brett Homenick.
Also on hand was Ultraman suit actor Bin Furuya. While I've met Furuya-san many times over the years, this was my first time to see him onstage with Susumu Kurobe.
With Toshihiro Iijima.
The third guest in attendance was director Toshihiro Iijima, who helmed episodes of Ultra Q (1966), Ultraman, and Ultra Seven (1967-68). It's always a joy to see Iijima-san, who is a very kind gentleman.
With Susumu Kurobe.
I was particularly glad to meet Susumu Kurobe. Contrary to most others, I'm sure, I'm actually more interested in his Toho career than his involvement in the Ultra-series. I grew up with his kaiju movies; Ultraman came much later in life for me.
With Bin Furuya.
What can I say? It never gets old visiting Bin Furuya!
And that's a wrap! Many thanks to Ms. Kojima and Showa Hero for staging another enjoyable event. I hope to attend the next one!