From left to right: Tetsuya Nakayashiki, Matasaburo Niwa, and Takeshi Sasaki. Photo by Brett Homenick.
On April 8, a Showa Hero event was held at the Nakano Sun Plaza in Tokyo. It featured a reunion of three major alumni from the original Kamen Rider (1971-73) series. This Showa Hero event was a lot of fun, but let's talk about the guests.
With Takeshu Sasaki.
Sasaki-san played Kamen Rider 2 on the original Kamen Rider. I'd just met Sasaki-san less than a month ago, but I just couldn't turn down the opportunity to see him again. He's quite a gentleman!
With Matasaburo Niwa.
Matasaburo Niwa was born in 1934 and began his acting career in 1955. He started his career at Shintoho before joining Daiei and appearing in several notable films, including the epic Buddha (1961) and several entries of the classic Zatoichi series. New Tale of Zatoichi (1963), Zatoichi on the Road (1963), and Zatoichi and the Chest of Gold (1964) are his films in the series. In the horror genre, he appears in Ghost Story of Devil's Fire Swamp (1963).
On television, Niwa-san played Spider on Giant Robo (a.k.a. Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot, 1967-68), and appeared multiple times on Kamen Rider as well as Kamen Rider V3 (1973-74) as General Black. It was my first time to meet Niwa-san, and given his history in movies and TV shows, he was the main guest for me. I also found him to be very friendly.
With Tetsuya Nakayashiki.
Tetsuya Nakayashiki is a prolific suit actor, closely associated with the Showa-era Kamen Rider series. Nakayashiki-san suit-acted at least part of the time as a Kamen Rider character from the original Kamen Rider through Kamen Rider Super-1 (1980-81). Naturally, his credits in Toei tokusatsu are far too extensive to list here. Beyond Toei, Nakayashiki-san can be seen in the Toho actioner Espy (1974) as well as episode 12 of Tsuburaya Productions' TV series Mighty Jack (1968). Of course, he also was a great guy to meet.
I was very happy to attend this Showa Hero event and hope to join the next one, as well!