Wednesday, February 18, 2015

SHIGEO KATO TELLS HIS STORIES! The Ubiquitous Toho Extra Regales Us with His Memories!

Actor Shigeo Kato is all smiles as he remembers his days working as an extra in Toho films. Photo by Brett Homenick.

On February 8, my friend Yasushi and I had the privilege of paying visit to Shiego Kato. Kato-san is a retired actor who lives in Kamakura, and his filmography is absolutely amazing. From Ikiru (1952) to Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster (1971), from Seven Samurai (1954) to Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000), Kato-san has just about seen and done it all in the Japanese film industry.

Since I was accompanied by Yasushi, I finally had a chance to find out more about Kato-san's life and career. It wasn't an interview per se, but I did take notes on the conversation, and I hope eventually that an article will come of it. Before that happens, I'd like to have more conversations with Kato-san. He is one of the most fascinating people I've ever met!

When we met, I gave Kato-san a copy of his filmography from Japanese Wikipedia. He told me that it was the first time he'd ever seen his filmography. Naturally, he spent a great deal of time studying it. Surprisingly, Kato-san gave me three DVDs of movies he made in the 1970s. All three were directed by Yasuzo Masumura (director of Blind Beast), and all three are decidedly non-tokusatsu. I've watched one movie so far, which is Domyaku Retto (1975), which is a similar story to Toei's Bullet Train (1975) but more of an adult drama.

All in all, we had a wonderful time, and I can't wait to see Kato-san again!

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