Sunday, January 24, 2016


Terror of Mechagodzilla screenwriter Yukiko Takayama (left) and assistant director Kensho Yamashita (right) discuss the making of their kaiju classic following a screening in Yokohama. Photo by Brett Homenick.

January 24 saw a great event take place in Yokohama. The film of the day was Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975), a bona fide classic in the Godzilla series. The event opened with a screening of a 35mm  print of the film and was followed by a Q&A session with a couple of very special guests.

Screenwriter Yukiko Takayama remembers writing the story of Terror of Mechagodzilla. Photo by Brett Homenick.

The two special guests were TOMG screenwriter Yukiko Takayama and assistant director Kensho Yamashita. Yamashita-san went on to direct his own Godzilla movie, Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla (1994).

Assistant director Kensho Yamashita answers questions about his career. Photo by Brett Homenick.

The interview session proved to be very interesting. Of particular note, the building used as the Mafune family home was actually an old hospital (!) in Setagaya Ward that was eventually torn down. I was hoping to visit that location someday, but unfortunately it's long gone. At least we know what it was.

Also, when talking about the "racy" scene with Katsura on the operating table, Yamashita-san pointed out that it was actually dropped from the U.S. version. Then Yamashita-san looked at me and said in English, "For the children!" I laughed and gave him a thumbs-up.

Yours truly with Yukiko Takayama, a first-time meeting that hopefully won't be the last!

Although I've met several Terror of Mechagodzilla alumni over the years, I'd never met Yukiko Takayama. Naturally, I was very excited to meet her. At first, she seemed a bit shy, but during dinner, she easily warmed up and became very talkative.

I was very privileged to sit next to Yukiko Takayama during our nabe dinner.  

During dinner, Takayama-san talked about her interest in sci-fi films and cited Blade Runner (1982) as one of her favorites. I was glad to tell Takayama-san about how TOMG was actually a pretty scary movie to watch as a young child (the dark atmosphere was a bit much for me at that age), even though it's now one of my favorites.

Yours truly with Kensho Yamashita, who is always in motion, even when posing for photos!

There were many familiar faces at the event, and I enjoyed catching up with them. I was very happy to spend so much time with Takayama-san, who proved to be a warm and friendly special guest. She seemed as interested in her fans as we were in her. Kensho Yamashita is always a blast to hang out with, and he brought his own camera and took pictures of his own!

More photos from tonight's shindig to come!

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