Sunday, January 3, 2016

NEW YEAR'S CELEBRATIONS CONTINUE! Paying a Visit to Shigeo Kato!

Shigeo Kato poses with Daibutsu in Kamakura. Photo by Brett Homenick.

On January 3, I made a visit to Kamakura, Kanagawa, to pay a visit to veteran actor Shigeo Kato. I've written about Kato-san on this blog several times, but he appears in just about every Toho film of note from the 1950s into the 2000s. If you've seen Ikiru (1952), Seven Samurai (1954), Godzilla vs. the Thing (1964), King Kong Escapes (1967), Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975), Godzilla 1985 (1984), and even Godzilla vs. Megaggurius (2000), then you've seen Shigeo Kato.

Daibutsu is large and in charge in Kamakura! Photo by Brett Homenick. 

Kato-san and I met at Kamakura Station, and from there we took a taxi to Daibutsu, the large Buddha statue that's a popular tourist destination. It's been a long time since my last visit, and I enjoyed seeing it again.

The weather was on our side, too, as it was a beautiful day. We walked around the statue and snapped a few photos.

Say cheese! Even though the sun was in our eyes, we did our best to look into the camera!

Kato-san gave me a flier for this DVD, in which Kato-san and Ultraman suit actor Bin Furuya visit filming locations in Enoshima and reminisce about their careers. The other was a fanzine article on Sampo Shojo, a recent animated movie for which Kato-san (and Furuya-san) provided voices. Unfortunately, there was a glaring error in the piece. Kato-san's birth year was listed as being 1926, and the actor was described as being "almost ninety years old." Actually, he was born in 1925 and turned 90 in June 2015. I guess the fanzine could use a new editor!

After visiting Daibutsu, we made our way to a nearby cafe and enjoyed some chocolate cake. Kato-san told me more stories about his acting career. At one point, I got out my camera to show him some photos from the recent event I attended with Akira Kubo and Yoshio Tsuchiya. When I showed him my photo with Tsuchiya-san, he pointed at me and asked if that was Kubo-san. I laughed and told him it was me. I've been told I look like Akira Kubo before, but not by a Toho actor!

After that, we wrapped things up and went to the bus stop to go back to Kamakura Station. We had several minutes before the bus arrived, so I played around with my camera. I took several black-and-white shots, one of which is below.

Trust me when I say that Shigeo Kato is even cooler than he looks. Thank you very much, Kato-san!

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