Monday, May 8, 2017

WHO'S WHO IN HIBIYA CHANTER! Identifying the Japanese Actors!

 The Godzilla statue in Hibiya Chanter. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Hibiya Chanter is known to fans in the West for its Godzilla statue, which was erected there in 1995. There's also an area very similar to Hollywood's Walk of Fame, which honors several Japanese actors. But who are they? Which ones might Westerners want to see? Here's a handy guide.

Akira Takarada -- the star of Godzilla (1954), Godzilla vs. the Thing (1964), Monster Zero (1965), and Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster (1966).

Yosuke Natsuki -- the star of Ghidrah the Three-Headed Monster (1964), Dogora the Space Monster (1964), and Godzilla 1985 (1984).

Toshiro Mifune -- the star of numerous Akira Kurosawa films, as well as The Three Treasures (1959), The Lost World of Sinbad (1963), Adventure in Kigan Castle (1966), and Princess from the Moon (1987).

Izumi Yukimura -- the Japanese singing star who appeared in many films for Toho, including the genre-ish The Princess of Badger Palace (1958) and Ichimatsu Travels with Ghosts (1959).

Keiju Kobayashi -- one of the stars of Submersion of Japan (1973) and Godzilla 1985.

Ken Takakura -- one of Japan's most popular leading men, whose yakuza films are still widely seen in Japan.

Tadao Takashima -- the star of King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962), Atragon (1963), Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965), and Son of Godzilla (1967).

Ken Uehara -- one of Japan's leading men in the 1930s, but better known in the West for his supporting roles in Mothra (1961), Gorath (1962), and Atragon.

Hisaya Morishige -- one of Toho's most bankable actors during the Showa era, starring in the long-running Shacho series. He appears in Sayonara Jupiter (1984) as the Earth Federation President.

Yuzo Kayama -- the handsome star of Toho's Young Guy series, who also appeared in several war films with SFX by Eiji Tsuburaya.

Yuriko Hoshi -- the female lead of The Last War (1961), Godzilla vs. the Thing, and Ghidrah the Three-Headed Monster.

Frankie Sakai -- a successful comedy actor who Westerners would know best as the star of the original Mothra.

Yasuko Sawaguchi -- Godzilla 1985's leading lady, who also had turns in Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989) and Orochi the Eight-Headed Dragon (1994).

Kyoko Kagawa -- one of the stars of Yasujiro Ozu's seminal Tokyo Story (1953) and the sci-fi classic Mothra.

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