Monday, May 31, 2021

Eizo Yamagiwa Q&A Now Up at Vantage Point Interviews!

With Eizo Yamagiwa.

Another brand-new interview is now live at Vantage Point Interviews: my November 2020 Q&A with Tsuburaya Productions director Eizo Yamagiwa. Yamagiwa-san discusses his early life during World War II, as well as his start at Shintoho in the mid-1950s. At Shintoho, he worked on the seventh Starman actioner Super Giant: The Space Mutant Appears (1958), which was later edited into the cult classic Evil Brain from Outer Space.

At the end of the 1960s, Yamagiwa-san joined Tsuburaya Productions as a director, helming such TV programs as Return of Ultraman (1971-72), Ultraman Ace (1972-73), Ultraman Taro (1973-74), and Ultraman Leo (1974-75), among others. He also directed episodes of Silver Kamen (1971-72) and the Submersion of Japan TV series (1974-75). Yamagiwa-san discusses these productions and much more in our interview. 

With such incredible, in-depth interviews, Vantage Point Interviews continues to prove that content is king!

Masao Nakabori Q&A Now on Vantage Point Interviews!

With Masao Nakabori in June 2019.

My September 2019 interview with tokusatsu cinematographer Masao Nakabori has finally been completed and is now available at Vantage Point Interviews. In the interview, Nakabori-san talks about his work on the classic tokusatsu series Ultraman (1966-67), Ultra Seven (1967-68), Operation: Mystery! (1968-69), Silver Kamen (1971-72), and Ultraman Taro (1973-74), as well as his big-screen collaborations with famed director Akio Jissoji, including the films Tokyo: The Last Megalopolis (1988) and Ultra Q: The Movie (1990). 

The interview covers a lot of territory that you usually don't get to read about in English. Don't miss out!

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Tokusatsu Time!

Teruyoshi Nakano. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Last night, I attended a special event with former Toho SFX director Teruyoshi Nakano and Toho SFX technician Takashi Naganuma. As always, it was a great event.

Given the Japanese government slow rollout of the vaccines, extra safety precautions were exercised. Hopefully, once the government finally gets its act together, things can start returning to normal.

But the camaraderie was just as good as always. I feel fortunate that these get-togethers can still happen at all, given the situation. Let's hope they can continue!

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Attending an 'Abunai Deka' Reunion Event!

Hiroshi Kashiwabara. Photo by Brett Homenick.

On Saturday, May 22, I attended a special event (for the first time in a while) featuring a reunion of luminaries from the hit crime drama Abumai Deka (1986-87). This reunion featured scriptwriter Hiroshi Kashiwabara and actress Kanae Hasebe.

With Hiroshi Kashiwabara.

Kashiwabara-san, as most readers of this blog will no doubt remember, wrote the screenplays for Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla (1994), Godzilla 2000 (1999), and Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000). Please check out this interview for more details about his screenwriting career. I've met him several times over the years, and he's a great guy to hang out with. I love his sense of humor!

Kanae Hasebe. Photo by Brett Homenick.

It was my first time to meet Kanae Hasebe, the daughter of film and television director Yasuharu Hasebe (Horror Theater UnbalanceSpectreman, Assault! Jack the Ripper). She played Hitomi Yamaji on Abunai Deka, as well as on its follow-up series Motto Abunai Deka (1988-89). In terms of tokusatsu, she appears in episodes 18 and 19 of Kamen Rider 555 (2003-04) as Sachiko Kurata, as well as episode 5 of Kamen Rider Kiva (2008-09) as a housewife.

With Kanae Hasebe.

Hasebe-san was interested in my background and asked me a lot of questions. She was intrigued by my interest in Godzilla and tokusatsu, and we discussed Shin Godzilla, as well as the current state of the Japanese film industry. It was lovely to meet her.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Shogo Tomiyama Q&As Now on Vantage Point Interviews!

With Shogo Tomiyama on March 31, 2021.

Two interviews with former Toho Pictures President Shogo Tomiyama have been posted on Vantage Point Interviews (here and here). Naturally, he shares his memories of producing the Heisei- and Millennium-era Godzilla series. Suffice it to say, these interviews are well worth checking out!

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Fumio Ishimori Q&A Now on Vantage Point Interviews!

With Fumio Ishimori in November 2020.

A brand-new interview has been posted with screenwriter Fumio Ishimori on Vantage Point Interviews, who began his scriptwriting career at Nikkatsu Studios in the mid-1960s. Among his film credits are Toshio Masuda’s war film Monument to the Girl’s Corps (1968), Toho’s Horror of the Wolf (1973), and the animated feature Galaxy Express 999 (1979). He also wrote several episodes of the original Kamen Rider (1971-73) TV series, as well as episodes of Ultraman Ace (1972-73) and Zone Fighter (1973).

At Vantage Point Interviews, content is king!

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Tatsuyoshi Ehara, Veteran Toho Actor who Appeared in Kurosawa Films, Passes Away at 84

Tatsuyoshi Ehara in June 2016. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Prolific Toho actor Tatsuyoshi Ehara passed away on May 1 at 11:26 a.m. at his home in Nagano Prefecture. He was 84.

Ehara-san was born on March 26, 1937, in Tokyo. He began acting in the late 1940s as a child actor and continued acting well into adulthood, appearing in about 120 films. At Toho, he regularly appeared in the long-running Young Guy series, alongside star Yuzo Kayama, as Eguchi, the friend of the titular character. He was often cast by director Kihachi Okamaoto in numerous movies, including: Desperado Outpost (1959), Samurai Assassin (1965), Japan's Longest Day (1967), and Epoch of Murder Madness (1967).

Internationally, his best known credits are the Akira Kurosawa films Sanjuro (1962) as the samurai Sekiguchi, and Red Beard (1965) as Genzo Tsugawa. He also guest-starred in episode 1 of Ultra Q (1966) as the reporter Nitta. He quit acting in the 1970s and pursued business, as well as writing and journalism. (His autobiography, Memories from the Heart, was released earlier this year.)

With Tatsuyoshi Ehara in June 2016.

I was privileged to interview Ehara-san (part one and part two of the interview) and visit him several times between 2014 and 2017. Over the years, however, when his health began declining, I wasn't able to see him anymore. I always enjoyed his company.

A private funeral was already held by his widow, Yoko. Rest in peace, Ehara-san.