The words speechless, humbled and honored described me when I received a special gift in the mail last week from Toho legend, Tokusatsu writer, and Kaiju modeler, who has been an influence on my life for many years. That person is Masami Yamada. I don’t know how many Godzilla fans know of him and his great contribution to Godzilla and tokusatsu history.
A casual fan would easily miss his work and name written in Japanese (マサミ ヤマダ) hidden on an inside book cover. Yamada-san has been writing Godzilla books and magazines articles since the 70s. He is not only a writer but also a Godzilla and kaiju modeler. His art and work has been a heavy influence on me and my work since the 90s with the release of his Godzilla Super Diorama Theater. This book has been my inspiration for years and has directly lead to my toy photography years later. His books was some of the first in my collection and no doubt one of my favorites. I have more than a dozen of his books on my shelves. I didn’t realize how much he had done until recently. I feature his work, A Definitive Introduction to Godzilla (決定版ゴジラ入門) here on the site. He more than any other has had the greatest and most lasting impression upon me and my love for Godzilla.
I had the honor of meeting Yamada-san in 2018. We had been Facebook friends but it was a dream to meet him in person. Our mutual friend Ed Holland of Monster Attack Team invited me to dinner with him. At that time, he gifted us with these awesome Ultraman layouts.
That evening, he had just made an amazing cast from the original head of the Ultraman kaiju Gomora (seen below over my face). I was elated to meet Yamada-san that day. Since that time, I had been hoping to ask him questions about his art and work. And just days ago that happened. I will make that discussion available soon.
Yamada-san is an expert in all things Godzilla, Ultraman, Toho, and tokusatsu. His expensive knowledge and experiences are evidenced daily on his blog (ameblo.jp/gara999/) and in his social media posts. He is a walking Godzilla encyclopedia. It is an honor to read his books, blog, and posts. I encourage you to do likewise. He makes beautiful layouts with historical photography, art, and sketches that illustrate his writing. His work offers a glimpse into the process he used for researching and writing Godzilla and Ultraman books.
When Ed told me to expect something in the mail, I had no idea what was coming. When this small flat envelope appeared in my mailbox, I couldn’t wait to open it. Inside was a cool postcard from the Kaijusakeba and Yamada’s gorgeous collage commemorating the late great Godzilla suit actor Haruo Nakajima.
This is a special gift to his friends who came together several days ago to remember the Godzilla Movie Complete Works (ゴジラ映画大全集) fan event held 40 years ago in 1979 from August 2 through 22 1979, as part of the Godzilla’s 25th Anniversary. Each day was a showing of one Toho Showa film including Gojira, Mothra vs Godzilla, Terror of MechaGodzilla, Rodan, Mothra, and more. They had a special guest, Sonoe Nakajima, the daughter of Haruo Nakajima. That day, they took pictures together at the famous Godzilla places, Toho Cinema and the Wako Building in Ginza. To have received this gift along with his friends is truly an honor. Thank you Yamada-san! I will always be cherished this treasure as I cherish our friendship.