Remembering Tsuburaya


Eiji Tsuburaya is known as the Father of Japanese Tokusatsu (special effects). And indeed he is. He brought Godzilla to life in 1954. He created Ultraman whose legacy and unmatched tv series continues until this very day. A framed photo of Tsuburaya-san has hung on my wall for decades. My earliest memories of Godzilla were connected to him. My earliest U.S.-based magazines featured him and/or mentioned him in their articles about Godzilla. Godzilla’s success is attributable to his genius. Today, I received in the mail the Tuesday, January 27, 1970, edition of The Chunichi Sports newspaper (中日スポーツ, 火曜日 1月27日, ©中部日本新聞社 1970年, 名古屋市中区丸三丁目 12-21, 定価430円), notifying its readers of the passing of director Eiji Tsuburaya, two days later. Below is a transcription and translation of the article.

The creator of monsters such as Godzilla
Special effects director Tsuburaya dies


Eiji Tsuburaya (real name • Eiichi, 68 years old), who was the creator of monsters such as Godzilla and Anguirus and was said to be the “god of special effects,” died of angina. Forty-five years of film life — In addition to devising numerous monsters, he created special effects scenes for war movies, and along with director Akira Kurosawa and star Toshiro Mifune; it was the “Tsuburaya World” that the Japanese movie world is proud of. Tsuburaya’s life is an idea, effort, and an unrivaled love for children. He was also a bone-like person who said, “I’m Tsuburaya in Japan,” when he came to buy special effects technology with a wad of bills from an American movie.


Tsuburaya-san’s last movie was Toho’s “Nihonkai Daikaisen” in the summer of the year. In one corner of a set full of Baltic Fleet miniatures, he sweated, “It’s a tough condition, both in terms of time and money,” while showing his usual warm face. After that, he just supervised Toho’s New Year movie “All Monsters Attack” by leaving it to his first child. He had been resting in a villa in Ito, Shizuoka Prefecture since December, but died of angina at 10:15 pm on the 25th.


To the movie with a cameraman
Tsuburaya is from Kagawa City, Fukushima Prefecture. When he was seventeen, he went to Tokyo and attended a flight school as a pilot. After graduating, he patented toy-free appliances and new roller skates. After spending the money on a craftsman, he became acquainted with a photographer of natural color activity photography and decided to enter the movie world. At the start he was a photographer, and from that time the director had devised a surprising new trick method.


Since entering Toho in 1937, he has demonstrated his true abilities, and in particular, the special shooting effect of the “The War at Sea from Hawaii to Malaya” in 1942 made Tsuburaya famous. After the war, he reached for monsters in the 1954 “Godzilla,” he launched the monster against the American “King Kong,” and it received a great response and was exported overseas to “Tsuburaya World” ——. Tsuburaya-san has 26 special effects movies, including monsters and war movies.


Staff are mourning his death, saying, “He was a wonderful person.” Director Ishiro Honda, who has worked with him on more than a dozen films since “Godzilla,” said, “Mr. Tsuburaya is drinking white meds at the time of shooting, so if you ask what it is, it seems to be a meds of the heart. He said that he can die so quickly —. He is a big human being, and even if the second child who left himself comes back, he will open his heart and welcome him. I wants the young people who were brought up to overcome Mr. Tsuburaya’s death and move forward. “


He used to like sake when he was young, but in his later years he quit. He was worried that he would get lung cancer with more than 60 cigarettes a day, but he was always fine and he was healthy when the staff fell down one after another. Tsuburaya Productions will continue to shoot special effects films, centered on director Sadamasa Arikawa, the first child.


The funeral schedule starts at 7:00 pm on the 27th and goes to night at his home in Soshigaya, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo. From 1 pm on the 29th, a friend was buried at Toho Tokusatsu. The mourner is his eldest son, Hajime Tsuburaya.

Director Eiji Tsuburaya = In front of his favorite miniature set (Toho Tokusatsu)

Source: 中日スポーツ, 火曜日 1月27日, ©中部日本新聞社 1970年, 名古屋市中区丸三丁目 12-21.

Chunichi Sports is a daily sports newspaper published by Chunichi Shimbun, whose main sales area is the Tokai and Hokuriku regions of Japan. First published on February 25, 1954 (Showa 29). Abbreviation Chunichi Sports. (Source: Wikipedia). Visit