And here we are back to talk about another big name in the industry that has been carrying a lot of controversies thoughout his life. When he first went into active duty for the Japanese army during the second world war, And finally became the one that started the giant monster trend in the 50s and 60s. Mostly with the Godzilla series, We get to see a direction that was never before taken to get a series of movies that became so iconic around the world. So sit back and relax while you people can see my take on the one, the only Ishiro Honda.
Born on May 7, 1911, Ishiro lived an interesting life with five siblings along with a mother and a Buddhist priest for a father. The time Ishiro was a child, The family moved into the Tokyo area where he first began to experience the motion picture business firsthand. Hut of course as he grew up he would eventually attend a university by the name of Nihon University. Ishiro later was recruited by Photo Chemical Laboratory which is the production company in 1936 which would later become the infamous TOHO productions that would go on to create the Godzilla universe.
In this part of the content, I will not be going over his exploits with the war. Because he was ordered to do some of the worst things imaginable in human history for his country. However, I will be giving you guys a link to what he had done in life with some more detail on his active duty during the world war. The only negatives I will say about this one while reading through his life though various resources are that he never got over his active duty for his country in the six years he served in the front line.
Director of great movies
When he first started out in the movies, He started as an assistant director for Multiple films with many being directed by
Yamamoto Kajirō Honda had become friends with the talented young director Kurosawa Akira, and he later worked as chief assistant director on Kurosawa’s Nora inu (1949; Stray Dog), capturing indelible footage of areas of Tokyo devastated by World War II. Ishiro Honda would later establish himself in 1951 when he directed Aoi shinju (1951; “The Blue Pearl”), a semi-documentary about pearl divers that was the first full-length Japanese film to feature underwater sequences. Honda returned to work after the war at TOHO as an assistant director. In 1946, he worked on two films: Motoyoshi Oda’s Eleven Girl Students and Kunio Watanabe’s Declaration of Love. In 1947, he worked on three films, 24 Hours in an Underground Market (jointly directed by Tadashi Imai, Hideo Sekigawa, and Kiyoshi Kusuda) and The New Age of Fools Parts One and Two, directed by Kajirō Yamamoto. Due to issues with trade unions and employees at TOHO, many left to form Shintoho.
Kunio Watanabe tried to convince Honda to join Shintoho, with the
promise of Honda becoming a director quicker, however, Honda chose to
remain neutral and stayed at Toho. Despite struggling at Toho, Honda worked on a handful of films produced by Film Arts Associates Productions.
Between September and October 1948, Honda was on location in Noto Peninsula working on Kajirō Yamamoto’s Child of the Wind, the first release from Film Arts. From January to March 1949, Honda worked with Yamamoto again on Flirtation in Spring. Between July and September 1949, Honda reunited with his friend Akira Kurosawa and began working as a chief assistant director on Kurosawa’s Stray Dog.
Honda mainly directed second unit photography, all the footage which
pleased Kurosawa and has stated to “owe a great deal” to Honda for
capturing the film’s post-war atmosphere. In 1950, Honda worked on two films by Kajirō Yamamoto: Escape from Prison and Elegy, the last film produced by Film Art Associations. Honda had also worked as an assistant director on Senkichi Taniguchi’s Escape at Dawn.
However, the film that would propel him into legendary status would be the film that started the Monster craze in Gojira. (Godzilla 1954) Later onward, There would be a whole craze that goes on with TOHO that will grow to the movies we see today with cult classics like Mothra, and Rodan as the 60s he would continue on with such movies that would define what Godzilla fans would come to know as the Showa era. Whether it is facing oversized monkeys and lobsters, to fighting space dragons and giant monsters. Boy, it was a fun ride with Ishiro. But of course, all great things have to come to an end.
The end of his era.
In the year 1975, Ishiro made his final Godzilla film with The terror of Mecha Godzilla The following years were spent directing various science fiction TV shows. The superhero shows Return of Ultraman, Mirrorman, and Zone Fighter were also his. In addition, he directed the cult film Matango. After retiring as a director, Honda returned more than 30 years later to work again for his old friend and former mentor Akira Kurosawa as a directorial adviser, production coordinator, and creative consultant on his last five films. Allegedly one segment of the Kurosawa film Dreams was actually directed by Honda following Kurosawa’s detailed storyboards.
Age is always a growing factor for most people and ishiro is no exception. February 28th 1993 was marked in infamy as we lost the late and great Ishiro Honda due to respiratory failure which was the final nail in the coffin sadly.
Well, another personal bio has come to an end for this week and I got to say, this guy like so many others had a major impact on the industry of giant monsters like the others here. As for what we are going to be working on for the next blog. Most likely it will be another review for this week with an independent film. (More to come) But the links provided here will be links to products as well as a link from a very good friend of mine who has gone more in depth into Ishiro’s past that is an eye-opener for anyone who would want to dive deeper into Ishiro Honda’s life. In the meanwhile. I will have a documentary of his linked below for your viewing pleasure and I will see you on the next blog. (Just an updated apology for what happened. I missed a payment for my website so I couldn’t update but by the time you see this I will have it all settled.)