Tomoyuki "Yūkō" Tanaka[4] (Japanese: 田中 友幸ともゆき, Hepburn: Tanaka Tomoyuki, April 26, 1910 – April 2, 1997) was a Japanese film producer. Widely regarded as the creator of the Godzilla franchise, he produced most of the installments in the series, beginning in 1954 with Godzilla and ending in 1995 with Godzilla vs. Destoroyah. He was one of the most prolific Japanese producers of all time, having worked on more than 200 films, including over 80 tokusatsu films.[5]

Tomoyuki Tanaka
Tanaka on the set of Battle in Outer Space in 1959
Born(1910-04-26)April 26, 1910
DiedApril 2, 1997(1997-04-02) (aged 86)
Tokyo, Japan[2]
Alma materKansai University
OccupationFilm producer
Years active1940–1997
(m. 1950)
HonoursOrder of the Sacred Treasure (1981)[3]
Japanese name
Kanji田中 友幸
Hiraganaたなか ともゆき[1]
RomanizationTanaka Tomoyuki

Early life edit

Tanaka was born on April 26, 1910,[3] in Kashiwara, Osaka.[1] As a child, he would often walk miles to the nearest theater to watch silent adventure and ninja films in the afternoons.[5] At the age of 14, Tanaka saw the silent Western film The Covered Wagon and was so enamored by its cinematography that it remained his all-time favorite film.[5] In his youth, Tanaka was once disowned by his parents because he focused more on his interests, films and acting, than on his studies.[5]

Career edit

Tanaka c. 1950s

Soon after graduating from Kansai University,[6] Tanaka entered the Japanese film industry in 1940 and joined the film studio Taiho Eiga. The following year, Tanaka moved to Toho after it merged with Taiho Eiga and began his career as a producer under Iwao Mori.[7] After four years with the company, he began producing his own films, and one of his first efforts, Three People of the North [ja], was released in 1945. In his 57-year career, Tanaka produced more than 200 films.[5]

He is best known as the creator, with storyteller Shigeru Kayama, director Ishirō Honda, writer Takeo Murata and special-effects wizard Eiji Tsuburaya, of Godzilla, the towering embodiment of post-World War II anxiety. Tanaka created Godzilla in 1954 in an effort to illustrate the terror Japanese felt after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In an interview in 1991, Tanaka summed up the symbolism of Godzilla:[8]

Japanese people back then had a great fear of radiation, which is what gave Godzilla his enormous size. He has always stood for nature's retaliation against humanity.

The classic 1954 film Godzilla and in 1955 would spawn a series of sequels, adding up to 37 films by 2024. Thirty-two movies have been produced by Toho, and four by the American studios TriStar Pictures and Legendary Pictures. He often worked with the other three members of the Godzilla team: Honda, Tsuburaya, and composer Akira Ifukube, to complete such works as The Mysterians (1957) and Matango (1963). he also creates manipulative aliens, causing problems for the Earth, for the purpose of political, according to the tendencies of his monster films. Tanaka also created the space-monster King Ghidorah and the innocent Minilla. He produced six films directed by the acclaimed Akira Kurosawa.[9] Their film Kagemusha (1980) was nominated for a Best Foreign Film Oscar and took the Palme d'Or at Cannes.

Personal life edit

In 1950, Tanaka married 23-year-old actress Chieko Nakakita,[10] with whom he later had three sons[9] and adopted a daughter named Mieko.[11]

Filmography edit

As producer edit

Year Title Notes Ref(s)
1944 Until the Day of Victory [ja] With Sanezumi Fujimoto and Sōjirō Motoki;


1945 Legend of the Great Japanese Swordsman [12]
1945 Three People of the North [ja]
1946 Cheerful Woman [ja]
1946 Those Who Make Tomorrow
1946 As Long as I Live [13]
1946 Eleven Schoolgirls
1946 Declaration of Love
1947 Four Love Stories [ja] With Keiji Matsuzaki
1947 24 Hours of a Secret Life
1947 Snow Trail [12]
1948 My Love on the Other Side of the Mountains [ja] [12]
1949 Lady from Hell With Keiji Matsuzaki [12][14]
Senta Was Cut
Jakoman and Tetsu [12]
1950 Escape at Dawn [12]
The Gold of the Devil With Sōjirō Motoki [15]
The Town's Wrath
White Beast [12]
1950 Pursuit at Dawn
1950 The Gate of Tokyo
1951 Beyond Love and Hate [ja]
1951 A White Orchid [12][16]
1951 Who is to Judge Me? [17]
1951 Hakamadare Yasusuke
1951 Cliff of Death [18]
1951 Equatorial Festival [19]
1952 Foghorn [20]
1952 My Son's Bride
1952 Sword for Hire [12]
1952 The Lady from Shanghai
1952 Adolescence [ja]
1952 A Swift Current
1952 The Man Who Came to Port
1953 My Wonderful Yellow Car [12]
1953 Embrace
1953 Yasugorō Suceeds
1953 Mother and Daughter
1953 Adolescence Part II
1953 Youth of Heiji Senigata [ja]
1953 Red-Light Bases [ja]
1954 Farewell Rabaul
1954 Itsuko and Her Mother
1954 Forever Be Mine
1954 The Surf [ja]
1954 Godzilla
1955 Godzilla Raids Again
Half Human [12]
1956 Rodan
1957 The Mysterians
1958 The H-Man [12]
Varan the Unbelievable
1959 The Three Treasures with Sanezumi Fujimoto [12]
Battle in Outer Space
1960 The Secret of the Telegian [12]
1961 Yojimbo [2]
Mothra [21]
1962 Gorath
King Kong vs. Godzilla
1963 Atragon
1964 Mothra vs. Godzilla
Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster
1965 Frankenstein vs. Baragon
Invasion of Astro-Monster
1966 The War of the Gargantuas with Kenichiro Tsunoda [22]
Ebirah, Horror of the Deep
1967 King Kong Escapes
Son of Godzilla
1968 Destroy All Monsters
1969 All Monsters Attack
1970 Space Amoeba
1971 Godzilla vs. Hedorah
1972 Godzilla vs. Gigan
1973 Godzilla vs. Megalon
Submersion of Japan with Osamu Tanaka
1974 Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla
ESPY with Fumio Tanaka
1975 Terror of Mechagodzilla
1976 Zero Pilot
1984 The Return of Godzilla
1989 Gunhed
Godzilla vs. Biollante with Shōgo Tomiyama
1995 Godzilla vs. Destoroyah with Shōgo Tomiyama

References edit

  1. ^ a b c Tanaka 1983, pp. 52–53.
  2. ^ a b Ryfle 1998, p. 40.
  3. ^ a b Tanaka 1983, p. 538.
  4. ^ Kawakita 2009, p. 220.
  5. ^ a b c d e Ryfle 1998, p. 39.
  6. ^ Kalat 2010, p. 16.
  7. ^ Fukuda & Someya 2001, p. 26.
  8. ^ Raftery, Brian M. (2000). "Forty-four years ago, Godzilla, King of the Monsters invaded the U.S". Entertainment Weekly. No. 537. New York, N.Y.: Time, Inc. p. 116.
  9. ^ a b WuDunn, Cheryl (4 April 1997). "Tomoyuki Tanaka, the Creator of Godzilla, Is Dead at 86". New York Times. New York, N.Y. Retrieved Oct 12, 2012.
  10. ^ Nichigai Associates 1998, p. 881.
  11. ^ "中北千枝子さん死去/女優". 四国新聞社. Retrieved 2022-10-07.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "田中友幸". Japanese Movie Database. Retrieved July 17, 2021.
  13. ^ "命ある限り(1946) : 作品情報". 映画.com (in Japanese). Retrieved 2023-05-18.
  14. ^ "地獄の貴婦人(1949): 作品情報". 映画.com (in Japanese). Retrieved July 17, 2021.
  15. ^ "魔の黄金 : 作品情報". 映画.com (in Japanese). Retrieved 2023-05-18.
  16. ^ "熱砂の白蘭 : 作品情報". 映画.com (in Japanese). Retrieved 2023-05-18.
  17. ^ "誰が私を裁くのか : 作品情報". 映画.com (in Japanese). Retrieved 2023-05-18.
  18. ^ "死の断崖(1951) : 作品情報". 映画.com (in Japanese). Retrieved 2023-05-18.
  19. ^ "赤道祭 : 作品情報". 映画.com (in Japanese). Retrieved 2023-05-18.
  20. ^ "霧笛(1952) : 作品情報". 映画.com (in Japanese). Retrieved 2023-05-18.
  21. ^ Galbraith IV 2008, p. 183.
  22. ^ Galbraith IV 2008, p. 231.

Bibliography edit

External links edit

Preceded by President of Toho Pictures
Succeeded by