@Director Honda is a Revolutionary Figure Messages
It was 1977 when I wrote my first letter to Director Honda, during the time when I was editing a supplement volume titled "The G Project Storyboards" (pictorial sketches of the first "Godzilla" film 1954) for the fanzine "Kaiju Club". Upon restoring the storyboards of "Godzilla", I requested for him to write a manuscript, to which he happily agreed. This manuscript was written on two postcards, words packed from end to end.  This text was overflowing with positive thoughts to young monster film fans, which later became the starting point of monster film research.  To this day, I cherish these two postcards and they are kept in a very safe place.

A few years later, I was editing a MUCC book titled "The Giant Star of SFX: Godzilla", which was part of Asahi Sonorama's "Fantastic Collection" series.  Once again, I requested for him to write something, and I received a manuscript. In those days, we were not able to freely print photos using the photo negatives of stills, which were all still stored at the Toho AD Center. Instead, there existed these photo books for each film in the Toho PR department, just scrapbooks with photos pasted in them.  These were not perfect, but were all hand-made by Mr. Hayashi, Mr. Honma, Mr. Ikeda and Mr. Inazumi of the Production PR Dept., all of who loved Kurosawa and monster films. Whenever still photographs of monster films were used for magazines and books, they would be selected out of these books, per work, and then printed (if a particular film did not have a coinciding book, obviously there were no photos available for use).

This is around the time when I realized that there must be many other great photos which exist, not in the possession of Toho but rather taken by various staff. So I asked Director Honda to show me the photos he owned, and I duplicated photos which I wanted to use.  I do not recall exactly what month it was, but with Shinsuke Nakajima's help I copied the photos at the director's home.  As we were working, the sun had gone down.  Since we had no flashlights and it was continuing to get dark outside, the director asked with concern "Are you guys going to be alright?".  I clearly remember this moment.
There were a few photos I had neglected to copy at that time, which I regretted later.  So years later, upon editing the book "Ishiro Honda's Complete Works", I hired the professional photographer Akinori Nakashima to duplicate all of the photos.  And I still have all of the photo negatives today.

Such a cooperative stance as this may have been a given for Director Honda. Since then, books of all sorts about Toho monster films have been published, and I had been part of the planning for a few. I believe Director Honda's big heartedness and gentle personality are reflected in both his works and these publications. We started as amateurs and eventually turned into professionals. But Director Honda never changed his attitude towards us. There was always a mature style about him.

Although I had not visited the director's home in Seijo that many times, I had helped out with some video productions at Toho Studios, Imagica and Sony PCL and hence had many opportunities to meet with him outside of this home.

To this day I cannot forget a particular episode, which took place 30 years ago. It was when I took three American fans to the Toho studio and made a visit to Director Honda, who was in the staff room of Team Kurosawa. When I opened the door, Director Honda and Director Kurosawa were having a friendly chat. But Director Honda quickly came out to the hallway and happily agreed to have a photo taken with all of us. (link to another account of this meeting) Furthermore, he kindly thought of us and asked "Would you like to meet Producer Tomoyuki Tanaka as well?". I was able to meet with Mr. Tanaka, who I had not seen in a while, which also made me quite happy.

Director Honda possessed this sort of kind side to him, but was also the type of person who would carry things out to the very end. Meaning, he is what the Chinese call "taijin"*, and what the Japanese call an "otona"*. Basically, he is "a man".  (* both are written in Chinese characters as "large" and "person", signifying "adult")

For one to not love the great works of such a man, he cannot be called a respectable "son of Japan / true Japanese male". I feel I have finally reached the base of a mountain, looking atop.  We may only be mere beings who are just dancing around in the palms of Director Honda. But if so, that is perfectly fine. To aim to reach such an aloof mountain as this Ishiro Honda, and to continue walking on this path may perhaps be a destiny given to all of us.

Ishiro Honda, along with Director Eiji Tsuburaya is a revolutionary film director who possess the power to change people's destinies.
Hiroshi Takeuchi


Mr. Hiroshi Takeuchi, a special effects film researcher, author and a committee member of this website, has passed away on June 27, 2011 due to multiple organ failure at age 55.

Mr. Takeuchi had made great efforts in contributing many works in the field of SFX film reviews in Japan.  Works include his first mook (magazine book) titled "Honda Ishirō zen shigoto" (literal translation fo title:  Ishirō Honda Complete Works), "Tsuburaya Eiji no eiga sekai" (literal translation fo title:  Eiji Tsuburaya's World of Film), "Toho tokusatsu kaijū eiga taikan"  (literal translation fo title:  Toho SFX Monster Film Encyclopedia), other various research papers, photo collections, as well as editing/comprising/writing for soundtrack records.  We wish to express our deepest condolences.