Sunday, January 21, 2018

AN EVENING WITH A CINEMATIC LEGEND! Meeting Cinematographer Daisaku Kimura!

Daisaku Kimura. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Earlier this evening, I attended a special dinner event with cinematographer Daisaku Kimura. A good case could be made that he is the greatest cinematographer in Japanese film history. A quick look at some of his credits ought to be an indicator: Submersion of Japan (1973), Blue Christmas (1978), Virus (a.k.a. Resurrection Day, 1980), and Station (1981), among many others. 

In 1958, Kimura-san joined Toho Studios and worked as an assistant cameraman under Akira Kurosawa, during which his most prominent credit was Yojimbo (1961). In 1973, he became a cinemtographer in his own right. 

Blue Christmas and Station are two of the best-looking movies I've ever seen, and Kimura-san filmed both. Suffice it to say, it was a true honor to meet him. At the end of the event, I was saying my goodbyes when Kimura-san asked where I lived. When I mentioned my neighborhood, he told me it wasn't too far from his home, and so he invited me to ride in the car with him. (It sure beat taking the train back, that's for sure!) It was certainly a unique experience, and thankfully the driver didn't seem to mind the short detour to my neighborhood.

What a cool evening!

THE STREET FIGHTER RETURNS! Japan's Greatest Action Star Is Back!

Sonny Chiba. Photo by Brett Homenick. 

On Saturday, January 20, I was fortunate to attend a special event also attended by the legendary action star Sonny Chiba. While Chiba-san is best known internationally for his roles in '70s actioners like The Street Fighter (1974), I'm more interested in his tokusatsu roles, such as Invasion of the Neptune Men (1961), Terror Beneath the Sea (1966), and Message from Space (1978). 

Naturally, Chiba-san found himself the center of attention, even though the event was not even about him. (It was both a birthday event for one of his business associates, as well as a shinnenkai).

It was a fun event with many luminaries in attendance from the sporting world (so naturally I wasn't familiar with any of them). But it seemed everyone was most interested in meeting Sonny Chiba, and I can't say I blame them.

Another Live Performance with Tayama-san

Masami Tayama. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Immediately after work, I attended Masami Tayama's latest live performance, this time held at a nightclub near Omori Station. It's quite interesting to me just how familiar most of his songs are becoming to me.

Naturally, it was great to see him again. Tayama-san alerted me to this performance just days beforehand, so it was rather lucky I was able to attend. I'm very glad I did.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Yosuke Natsuki, Star of the Godzilla Series, Passes Away at 81

Actor Yosuke Natsuki in his office in September 2014. Photo by Brett Homenick.

The Japanese media is reporting that former Toho actor Yosuke Natsuki passed away on January 14 of renal cell carcinoma. He was 81.

Mr. Natsuki starred in three of Toho's monster movies: Ghidrah the Three-Headed Monster (1964), Dogora the Space Monster (1964), and Godzilla 1985 (1984). He also appears in Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo (1961). 

I'll always miss his kindness and rebellious spirit. Rest in peace.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Large and in Charge in Roppongi

Just a quick post to show you who now reigns over Roppongi. I'd imagine things are a lot more peaceful there now.

Attending a Special Yoko Takahashi Event

Actress Yoko Takahashi. Photo by Brett Homenick.

On Sunday, January 14, I attended a special event with actress Yoko Takahashi. I've blogged about Takahashi-san in the past. She's an actress whose best known credits are the Academy Award-nominated Sandakan 8 (1974) and Kon Ichikawa's The Devil's Ballad (1977). 

It had been about a year since I last met Takahashi-san, so it was great to see her again. She's an extremely friendly actress, and each time I see her is a lot of fun.

ULTRAMAN LEO IS BACK! Ryu Manatsu Returns to Fight Monsters!

Actor Ryu Manatsu. Photo by Brett Homenick.

On January 16, I was happy to meet actor Ryu Manatsu for the first time. Manatsu-san played Gen Otori, Ultraman Leo's human alter ego, on Ultraman Leo (1974-75).

It was a fun meeting for sure, and I hope there will be another one in the near future!