Akira Watanabe

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Akira Watanabe
Akira Watanabe
Born May 13, 1908
Fukui, Japan[1]
Died 1999
Occupation Art director, special effects director
First work The War at Sea from
Hawaii to Malaya
Notable work Godzilla (1954)

Akira Watanabe (渡辺 明,   Watanabe Akira), nicknamed Mr. Nabe (ナベさん,   Nabe-san), was a Japanese special effects art director who worked frequently on Toho's tokusatsu films during the Showa era. He is notable for approving and finalizing the designs of popular monsters such as King Ghidorah, Baragon, and Godzilla himself. Watanabe worked for Shochiku beginning in 1929, but transferred to Toho in 1941 at the recommendation of Eiji Tsuburaya, working on his first film with the company the following year. He departed from Toho in 1966 after serving as Tsuburaya's art director on Invasion of Astro-Monster. He co-founded Japanese Special Effects Productions, later renamed Japanese Special Effects Film Co., Ltd, with which he directed the special effects for Nikkatsu's sole Showa kaiju movie Gappa, and the Japanese-American co-production The Green Slime.

Selected filmography

Special effects art director




  1. Special effects staff members' positions did not begin to be credited individually until The Mysterians in 1957. As such, Watanabe was credited for "special technology" alongside Eiji Tsuburaya, Hiroshi Mukoyama, and Kuichiro Kishida.
  2. Credited for "special technology" alongside Hiroshi Mukoyama and Masao Shirota; see first note.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Credited for "special technology" alongside Eiji Tsuburaya, Masao Shirota and Hiroshi Mukoyama; see first note.
  4. Credited as storywriter and "associate" in the Japanese version; credited as special effects director in the American version.
  5. Only credited in the American cut; Japanese Special Effects Film Co., Ltd. is credited in the Japanese version.


This is a list of references for Akira Watanabe. These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: [1]

  1. Encyclopedia of Godzilla. Gakken. 1 January 1990. p. 101.


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