Daiei

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Daiei Co., Ltd.
The logos for Daiei (top, circa 1968) and Dainichi Film Releasing (bottom, circa 1971)

Type Film company
Status Defunct (bankrupt)
Lead by Kan Kikuchi → Masaichi Nagata
Founder(s)
  • Masaichi Nagata
  • Ryusai Kawai
  • Yachiyo Manabe
  • Keizo Hatano
  • Osamu Muguruma
  • Naomi Komono
  • Shigezaburo Yoshioka
  • Magobei Tsuruta
  • Hirotaka Hayashi
Founded January 27, 1942
Defunct November 29, 1971
Also known as Dai Nippon Film Production (1942-45)
Subsidiary companies
  • Daiei Tokyo Studio
  • Daiei Kyoto Studio
  • Dainichi Film Releasing
Preceded by
  • Shinko Kinema
  • Daito Film
  • Nikkatsu
Succeeded by Daiei FilmKadokawa Daiei Pictures
This page covers the original incarnation of Daiei before its bankruptcy in 1971. For the successor company owned by Tokuma Shoten, see Daiei Film. For the company that currently owns all of Daiei's assets and operates the modern Kadokawa Daiei Studio, see Kadokawa.

Daiei Co., Ltd. (大映株式会社,   Daiei Kabushiki Gaisha) was a Japanese film company founded in 1942 as a merging of Shinko Kinema, Daito Film and the production arm of Nikkatsu. The company produced various kaiju and tokusatsu films until its bankruptcy in 1971, most notably the Gamera, Daimajin, and Yokai Monsters series. The company consisted of two studios, Daiei Kyoto Studio (大映京都撮影所,   Daiei Kyōtō Satsueijo) and Daiei Tokyo Studio (大映東京撮影所,   Daiei Tōkyō Satsueijo), which produced movies independently. Daiei also formed the distribution company Dainichi Film Distribution Co., Ltd. (ダイニチ映配株式会社,   Dainichi Eihai Kabushiki Gaisha) in 1970 as a joint venture with Nikkatsu. It distributed all of Daiei's films thereafter, including the company's final Gamera film Gamera vs. Zigra, until its dissolution.

History[edit | edit source]

Founded in 1942 as Dai Nippon Film Production Co., Ltd. (大日本映画製作株式会社,   Dai Nippon Eiga Seisaku Kabushiki Gaisha), Daiei went on to become one of the largest and most successful Japanese film studios in the post-war era. Daiei frequently distributed foreign pictures in Japanese theaters, including the re-release of King Kong. Daiei became well-known for producing the popular Zatoichi films, some of legendary director Akira Kurosawa's early pictures, and in the 1960s began producing kaiju films. Daiei's first kaiju film was Gamera the Giant Monster in 1965, which capitalized on the success of Toho's popular Godzilla films. Gamera the Giant Monster was successful, and Daiei went on to produce six sequels to it in the coming years. In 1966, Daiei produced the Daimajin trilogy. In the late 1960s, Daiei began to experience financial problems, so in June 1970, it and Nikkatsu Corporation, which was facing financial struggles itself, jointly formed Dainichi Film Distribution Co., Ltd. to save on distribution costs. This partnership would last until August 1971, when Nikkatsu withdrew from the deal. On November 29, 1971, Daiei filed for bankruptcy, and in 1974 was purchased by Tokuma Shoten, who formed a new company bearing the Daiei name: Daiei Film.

Selected productions[edit | edit source]

Release date Title
Daiei Tokyo Daiei Kyoto
1940s
September 25, 1949 The Invisible Man Appears N/A
1950s
January 29, 1956 Warning from Space N/A
Eye of the Jaguar
August 27, 1957 The Invisible Man vs. The Human Fly Suzunosuke Akado: The Vacuum Slash of Asuka
1960s
April 27, 1960 N/A The Demon of Mount Oe
July 15, 1962 Killer Whale N/A
July 13, 1963 Wind Velocity 75 Meters
November 27, 1965 Gamera the Giant Monster New Kurama Tengu: The Battle of Gojo Hill
April 17, 1966 Gamera vs. Barugon Daimajin
August 13, 1966 N/A Return of Daimajin
December 10, 1966 Wrath of Daimajin
March 15, 1967 Gamera vs. Gyaos N/A
Little Fugitive[note 1]
March 20, 1968 Gamera vs. Viras Yokai Monsters: 100 Monsters
December 14, 1968 The Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch Yokai Monsters: Spook Warfare
March 21, 1969 Gamera vs. Guiron Yokai Monsters: Along with Ghosts
1970s
March 21, 1970 Gamera vs. Jiger Invisible Swordsman
July 17, 1971 Gamera vs. Zigra Suzunosuke Akado: The Birdman with Three Eyes[note 2]

Selected distributions[edit | edit source]

Unmade films[edit | edit source]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Little Fugitive began its roadshow release on December 24, 1966, but was later screened as a double feature with Gamera vs. Gyaos.
  2. Re-release. Originally released on March 11, 1958.

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