Eiji Tsuburaya

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Eiji Tsuburaya
Eiji Tsuburaya on the set of The Three Treasures (1959)
Born July 7, 1901[a]
Sukagawa, Fukushima, Japan
Died January 25, 1970 (aged 68)
Ito, Shizuoka, Japan[3]
Occupation Director of special effects
First work A Tune of Pity (1919)[4]
Notable work Godzilla (1954)
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My heart and mind are as they were when I was a child. Then I loved to play with toys and to read stories of magic. I still do. My wish is only to make life happier and more beautiful for those who will go and see my films of fantasy.

— Eiji Tsuburaya in Caper Magazine, 1962[5]

Eiji Tsuburaya (円谷 英二,   Tsuburaya Eiji), born Eiichi Tsumuraya (圓谷 英一,   Tsumuraya Eiichi), was a Japanese special effects director and cameraman. Tsuburaya rose to fame primarily due to his work on Toho's war, kaiju, and science fiction films between the 1940s and 60s, when he pioneered various tokusatsu (special effects) techniques such as suitmation. Tsuburaya was one of the creators of Godzilla, who would go on to become Toho's most famous creation and an international icon.

In 1963, Tsuburaya founded his own special effects studio, Tsuburaya Productions, which would become known for producing the Ultra Series. Tsuburaya himself served as supervisor for several of the studio's early tokusatsu television series, including Ultra Q, Ultraman and Ultraseven. Toward the end of his life, Tsuburaya received honorary credit for directing or supervising the special effects on some of Toho's kaiju films, even though his responsibilities with his own company and later declining health limited his involvement. Tsuburaya's duties at Toho would be taken up by his understudies Sadamasa Arikawa and Teruyoshi Nakano following his death from a heart attack on January 25, 1970.[3] Tsuburaya Productions continued operating under his family until 2007, when it was acquired by TYO Inc. On January 11, 2019, the Eiji Tsuburaya Museum opened in his hometown of Sukagawa, commemorating his life and films.[6]

Selected filmography

Director of special effects


Special effects supervisor


Selected bibliography

Family tree

Sei TsumurayaIsamu Tsumuraya
Shuzaburo ArakiMasano TsuburayaEiji Tsuburaya
Noboru TsuburayaHajime TsuburayaAkira Tsuburaya
Kazuo TsuburayaMasahiro TsuburayaHideaki TsuburayaYuko Tsuburaya
Hiroshi TsuburayaHitomi Tsuburaya







Eiji Tsuburaya in "The Father of Ultra Q,"
a documentary directed by Akio Jissoji


External links


  1. While Eiji Tsuburaya's family registry says that he was born on July 10,[1] he, his family, and Tsuburaya Productions give his birthdate as July 7.[2] The latter date has special significance, as it is the high day of the Japanese star festival Tanabata. Still other sources give a birth date of July 5.[2]
  2. Individually crediting special effects staff did not become consistent in Toho's movies until The Mysterians (1957); Tsuburaya was simply credited for "special technology" alongside Akira Watanabe, Hiroshi Mukoyama, and Kuichiro Kishida.
  3. Credited as "special effects advisor," though the poster and other promotional materials call him special effects director.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Credited for "special technology" alongside Akira Watanabe, Masao Shirota, and Hiroshi Mukoyama; see the second note.
  5. Also participated in the miniature effects.[12]


This is a list of references for Eiji Tsuburaya. 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. "すかがわ市M78光の町". Retrieved 23 August 2021.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "The Founder - Eiji Tsuburaya". Tsuburaya Productions. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Ragone 2014, p. 175.
  4. Ragone 2014, p. 21.
  5. Ryfle 1998, p. 47.
  6. Holland, Edward L. (19 February 2019). "Tribute to Legendary Director Eiji Tsuburaya Opens in Fukushima". SciFi Japan. Archived from the original on 24 May 2019.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Takeuchi & Yamamoto 2001, p. 348
  8. Ragone 2014, p. 196.
  9. Ragone 2014, p. 198.
  10. Matsuda 2001, pp. 138-139.
  11. Takeuchi & Yamamoto 2001, p. 352.
  12. Ragone 2014, pp. 26, 193.
  13. Takeuchi & Yamamoto 2001, p. 345.
  14. Ishibashi 2013, p. ?.
  15. "MONSTER SEAFOOD WARS -- First Look at Upcoming Kaiju Movie". SciFi Japan. 16 September 2019.
  16. Legendary (9 April 2020). "The costume for @Watanabe in this scene is based on Eiji Tsuburaya's outfits (the special effects director on the early Godzilla films). #MonsterverseWatchalong". Twitter.
  17. Ichikawa 1996, pp. 48–53.
  18. Yamaura 1972, preface.
  19. Shiraishi 2006, p. 299.



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