Monsters are tragic beings. They are born too tall, too strong, too heavy. They are not evil by choice. That is their tragedy. They do not attack people because they want to, but because of their size and strength, mankind has no other choice but to defend himself. After several stories such as this, people end up having a kind of affection for the monsters. They end up caring about them.
— Ishiro Honda, speaking of his film Rodan
Whether for good or bad, Godzilla decided the course of my life.
— On the impact Godzilla had on his career
Ishiro Honda (本多 猪四郎 was a Honda Ishirō)Japanese film director and screenwriter. He is most famous for directing eight Godzilla movies, including the original 1954 film, as well as other Toho kaiju films such as Rodan and The Mysterians. He was often miscredited in foreign releases of his films as Inoshiro Honda, a misreading of the kanji in his Japanese name.
Biography[edit | edit source]
Ishiro Honda is probably best known for the many science fiction films which he directed for Toho, including eight entries in the Godzilla series. He directed the original Godzilla along with King Kong vs. Godzilla, Mothra vs. Godzilla, All Monsters Attack and many others throughout the 1950's and 1960's. He also directed other tokusatsu films for Toho such as Rodan and Mothra during this time. Aside from the original Godzilla, the 1963 cult horror film Matango is widely considered Honda's greatest work. Honda was a frequent collaborator of the legendary special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya, who directed or received credit for the effects for all of Honda's kaiju films until he passed away in 1970. Due to Tsuburaya's failing health during filming for All Monsters Attack, Honda directed the film's special effects sequences himself with assistance from Teruyoshi Nakano, with Tsuburaya still receiving honorary credit as the film's special effects supervisor.
After directing the kaiju film Space Amoeba in 1970, Honda spent the following years directing episodes of various sci-fi TV shows. Episodes of the superhero shows Return of Ultraman, Mirror Man and Zone Fighter were directed by Honda. Honda also served as the editor for the reissues of films that were screened during the Toho Champion Festival in the early 1970's. His final feature film came with 1975's Terror of Mechagodzilla, which would also prove to be the final entry in the original Showa series of Godzilla films.
At the end of his career, Honda returned to working as an assistant director for his old friend, legendary director Akira Kurosawa. It is sometimes alleged that Honda directed one of the segments of the 1990 Kurosawa film Dreams, "The Tunnel," in which a company commander faces the ghosts of his platoon after World War II. This has not been proven; however, Honda's wife Kimi was convinced that his nightmares inspired the segment.
Selected filmography[edit | edit source]
Director[edit | edit source]
- Godzilla (1954)
- Half Human (1955)
- Rodan (1956)
- The Mysterians (1957)
- H-Man (1958)
- Varan (1958)
- Battle in Outer Space (1959)
- The Human Vapor (1960)
- Mothra (1961)
- Gorath (1962)
- King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)
- Matango (1963)
- Atragon (1963)
- Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964)
- Dogora (1964)
- Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)
- Frankenstein vs. Baragon (1965)
- Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965)
- The War of the Gargantuas (1966)
- King Kong Escapes (1967)
- Destroy All Monsters (1968)
- Latitude Zero (1969)
- All Monsters Attack (1969)
- Space Amoeba (1970)
- Return of Ultraman (TV 1970-1971) [episodes 1-2, 7, 9, 51]
- Mirror Man (TV 1971-1972) [episodes 1-2]
- Emergency 10-4, 10-10 (TV 1972) [episodes 5-6, 20-21]
- Thunder Mask (TV 1972) [episodes 1-2, 4-5, 14-15]
- Zone Fighter (TV 1973) [episodes 3-4, 12-13, 18-19, 23-24]
- Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975)
Unproduced works[edit | edit source]
- Space Mons (1962) [became Dogora]
- Frankenstein vs. The Human Vapor (1963)
- Continuation: King Kong vs. Godzilla (1963)
- Frankenstein vs. Godzilla (1964)
- Batman Meets Godzilla (1965-1968)
- The Flying Battleship (1966)
- Shin Godzilla (1992)
Screenwriter[edit | edit source]
- Godzilla (1954) [with Takeo Murata]
- The War of the Gargantuas (1966) [with Kaoru Mabuchi]
- Destroy All Monsters (1968) [with Kaoru Mabuchi]
Editor[edit | edit source]
- King Kong vs. Godzilla (1970) [Toho Champion Festival reissue; uncredited]
- Mothra vs. Godzilla (1970) [Toho Champion Festival reissue; uncredited]
- The Great Monster War: King Ghidorah vs. Godzilla (1971) [uncredited]
- Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: The Greatest Battle on Earth (1971) [uncredited]
- Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1972) [Toho Champion Festival reissue; uncredited]
- Godzilla: The Great Blitz Operation (1972) [uncredited]
- Son of Godzilla (1973) [Toho Champion Festival reissue; uncredited]
- King Kong Escapes (1973) [Toho Champion Festival reissue; uncredited]
- Mothra (1974) [Toho Champion Festival reissue; uncredited]
- The Great Undersea War: Latitude Zero (1974) [uncredited]
- The Mysterians (1978) [Toho Champion Festival reissue; uncredited]
Actor[edit | edit source]
- Godzilla (1954) as Power Station Worker [uncredited role]
Miscellaneous[edit | edit source]
- All Monsters Attack (1969) - Director of special effects [uncredited role]
Interviewee[edit | edit source]
Gallery[edit | edit source]
Honda (right) with Akihiko Hirata (left)
Honda with Eiji Tsuburaya
Honda with a Godzilla puppet
Honda directing on set for Half Human
Honda directing on set for King Kong vs. Godzilla
Honda with Kumi Mizuno
Videos[edit | edit source]
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Ishiro Honda visited the set of several Heisei Godzilla films before his death in 1993, and despite rumors that he was slated to direct Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, Honda expressed no interest in returning to the series, content with his work on Akira Kurosawa's films.
- Honda stated in an interview conducted only months before his death that his favorite film he worked on was The Mysterians.
- Dr. Ishiro Serizawa, a character in Godzilla (2014) and Godzilla: King of the Monsters, is named after Honda. In the June 2012 revision of the Godzilla script, he was called "Doctor Honda."
- A fictionalized version of Honda appears in the fifth episode of the fourth season of the TV series DC's Legends of Tomorrow, played by Eijiro Ozaki.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars writer Henry Gilroy named the pirate Hondo Ohnaka after Ishiro Honda and actor Seiji Onaka. His first name was originally "Honda" until George Lucas intervened.
[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
This is a list of references for Ishiro Honda. 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: 
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