Ishiro Honda

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Ishiro Honda
Ishiro Honda in his later years
Born May 7, 1911
Asahi, Yamagata, Japan[1]
Died February 28, 1993 (aged 81)
Setagaya, Tokyo, Japan[2]
Occupation Director, writer, editor
First work The Elderly Commoner's Life Study (1934)[3]
Notable work Godzilla (1954)
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Monsters are tragic beings. They’re not bad [willingly]. They’re born too tall, too strong, too heavy; that’s their tragedy. They don’t attack [mankind] voluntarily, but because of their physical dimensions they cause danger and grief; therefore man defends himself against them. After several stories of this type, the public finds sympathy for the monsters.

— Ishiro Honda, speaking of his film Rodan

Whether for good or bad, Godzilla decided the course of my life.

— Honda on the impact Godzilla had on his career

Ishiro Honda (本多 () () (ろう),   Honda Ishirō), frequently miscredited as Inoshiro Honda (本多 (いの) () (ろう),   Honda Inoshirō), was a Japanese film director and screenwriter. He is most famous for directing eight Godzilla movies, including the 1954 original, as well as other Toho kaiju films such as Rodan and The Mysterians.


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 1950s and 1960s. 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 1970s. 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.[4]

Selected filmography


Unproduced works

  • Space Mons (1962) [became Dogora][6]
  • The Flying Battleship (1966)[7]
  • Daimajin (1984)[8]
  • New Godzilla (1992)[9]







Ishiro Honda filming Ran
Yoshimitsu Banno interviews
Ishiro Honda in 1990


External links


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: [1]

  1. Honda, Yamamoto & Masuda 2010, p. 250.
  2. Ryfle 1998, p. 44.
  3. Ryfle & Godziszewski 2017, p. 13.
  4. Ryfle & Godziszewski 2017, p. 287.
  5. Ryfle & Godziszewski 2017, p. 194.
  6. "Lost Project: Space Mons". Toho Kingdom. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  7. LeMay, John (2018). Terror of the Lost Tokusatsu Films: From the Files of The Big Book of Japanese Giant Monster Movies (1 ed.). CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. ISBN 1718974396.
  8. Ryfle & Godziszewski 2017, pp. 285-286.
  9. dotter_M (31 December 2017). "シン・ゴジラ、着想の原点?". goo blog.
  10. Ryfle & Godziszewski 2017, p. 257.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 11.7 11.8 11.9 Ryfle & Godziszewski 2017, p. 263.
  12. Kalat 1997, p. 216.
  13. Milner, David. "Ishiro Honda Interview". Kaiju Conversations. Archived from the original on 24 June 2021.
  14. Gilroy, Henry (4 May 2020). ""#CloneWars fun fact! How'd Hondo Ohnaka get his name? I named him after original #Godzilla Director Ishiro Honda & Godzilla actor Seiji Onaka. Onaka also means "stomach" in Japanese & Hondo was always hungry! At the last minute George Lucas changed Honda to Hondo. #MayThe4th"". Twitter.



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