Ishiro Honda

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Ishiro Honda
Ishiro Honda in his later years
Born May 7, 1911
Yamagata Prefecture, Japan
Died February 28, 1993 (aged 81)
Tokyo, Japan
Occupation Director, writer, editor
First work Chocolate and Soldiers (1938)
Notable work Godzilla (1954)
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,   Honda Ishirō) was a 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.[1]

Selected filmography[edit | edit source]

Director[edit | edit source]

Unproduced works[edit | edit source]

Screenwriter[edit | edit source]

Editor[edit | edit source]

Actor[edit | edit source]

  • Godzilla (1954) as Power Station Worker [uncredited role]

Miscellaneous[edit | edit source]

Interviewee[edit | edit source]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Videos[edit | edit source]

Ishiro Honda filming Ran
Yoshimitsu Banno interviews Ishiro Honda in 1990

Trivia[edit | edit source]

External links[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: [1]

  1. Steve Ryfle and Ed Godzizewski (2017). Ishiro Honda: A Life in Film. Wesleyan University Press. p. 287. ISBN 9780819577412.
  2. David Kalat (1997). A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla Series. McFarland. p. 216.
  3. Ishiro Honda Interview
  4. 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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