Daiei / Kadokawa

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Disclaimer: Daiei Co., Ltd., Daiei Film Co., Ltd. and the Kadokawa Corporation are three separate companies. They are covered together here for convenience.
Kadokawa Corporation Logo.jpg

Daiei Co., Ltd. (大映株式会社,   Daiei Kabushikigaisha) was a Japanese film studio, founded in 1942 as a conglomerate of Shinko Kinema, Daito Film and Nikkatsu. The company produced various kaiju and tokusatsu films until its bankruptcy in 1971, most notably the Gamera 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 was acquired by Tokuma Shoten, who reestablished the company as Daiei Film Co., Ltd. (大映映画株式会社,   Daiei Eiga Kabushikigaisha) in 1974.

The Kadokawa Corporation (KADOKAWA株式会社,   Kadokawa Kabushikigaisha), or simply Kadokawa (stylized KADOKAWA), is a Japanese media conglomerate. It currently owns all of the assets of Daiei Film Co., which now operates as the corporation's film-making branch, Kadokawa Daiei Studio Co., Ltd. (株式会社角川大映スタジオ,   Kabushikigaisha Kadokawa Daiei Sutajio).

History[edit | edit source]

Daiei Co., Ltd.[edit | edit source]

Daiei logo

Founded in 1942 as Dai Nippon Film Co., Ltd., 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 in 1965, which capitalized on the success of Toho's popular Godzilla films. Gamera was successful, and Daiei went on to produce six sequels in as many years. The following year, Daiei produced the Daimajin trilogy. In the late 1960s Daiei began to experience financial problems, so in June 1970 Daiei and Nikkatsu Corporation, which was also facing financial problems, merged to share distribution costs and formed Dainichi Film Distribution Co., Ltd (DN ダイニチ映配株式会社,   Dainichi Eihai Kabushikigaisha). This partnership would last until August 1971, when Nikkatsu withdrew from this deal. On November 29, 1971, Daiei filed for bankruptcy, and in 1974 was purchased by Tokuma Shoten. Under Tokuma's ownership, Daiei attempted to produce an eighth Gamera film, Gamera: Super Monster, in order to revive the series. The film was produced on a slim budget and relied mainly on stock footage from the seven previous entries in the series, and also included obvious attempts to cash in on the American Superman and Star Wars films that were popular at the time. The film was a commercial and critical failure, and Daiei did not produce another Gamera film for over a decade.

In 1995, Daiei hired director Shusuke Kaneko to direct a reboot to the Gamera series. Distributed by Toho, Gamera: Guardian of the Universe was a huge success with critics and at the box office. Daiei produced two sequels to the film, Gamera 2: Attack of the Legion and Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris, both of which were also critically acclaimed.

In 2002, Daiei was purchased from Tokuma Shoten by Kadokawa Shoten Publishing Co., a subsidiary of the Kadokawa Corporation. Daiei was merged with the corporation's film studio, Kadokawa Pictures, to form Kadokawa-Daiei Film Company, Ltd.

Kadokawa Pictures[edit | edit source]

Kadokawa Pictures logo

Kadokawa Pictures (角川映画,   Kadokawa Eiga) was founded in 1975 as the film division of Kadokawa Shoten Publishing Co. Between 1976 and 1993, it produced close to 60 films. In 2002, it was merged with the acquired Daiei Motion Picture Company, Ltd. to become Kadokawa-Daiei Film Company, Ltd. The merged studio produced the 12th Gamera film, Gamera the Brave, in 2006 to celebrate the franchise's 40th anniversary. Over the next decade, the company went through various restructurings and name changes, and in 2013 became Kadokawa Daiei Studio Company, Ltd.

In 2015, Kadokawa screened a 4-minute-long short film called GAMERA at the New York Comic-Con to commemorate Gamera's 50th anniversary. The short film may have been intended as a proof-of-concept for a potential new entry in the franchise, but so far no new film has come of it.

Selected productions[edit | edit source]

1940s[edit | edit source]

Daiei Kyoto

1950s[edit | edit source]

Daiei Tokyo
Daiei Kyoto
  • Claws of Iron (1951)
  • Striking Sun Wukong (1954)
  • Suzunosuke Akado (1957)
  • Suzunosuke Akado: The Moonlight Monster (1957)
  • Suzunosuke Akado: Defeat the Demon-Faced Gang (1957)
  • Suzunosuke Akado: The Vacuum Slash of Asuka (1957)
  • Suzunosuke Akado: The Demon of Shingetsu Tower (1957)
  • Suzunosuke Akado: The One-Legged Demon (1957)
  • Suzunosuke Akado: The Birdman with Three Eyes (1958)
  • Suzunosuke Akado: The Thunder Man of Kurokumo Valley (1958)
  • Suzunosuke Akado: Defeat the Skull Gang (1958)

1960s[edit | edit source]

Daiei Tokyo
Daiei Kyoto

1970s[edit | edit source]

Daiei Tokyo
Daiei Kyoto
  • The Invisible Swordsman (1970)

1980s[edit | edit source]


1990s[edit | edit source]


2000s[edit | edit source]


2010s[edit | edit source]


2020s[edit | edit source]


Unmade films[edit | edit source]

Television[edit | edit source]

Publishing[edit | edit source]

Kadokawa originated as a publishing company known as Kadokawa Shoten (角川書店) that was founded in 1945, and to this day remains active as the publishing branch of the Kadokawa Corporation. Kadokawa has published numerous kaiju and tokusatsu-related books and manga, including books covering both the Gamera and Godzilla franchises. These include:

Gallery[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]


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Real World
Kadokawa Pictures (formerly Daiei Motion Picture Company)