Masaji Nonagase

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Masaji Nonagase
Masaji Nonagase, circa 1980
Born August 30, 1923
Kyoto, Kyoto, Japan
Died May 23, 1996 (aged 72)
Occupation Director, screenwriter
First work Kojiro Sasaki (1950)
Notable work Ultraman (TV 1966-1967)
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Masaji Nonagase (野長瀬 三摩地,   Nonagase Masaji), writing under the pen name Ryu Minamikawa (南川 竜,   Minamikawa Ryū), was a Japanese writer and director best known for his work on the first three entries in the Ultra Series. Nonagase began his career as an assistant director for Toho, working on his first film in 1950. He served as 1st AD on the film The Story of Izu the following year, marking his first credited role. Nonagase moved away from film in favor of television in 1964, making his directorial debut on the melodrama Ginza Risshiden. At the invitation of Eiji Tsuburaya, Nonagase worked as a writer and director for Tsuburaya Productions' first five special effects productions, and later returned to the company to direct three episodes of Ultraman 80. His tenure at Toho lasted until 1982, after which he became a freelance director before retiring in 1990. Nonagase was hospitalized in late 1995 after experiencing difficulties walking, and passed away the following year at age 72.

Selected filmography

First assistant director




  • Nonagase's pen name, Ryu Minamikawa, was derived from that of fellow writer Toshihiro Ijima. Ijima's pen name, Kitao Senzoku, contained the kanji 北 (kita) meaning "north," which inspired Nonagase to incorporate the kanji 南 (minami), meaning "south," in to his own.
    • Furthermore, the given name "Ryu," composed of just one kanji, was chosen by Nonagase out of a desire for a shorter name, as his birth name is composed of three kanji.


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