The King Kong That Appeared in Edo (1938)

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The King Kong That Appeared in Edo
Advertisement for The King Kong That Appeared in Edo published in the April 14, 1938 issue of Kinema Junpo
Directed by Soya Kumagai
Written by Daijo Aoyama
Distributor Zensho Cinema
Rating Not Rated
Running time Five reels per part[1]
Aspect ratio 1.37:1

The King Kong That Appeared in Edo (江戸に現れたキングコング,   Edo ni Arawareta Kingu Kongu), also known as simply King Kong (キング・コング,   Kingu Kongu), is a lost two-part 1938 tokusatsu fantasy silent film produced by Zensho Cinema. The first part was released to theaters on March 31, 1938, with the second following on April 7.[1] It was the second Japanese film to feature a character based on King Kong, after Japanese King Kong from 1933, which is also lost.

Plot[edit | edit source]

In the first part, titled Volume of Transformation (変化の巻,   Henge no Maki), Chinami, a daughter of Hyoe Toba, is mysteriously kidnapped one night. Toba offers a 3,000 ryō (one of several currencies used by the Tokugawa shogunate) reward for his daughter. Yuzuru Kawasaki and other spongers set about searching for Chinami, but Magonojo Go, one of Toba's spongers, sneers at his fellows' efforts. In fact, Go is the very man who kidnapped Chinami, forcing his father Senbei's pet ape to abduct her.

The second part, titled Volume of Gold (黄金の巻,   Ōgon no Maki) has complex circumstances behind it. Toba influences Senbei to counterfeit coins, but he refuses. Toba imprisons Senbei somewhere. To get a clue of his father's whereabouts, Go disguises himself as one of Toba's spongers. Go menaces Toba with the ape covertly. He offers Toba Chinami's location in exchange for the prize money, and takes him to his secret cellar to shut him up. There, the vengeful ape kills Toba but he, too, is fatally wounded. Go then leaves Edo with 3,000 ryō. What happened to Chinami after that is unknown, but it is assumed she was freed when Magonojo received his money from Hyoe.

History[edit | edit source]

The King Kong That Appeared in Edo was one of Japan's first tokusatsu films, predating Godzilla by 16 years. Although inaccurate to its historical setting, some Caligari-esque expressionistic buildings were added for the Anthropoid to climb. Like most of Japan's pre-war cinematic output, the film is now completely lost.

Fuminori Ohashi, who would later provide guidance on the construction of the suit for Godzilla in the original 1954 film, created the ape suit and special effects for this film. He explained, "The first model making to be counted as 'special art direction' in Japanese cinema was a giant gorilla which I did for the movie The King Kong That Appeared in Edo fifty years ago. It was also the first movie to feature certain kinds of special effects." However, the synopsis published in the March 1938 issue of Kinema Junpo does not seem to indicate that the movie's "Kong" is a giant at all.[2]

Staff[edit | edit source]

Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.

  • Directed by   Soya Kumagai
  • Written by   Daijo Aoyama
  • Cinematography by   Yozo Okuda
  • Special Effects by   Fuminori Ohashi

Cast[edit | edit source]

Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.

  • Eizaburo Matsumoto   as   Magonojo Go
  • Ryunosuke Kabayama   as   Anthropoid
  • Reizaburo Ichikawa   as   Hyoe Toba
  • Reiko Mishima   as   Chinami
  • Shojiro Ogata   as   Kuroami the Hunchback
  • Yasutaro Yagi   as   Ginbei Inoue
  • Noboru Takashima   as   Yuzuru Kawasaki
  • Keinosuke Yashiro   as   Kinnosuke Segawa
  • Shotaro Shiba   as   Tetsusaburo Azuma
  • Shin Taga   as   Shinjuro Nakazawa
  • Ryutaro Hibiki   as   Izunokami Matsudaira
  • Keisuke Matsudaira   as   Clerk at charcoal shop
  • Kikutaro Yoshii   as   Clerk at soy sauce shop
  • Do Jitsukawa   as   Rice shop apprentice

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Monsters[edit | edit source]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Main article: The King Kong That Appeared in Edo/Gallery.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The King Kong That Appeared in Edo has often been mistranslated as King Kong Appears in Edo. The phrase arawareta (現れた; "appeared") in the title is an inflection of arawareru (現れる; "appear") using ta-form, which indicates past tense.[3]
  • A YouTube video uploaded in 2012 claims to show "surviving footage" of this film.[4] In reality, it merely uses edited clips from the 1977 film Yeti: Giant of the 20th Century.

References[edit | edit source]

This is a list of references for The King Kong That Appeared in Edo. 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. 1.0 1.1 February 7, 2015 post by bakeneko on the Classic Horror Film Board
  2. 高槻真樹 (Maki Takatsuki). 戦前日本SF映画創世記 ゴジラは何でできているか (Senzen Nihon SF Eiga Souseiki). 河出書房新社 (Kawadeshobo Shinsha publishing). 2014. Pages 183-188.
  3. riderenmascarado1971 (2017). The common translation "King Kong Appears in Edo".... Tumblr.
  4. KING KONG APPEARS IN EDO (1938) Surviving Footage 江戸に現れたキングコング


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