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 1,101 meters (Transformation),
1,050 meters (Gold)[1]
Aspect ratio 1.33:1

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 silent tokusatsu jidaigeki film produced by Zensho Cinema. The first part, Volume of Transformation (変化の巻,   Henge no Maki), was released to theaters on March 31, 1938, with the second, Volume of Gold (黄金の巻,   Ōgon no Maki), 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.


After his daughter Chinami is kidnapped, Hyoe Toba offers his employees a 3,000 ryo (one of several currencies used by the Tokugawa shogunate) reward for her recovery. Yuzuru Kawasaki is among those who look for her, while Magonojo Go scoffs on the sidelines. Go himself is the kidnapper Chinami, having ordered his father Senbei's pet ape to seize her. Toba had previously jailed Senbei for refusing to counterfeit coins for him, prompting Go to go undercover to try and find him. Backed up by the ape, Go confronts Toba and trades him Chinami's location for the reward money, then locks him in his cellar. There the ape attacks and kills Toba, but is dealt mortal wounds himself. Go departs Edo with the reward.

This summary is derived from the March 1, 1938, issue of Kinema Jumpo, as translated by Classic Horror Film Board user bakeneko.[1] It leaves the fates of Chinami and Senbei ambiguous, although the film itself may have addressed them.


The King Kong that Appeared in Edo was one of Japan's first tokusatsu films, predating Godzilla by 16 years. Like 90% of Japan's pre-1945 cinematic output,[2] 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 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."[3] However, the synopsis published in the March 1938 issue of Kinema Junpo does not seem to indicate that the movie's ape is a giant at all.[4]


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

  • Directed by   Soya Kumagai
  • Written by   Daijo Aoyama
  • Cinematography by   Yozo Okuda
  • Suit modeled by   Fuminori Ohashi


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

  • Eizaburo Matsumoto   as   Magonojo Go
  • Ryunosuke Kabayama   as   an 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




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


  • 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.[5]
  • A YouTube video uploaded in 2012 claims to show "surviving footage" of this film.[6] In reality, it merely uses edited clips from the 1977 film Yeti: Giant of the 20th Century.


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 1.2 February 7, 2015 post by bakeneko on the Classic Horror Film Board
  2. Richie, Donald (14 September 2003). "Uncovering lost worlds of Japanese film". The Japan Times.
  3. Johnson, Bob (27 August 2007). "THE SPACE GIANTS Series Guide". SciFi Japan.
  4. 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.
  5. riderenmascarado1971 (2017). "The common translation "King Kong Appears in Edo"..." Tumblr.
  6. KING KONG APPEARS IN EDO (1938) Surviving Footage 江戸に現れたキングコング


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