Ichirō Arishima

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Ichirō Arishima (有島 一郎, Arishima Ichirō, March 1, 1916—July 20, 1987) was a Japanese comedian and actor. Nicknamed "The Japanese Chaplin," he is best known outside Japan for his appearance as Tako, the promoter of King Kong in King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962).

Arishima's real name was Tadao Oshima. He was born in Nagoya and both of his parents died when he was a teenager. His love of the theater began in childhood, and he moved to Tokyo in 1936 to pursue that interest. He spent the next decade working with various theatrical troupes until he made his film debut in 1947, with Shochiku Studios' Wakaki hi no chi wa moete. He became a household name in Japan after his move to Toho in 1955. At Toho he was featured in two very popular series, the "Wakadaisho" ("Young Guy") movies starring Yūzō Kayama, and the "Shacho" ("Company President") movies featuring the Crazy Cats (クレージーキャッツ) comedy team. In addition to Ishirō Honda's King Kong vs. Godzilla, Arishima appeared in two Toho fantasy films directed by Senkichi Taniguchi: The Lost World of Sinbad (Daitozoku) (1963) and The Adventure of Taklamakan (Kiganjō no bōken) (1966).

Arishima's slight physical build contrasted well with the portly comedian Frankie Sakai, leading to their teaming in several comedies. He was also popular on several television shows, one of his last roles being "Kanō Gorōzaemon," the elderly advisor to the shogun in Abarenbō Shōgun.


Year Title Role Notes
1953 Ojōsan shachō Tetsutaro Kaitani
1958 The Badger Palace
Tōkyō no kyūjitsu Photographer
1959 The Birth of Japan Gods of Yaoyorozu
1962 King Kong vs. Godzilla Mr. Tako
Chūshingura: Hana no Maki, Yuki no Maki Denpachirô Okado
1963 The Lost World of Sinbad Sennin
1970 Machibuse Tokubei


Tucker, Guy. (1991) "In Memoriam: Ichiro Arishima; Curtain call for the Japanese Chaplin" in Markalite; The Magazine of Japanese Fantasy Fall 1991, p. 91.

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