Ishirō Honda

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In this Japanese name, the family name is Honda.
Ishirō Honda
Ishiro Honda directing "Eagle of the Pacific".jpg
Ishirō Honda directing Eagle of the Pacific (1953).
Native name 本多 猪四郎
Born (1911-05-07)May 7, 1911
Yamagata Prefecture, Japan
Died February 28, 1993(1993-02-28) (aged 81)
Tokyo, Japan
Cause of death Respiratory failure
Occupation Director, producer, screenwriter, editor
Spouse(s) Kimi Honda (1937 – February 28, 1993) (his death)
Children 2

Ishirō Honda (本多猪四郎, Honda Ishirō?, May 7, 1911 – February 28, 1993), sometimes miscredited in foreign releases as "Inoshiro Honda", was a Japanese film director. He is best known for his kaiju and tokusatsu films, including several entries in the Godzilla series, but also worked extensively in the documentary and war genres earlier in his career. Honda was also a lifelong friend and collaborator of Akira Kurosawa, and worked with Kurosawa extensively during the 1980s and 1990s.


Honda was born in Asahi, Yamagata (now part of the city of Tsuruoka).

His early film career included working as an assistant under the famed director Akira Kurosawa. Alongside his film duties, he was drafted into the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II in China and was a prisoner of war there when the war ended.

He directed the original Godzilla along with King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962), Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964), Destroy All Monsters (1968), and many others until 1975. He also directed such tokusatsu films such as Rodan, Mothra and The War of the Gargantuas. His last feature film was Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975).

The following years were spent directing various science fiction TV shows. The superhero shows Return of Ultraman, Mirrorman, and Zone Fighter were also his. In addition, he directed the cult film Matango.

After retiring as a director, Honda returned more than 30 years later to work again for his old friend and former mentor Akira Kurosawa as a directorial advisor, production coordinator and creative consultant on his last five films. Allegedly one segment of the Kurosawa film Dreams was actually directed by Honda following Kurosawa's detailed storyboards.

His most memorable quotation: "Monsters are born too tall, too strong, too heavy—that is their tragedy", when he spoke of his film Rodan. This statement alone would give fans the impression that his intent was to give all kaiju a distinct personality instead of just being a monster-on-the-loose.

In 2009, the first book in English was published detailing Honda's life and genre films called Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men - The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda written by Peter H. Brothers.

Guillermo del Toro's kaiju eiga homage Pacific Rim ends with a joint dedication to Honda and Ray Harryhausen.


Honda (left) working on the set of the original Godzilla

Collaborations with Akira Kurosawa[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • Brothers, Peter H. (2009). Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men - The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda. AuthorHouse. ISBN 978-1-4490-2771-1. 

External links[edit]