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Ishirō Honda directing Eagle of the Pacific (1953).
|Native name||本多 猪四郎|
May 7, 1911|
Yamagata Prefecture, Japan
|Died||February 28, 1993
|Cause of death||Respiratory failure|
|Occupation||Director, producer, screenwriter, editor|
|Spouse(s)||Kimi Honda (1937 – February 28, 1993) (his death)|
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.
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.
- A Story of a Co-Op (1949)
- Ise Island (1950)
- The Blue Pearl (1951)
- The Skin of the South (1952)
- The Man Who Came to Port (1952)
- Adolescence Part II (1953)
- Eagle of the Pacific (1953)
- Farewell Rabaul (1954)
- Godzilla (1954)
- Love Makeup (1955)
- Cry-Baby (1955)
- Half Human (1955)
- Night School (1956)
- Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1956)
- People of Tokyo, Goodbye (1956)
- Rodan (1956)
- Young Tree (1956)
- A Teapicker's Song of Goodbye (1957)
- A Farewell to the Woman Called My Sister (1957)
- A Rainbow Plays in My Heart (1957)
- Be Happy, These Two Lovers (1957)
- The Mysterians (1957)
- Song for a Bride (1958)
- The H-Man (1958)
- Varan the Unbelievable (1958)
- Battle in Outer Space (1959)
- The Human Vapor (1960)
- Mothra (1961)
- Gorath (1962)
- King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)
- Matango (1963)
- Atragon (1963)
- Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964)
- Dogora, the Space Monster (1964)
- Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)
- Frankenstein vs. Baragon (1965)
- Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965)
- The War of the Gargantuas (1966)
- King Kong Escapes (1967)
- Destroy All Monsters (1968)
- All Monsters Attack (1969)
- Latitude Zero (1969)
- Space Amoeba (1970)
- Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975)
Collaborations with Akira Kurosawa
- Stray Dog (1949)
- Kagemusha (1980)
- Ran (1985)
- Dreams (1990)
- Rhapsody in August (1991)
- Madadayo (1993)
- Brothers, Peter H. (2009). Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men - The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda. AuthorHouse. ISBN 978-1-4490-2771-1.
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