Teruyoshi Nakano (中野昭慶) (October 1, 1935 in Andong, Manchukuo) was a Japanese Special Effects Director.
Born in Andong County, Manchukuo, Teruyoshi Nakano first came to Japan in 1945 at age ten following the end of World War II, separated from his father who was a war prisoner. Growing up in Niihama on Shikoku Island, Nakano went to the theaters almost religiously, four times a week, thanks to his mother's work that allowed for discount movie tickets. With a love for cinema, Nakano graduated from the film department of Japan University in 1959, and almost immediately transitioned into working at Toho that very same year. Young in his career, Nakano was one of Toho's many assistant directors, focusing on principal photography and special effects. Early work included The Three Treasures (1959), in which Nakano primarily helped to schedule actors as one of his first assignments, and Sensuikan I-57 kofuku sezu (1959), which was Nakano's first true encounter with more complex special effects. Fascinated by the process, Nakano found his life's calling on the movie's set, later stating in interviews that from that moment on he knew he wanted to be the one conducting and making those sequences. Feeling that while a director is in charge of conveying his ideas through actors, Nakano found the prospect of visually telling a story through effects more compelling.
A few years after joining the company, while making Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964), Nakano was singled out for his work by Eiji Tsuburaya, who took on a mentor role to the younger Nakano. Being promoted to first assistant director, the 1964 film marked the first time that Nakano got to see his name listed in a movie's credits, following five years of hard work at Toho. This started a very strong working relationship between the two, as Nakano joined Tsuburaya for his Toho films to follow.
After a half decade relationship with his mentor, Nakano found himself in the director's chair, with supervision from Tsuburaya, on the Crazy Cats' film Crazy Big Explosion (1969). The year was a busy one for Nakano with Tsuburaya in and out of the hospital, as Nakano was left to finish Toho's special effects productions with the rest of the Toho staff, such as help Ishiro Honda finish the special effects for All Monsters Attack (1969). Sadly, in January 1970, Tsuburaya passed away, leaving a void at Toho and Nakano without his mentor.
Toho pressed ahead, initially choosing Sadamasa Arikawa to direct the first film, Space Amoeba (1970), after the esteemed special effects director's passing. However, creative differences prompted Arikawa to leave Toho's film division, allowing Nakano to be promoted to full-time special effects director, although without on screen credit, working on films such as Battle of Okinawa (1971) and Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971). The film industry in Japan was in a much weaker state, however, than the days when Nakano first joined. To make do with smaller budgets on more complex productions, such as the monster heavy Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972), Nakano turned toward stock footage, much to his regret. His career would be known for this stock footage use, along with his habit of explosions on set. His love of explosions would serve him well, allowing him to create the box office phenomenon Submersion of Japan (1973), which would also mark his first on screen credit as a special effects director.
In the mid-1970s, Nakano found himself at the head of a beleaguered special effects department at Toho, stuck with smaller budgets and dwindling box office receipts on many productions. Nakano's career found success in unlikely places, with hits like ESPY (1974) and Prophecies of Nostradamus (1974), while Toho mainstays like the Godzilla series were shelved. While Nakano's focus in the late 1970s through the 1980s was largely on the box office hits in the disaster genre, the director got his chance in 1984 to make a more serious Godzilla film with The Return of Godzilla (1984). Using the expanded budget, Nakano set out to create an expansive Tokyo city scape set and a giant cybot for more detailed movement of the character.
A few years later, the director retired from film directing at 52 after Princess from the Moon (1987), being able to realize the dragon and other special effects sequences for the Kon Ichikawa movie.
Special Effects Director
- Daigoro vs. Goliath (1971)
- Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971)
- Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972)
- Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)
- Zone Fighter (1973)
- Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974)
- Prophecies of Nostradamus (1974)
- ESPY (1974)
- Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975)
- The War in Space (1977)
- The Return of Godzilla (1984)
- Princess from the Moon (1987)
Assistant Special Effects Director
- Sensuikan I-57 kofuku sezu (1959)
- Secret of the Telegian (1960)
- Storm Over the Pacific (1960)
- Gorath (1962)
- King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)
- Matango (1963)
- Atragon (1963)
- Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964)
- Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)
- Frankenstein vs. Baragon (1965)
- Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965)
- War of the Gargantuas (1966)
- Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966)
- King Kong Escapes (1967)
- Destroy All Monsters (1968)
- All Monsters Attack (1969)
- Milner, David. Yoshihiko Shibata (trans.) July 1994. "An Interview with Teruyoshi Nakano", Kaiju Fan Online.