Tomoyuki Tanaka

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Tomoyuki Tanaka
Native name
田中 友幸
Born(1910-04-26)April 26, 1910
DiedApril 2, 1997(1997-04-02) (aged 86)
Tokyo, Japan
OccupationFilm producer
Years active1940–1997
Known forGodzilla series
Spouse(s)Chieko Nakakita (1926–1997 (his death))

Tomoyuki Tanaka (田中 友幸, Tanaka Tomoyuki) was a Japanese film producer, most famous for creating the Godzilla franchise. He was born in Kashiwara, Osaka, Japan on April 26, 1910, and died in Tokyo on April 2, 1997. Tanaka was married to the actress Chieko Nakakita (1926 – 2005). He died of a stroke at the age of 86.[1][2]

Soon after graduating from Kansai University in 1940, Tanaka joined Taisho Studios which merged with Toho Studios in 1941.[3] After four years with the company, he began producing his own films, and his first effort, Three Women of the North, was released in 1945.[4] In his 60-year career with Toho, Tanaka produced more than 200 films.

He is best known as the creator, with storyteller Shigeru Kayama, director Ishirō Honda, writer Takeo Murata and special-effects wizard Eiji Tsuburaya, of Godzilla, the towering embodiment of post-World War II anxiety. Tanaka created Godzilla in 1954 in an effort to illustrate the terror Japanese felt after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In an interview in 1985 Tanaka summed up the symbolism of Godzilla:[5]

In those days, Japanese had a real horror of radiation, and that horror is what made Godzilla so huge. From the beginning he has symbolized nature's revenge on mankind.

The classic 1954 film Godzilla (1954; released in the U.S. in 1956 as Godzilla, King of the Monsters!) would spawn a series of sequels, adding up to 28 films by 2004.[6][7] Tanaka produced every Toho monster movie.[4] He often worked with the other three members of the Godzilla team: Honda, Tsuburaya, and composer Akira Ifukube, to complete such works as The Mysterians (1957) and Matango (1963). Tanaka produced six films directed by the acclaimed Akira Kurosawa.[2] Their film Kagemusha (1980) was nominated for a Best Foreign Film Oscar and took the Palme d'Or at Cannes.

The 1998 American reimagining of Godzilla was dedicated to his memory.


  1. ^ "田中友幸" [Tomoyuki Tanaka]. Nihon Jinmei Daijiten (in Japanese). Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2012. Archived from the original on 2007-08-25. Retrieved 2012-10-12.
  2. ^ a b WuDunn, Cheryl (4 April 1997). "Tomoyuki Tanaka, the Creator of Godzilla, Is Dead at 86". New York Times. New York, N.Y.: New York Times Company. Retrieved Oct 12, 2012.
  3. ^ Kalat 2010, p. 16.
  4. ^ a b "Tomoyuki Tanaka". 2012. Retrieved Oct 12, 2012.
  5. ^ Raftery, Brian M. (2000). "Forty-four years ago, Godzilla, King of the Monsters invaded the U.S". Entertainment Weekly. New York, N.Y.: Time, Inc. (537): 116.
  6. ^ "SF映画" [Science fiction films]. Nihon Daihyakka Zensho (Nipponika) (in Japanese). Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2012. OCLC 153301537. Archived from the original on 2007-08-25. Retrieved 2012-10-12.
  7. ^ "ゴジラ" [Godzilla]. Nihon Daihyakka Zensho (Nipponika) (in Japanese). Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2012. OCLC 153301537. Archived from the original on 2007-08-25. Retrieved 2012-10-12.