Tomoyuki Tanaka

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Tomoyuki Tanaka
Tomoyuki Tanaka - 1959.jpeg
Tanaka on the set of Battle in Outer Space in 1959
Born(1910-04-26)April 26, 1910
DiedApril 2, 1997(1997-04-02) (aged 86)
Tokyo, Japan[2]
Alma materKansai University
OccupationFilm producer
Years active1940–1997
SpouseChieko Nakakita[3]
HonoursOrder of the Sacred Treasure (1981)[4]
Japanese name
Kanji田中 友幸
Hiraganaたなか ともゆき[1]
RomanizationTanaka Tomoyuki
Tomoyuki Tanaka Signature.svg

Tomoyuki "Yūkō" Tanaka[5] (Japanese: 田中 友幸ともゆき, Hepburn: Tanaka Tomoyuki, April 26, 1910 – April 2, 1997) was a Japanese film producer. Widely regarded as the creator of the Godzilla franchise, he produced all 22 installments in the series from 1954 to 1995. He is one of the most prolific Japanese producers of all time, having worked on more than 200 films, including over 80 tokusatsu films.[6]

Early life[edit]

Tanaka was born on April 26, 1910,[4] in Kashiwara, Osaka.[1] As a child, he would often walk miles to the nearest theater to watch silent adventure and ninja films in the afternoons.[6] At the age of 14, Tanaka saw the silent Western film The Covered Wagon and was so enamored by its cinematography that it remained his all-time favorite film.[6] In his youth, Tanaka was once disowned by his parents because he focused more on his interests, films and acting, than on his studies.[6]


Tanaka c. 1950s

Soon after graduating from Kansai University,[7] Tanaka entered the Japanese film industry in 1940 and joined the film studio Taiho Eiga. The following year, Tanaka moved to Toho after it merged with Taiho Eiga and began his career as a producer under Iwao Mori.[8] 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. In his 57-year career, Tanaka produced more than 200 films.[6]

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:[9]

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 36 films by 2021. Thirty-two movies have been produced by Toho, and four by the American studios TriStar Pictures and Legendary Pictures. 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.[10] Their film Kagemusha (1980) was nominated for a Best Foreign Film Oscar and took the Palme d'Or at Cannes.

Personal life[edit]

Tanaka was married to actress Chieko Nakakita. They adopted a daughter named Mieko.[11]


As producer[edit]

Year Title Notes Ref(s)
1945 Duel at Yagyu Valley [12]
1947 Snow Trail [12]
1948 Waga Ai Wa Yama no Kanata Ni [12]
1949 Lady from Hell with Keiji Matsuzaki [12][13]
Jakoman to Tetsu [12]
1950 Desertion at Dawn [12]
White Beast [12]
1951 The White Orchid [12]
1952 Sword for Hire [12]
1953 My Wonderful Yellow Car [12]
1954 Godzilla
1955 Godzilla Raids Again
Half Human [12]
1956 Rodan
1957 The Mysterians
1958 The H-Man [12]
Varan the Unbelievable
1959 The Three Treasures with Sanezumi Fujimoto [12]
1960 The Secret of the Telegian [12]
1961 Yojimbo [2]
Mothra [14]
1962 King Kong vs. Godzilla
1963 Atragon
1964 Mothra vs. Godzilla
Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster
1965 Frankenstein vs. Baragon
Invasion of Astro-Monster
1966 The War of the Gargantuas with Kenichiro Tsunoda [15]
Ebirah, Horror of the Deep
1967 King Kong Escapes
Son of Godzilla
1968 Destroy All Monsters
1969 Latitude Zero
All Monsters Attack
1970 Space Amoeba
1971 Godzilla vs. Hedorah
1972 Godzilla vs. Gigan
1973 Godzilla vs. Megalon
Submersion of Japan with Osamu Tanaka
1974 Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla
ESPY with Fumio Tanaka
1975 Terror of Mechagodzilla
1976 Zero Pilot
1984 The Return of Godzilla
1985 Godzilla 1985
1989 Gunhed
Godzilla vs. Biollante with Shōgo Tomiyama
1995 Godzilla vs. Destoroyah


  1. ^ a b c Tanaka 1983, pp. 52–53.
  2. ^ a b Ryfle 1998, p. 40.
  3. ^ Tanaka 1983, p. 532.
  4. ^ a b Tanaka 1983, p. 538.
  5. ^ Kawakita 2009, p. 220.
  6. ^ a b c d e Ryfle 1998, p. 39.
  7. ^ Kalat 2010, p. 16.
  8. ^ Fukuda & Someya 2001, p. 26.
  9. ^ Raftery, Brian M. (2000). "Forty-four years ago, Godzilla, King of the Monsters invaded the U.S". Entertainment Weekly. No. 537. New York, N.Y.: Time, Inc. p. 116.
  10. ^ WuDunn, Cheryl (4 April 1997). "Tomoyuki Tanaka, the Creator of Godzilla, Is Dead at 86". New York Times. New York, N.Y. Retrieved Oct 12, 2012.
  11. ^ "中北千枝子さん死去/女優". 四国新聞社. Retrieved 2022-10-07.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "田中友幸". Japanese Movie Database. Retrieved July 17, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. ^ "地獄の貴婦人(1949): 作品情報". 映画.com (in Japanese). Retrieved July 17, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  14. ^ Galbraith IV 2008, p. 183.
  15. ^ Galbraith IV 2008, p. 231.


External links[edit]

Preceded by President of Toho Pictures
Succeeded by