Tomoyuki Tanaka

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Tomoyuki Tanaka
田中 友幸
Tomoyuki Tanaka.jpg
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 Signature.jpg

Tomoyuki Tanaka (Japanese: 田中 友幸, Hepburn: Tanaka Tomoyuki) was a Japanese film producer, most famous for co-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 36 films by 2021. Thirty-two movies have been produced by Toho, and four by the American studios TriStar Pictures and Legendary Pictures. Tanaka produced every Toho monster movie up to his death in 1997.[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.


As producer[edit]

Year Title Notes Ref(s)
1945 Duel at Yagyu Valley [6]
1947 Snow Trail [6]
1948 Waga Ai Wa Yama no Kanata Ni [6]
1949 Lady from Hell with Keiji Matsuzaki [6][7]
Jakoman to Tetsu [6]
1950 Desertion at Dawn [6]
White Beast [6]
1951 The White Orchid [6]
1952 Sword for Hire [6]
1953 My Wonderful Yellow Car [6]
1954 Godzilla
1955 Godzilla Raids Again
Half Human [6]
1956 Rodan
1957 The Mysterians
1958 The H-Man [6]
Varan the Unbelievable
1959 The Three Treasures with Sanezumi Fujimoto [6]
1960 The Secret of the Telegian [6]
1961 Mothra
1962 King Kong vs. Godzilla
1963 Atragon
1964 Mothra vs. Godzilla
Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster
1965 Frankenstein Conquers the World
Invasion of Astro-Monster
1966 The War of the Gargantuas with Kenichiro Tsunoda[8]
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. ^ "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. 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. ^ 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.
  7. ^ "地獄の貴婦人(1949): 作品情報". 映画.com (in Japanese). Retrieved July 17, 2021.
  8. ^ Galbraith IV 2008, p. 231.


  • Galbraith IV, Stuart (2008). The Toho Studios Story: A History and Complete Filmography. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-1461673743.