THE FILMS OF ISHIRO HONDA
A look at the career of the "Father of Godzilla."
by
Guy Mariner Tucker


       

Although well known as the director of many of the classic Godzilla movies, Ishiro Honda helmed many excellent but lesser known films. Here, for the first time in English, is a filmography of Ishiro Honda. Original Japanese titles have been translated where possible, followed by the title of American release (if any), followed by original date of release in Japan, followed by cast listings.

Work as Assistant Director at P.C.L Studios

1934
  • Untitled lost film directed by Sotoji Kimura
1935
  • Three Sisters with Maiden Hearts, directed by Mikio Naruse
1937
  • A Husband's Chastity, directed by Kajiro Yamamoto
  • Avalanche, directed by Mikio Naruse
  • Chakkiri Kinta, directed by Kajiro Yamamoto
  • Humanity and Paper Balloons, directed by Sadao Yamanaka

1938 (P.C.L. becomes Toho)
  • Chinetsu, directed by Eisuke Takizaewa
  • Tsurujiro Tsuru Jiachi, directed by Mikio Naruse
  • Tojuro's Love, directed by Kajiro Yamamoto
1940
  • War movie directed by Kajiro Yamamoto, title not available.
1944    
  • Colonel Kato's Falcon Squadron, directed by Kajiro Yamamoto 
1949
  • Child of the Wind, directed by Kajiro Yamamoto
  • Stray Dog, directed by Akira Kurosawa
Works as documentary filmmaker at Toho's documentary branch.

1949
  • A Story of a Co-op
1950
  • Ise Island (about scientists in central Japan)
Works as director (all from Toho unless noted).

1951
  • The Blue Pearl (03/08) Cast: Ryo Ikebe, Yukiko Shimazaki, Takashi Shimura, Kokuten Kodo
1952
  • The Skin of the  South (28/03) Cast: Yoko Fujita, Yoshio Kosugi, Takashi Shimura, Kamatari Fujiwara
1952
  • The Man Who Went to Sea (27/11) Cast: Toshiro Mifiuie, Takashi Shimura, Hiroshi Koizumi, Kamatari Fujiwara, Senkichi Omura, Ren Yamamoto, Bokuzen Hidari; AkiraTani.  Note: Jun Fukuda served as chief assistant director (also on Rodan ). 
1953
  • Adolescence Part II (01/07) Cast: KyokoAoyama, Hiroshi Koizumi, Akira Kubo, Fumiko Homma, Sachio Sakai, Keiju Kobayashi, Fuyuki Murakami, Ren Yamamoto
  • Eagle of the Pacific (21/10) Cast: Denjiro Okochi, Toshiro Mifiuie, Keiju Kobayashi, Rentaro Mikuni.  Note: the film's composer was Yuji Koseki, who later scored Mothra.
1954
  • Farewell Rabaul (10/02) Cast: Ryo Ikebe, Rentaro Mikuni, Akihiko Hirata, Yu Fujiki, Akira Kubo
  • Godzilla (03/11) Cast: Takashi Shimura, Akihiko Hirata, Akira Takarada, Momoko Kochi
1955
  • Love Makeup (09/01) Cast: Ryo Ikebe, Kyoko A()yama, Hiroshi Koizumi, Bokuzen Hidari, Akira Tani
  • O-en-san (possibly meaning "Crybaby") (07/06) Cast: Yaeko Mizutani, Hiroshi Koizumi, Yoko Tsukasa, Kamatari Fujiwara 
  • Abominable Snowman (Half Human) (14/08) Cast: Akemi Negishi, Akira Takarada, Momoko Kochi, Nobuo Nakamura, Sachio Sakai, Kokuten Kodo, Yoshio Kosugi, Akira Tani, Senkichi Omura.  Note: This film may have been shot before Oen-san in the winter of 1955.
1956
  • Young Tree (22/01) Cast: Kyoko Aoyama, Takashi Shimura, many now-forgotten girl idol types
  • Night School (18/04) Independently produced short film (44 minutes) released by Daiei, uses mostly Daiei cast and crew, as well as Keiju Kobayashi and Yoshifumi Tajima
  • People of Tokyo Goodbye (28/06) 61 minute program 
  • Monster of the Sky Rodan (Rodan) (26/12) Cast: Kenji Sahara, Yumi Shirakawa, Akihiko Hirata, Yoshifumi Tajima.  Note: Honda's first film in color.
1957
  • Good Luck to These Two (19/02) Cast: Hiroshi Koizumi, Yumi Shirakawa, Toshiro Miflme, Takashi Shimura, Kamatari Fujiwara, Yoshifumi Tajima, Yu Fujiki
  • A Teapicker's Song of Goodbye (02/07) Cast: Yoshio Kosugi, Fumiko Romma, Akihiko Hirata
  • A Rainbow Plays in my Heart (02/07) (shown in two Parts) Cast: Ken Uehara, Momoko Kochi, Yoshio Tsuchiya, Akemi Negishi, Akira Takarada, Risayo Ito, Akihiko Hirata, Fumiko Romma, Fuyuki Murakami
  • A Farewell to the Woman Called My Sister (25/08) Cast: Akihiko Hirata, Machiko Kitagawa, Hiroshi Koizumi, Fuyuki Murakami 
  • Earth Defense Force (The Mysterians) (28/12) Cast: Kenji Sahara, Yumi Shirakawa, Takashi Shimura, Momoko Kochi, Akihiko Hirata, Yoshio Tsuchiya, Susumu Fujita, Hisaya Ito, Yoshio Kosugi.  Note: Honda's fIrst film in scope format, as are all subsequent films. 
1958
  • Song for a Bride (11/02) Cast: Akemi Negishi, Kenji Sahara, Hiroshi Koizumi, Yoshio Tsuchiya
  • Beauty and the Hydrogen Man (The H-Man) (24/06) Cast: Yumi Shirakawa, Kenji Sahara, Akihiko Hirata, Eitaro Ozawa, Makoto Sato, Yoshio Tsuchiya, Koreya Senda, Yoshifumi Tajima, Nadao Kirino
  • The Monster Varan (Varan the Unbelievable) Cast: Kozo Nomura, Ayumi Sonoda, Koreya Senda, Akihiko Hirata, Yoshio Tsuchiya, Yoshifumi Tajima, Hisaya Ito, Nadao Kirino, Fuyuki Murakami, Yoshio Tsuchiya
1959
  • An Echo Calls You (22/01) Cast: Ryo Ikebe, Izumi Yukimura, lkio Sawamura, Yu Fujiki, Bokuzen Hidari
  • Inao - Story of an Iron Arm (baseball comedy) (21/03) Cast: Takashi Shimura, Yumi Shirakawa, Sachio Sakai, Fuyuki Murakami 
  • Seniors, Juniors, Co-Workers (13/09) Cast: Daisuke Kato, Kumi Mizuno, Akira Kubo, Yoshifumi Tajima
  • The Great Space War (Battle in Outer Space) (26/12) Cast: Ryo Ikebe, Kyoko Anzai, Yoshio Tsuchiya, Koreya Senda, Hisaya Ito, Fuyuki Murakami, Nadao Kirino, Kozo Nomura, Raruya Kato, lkio Sawamura
1960
  • Sanbo the Magic Waterwheel (Honda directed only the dubbing actors for this Russian-Finnish film.)
  • The First Human Vapor (The Human Vapor) (11/12) Cast: Tatsuya Mihashi, Kaoru Yachigusa, Yoshio Tsuchiya, Bokuzen Hidari, Keiko Sata, Yoshio Kosugi, Yoshifumi Tajima, Fuyuki Murakami
1961
  • Mothra (30/07) Cast: Frankie Sakai, Kyoko Kagawa, Hiroshi Koizumi, Takashi Shimura, Jerry Ito, The Peanuts (Emi Ito, Yumi Ito ), Ken Uehara, Kenji Sahara (cameo)
  • The Scarlet Man (12/09) Cast: Makoto Sato, Yumi Shirakawa, Akira Kubo, Kozo Nomura, Sachio Sakai, lkio Sawamura, Akira Tani, Ko Nishimura, Eisei Amamoto, Keiko Sata
1962
  • Mystery Planet Gorath (Gorath) (21/03) Cast: Ryo Ikebe, Yumi Shirakawa, Takashi Shimura, Kumi Mizuno, Ken Uehara, Akira Kubo, Akihiko Hirata, Jun Tazaki, lkio Sawamura, Kenji Sahala
  • King Kong vs Godzilla (11/08) Cast: Tadao Takashima, Yu Fujiki, Mie Hama, Akiko Wakabayashi, Kenji Sahara, Ichiro Arishima, Akihiko Hirata, Jun Tazaki, Ikio Sawamura
1963
  • Matango (Attack of the Mushroom People) (11/08) Cast: Akira Kubo, Kenji Sahara, Yoshio Tsuchiya, Hiroshi Koizumi, Miki Yashiro, Kumi Mizuno, Hiroshi Tachikawa
1964
  • Mothra vs Godzilla (Godzilla vs The Thing) (29/04) Cast: Akira Takarada, Yuriko Hoshi, Kenji Sahara, Yoshifumi Tajima, Yu Fujiki, Jun Tazaki, Emilto, Yumilto, Ikio Sawamura, Ren Yamamoto, Kenzo Tadake
  • Giant Space Monster Dogora (Dogora the Space Monster) (II/08) Cast: Yosuke Natsuke, Robert Dunham, Hiroshi Koizumi, Yoko Fujiyama, Jun Tazaki, Yoshifiuni Tajima, Eisei Amamoto, Akiko Wakabayashi, Mie Hama
  • The Greatest Battle on Earth (Ghidrah the Three Headed Monster) (20/12) Cast: Yosuke Natsuke, Yuriko Hoshi, Hiroshi Koizumi, Takashi Shimura, Emi Ito, Yumi Ito, Ikio Sawamura, Akiko Wakabayashi, Kenji Sahara, Akihiko Hirata, Yoshifumi Tajima, Eisei Amamoto
1965
  • Frankenstein vs the Subterranean Monster (Frankenstein Conquers the World) (11/08) Cast: Nick Adams, Kumi Mizuno, Tadao Takashima, Yoshio Tsuchiya, Takashi Shimura, Jun Tazaki, Yoshifiuni Tajima
  • The Great Monster War (Monster Zero) (19/12) Cast: Nick Adams, Kumi Mizuno, Akira Takarada, Akira Kubo, Jun Tazaki, Yoshio Tsuchiya
1966
  • Monsters of Frankenstein: Sanda vs Gaila (War of the Gargantuas) (31/07) Cast: Russ Tamblyn, Kumi Mizuno, Kenji Sahara, jun Tazaki, Ikio Sawamura, Yoshifumi Tajima
  • Come Marry Me (20/1 0) Honda's last non-effects film
1967
  • King Kong's Counterattack (King Kong Escapes) (22/07) Cast: Rhodes Reason, Akira Takarada, Linda Miller, Mie Hama, Eisei Amamoto, Yoshifiuni Tajima, Ikio Sawamura
1968
  • Attack of the Marching Monsters (Destroy All Monsters) (Released on 01/08 but shooting, cutting and scoring were completed months before.) Cast: Akira Kubo, Jun Tazilki, Yoshio Tsuchiya, Kyoko Ai, Yukiko Kobayashi, Kenji Sahara, Yoshifumi Tajima, Ikio Sawamura, Andrew Hughes, Kazuo Suzuki
1969
  • Latitude Zero Military Tactics (Latitude Zero) (26/07) Cast: Joseph Cotten, Cesar Romero, Richard Jaeckel, Akira Takarada, Akihiko Hirata
  • All Monsters Attack (Godzilla's Revenge) (20/12) Cast: Kenji Sahara, Eisei Amamoto, Yoshifumi Tajima, Tomonori Yazaki, Ikio Sawamura
1970
  • Decisive Battle! Monsters of the South Seas (Yog Monster From Space) (01/08) Cast: Kenji Sahara, Akira Kubo, Yoshio Tsuchiya, Yu Fujiki
Note: From March, 1971 through September, 1973, Honda directed twenty five half hour segments for five SF/action TV shows including the "Zone Fighter" series, which featured appearences by Godzilla, Gigan and King Ghidorah.

1975
  • Mechagodzilla's Counterattack (The Terror of MechaGodzilla) (15/03) Cast: Akihiko Hirata, Tomokoai, Katsumasa Uchida, Goro Mutsu, Kenji Sahara, lkio Sawamura
Hondo went into semi-retirement at this point, but is known to have assisted Akira Kurosawa on the movies Kagemusha (1980), Ran (1985), Dreams (1990), Rhapsody in August (1991), and Madadayo (1992). He is known to have directed at least one important sequence in one of those films, and is likely to have directed several more. Further research is pending.

Honda made his official acting debut in the 1987 comedy Come Back Hero (Yarutokya Yaruze) in a surprise climactic cameo. His unofficial debut was as the fleeing back of the villain in Stray Dog, the character's name is never spoken in the film, but Korosawa bills him as "Honda" in the credits.

Special thanks to Norio Ohta and Yoshihiko Shibata for their translations.


Article © 1995, 2003 Guy Mariner Tucker/Daikaiju Publishing.

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