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Biography

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Overview (4)

Born in Sugasawa City, Fukushima, Japan
Died in Tokyo, Japan  (heart attack)
Birth NameEiichi Tsumuraya
Nickname Oyaji

Mini Bio (1)

Eiji Tsuburaya ranks alongside Willis H. O'Brien and Ray Harryhausen as one of the great visionary SFX masters of twentieth century fantasy cinema. Best remembered as the amazing special effects genius behind the "Godzilla" series of monster films commencing in 1954, he also contributed effects to a host of other Japanase monster / fantasy / science fiction / drama / propaganda films for over four decades.

Eiji Tsuburaya had a keen interest in the cinema from a young age, and legend has it that he acquired a second hand movie projector when he was only ten years old, and pulled it apart and put it back together with relative ease. He began work as a cinematographer in Kyoto around 1919, and then enhanced his skills to include camera work throughout the 1920s, at which time his eye for detail was in high demand from many studio's. Around 1938, he became head of Special Visual Techniques at Toho Studios, and during the Second World War he was involved in the production of several Japanaese propaganda films. He went freelance after the war, and in 1954 he collaborated with director Ishirô Honda on the monster epic Godzilla (1954) (aka "Godzilla"). The film was an enormous hit in Japan, and additional scenes were filmed with US actor Raymond Burr and then inserted strategically to give the movie western appeal. "Godzilla, King Of The Monsters" was then released in the USA to strong box office takings, and Godzilla has since appeared in over two dozen films spanning over fifty years, becoming a key cult icon of Japanese culture!!

The incredibly talented Tsuburaya went on to be the SFX director behind dozens of Japanese monster & science fiction classics including _Sora no daikiju Radon (1956)_ (aka "Rodan") The H-Man (1958) (aka "The H-Man") Densô ningen (1960) (aka "The Telegian"), Mothra (1961) (aka "Mothra") King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962) (aka "King Kong versus Godzilla"), Varan the Unbelievable (1962), Matango (1963), _Furankenshutain tai chitei kaiju Baragon (1965)_ (aka "Frankenstein Conquers the World"), and _Kaiju soshingeki (1968)_ (aka "Destroy All Monsters" ). Tsuburaya had also established his own production company in 1963 (Tsuburaya Productions), creators of the highly popular "Ultraman" character, and subsequent TV shows and films.

On January 25, 1970, while vacationing in Shizuoka Prefecture, Tsuburaya suffered a sudden, fatal heart attack. His incredible film & SFX production company is still active today under the guidance of his grandson, Kazuo Tsuburaya.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: firehouse44@hotmail.com

Spouse (1)

Araki, Masano (1930 - ?) ( 3 children)

Trivia (12)

Among his final works included exhibits for Expo '70 (the world's fair being held that year in Osaka). He died in January before the fair opened.
He was a pilot and had a personal interest in flying. This has been cited as the reason his flying sequences (planes, flying saucers, and even flying monsters as in "Sora no daikaiju Radon" (1956)) were created with special attention to detail and often utilized a "pilot's-eye view." His special effects cinematographer, Sadamasa Arikawa (Teisho Arikawa) was also a pilot and shared his passion for flying which also contributed to the quality of these sequences.
He created the famous Toho Company, Ltd. logo, which has been faithfully recreated in the early 1980s, and in 1992 (for Toho's 60th Anniversary).
In 1963, while still head of the special effects department at Toho, he established his own independent production company, Tsuburaya Special Effects Productions. The company started off making science fiction/fantasy productions, requiring many special effects, for television. His sons became heavily involved with the company. Their most successful creation, and one of their earliest, was "Urutoraman: Kuso tokusatsu shirizu" (1966) which they were able to sell internationally under the title "Ultraman." The series would have various television and feature film incarnations going into the 21st century. The company would later be renamed as simply Tsuburaya Productions.
His first job was at Tsugishima Manufacturing where he was able to save enough money to fulfill a long-time ambition by attending the Nippon Flying School in Haneda.
As a trained qualified pilot, he was able to fulfill his military obligation by working as an air courier.
Is regarded as the "Father of Tokusatsu." ("Tokusatsu" is the Japanese term for "special effects").
When several studios merged and Toho established their Tokyo Studios, an area on the lot was specifically devoted to "special techniques" (special effects). Tsuburaya was put in charge of this department and became Japan's first "Director of Special Techniques (Special Effects).".
It was not until 1957, after the production of "Sora no daikaiju Rodan" (1956) (U.S.: "Rodan") that Toho formally organized their Special Techniques Department with Tsuburaya as an official department head.
Because of his expertise in virtually all phases of film production, during World War II he did extensive work on films that would later be regarded as propaganda. Because of this work, the American Occupation Forces blacklisted him from working in the Japanese motion picture industry.
A diabetic.
At the height of special effects productions at Toho, Tsuburaya's department had over 200 full time employees.

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