Category Archives: Cast & Staff

Replaced Cast: Ide And Anne #2

Toyoura-san, Hishimi-san and Bin-san from Tokusatsu Hiho Vol. 1

As to Anne in “Ultraseven,” it was revealed that the role was supposed to be played by Yoshiko Toyoura (pronounced as /toyo-ura/ or //toto-oora/) in the first place. Toyoura joined Toho as an actress prior to Yuriko Hishimi and seems to have appeared in TV dramas and Toho movies as a “Toho New Talent” actress back then.

It is likely that Toyoura was one of the 5th Period Toho New Talent actresses while HIshimi belonged to the 6th Period as those actors and actresses were chosen every year in those days (so the period number is associated with the year when they were selected).

Although Toyoura was chosen for the role of Anne in “Ultraseven,” she says she got out of it as he was picked for a Toho comedy movie starred by the popular comical band called “Crazy Cats.”

 

As a Toho actress, I assume Toyoura had no choice but to give priority to the appearance in a Toho movie while she says she dimly remembers she asked Toho if she would be able to appear in both the movie and the TV show “Ultraseven.”

While movies were in their prime with great popularity back then, it was the time when appearances in TV shows seemingly tended to be undervalued than those in movies.

Noriyoshi IKeya, designer who took over from Tohl Narita, says they were discriminated even when eating lunch at a restaurant in Toho as they were involved in TV shows instead of movies (I personally don’t like such a strong sense of territory).

 

Under these circumstances, it should have been only natural that Toyoura chose to appear in the movie rather than a tokusatsu TV show even though it was substantially the sequel to the unprecedented TV show “Ultraman” that marked a rating of 42 percent at most.

And it was decided that Anne was to be played by Hishimi instead as she herself says she was staying idle after the TV drama titled “Tenka No Seinen (The Young Man Under The Sun)” featuring an enthusiastic high school teacher in which Hishimi played a leading part regularly ended with 13 episodes while Koji Moritsugu was also appearing regularly in the show.

An issue of the magazine “Tokusatsu Hiho (secret treasure)” covered an article in which Toyoura-san and Hishimi-san met each other again in nearly 50 years and talked along with Bin Furuya while the same topic also appeared in Hishimi-san’s latest essay book recently released.

The UG uniform Hishimi-san initially wore in the show including the helmet seems to have been the one made for Toyoura-san as Toyoura-san left the show right after measurements were taken for her uniform.


Replaced Cast: Ide And Anne #1

The SSSP member cast including Susumu Ishikawa (second from right)

Regarding the roles of Ide in “Ultraman” and Anne in “Ultraseven,” it is known that the performers originally arranged to appear in the shows were replaced by Masanari Nihei and Yuriko Hishimi.

As to Ide, the character was initially slated to be acted by Susumu Ishikawa (1933-2012) who was a popular actor and singer in those days.

Ishikawa, nicknamed Kewpie-chan (“chan” is a Japanese suffix coming right after someone’s name mainly used for children, girls or someone close to you), was a man who funnily acted Chief Nishioka of New Tokyo Station in Ultra Q Episode 10 featuring M1.

Susumu Ishikawa from Ultra Q Episode 10

It is said, although the filming started with Ishikawa included for Ide, Ishikawa got out of the show in a few days. And Masanari Nihei who had appeared in “Ultra Q” for three episodes (Episode 2; 6; 15) was chosen for the role of Ide in the end.

While Ishikawa seems to have left the show for reasons related to his own schedule or his appearance fee, it is likely that the scenes that were already filmed with Ishikawa had to be reshot with Nihei.

Ide was portrayed as a man with complex personality as he acted as a comic relief with funny remarks and behaviors and, at the same time, he was so sensitive that he got distressed about Jamyra and protested against attacking the kaiju that used to be a human.

The SSSP members so familiar to us

The mistake he made about Pester made him feel so much responsibility in Episode 13, or he was troubled questioning if the SSSP would still be necessary even with the presence of Ultraman in Episode 37.

It is assumed that, if Ide should have been played by Ishikawa instead of Nihei as it was originally arranged, the directors including Akio Jissoji would never have depicted Ide as such a character with a profound personality.

When I was a kid, Ide was definitely an impressive character I was drawn to along with the other main characters, and I think Nihei should be given credit for having helped to make the character that much attractive and impressive far beyond just a comical dude.


More About Tetsuo Yamamura Who Played Chamegon

From left: Hideaki Sato, Akihide Tsuzawa and Tetsuo Yamamura (snapshot from Ultraman Episode 9); Sato also appeared in Ultra Q Episode 14 as the protagonist boy

Following my post on Haruyoshi Nakamura as one of the suit actors of Booska, I would like to talk a bit more about Tetsuo Yamamura (1951-present) as an actor of Chamegon while the character was acted by Yamamura and Teruo Aragaki alternately depending on the episode.

As I wrote about the outline of Yamamura’s career as a suit actor, after he appeared as human characters in “Ultra Q” and “Ultraman,” he started his career as a kaiju actor with Chamegon for the first time, surprisingly enough, when he was a junior high student.

Chibirakun characters: Pochipochi is a dog-like character beside rightmost Chibirakun

As to Ultra Kaijus, as most of them were being played by seasoned suit actors who had already been involved in suit acting for the series, Yamamura started playing with Gander, Alien Prote (giant version) and Dally in “Ultraseven” after he had played kaijus at stage shows or for still photos exclusively along with a human character as the son of the Mizushimas assaulted by Alien Quraso.

Yamamura (second from right) around the time when he was playing Pochipochi

After that, Yamamura played Pochipochi in the TV tokusatsu series “Chibirakun” (1970-1971) produced by Tsuburaya Productions, and, in 1972, he played Daigoro in the kaiju movie “Daigoro vs. Goliath” produced as the movie commemorating the 10th anniversary of Tsuburaya Productions (I have never seen this movie unfortunately).

He is also known to have played kaius for several Tsuburaya TV tokusatsu series including “Ultraman Tarou”(1973), “Fireman” (1973) and “Jumborg Ace” (1973). He also appeared in “Ultraman 80” (1980) as a kaiju named Tetsuon after his name.

Tetsuon

Haruyoshi Nakamura: Actor For Kanegon & Booska

Haruyoshi Nakamura: the “inside man” of Kanegon and Booska

As I described in my previous post, Kanegon and Booska were played by the same actor: Haruyoshi Nakamura while, in Booska’s case, the character was also played by two other actors, Kunio Suzuki and Yukihiro Kiyono, alternately along with Nakamura depending on the episodes.

Nakamura and Suzuki mainly played Booska except two episodes featuring Kiyono as the Booska actor. It is explained that Nakamura was an actor who belonged to an extra actors company named Otsukagumi (Otsuka Company if put in English) in those days.

It seems that Otsukagumi was predominantly involved in providing extras for Toho movies back then as the founder Otsuka had worked for Toho as an actor or a crew member.

Hirohiko Sato who became a sculptor after he had been with Otsukagumi as an actor tells us some stories about Nakamura in an interview for a book (“Tokusatsu Hiho”).

Booska, Chamegon and the staff at the Bisen studio

According to Sato, Nakamura was a man who took a lot of care of people around him and liked by them although he was also feared under the nickname of “(military) Sergeant” as he was rather strict at work.

Sato says Nakamura hustled a lot in playing the leading role of the show by acting Booska while working out with exercises and going to see animals at a zoo to study their movements (I hear suit actors including Haruo Nakajima, the original Godzilla actor, did the same thing).

And Sato explains that the gestures typical of Booska to express happiness, anger and sadness along with the funny “Booska language” were invented by Nakamura at the request of a director. I think the gestures were fabulous even though the language should have been given first to Nakamura.

Although, according to Sato, Nakamura seems to have acted Booska happily as he originally joined the show business while being drawn to comedians, it is a shame that not much is known about such suit actors as Nakamura despite their great performances that definitely made us happy when we were kids.


Kenjiro Yoshino/Kenbo Kaminarimon

Mechataro (center) along with his buddies provoking Daisaku and his friends

Mechataro referred to in my yesterday’s post was played by Kenjiro Yoshino (1956-present) while he was a child actor to be known as Kenbo Kaminarimon in later years with great popularity.

Although he seems to have left the show business in the early 1980s, I remember he often appeared in TV shows and movies and voiced some anime characters when I was a kid. Beside being a child actor, he was also a rakugo (Japanese traditional storytelling) performer registered with the Rakugo Art Association after apprenticeship under Sukeroku Kaminarimon.

As I said in yesterday’s post, Mechataro in Booska is portrayed as a mischievous, impudent boy who is mean to Daisaku as he always tries to outdo Daisaku in rivalry along with his buddies who are also at odds with Daisaku’s friends.

Nevertheless, Mechataro is a nice guy at heart and there were times he tried to help Daisaku and Daisaku’s buddies when they were in trouble. Basically, no real bad guys appear in Booska, which makes me feel really at ease when watching it.

Chibirakun (rightmost)

While Yoshino impressively acted Mechataro in Booska, he also appeared in Ultraman Episode 23 as a boy who tried to rescue pigeons he had kept in a village attacked by Jamyra.

Yoshino voiced Chibirakun in the show “Chibirakun,” the tokusatsu series produced by Tsuburaya Productions and aired from 1970 to 1971, as well afterwards under the name of Kenbo Kaminarimon.

As his voice was changing at the age of 14 then when he voiced Chibirakun, it is actually hard to associate Mechataro with Chibirakun.

Although he cannot be found in TV shows today anymore, I really wish him good luck and happiness as he made us happy watching the shows in which he appeared when we were kids.


Chikao Otsuka

Chikao Otsuka as Oniyama in “Kaiju Booska”

Chikao Otsuka (1929-2015) was a voice actor who should be so much familiar and unforgettable to a person in my generation as he voiced a great number of characters especially in anime products we watched when we were kids.

While we enjoyed watching animation shows from the United States back then as home-made TV shows were not so many as in later years yet, “Dick Dastardly” in “Wacky Races” and “Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines” was voiced by him, and his acting made the character (“Black Maou” meaning “Black Devil King” in the Japanese version of the show) so popular in Japan.

Otsuka was also an actor who appeared with his face shown in “Ultra Q,” “Ultraman” and “Kaiju Booska.”

 

In Booska, he played a school teacher named Oniyama while the teacher appeared in Booska Episode 41 talked about in my yesterday’s entry.

He played a man who got his shoes cleaned by Itachi in Ultra Q Episode 10, one of the crew on a Japan Coast Guard patrol boat that was attacked by Ragon in Ultraman Episode 4 and a rest house manager in Ultraman Episode 21 who was troubled by unusual events caused by Kemlar.

In addition to his voice-acting in which he voiced many foreign actors including Charles Bronson as an actor regularly voiced by him, Otsuka should be best known in Japan as the voice actor for Nezumi Otoko (Rat Man) in the anime “Ge Ge Ge No Kitaro.”

His son, Akio Otsuka (1959-present), also plays an active role as a voice actor while he played, say, Black Jack in the anime series with his attractively deep voice.


Michio Kida

Booska #35

When watching the Booska Episode 35 “Let’s Go To The Galaxy!,” I found an actor who looks familiar to me among the characters.

That was Michio Kida (1912-1994) who impressively played Yasui, the fortune teller persistently chased by Alien Shadow in Ultraseven Episode 23 “Find Tomorrow” because his ability to foresee the future intimidated the aliens as it could possibly spoil their plot to blast the Terrestrial Defense Force weaponry development facility.

In the Booska episode, Kida acted Orihime’s father comically, and Kida also appeared in Booska Episode 5 in which he played a kendo (Japanese swordsmanship with the use of bamboo swords) teacher who was easily beaten by Booska in a kendo match in spite of his stately presence.

And, after his appearance in “Ultraseven,” Kida performed a magician in “Kaiki Daisakusen (Operation Mystery)” Episode 1 “Man Who Gets Through The Wall” as a side character who just appeared for a short while.

A strong impression made by his role of Yasui makes it even more suitable for Kida to act a magician.

Kaiki Daisakusen #1

According to a book authored by Yuriko Hishimi who acted Anne in “Ultraseven,” Kida brought his grandson to the set when his Ultraseven episode was being filmed as the boy begged to take him there.

Hishimi writes she remembers Kida said to her with a laugh that the boy showed him respect for the first time with admiring words “Grandpa, you are great!.”

While I have read a few more stories like this uttered by other actors who appeared in the Ultra Series, these stories tell us how much popular the series were among us kids back then.

Photos of Kida as Yasui alleged to have been recently discovered

Senkichi Omura

Senkichi Omura/Ōmura (1922-1991) is widely known among tokusatsu fans as an actor who often played a minor part eccentrically while he frequently appeared in the Ultra Series along with Toho movies including the kaiju films.

Even playing a bit part, his extraordinary presence was so impressive that he firmly remains anchored in our memory while he often played a victim of the case.

As far as the Kūsō Tokusatsu Series (original Ultra Series) are concerned, he appeared in Ultra Q Episode 1 as a construction site workman addicted to alcohol who first found Gomess showing up in the tunnel under construction.

In Ultraman Episode 29, he played a miner addicted to gold who was rescued out of the gold mine suffering from mental confusion and acting frantically in the SSSP underground tank Vellucidar/Belsider due to blood loss and a high fever.

In Booska (although this is not included in the original Ultra Series), he appeared in Episode 9 as a burglar dressed like a pirate who tried to steal boxes of dynamite and in Episode 30 as a school janitor falling down the stairs in surprise when he came across Chamegon.

In Ultraseven Episode 2, he acted a drunken office worker who was assaulted by Alien Waiell on his way home late in the evening, and, as you know well, the man shapeshifted into another Alien Waiell after he was brought in the TDF Medical Center.

Omura also appeared in Ultraseven Episode 41 as a man who witnessed a kappa (Alien Tepeto) when fishing.

It seems that he is also known to have creepily acted the human form of Alien Steal in Ultraman Ace.

Omura’s hobby is described online as horse riding.

Although he was not often covered in publications related to tokusatsu in life unfortunately, Omura was another actor who gained popularity among Japanese tokusatsu fans.