I borrowed your wonderful illustration for my Facebook Page, Pisit-san! Hope this is not embarrassing you!
This place where the Shinjuku Toho Building including the Toho Cinemas and Gracery Hotel is located used to have a time-honored performance theater called “Koma Gekijo (Koma Theater)” that was seen as a landmark of the Kabukicho district. The Koma Theater seems to have been demolished because of deterioration in 2011 after the theater got out of business due to less popularity while I didn’t know it at all.
The Koma Theater seems to have been here since the 1950s and gained great popularity in the 1970s for the shows performed at the theater although I had never entered the theater. In my impression, it looked more like a theater that attracted older people when I was in my 20s.
Turning around the corner of the newly built Shinjuku Toho Building, I tried to head for a movie theater I often visited to see movies in my youth to see what happened to it as I have not been there for a very long time.
Oh, my goodness, this is unbelievable! The whole movie theater is gone!!! This is exactly where it used to be! There used to be a fountain-like structure in the center of this square with a large movie theater in front while I forgot the name (I think it was “Shinjuku Plaza Theater”). I remember I often went to see movies there with my friends in my teens and 20s…
Well, I have no choice but to accept the reality. I am going back to the station to go home. This is the street with the fruit store I showed to you in my previous post when I looked back.
These are pictures put up on walls near the entrance of the JR Shinjuku Station that show what this area looked like in the past. They have descriptions that the one on the left side was taken in 1932 and the other one in 1958. As I was born in 1962, a view similar to the one on the right should have unfolded if I had visited this area at that time. (If you are interested in retro-looking townscapes of Japan, you can visit another blog I am running about it!)
This is the view you will get when you have crossed the street I showed in my previous post and looked back. The picture on the right shows where I came from.
And you can head for the Godzilla by walking straight down the street named “Godzilla Road” that comes into view with the Godzilla head popping out of the building. This part of the area is called “Kabukicho” and widely known as one of the largest entertainment and also red light districts in Japan.
Oh, I can’t resist the excitement I feel as I approach the Godzilla ahead of me! It looks pretty nice with the blue sky in the background!
It is much more impressive than I thought. It is truly a well-made Godzilla head! As it is shown with the sign on the wall, this building includes the movie theater “Toho Cinemas,” and the hotel sticking out of it seems to called “Gracery Shinjuku.” The hotel is likely to be affiliated with Washington Hotels run by Fujita Kanko alleged to be the leading Japanese tourism company having many hotels all over Japan. And chances are the latest Star Wars episode is on now in the movie theater.
This Godzilla head seems to have started being shown to the public in 2015 when this “Shinjuku Toho Building” was completed including the movie theater and the hotel. It is said that the head is based on the Godzilla that appeared in the 1992 Godzilla movie “Godzilla vs. Mothra” as the movie turned out to be most popular among the series of the Godzilla movies that have been screened since the Showa Period (up to 1989).
I have just learnt now that this Godzilla head roars at noon and at some other times making the sound of roar with a blue light lit in the mouth (it seems that it also gives out smoke then. It is unlikely that the mouth moves) although it didn’t roar unfortunately when I visited the place. The size of the 12 meter high Godzilla head is said to be located at the point where it measures 40 meters from the ground (the first Godzilla is likely to be set as 50 meters high).
Happy New Year to all of you, my friends! Thank you for having waited for my new posts! I had not been able to post any entries till now as I had been very busy with chores I had to do over the end and beginning of the year.
With a couple more entries on Akio Jissoji to be posted soon afterwards, I would like to show you some pictures of GODZILLA who appeared in Shinjuku, Tokyo, as I went there to see it after I had happened to glance at it from the train when passing through Shinjuku the other day although you may already know this issue better than me.
For people who would like to take a look at it when visiting Japan, I will show you the way to Godzilla with pictures rather precisely. I hope that helps.
Sorry for the blurred photo above but this is the JR Shinjuku Station. For the Godzilla, you can get through the east exit of the station while this is exactly the east exit where I came from.
When getting out of the east exit of the JR Shinjuku Station, be careful about which exit you have to get through as the station is huge enough to get you lost, this view unfolds before your eyes. The Studio ALTA in front is one of the famous landmarks in Shinjuku where people often meet up.
Right across the street, you can find a street with trees like this with a fruit store on the right-hand corner with a conspicuous signboard of fruits brightly painted.
Just go down the street. There are so many people. While the fruit store on the right hand side is closed with the shutters, I took this picture before it opened and the above one after it opened. That’s why.
After going down the street, it is just a short distance, you will find another street (Yasukuni Dori Street). Can you recognize Godzilla’s head popping out of a building ahead? The people in front are just waiting to cross the street, and it is not that they were frozen in place at the emergence of Godzilla!
In a certain place of Tokyo I visited the other day, I found a display ad board in front of a chiropractic office. It says “Getting rid of the villains. Leave it to us!” apparently comparing such disorders as tight shoulders and neck or lower back pain to “villains.”
The thing is, the Ultraman thrusting his fist like he pops out of the blinding light in the scene where Hayata turns into Ultraman is excellently drawn! Every detailed part of the drawing including the eyes with the diamond cut pattern properly featured and the nicely shaped red marking that looks like it was drawn faithfully copying the way it looks in the actual costume makes me aware the owner or an employee of this office should be a big fan of Ultraman!
Incidentally, tense shoulders and neck are disorders often described as “national disease” a large number of Japanese suffer from (except me somehow). I guess it is not because of the matter of the genetic body structure or something but they should be sort of lifestyle diseases as many Japanese have to do a lot of desk work at their workplaces till late in the evening.
Last but not least, the Ultraman who faces forward in his pop-out scene like this fabulous drawing is Returned Ultraman instead of the original Ultraman who shows the top of his head in that particular scene.
The other day, I visited a certain place of Tokyo as I had something to do there and found a toy store on the street. Toy stores in town are becoming a real rarity these days in Japan as many mom-and-pop toy stores have been replaced by major electric appliances chain stores that sell toys as well and also probably with fewer children due to the decreasing birthrate here in Japan.
Although I didn’t have time to take a close look at the items the store had, at a first glance, a figure of Ultraman Gaia came into my sight.
Ultraman Gaia was, as you surely know, one of the series usually called “Heisei (the current era of Japan starting in 1989) Trilogy” consisting of “Ultraman Tiga,” “Ultraman Dyna” and “Ultraman Gaia.”
While I have to admit I have not been so much drawn to the Heisei Trilogy as the original Trilogy comprising “Ultra Q,” “Ultraman” and “Ultraseven” aired in the Showa Period (1926-1989), I am fully aware that each of the Heisei series is enjoyable enough.
Especially, Ultraman Gaia is an unforgettable show among the Heisei Trilogy for me because I enjoyed watching it with my sons when they were cute little children.
Although they have already outgrown TV shows featuring superheroes, the memory of fun time I spent with my sons watching Gaia with a lot of excitement shared with them still remains etched vividly in my mind.
At any rate, the Heisei Trilogy is the series I hope to enjoy someday when I have time in the near future.
The original Godzilla actor Haruo Nakajima known as “Mr. Godzilla” died of pneumonia at 88 on August 7 (JST).
Although I am not so familiar with Godzilla movies as I am with the original Ultra Series (my parents never took me to movies when I was a kid), the news has made me feel so sad as Nakajima greatly contributed to the tokusatsu TV shows as well by playing many Ultra Kaijus impressively: Gomess, Pagos, Nelonga, Jirass, Keylla and U-tom (there is an explanation that he also played Kemur II).
Given the Ultra Series would not have happened if it had not been for Godzilla, his contribution to the rise of the TV series is immeasurable in this light too. I think we should be fully aware that today’s Japanese tokusatsu products could not have existed without the efforts the people involved made including Nakajima while the same is true of Bin Furuya who played the original Ultraman.
The reason I had wished Nakajima good health and longevity was not only because of his great achievements as the original Godzilla actor but he was from a generation who were deprived of happy days of their youth by the war while he himself was drafted.
His biography tells me that, even after he acted Godzilla, it was not that it brought him happiness he should have been worthy of as many actors including Nakajima were laid off amidst the downsizing of Toho company.
So, seeing him warmly welcome abroad surrounded by a large number of fans with popularity possibly surpassing the equivalent in Japan, it had made me feel very much happy.
While a man who runs a blog related to martial arts that I often read also referred to Nakajima (as the blog writer also describes himself as a tokusatsu fan), he writes he once saw a well-built old man at a tokusatsu event who made him think of that old man as a master of a martial art due to the old man’s presence, behavior and vibe.
He says the old man responded with a friendly smile to a young man who asked to shake hands. And that made him notice that the old man was Nakajima. Such a story makes me aware that Nakajma might have been another of the last Japanese with the samurai spirit.
It is truly a shame to lose the cast and staff who actually experienced the dawning of Japanese tokusatsu.
May he rest in peace.
The Ultraseven big soft vinyl figure (9.2″) has been released from Bandai and I purchased one the other day.
As you may know, this figure is from the Bandai big soft vinyl figure series dealing with Ultra heroes including the figure of Ultraman I got last year.
This Ultraseven figure should have become available this year when the 50th anniversary of the show is marked, and I think it is a satisfactory product in sculpture that deserves the item for the anniversary year.
As an enthusiastic fan of the original series, however, the head slightly looks too small for Ultraseven played by Koji Uenishi, and it looks too good in body proportion while I am fully aware that there should not be people who are so much fussy about such trifles.
The figure gives me an impression that they sculpted it based on recently made Ultraseven costumes rather than the 1967 original Ultraseven, which has made it look much more stylish in a way than the original “Uenishi Seven” characterized by his stubby body shape with shorter limbs than the original Ultraman acted by Bin Furuya.
Like the smaller-sized soft vinyl figure of Ultraseven, Eye Slugger has no openings as it is monolithically molded with the head with its curled lower end left uncut although these should be unavoidable due to the material and the production process.
Skillful modellers may be able to hollow out and cut off the unwanted parts so as to make it look more real. It might also be a bit shame to see its eyes plainly painted orange gold without the white parts and to find the dented patterns on the head painted gold instead of the original whitish color.
Nevertheless, I still find it a very nice product worth getting as I had been looking forward to the release.
And, as I have listed extra items I bought and have left unused or unassembled on eBay because I can purchase them anytime easily even at a nearby store here in Japan, your visit to take a look at the items will be appreciated if you are interested. To see the items I listed, click here.