Tag Archives: Gekko Kamen

Super heroes of Takeda Hour

Silver Kamen

Gekko Kamen is said to have been Japan’s first television series and the origin of products featuring a modern superhero.

The hero’s motto was “Never hate, never kill and forgive a sin.” and he never killed bad guys.

It seems to have been so popular among kids at the time though it’s before I was born.

Silver Kamen Giant

It’s impressive to learn that Ultraman was exactly the successor to Gekko Kamen as a superhero in a way given it was broadcast in the same Takeda Hour.

As to Takeda Hour, the product I remember is Ultra Series including Captain Ultra, Kaiki Daisakusen (Tsuburaya product with no superhero), Judo Icchokusen (judo drama), Silver Kamen and Iron King.

After Tsuburaya Productions got out of the hour leaving its immortal masterpieces behind (seemingly because of cost issues), Senkosha company which brought out Gekko Kamen produced two other SFX superheroes which are Silver Kamen (Silver Mask) and Iron King.

Iron King

The people who left Tsuburaya Productions also took part in these two.

The design work was done by Noriyoshi Ikeya who was the successor to Tohl Narita in designing Ultra monsters (aliens) for the latter half of “Ultra Seven.”

Silver Kamen and Iron King, both of which were designed by Mr. Ikeya based on western armors look similar.

They are attractive in a different way from Ultra heroes.

I hope to talk about them sometime later.

Takeda Hour

Gekko Kamen

Kuuso Tokusatsu Series (Fantasy SFX Series or Early Ultra Series, which stand for “Ultra Q,” “Ultraman” and “Ultra Seven”) were broadcast as one of the programs of “Takeda Hour.”

Takeda Hour was a prime-time TV program slot from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. every Sunday from 1958 through 1974 broadcast by TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting System) and sponsored by Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited..


The hour started with a characteristic chorus featuring the company name and the bird-eye views of the company building.

At any rate, it was a long-awaited hour for us kids at the time.

With the beginning of the Takeda song, we rushed to a television set and breathlessly waited for what’s coming next.

It was the avan title of Ultra Series!!!


I vividly remember the excitement I had every time even now.

Kids throughout Japan should have been glued to the tube during this hour.

Looking into the Internet, I found the list of the Takeda Hour programs broadcast at the time (Shown in bold and red are SFX series).

If you find any errors, please let me know!

Title Duration Producer Episodes
1 Gekko Kamen Feb. 24, 1958-Jul. 5, 1959 Senkosha 130
2 Jaguar’s Eyes Jul. 12, 1959-Mar. 27, 1960  38
3 Nakiwarai Sakuranbo Gekidan Apr. 3, 1960-Jul. 31, 1960  ?
4 Yuyake Tenshi Aug. 7, 1960-Sept. 30, 1962 ?
5 Onmitsu Kenshi Oct. 7, 1962-Mar. 28, 1965  128
6 Shin Onmitsu Kenshi Apr. 4, 1965-Dec. 26, 1965  39
7 Ultra Q Jan. 2, 1966-Jul. 3, 1966  Tsuburaya Productions  28
 8 Ultraman Jul. 17, 1966-Apr. 9, 1967  39
 9 Captain Ultra Apr. 16, 1967-Sept. 24, 1967  Toei Company  24
 10 Ultra Seven Oct. 1, 1967-Sept. 8, 1968  Tsuburaya Productions 49
 11 Kaiki Daisakusen Sept. 15, 1968-Mar. 9, 1969  26
 12 Yojutsu Bugeicho Mar. 16, 1969-Jun. 8, 1969  Toei Company  13
13 Judo Icchokusen Jun. 15, 1969-Apr. 4, 1971  92
14 Guts Jun Apr. 11, 1971-Nov. 21, 1971  Senkosha  33
 15 Silver Kamen Nov. 28, 1971-May 21, 1972  26
16 Kimero! Finish May 28, 1972-Oct. 1, 1972  Toho Company  18
 17 Iron King Oct. 8, 1972-Apr. 8, 1973  Senkosha  26
 18 Henshin! Ponpokodama Apr. 15, 1973-Jul. 29, 1973  Kokusai Hoei  15
 19 Go! Go! Idol Aug. 5, 1973-Sept. 30, 1973  ?  9
 20 Onmitsu Kenshi Oct. 7, 1973-Dec. 30, 1973  Senkosha 12
 21 Onmitsu Kenshi Tsuppashire! Jan. 6, 1974-Mar. 31, 1974  14

Use of FRP for the mask

Nanairo Kamen

I’m not sure but, as a hero with the face entirely covered by a mask, Nanairo Kamen (Seven-colored Mask) might be the first one.

It’s a superhero featured in a monochrome TV series “Nanairo Kamen” (broadcast from 1959 to 1960).

Along with “Gekko Kamen” (Moonlight Mask; broadcast from 1958 to 59), he’s one of the heroes in the early period of such superhero TV series of Japan.

These two were produced by the same author, Kohan Kawauchi (1920-2008).


Gekko Kamen

I don’t know much about this hero because it was broadcast before I was born.

It’s likely the mask material is unknown.

So the head of Magma Taishi may be the first one made of FRP.

It’s said Magma Taishi was supposed to be played by an actor exposing his gold-powdered face in the planning stage.

Magama Taishi with the actor’s face exposed can be actually seen in the pilot film.


Magma Taishi in the pilot film

It seems that, as the gold powder wet with sweat easily got off and so on, it was decided to use the FRP mask.

That shows the producers had a continuous process of trial and error in those days.

At any rate, you will be aware of the extraordinary uniqueness the appearance of Ultraman has among these superheroes.

I love the flavor of each one of them, though!!!