Ultraman & Karate

Interview covered in a fighting arts magazine published in 2012

As I wrote an article about how much a Japanese professional wrestler has been influenced by Ultraman in my post, another article included in a magazine I have at hand covers a talk among Bin Furuya, Minoru Kawasaki (film director) and a certain karate practitioner.

It is a talk in which how Ultraman’s movements performed by Furuya can be associated with real martial arts movements and such is talked about while Furuya actually trained karate when he was with Toho at the dojo (training hall) the film company used to have back then.

Furuya says he had practiced karate three to four times a week at the dojo before being assigned the role of Ultraman as those hired as bit part actors by Toho including Furuya were going to the company everyday even without any roles to play.

Spacium pose shown by Bin-san in the interview

Although he was introduced as a first degree black belt karate practitioner in a book back then, he says the dojo had no such promotion system and he just trained karate at the dojo for years without any belt promotion.

Furuya recalls he initially incorporated karate movements into the battle scenes with the kaijus he fought against rather than the ones commonly performed in professional wrestling matches which won great popularity in Japan at that time.

Whereas it might be undeniable that the show finally featured battle scenes more like professional wresting matches between Ultraman and kaijus, I think karate movements traditionally descended as a Japanese martial art should have successfully made us feel the beauty of movement in Ultraman’s action Furuya performed for us kids.

The same issue of the magazine also has an interview between Hiroshi Fujioka (starring “Kamen Rider”) and a professional MMA (mixed martial arts) fighter. How he looks tells us how happy he feels with Fujioka.

2 thoughts on “Ultraman & Karate”

  1. I agree that Furuya’s movements as Ultraman were excellent! It makes sense that he had martial arts training in real life. Furuya’s Ultraman moves realistically, like a giant humanoid would move if such a being were real. I felt that the later Ultra characters (like Ace and Tarou) did not move as realistically, as they would always be jumping and doing flips and somersaults all over the place!

    1. I love your wording all the time. 🙂 As to the heroes in and after “The Return of Ultraman”, it is obvious that they were greatly influenced by the Kamen Rider action that gained much popularity among kids back then whether good or bad…

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