MR. GODZILLA SPEAKS! Suit Actor Haruo Nakajima on Playing the King of the Monsters!

Godzilla suit actor Haruo Nakajima answers questions about his career in September 2014. Photo © Brett Homenick.

While most kaiju eiga fans know Haruo Nakajima as the actor who played Godzilla in the monster suit from 1954 to 1972, he also played such Toho kaiju as Rodan, Mogera, Varan, Gaila, and King Kong (in King Kong Escapes, 1967) in a variety of monster movies from Toho Studios. A longtime favorite among Western Godzilla fans, Haruo Nakajima was interviewed by Brett Homenick and August Ragone in July 2008, which was translated by Robert Field.

Brett Homenick: All right, well, let’s get right to the questions. While people can imagine that suit acting is tough, can you tell us how dangerous it actually is?

Haruo Nakajima: When I first put the suit on, there was a lot of asbestos-type stuff in there, fire-retardant inside. Because they’d done that, because they were going to make a lot of explosions and stuff like that, as we did it, we realized that the temperature inside the suit became about 60 degrees Celsius, which is very, very hot, about 130 degrees inside the suit. So we didn’t realize that that was going to happen at the beginning, so it got very, very hot. Also, the rain that they had coming down, the man-made rain and also the real rain, (the suit) became very, very heavy, so you can imagine the heat and the weight of the suit had a big impact on everything we did.

In Varan (1958), I wore the suit for Varan, and during some of the shots, they had a truck that had explosives on it come and run into me and hit me in the stomach, and the thing blew up. It kind of burned my stomach, but it missed more important parts! (laughs)

You have to be very strong to be able to play parts like this. During the scenes where the explosions happen, I never made any excuses, and I never complained about anything until after it was over. But during it, there’s no actor who cries, like some of them these days. A real actor doesn’t cry.

You’re not supposed to complain. Because you are an actor, you act like there is no pain. And after it’s over, you don’t have to act anymore, so you can tell people that you really got hurt. Especially in Japan, actors who complain too much are not highly thought of. I felt that way from the very beginning. That’s why I never complained. Especially the dangerous scenes, I didn’t complain about anything.

Movie directors are very cold people. My nickname was Naka-chan, and the director would come up and say, “Naka-chan, it’s your turn again.” So I knew there was a very dangerous scene coming up. Very cold people, these directors.

When you’re acting in a suit, it’s very dangerous, and the director expects perfection. You have to have perfection, or else a lot of things go wrong. So it’s kind of like being between a human and a god somewhere. You have to get perfect, or if you don’t, if you become human, you could die. If you do it like God does, you’re perfect, and everything is okay. The director expects perfection, so he sees you not so much as a god, but somewhere in between a god and a person. There are a lot of different types of directors. There are a few good ones, and there are some that are very, very noisy. (laughs) For instance, Mr. (Akira) Kurosawa was very, very strict about a lot of things. He would always say, “I don’t want you acting like Toei Studios would; you have to act like this!” He was always constantly very strict about everything, the way we cut, the way we acted. Very, very noisy about that stuff.

Mr. Kurosawa, for instance, when it comes to samurai, one samurai cuts and the other one gets cut, is basically how it works. When it comes to Mr. Kurosawa, he says, “We want this as natural as possible, so cut him like you mean it!” That was one of the experiences we had. For instance, with the Toei Studios, when they would do these types of scenes, these fighting scenes with swords and stuff, one actor would cut, and the other actor would turn his face like this inside the camera. This is not natural because usually that would be someone dying. You get cut, you would die. So Mr. Kurosawa would say, never copy the way Toei does it. So we would have to look at each other face-to-face and only fight each other face-to-face when we’re actually supposed to die during the scene. So (it) would be cut after cut after cut after cut, so we had a lot of welts as a result.

In Japan, the director of the movie has the number-one power. In America, a lot of times it’s the stars who have the power, but it doesn’t matter who the star is in Japan. The director has all the power. So if he doesn’t like the main actor, he’ll take the main scenes with his main actor, and if he does something stupid, he’ll say, “Go home. We don’t want you here. Get out of here.” Mr. Kurosawa has done that many times.

On the other hand, Mr. (Eiji) Tsuburaya was not that noisy a director. A lot of the reason was because between shots, he was constantly sleeping. I wasn’t sure if he was thinking really deeply or sleeping, but he’d always have his mouth open, and he was looking up, and then all of a sudden he’d come (awake) and say, “Okay, do the shot!” When I think about it, he wasn’t one of the noisier ones. He was one of the quieter ones.

You would think having a quieter director would be a lot easier, but actually the noisy ones are a lot better because you understand where they’re coming from. The quiet ones, a lot of times, they don’t really tell you what to do. They just expect one hundred percent and to be perfect. So it’s very hard to actually maneuver around someone who’s really quiet, a director like that. In one sense, we think the director is an actor, too, because even if we get one hundred percent done, and it’s perfect, when we as actors do our own stunts or do our scenes perfectly, we really feel good about it. And we look at the director, and he usually kind of snorts through his nose, “Mm.” So we’re not really sure if he’s happy or not about it, so maybe he’s an actor, too. We think that he’s a little bit happy about (it).

As a director, a lot of times some of the stars who think they’re superstars would also try to ad lib. But it is up to the director it edit it out or not edit it out. So you would see the directors with his fingers going like this (making a cutting motion with his fingers), so we usually know if he likes it or not, in that sense. He doesn’t say it, but he puts his fingers up and goes like this.

And that’s where you see in one of the Godzilla movies, I do this. It’s called “Shie,” and it became very popular in Japan. So instead of using the fingers for cutting and everything else, whenever they liked something, some ad lib especially, (they’d) say, “Let’s leave it in,” they’ll give the Shie mark, and everybody kind of (does the Shie). So that’s where it came from.

August Ragone: That was from a famous manga, right? That was from a famous manga originally.

HN: I’m not sure if it was the chicken or the egg that came first. In that sense, Tsuburaya was very open to a lot of ideas, other than a lot of other directors in that sense. He was very open to them. There was one scene where I made this gesture (scratches his nose). It was actually ad-libbed when I did that, and they left it in. Mr. Tsuburaya was good in that way, a lot of the actors, including me, (were able to) ad lib with the monsters.

As you can imagine, there a lot of flying things, especially in a Godzilla movie, missiles and lasers and all kinds of different things that you get hit with, and it hurts. And when they decided that they were going to try different types of missiles, every so often they’d get a big piece of board or something, put it against the wall, stick a helmet down there, and they’d aim the rocket at that, and they shoot at it. (They’d say,) “And this is what we’re going to use next, okay?” And we’re all sitting there waiting for it to knock it off or something, and the rocket went straight through the helmet and blew up. And I’m looking at this and (thinking), “This is what you’re going to use next?” (laughs)

Up to that point, they had never really taken any tests. They were thinking that because Godzilla was made out of latex rubber that all the rockets are going to bounce off. It wasn’t until they did this test that I realized I might be hurting inside.

I like to smoke. A lot of times, between different scenes, we weren’t going to take off the Godzilla suit, (but) they’d drill a little hole in there and stick the cigarette in the hole. (laughs)

AR: Can you share any memories of particular films that the audience might want to hear, some stories about the original Godzilla, for instance.

HN: I was doing a number of different Godzilla movies, and during that time, there were other people wearing suits, and he (Tsuburaya) says, “Compared to you, they’re all a bunch of amateurs. You are the best. We need your help with something else.” And that’s basically how Ultraman started.

AR: It’s “Defeat Gomes!” the first episode of Ultra Q, 1966.

HN: And when they asked me to help out with this, they didn’t have a character that they really had in mind to use, a part that they wanted me to help. And because Toho has the rights to Godzilla, they weren’t able to use Godzilla. But they used his head and put a horn on it, but it’s actually a suit from Godzilla. But we were able to get around the patents and everything that Toho has because of this.

This is really quite interesting in this sense. When it’s summertime, everybody wants to get in the pool and play, but when it comes to these movies, especially these kaiju movies, it seems to work the other way around. Most of the scenes that they take in water is not in the summertime. It’s in the wintertime. So if you can imagine the middle of winter starting at seven or eight in the morning, going until noon, and we take an hour off, but we go from one until five or six o’clock at night, staying in the water all day long in the suit. It’s not a good thought!

For a whole week, we’d been shooting like this, in the middle of winter in the water from early morning until noon or night sometimes for a whole week, and as I’m going through the water, I can see the camera in front of me, and on the right side is where the director is and some of the staff are, and they all have these hibachis out or whatever, and of course they’re warming their hands and everything. I’m the only one sitting in the water all day and all night, and these guys are going, “Man, it’s cold out here!” Yeah, I’d like to smack these guys upside the head! (laughs) Directors are cold people. (laughs) I had been in the water a week. I’m cold, but they’re cold people. Because it’s so cold, and I’m really working hard, you’d think I’d get an appetite, too, but it’s so cold, and you see these guys warming their hands, you don’t really get an appetite, so I eat a little bit of ramen, and that makes me full.

We had a scene in one of our movies where we used a real octopus, we were using this live octopus, we had the scene, and they said, “Cut!” They said, “Okay, it’s lunchtime.” Guess what we had for lunch. It was delicious! (laughs) I was able to work with an octopus, and then I ate the octopus. Next question!

BH: All right, well, one movie that very few people know about your experiences making the movie is Godzilla Raids Again, otherwise known as Gojira no Gyakushu, which was released in 1955. Many people would like to know what it was like to work on this film, and how did you adjust because this was the first time you had to fight a monster, another actor in a suit. So what was that like, Gojira no Gyakushu?

HN: One thing I want you to realize is the first Godzilla suit I got into was made out of plastic, something really hard. So it was very hard to move, and it weighed about 220 pounds. And the next one I got into for this, to fight another character, was more of a rubber-type latex, and it was only 60 kilos, which is about 120 pounds. So it’s a lot less weight. And so, of course, it was a lot easier to move around. And in the other suit, it was Angilas. Mr. Katsumi (Tezuka) was in the other suit. Personality-wise, he’s kind of like the yakuza (Mafia). He was older than I was, but he was kind of like a “Boss.” He’s not, of course, but he kind of acts like that. He was older than me, so he acted tougher than me, so he thought he was a big thing. There’s one scene, with all the movements and all the fighting, I was the one who set it all up, and because this guy was this kind of a Mafia type, he wanted one hundred percent. There’s a scene where I pick up Angilas and throw him down in this muddy water. I’ve got my hands wrapped around his neck and started forcing him to drink this water. This guy was so involved in his role that he actually did drink the water! (laughs)

There’s certain miniatures in the film like a castle, and there’s certain parts where the monsters fall into these buildings. They wanted more of an effect, so they would actually cut pieces of it away from behind so you couldn’t see, and they had ropes to pull the building into us. And sometimes they would pull them too fast, and we would smash into it, and it would look really unnatural. And during those days, which was a long time ago, it cost them like $5,000 to rebuild. At that time, it was an awful lot of money. I was getting paid less than what it was to make one of these castles. (laughs) Basically, because these miniatures cost so much money, and they paid me less, the director would say, “Please be careful when you smash these things. We don’t really care about you; be careful with the miniatures.”

So when it comes to these miniatures, they would always ask me to smash them up not easily but naturally so that it looks good for the picture and everything else. And so, in my case, as I’m walking through them, these houses and whatever else between these buildings and stuff, because I’m so big, of course I accidentally hit a piece of a building and should knock it off. This is part of the natural process, and comparing myself to (Kenpachiro) Satsuma, a lot of his acting was a copy of mine. The big difference was that he wanted to crush all the buildings without this natural (motion) and breaking little pieces off. And so if the director were alive today, he’d probably be very upset with Satsuma because of the way he smashed them. That was the big difference between the two of us.

When you think about it, natural is the best. That’s what the director expects, and that had the best end result of the movie, and of course, I feel the same way. So a lot of times when they smash things, it looks cool when they’re doing it, but it doesn’t look as good in the film.

Up to now, because of the differences in the ways of the process, and the change of the generation, the way to continue Godzilla, the way to have him play out his part, the way to make him natural, even today they’re probably thinking of the best way to do it because I’m not there anymore.

AR: Speaking of natural movement or attributing animalistic behavior to his kaiju performances, one of the first notable ones is in Rodan in 1956 where when Rodan first emerges to the humans, where we can actually see him for the first time, he rises out of his lair, and he starts cleaning himself. I’ve read a couple of different accounts that Mr. Nakajima said he would come up with these ideas, “Act like a bird and clean myself.”

HN: In my days, Godzilla was about 50 meters high at the time. But the thing about it is the buildings were only 30 stories, so now as the generations go by, the buildings get bigger, and of course Godzilla has to get bigger, too, so the next problem is, because it gets bigger, it’s harder to maneuver the suit as well as to make the film look natural. So the next problem that had come up in the past and will come up from now on is how to make bigger better.

The one thing I did like about the American Godzilla is that his tail would hit the buildings, and it would just kind of scrape off (some) pieces. It seemed very natural.

Photo © Brett Homenick.

AR: So what (were) his experiences working on, let’s say, Rodan or Radon?

HN: There’s a scene in the movie Rodan — this is all taking (place) in summer (in) Japan in Kyushu. There’s a bridge that’s there. That’s what they used. One of the scenes I do remember is that I’m actually in the suit when they have me flying up and under or over this bridge, and when they were filming it, of course, they have wires hooked to me as it’s going, and it hits a certain point where I have to stop really quickly, but it won’t stop, basically. So you start moving around, around, around until you spin around, and the wire catches you like this, and you’re pulled the other way. And so you’re feeling really funny.

One good thing is, the difference is when you’re in water wearing these suits, it gets heavy very, very quickly, depending on your own strength of your feet, your legs, and your back to keep you up and stuff like that. It’s very, very heavy inside. You get hurt a lot, like me in Rodan. The wings kind of balanced the whole thing up, (so) when I was spinning around and around this way, I never got hurt.

AR: And didn’t they also, as they were pulling him up out of the water — he goes into the water in one scene. And as he comes out, what they did was, when he comes into the water, it’s a prop. He’s not in the suit. It’s the prop that smashes into the water, and when he comes out of the water, it’s Mr. Nakajima on wires, and they pulled him up. I heard in one story, and I want to ask him if this is true, as they get to the apex of the set, the wires broke, and he went straight into the set, which was the water.

HN: The story is true. The wire did not break, but the pulley, the little wheel that the wires are on, because they were spinning around, it got weakened. As they pulled me out of the water, it did break, and I did fall into the set. The good thing was I didn’t get hurt. It was a good experience. (laughs)

BH: Well, one of my favorite films was The Mysterians, released in Japan as Chikyu Boeigun. And in that film, Mr. Nakajima played Mogera. This was the first time that he played a robotic monster, as opposed to a living animal. So, on top of just remembering his experiences making that film, how did he approach playing a robotic monster, as opposed to a living creature?

HN: Because I have had a lot of experiences, not just with Godzilla, it is different, becoming a robot, and playing Godzilla or these other kaiju is a lot different. Of course, it’s like a robotic (movement). The one thing that was good in this case was that I’ve had a lot of experience with Ultraman and Godzilla so I could compare them, and I played kind of like a robot in (an) Ultraman (episode) I was in as well. So all the experiences I’ve had up till now really helped when I actually played this robot. So it was difficult, but because of all the experiences I’ve had, somehow I made it through, and I thought I did a good job. If you think about a Western movie, if a cowboy, all he can do is ride a horse, he‘s really not so cool. He’s got to know how to fall off the horse, he’s got to know how to shoot a gun, and he’s got to know how to do all these different things. So all these experiences that I had as an actor really helped in this case, and so in this case that was the case as well.

I think these days one of the big problems is that a lot of the stars make too much money. Not for the reason of making the money, but because they become very cocky. They are actually not as good as the actors before because they did study a lot of things, they were able to do their own stunts, they were able to fall off the horse, they were able to make the right movements. Everybody had a certain position or role or part. Now the superstars have come out, the main thing is the actors, even though they try hard, it could be different. It could be a lot better all around if they weren’t getting paid as much, as they do today.

For instance, if you have a budget for a movie, let’s say you have a hundred million dollars, two-thirds of it usually goes to the superstars, and after that the rest of it goes to production, (and) whatever’s left over goes to the supporting actors. I’ve never heard of any other business like this. So, personally speaking, I think that they do take too much. It would be a lot better if it was all more balanced out, and whether it’s a good script or not, the end product would be a lot better with more balance and all of it. You cannot make a movie with one movie star; everybody has their place. In one of the samurai movies with Mr. (Toshiro) Mifune, (he) was one of the major stars at the time, and for instance, in one of the sword scenes, he’d be one against ten of these other samurai. Of course, he’d probably kill all of them by himself, and the movie really looks good. But if the other ten guys weren’t in the movie, he wouldn’t look good. So whenever the movie was over, after he got done killing everybody, they’d all go out to drink together, and he’d buy the drinks. He’d say, “Thanks to you guys, I am what I am.”

The one thing I like about other Japanese actors, especially some of the superstars in Japan, is they’re always looking after the understudies. They’re always looking after the other actors, and they usually get along with the staff. And, as I said before, when things are said and done, they all go out. They all go out and drink together, usually the main star or the big staff, the bosses or something else, they buy the drinks for all of them and say thank you for helping me become what I am. In the States, it’s too bad that they don’t do that. It’d be a lot better for American movies if they were able to do that.

There are a lot of different techniques when making movies. There are a lot of different directors, the way they make them. When it comes to Tsuburaya, of course, he asks for certain things, but he’s trying to have a balance within the things. Again, he was very open-minded, as far as the directors in Japan, more than a lot of them.

Mr. Tsuburaya himself was actually a pilot, so he understood airplanes very well. So that was his specialty. And so, of course, he would come up with ideas about that, and then he would have a balance of other ideas from the other people.

During World War II, actually, because he understood airplanes, he understood aircraft carriers and things like that very well, he made his own sense of these different aircraft carriers, airplanes, and things like that. And he took these special effects in his little movie type of a thing. Apparently, at the time, right after the war, (General Douglas) MacArthur happened to see this. They thought it was actually a documentary of war and things going on. It actually was just a special effects thing that Tsuburaya did. That’s how good the special effects were at the time and how detailed he was when he did it. And apparently when MacArthur (saw it), he wanted to get it, he wanted to take it, put it in his own hands because he thought it was the real thing. And when they told him that it wasn’t, he was very impressed with that. But he actually thought it was the real thing, and so he tried very hard to get it in his hands. Is this the first time you’ve heard that?

I have a lot of pride in working with him. As I think about it, he was very detailed. And again, because of all the experiences he had as a pilot, as a movie director, and the other things that he did, he was able to make things like this that were very real, to the point of even deceiving MacArthur. And so all these experiences really did it for him, and I’m very proud to have worked with him. He was 68 when he died, and I was very sad at the time.

There was another one that I really respected, Kajiro Yamamoto. Honda and Kurosawa were understudies of his. They learned a lot from Mr. Yamamoto.

BH: All right, well, jumping ahead a little bit, let’s talk about Ghidrah the Three-Headed Monster. I just wanted to know what are your memories of working on this film. And, of course, this film featured King Ghidorah, Mothra, as well as Rodan as well. So what was it like to balance working with all those kaiju at the same time?

HN: In this movie, because Mr. Tsuburaya was no longer with us, the special effects director had to take on both hats; he had to do the acting with the actors as well as the special effects.

Photo © Brett Homenick.

AR: That was for Oru Kaiju Daishingeki, right? Or Godzilla’s Revenge or All Monsters Attack.

HN: Because the director had to take on both hats, I was very busy as well. The other one that was very difficult, it’s very easy to say the title and all these great kaiju in the movie. The problem is that it’s more work for me, basically. So they had the director do his thing, but all the movements of all the different kaiju and everything was up to me. So I was very busy, too. This was one of the first times I felt like I was the director because I was taking on so many jobs myself. But I felt, of course, very good about the whole thing. I was involved in the whole thing, so it really felt good. But then the responsibility gets heavier again. Screw anything up, and you get screwed, too. All the responsibility was moving towards me. (laughs) The director, usually Tsuburaya, would say, “It’s up to you to take it. I’ll leave it up to you, but you get the responsibility, too.” So it was even more pressure from the director as well. But I took it in stride and said, “I’ll take all of the responsibility. This is my (job), and I’m going to do it.” So I was very proud and happy with the whole thing.

AR: (What was it like) to work in Chikyu Saidai no Kessen, working with King Ghidorah, Radon, Mothra, all these monsters being coordinated on the set, dozens of wires…

HN: Because there were so many of them, with all the wires, of course it is very difficult. Even one kaiju is difficult, although the teamwork, pulling all the wires, the actors, the timing, and everything else. So having two, three, or four, as many there were in the movie, it was very difficult. But if you can’t get one hundred percent, maybe you can get ninety percent from the actors or the staff pulling the wires, and so you get as close to one hundred percent as you possibly can. That’s all can you do.

AR: Okay, a lot of fans’ favorite, on both sides of the Pacific, is a character that Mr. Nakajima considers his favorite, next to Godzilla, which is the Green Gargantua, Gaira, in War of the Gargantuas or Sanda tai Gaira. (What was involved) in doing that role?

HN: One of the things I remember mostly was a lot of the scenes were in water again, so I was used to that. I had eye shadow on, and my body was green, and there were other parts of my eyes, as I put on the mask, I’d have to put everything else in green so the color of my skin would come out. So I really looked like something interesting. The other one in the Sanda suit (Hiroshi Sekita), he was very good at action. He was a second-degree black belt in karate, so he was into a lot of action. So he was very good. Sekita played Ebirah and some of the other ones, but he is very good at action. So I had a really good time working with him. There was also a midget who played the son of Godzilla, Minya. He was a small actor. I also played King Kong, and he (Sekita) played Mechanikong.

BH: Well, while on the subject of King Kong, would you like to say a few words about working on this film and what it was like to play such an iconic monster as King Kong?

HN: When I first played the part of Godzilla, I received a script, but there was no name Godzilla. It just had “G” written on it. That was it. So they didn’t even have a name for it. I was thinking, “Well, I wonder if I should do this. I don‘t even know what the name of the monster is. All it says is ‘G.’” “G” was all they had on the script. And I was talking to Mr. Tsuburaya about it, and he said that they had a script that they were going to take to Hollywood as well, and they were talking to Hollywood about different things, and so I should do it. So in my imagination, I was thinking that maybe there was something (worth making) here, and so that’s when I decided to do it. That was one of the reasons.

For the movements of Godzilla and everything that I did, I did see one movie with King Kong in it, and it did help. That was very educational in that sense. And then I would go to the zoo and look at the different animals. This was an original thing, something that’s never been done before, so in one way I would have to copy something, but in another way I’d have to make it totally original. So I’d go and watch the bears, I’d go and watch different animals and the way they’d move. It was very educational and helped with the movements of Godzilla and these other parts that I played.

When you see a movie or anything else that you actually do, you have to see the whole picture, which also has the details as well. So, at the time when I started doing these movies, studying different things, all I had was this “G” name, and I really didn’t know what was going on at the time. When I finally saw the whole picture, everything started to come into place. But with all the experiences that I had, I’ve been able to adjust to the next role and everything else. So experience is very important. You should get as much of it you can.

AR: Well, how did he feel about playing both Godzilla and King Kong? He’s played both roles of the most famous monsters.

HN: Experience is everything. You learn from your experiences, and the more you have, the better you get. You don’t even need to ask me (about) playing the two most famous monsters in the world. Of course, I’m very happy about the whole thing. At the beginning with Godzilla, of course, I didn’t know how big it was going to get, but I started getting pictures of what the thing was going to look like. I got one end of it like this so I could imagine what they were going to do, and I got another one that was a little bit better or different, and my thought process gradually started getting bigger, bigger, and bigger. And again, as you think about it, as you get more of these experiences at the same time, the better you get at what you want to do. So I loved doing both of them, and because of my experiences I was able to. It was very important.

Another experience that I had when I was 14, actually, was I joined the Japanese Navy to become a pilot. Again, that is another experience that has helped me in a lot of ways. I became an understudy of the Navy to become a pilot. (laughs)

BH: The last Godzilla movie that you ever worked on was Godzilla vs. Gigan, and this was your last role as Godzilla. So I wanted you to say a few words about what it was like to approach Godzilla for the last time. Mr. Tsuburaya was no longer there with Mr. (Teruyoshi) Nakano who was directing. So could you talk about what it was like to work on that film, being the last one, with so many changes?

HN: The guy who played Gigan at the time was actually Kengo Nakayama. And when I had quit in the last movie, this man became the next Godzilla, and his name became Kenpachiro Satsuma. So it’s the same man who became Satsuma. In fact, it’s the exact same kanji, except they just changed it around and changed his name. Sometimes I really don’t understand why people have to change their names, or they have to use a stage name. I used my real name, and I still use my real name. I think that’s the best way to go. One of the big problems that a lot of these actors have, in Satsuma’s case as well, he had change his name to a stage name, and new people came up, and there were actually directors who worked with him but didn’t know he had changed his name. For instance, when he came to one of the (conventions) a number of years ago, they bought him a ticket as his stage name, and so when he took his passport and his ticket to the airport, they said, “This isn’t you.” “No, it is me. This is my stage name.” “Well, it doesn’t say that on the ticket or your passport.” So he had a very hard time getting to America. Haruo Nakajima is my name, and I have no problem coming to the United States. (laughs)

It was my last movie, but I made about 18 kaiju type movies, I made about 10 Ultraman (episodes). It’s a pretty good career, and so completing the last movie, I felt I had done what I wanted to do, so I had no regrets.

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