RACE CARS, DRUMS, AND MONSTERS! Yutaka Hayashi on His Varied Entertainment Career!

Yutaka Hayashi on the drums circa 2008. Photo © Yutaka Hayashi.

Yutaka Hayashi, who played the race car driver Hiroshi Jinkawa, in Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973), followed an unusual path in becoming part of the movie business. In 1966, Mr. Hayashi debuted as the drummer for the pop band The Village Singers, which immediately started releasing records. In 1972, The Village Singers ultimately disbanded, and Mr. Hayashi embarked on his acting career. After appearing in a number of films, Mr. Hayashi left acting in 1984 to become a businessman. In 2008, Mr. Hayashi recounted his memories of working on Godzilla vs. Megalon with Brett Homenick. The following interview was translated by totorom.

Brett Homenick: To begin, please tell us about your band, The Village Singers.

Yutaka Hayashi: The Village Singers is a pop band that I formed during my school days. Our repertoire included original songs and hits by other popular artists of those days, like The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Bee Gees, etc. We enjoyed big success with hit songs like “Bara iro no kumo” and “Kuri iro no kami no otome.”

BH: How did you get your start in the film business?

YH: After The Village Singers disbanded, according to a suggestion by a film director, I became an actor.

BH: You appeared on the superhero program Kikaider (1972-73). What do you  recall about your involvement with this television show?

YH: I only have a vague memory about appearing on Kikaider. I have forgotten the details.

BH: How did you get cast in Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)?

YH: A producer at Toho requested me to appear in it.

BH: What do you remember about the movie’s director, Jun Fukuda?

YH: I remember that Mr. Fukuda was very gentle.

BH: How would Mr. Fukuda direct you on the set?

YH: He would not give me any special requests on my acting.

BH: Could you share your memories of your co-stars, Katsuhiko Sasaki and Hiroyuki Kawase?

YH: I had never worked with them before. As a senior actor, Mr. Sasaki was very kind to me. Kawase-kun was a cute boy.

BH: What can you tell us about the actors who played the Seatopian agents, Kotaro Tomita and Wolf Otsuki?

YH: Mr. Tomita was a theatrical actor, and I thought his acting was superb. I do not have a clear memory of Mr. Otsuki.

BH: While he was in the Jet Jaguar suit, you shared screen time with Tsugutoshi Komada. What can you remember about him?

YH: I am sorry. I do not remember at all.

BH: Do you have any memories of Gentaro Nakajima and Sakyo Mikami, who played the truck drivers?

YH: Mr. Nakajima was a veteran actor. I worked with him for another drama, too. I do not have a clear memory of Mr. Mikami.

BH: How much involvement did you have in filming the stunts with the cars?

YH: Originally, I liked driving. So I tried to drive myself as much as I could, not using a stuntman.

BH: What was it like filming the fight scenes with the Seatopian agents?

YH: It is difficult to answer.

BH: How long did filming last on this movie?

YH: I think it was about two months.

BH: Did you work much with the film staff on this movie?

YH: I gave some suggestions to them for the car-driving scenes.

BH: Where were your scenes shot?

YH: Mainly around Gotemba, near the famous Mt. Fuji (the Self-Defense Forces are stationed there).

BH: Please tell us what it was like filming your scenes on most days.

YH: It was quite hard. I had action scenes and car-chase scenes, so I was exhausted when I finished shooting every day.

BH: Do you have any other interesting stories from the set that you can share?

YH: During break time, I was playing with the mini motorcycle which Kawase-kun usually rode on. I fell down off the motorcycle and hit my back on the ground. It was so painful.

BH: What did you think of Godzilla vs. Megalon once you saw it?

YH: In those days, I thought it was only one of my many works. Recently, however, I bought a DVD of this movie for my four-year-old grandchild. We enjoy watching it together. How fortunate I was to appear in this movie!

BH: Do you have any final thoughts?

YH: It was a pleasant surprise for me to receive an interview request from overseas. I would be very happy if the readers enjoy my interview.

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