TOHO’S MAN OF ACTION! Toru Ibuki Recalls His Adventurous Years On- and Off-screen!

Toru Ibuki in March 2019. Photo © Brett Homenick.

Toru Ibuki was Toho’s action star of the 1960s, and some of the action scenes he performed proved to be more dangerous than mere stunts. Born on January 28, 1940, Mr. Ibuki’s acting career brought him to the attention of worldwide audiences via his roles in the Godzilla series. Most notably, Mr. Ibuki played the tall assassin in Ghidrah the Three-Headed Monster (1964), the Xian World Education Corporation employee in Monster Zero (1965), Yata in Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster (1966), Ito in episode 5 of Ultra Q (1966), a Doctor Who henchman in King Kong Escapes (1967), Monsterland control center staff member Tetsuo Ise in Destroy All Monsters (1968), and Third Planet of the Black Hole alien Tsuda in Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975). In March 2019, Mr. Ibuki spoke to Brett Homenick about his life as an actor. This interview was translated by Manami Takagi and Keiko Takemata.

Brett Homenick: Please talk about your early life, where you grew up, and what hobbies you had.

Toru Ibuki: I was born in Dalian, China. Afterward, I came back to Japan. My family had a huge property in Fukuoka. It was about 25 acres. After the war, Japan was very poor, and it was hard to find food to eat. But there was a mountain on our property that was full of fruit. Pit vipers also lived in the mountain, so I was able to get protein by eating them.

BH: How did you do that? How did you catch the snakes?

TI: I took a bamboo stick that had two prongs to it and put it around the snake’s neck. Then I would break the neck of the snake. So the snake was dead, and afterward I would peel its skin off. Then I would cut the snake, put soy sauce on it, and ate it.

BH: Did you cook it at all?

TI: No, I ate them raw. I was the only one in my family who ate the snakes.

BH: Let’s talk about the war and that experience. Of course, you were about five years old when the war ended. But do you have other memories of the hardships and the difficulties of life during the war and immediately after the war?

TI: When Japan lost the war, I was in China. So it was hard to find a ship to go back to Japan.

BH: How did you get back to Japan?

TI: My father was actually a spy for the Japanese army. He was a lieutenant colonel, so he was a high-ranking official. He was considered a Class-B war criminal. He filed to get his rank lowered in a military trial because China wanted to arrest high-ranking officials. So the Japanese army lowered his rank to lieutenant in order for him not to be considered a war criminal. My father was arrested in Australia. He was imprisoned in Australia for six years. Afterward, he came back to Japan.

After my father came back to Japan, the property on which we lived was so big and even included a mountain, so we had enough fruit from the mountain. I could also eat the snakes. Every day, I had fruit and snakes, so I had enough nutrition.

BH: So how did you get back to Japan?

TI: My father found a ship that was just for select people. So I was able to go back to Japan with my mother and older brother. I was very small, but I knew it would be a long trip from Dalian to Japan. There wasn’t enough food, so everybody would get hungry. Somehow, I knew that was going to happen. So I caught a lot of snakes before I got on the ship and dried them out, peeled their skin, and cut them. I ate them during the trip.

Since I had enough nutrition and protein, I was the tallest in my class.

BH: How did you find out about snakes as a source of protein?

TI: My father told me about it. My father knew about it because he had to go to many places during the war. He usually tried to find snakes because they have so much nutrition and minerals.

BH: Around this time, when you were young and in the postwar situation, what future did you see for yourself? Did you want to be an athlete or an actor — what kind of future?

TI: In my childhood, my task every day was to survive. Every day, I had to find something to eat. So I didn’t think about what I wanted to become in the future or anything like that when I was a child. Every day, I would try to find very narrow trees. If I found holes in the trees, it would mean maggots were in them. That was the best food; they had a lot of nutrients.

Aside from that, there were so many plants in the ground back in those days. I was trying to find horsetail and wormwood, which I would boil and eat. Our property was huge, so nobody could bother us.

BH: Was there a fence?

TI: Yes, there was. No one took any fruits or plants from our property. For example, on our mountain, there were a hundred persimmon trees. At that time, my mother prayed, and she believed in God. She would pray together with others. There were so many trees, so she put each of their names on a tree and allowed them to eat the fruit from that tree. No one else could eat from those trees. So she gave those hundred trees to those she prayed with.

On the property, there were 10 plum trees. They had small fruits that were a little bit sour, but they had nutrients. They were a bit sour but sweet.They had lots of minerals. My family did not give those trees to anyone else. They were only for the family.

BH: When did things start getting better? Obviously, this was a difficult time.

TI: Maybe five or six years after the war. I was about 11 years old. During that time, I was delivering milk and newspapers. I had to wake up very early in the morning. I gave all the money I earned to my mother. Every morning, I had to make deliveries, so my shoes wore out, and the soles fell apart. One winter, I had to go to school without shoes. Even in the winter, I had no shoes, so the skin on my feet became strong.

BH: When you were going to school, and things were getting better, what did you see yourself doing (in the future)?

TI: When I was in junior high school, movies were very popular in Japan in those days. At that time, I wanted to become an actor in the future.

BH: What movies did you see?

TI: I forgot. I don’t remember.

Photo © Brett Homenick.

BH: How did you become an actor?

TI: When I was in high school, I applied to join Toho’s New Face program.

BH: Talk about joining the New Face program. What did you have to do? What was the training like?

TI: Sixteen thousand people applied to join the New Face program. Only 40 applicants were accepted. I was the top (number one) of the applicants. Since I was number one, I didn’t have to pay a monthly fee for training. I had to be trained for six months.

Toho wanted to feature its New Face actors, so they made Operation Enemy Fort (a.k.a. Operation Mountain Lion, 1962), and they chose me to star in that movie. I was supposed to be an action movie actor. Yuzo Kayama was selected to be a star for general audiences. Ken Uehara was an actor who was also Mr. Kayama’s father.

BH: Let’s talk about the name Toru Ibuki. There’s an interesting story about how Toho chose that name and how they announced it in the press.

TI: They were thinking about my stage name. At that time, there were two big stars at Toho — Makoto Sato and Yosuke Natsuki. Those two actors were very popular stars, so Toho asked them to give me a name. So Makoto Sato gave me Ibuki, and Yosuke Natsuki gave me Toru. That’s how Toru Ibuki was born. At that time, I did so many action movies. But Toho had a lot of gangster movies at the time, too.

For the movie The Siege of Ft. Bismarck (1963), we filmed a scene in January in Shimoda. In the scene, I had to jump into the ocean from a ship 10 meters up and try to get on a smaller boat in the ocean. Since it was very cold, some staff members dipped a towel in the ocean and put it on my chest before I jumped. Otherwise, I could have had a heart attack, so I had to get used to the cold water before I jumped into the ocean.

There was an explosive in the smaller boat, so in the scene, I had to change the boat’s direction. Before that, the boat was approaching the larger ship. So I changed its direction so that the boat started moving in the other direction. Moments later, it blew up, and my character died.

The boat had a motor, and it was approaching the ship. So my boss told me to change the boat’s direction. So I turned the direction of the boat away from our ship. My character was on the boat when it exploded. My character died, but he helped save Japan in the battle.

BH: Let’s talk about that movie a little more. The director was Kengo Furusawa. What do you remember about him, and how he would direct you?

TI: Mr. Furusawa knew that those scenes were very dangerous for actors, but his attitude was, “Let them do it.” So actors didn’t like him. Since he made actors do dangerous scenes, he eventually faded out from Toho. Toho tended not to use him. At that time, Ishiro Honda was the most famous director. He made tokusatsu movies, such as Godzilla. Mr. Honda used to love me very much, so I was in all his movies. I remember that very well.

BH: Let’s go back to Operation Enemy Fort, your first movie. You were co-starring with Yuzo Kayama, Yosuke Natsuki, and Makoto Sato, as we talked about. So what was it like to work with these famous actors at the time?

TI: Since they were stars, and I was new, when I tried to talk to them, they usually didn’t reply to me.

BH: At Toho at this time, who were you friends with?

TI: Nobody. I was very close to the 007 actresses Akiko Wakabayashi and Mie Hama. I was very close to those two actresses. I think those actresses were the only people I got along with very well at Toho.

BH: Didn’t you take tap-dancing lessons with the two?

TI: (laughs) Yes, I did.

BH: Was that for your acting work, or was that just your personal interest?

TI: It was for my personal interest.

BH: About Operation Enemy Fort, the director was Mr. (Senkichi) Taniguchi. What memories do you have of Mr. Taniguchi?

TI: (laughs) He was wild. Mr. Taniguchi was so wild that sometimes people would wonder, “Where is Mr. Taniguchi?” Later on, they found him defecating in a field.  His wife a famous actress, Kaoru Yachigusa. But Mr. Taniguchi was such a wild man.

BH: Did you think he had talent as a director? Some actors say that he was pretty good, but other actors have said that he had no talent as a director.

TI: I think he made movies with his own sensibility. That’s how he made his movies.

BH: Do you remember what kind of direction he would give you, how he would direct a scene?

TI: Basically, he let actors and actresses do it themselves. The scene was explained in the script, so the actors thought about it, felt it, and expressed it. If we couldn’t do that, then we couldn’t become actors. There was minimal involvement from the director. It was easy for actors to do it that way.

BH: About Operation Enemy Fort, do you have any other memories of the shoot? Since it was your first movie, do you have any other memories you’d like to share?

TI: Since I was doing action roles, there were many scenes that were dangerous. In (the “Underworld” series), I was used as a young man who likes action. In one scene (in Mission to Annihilate the Underworld, 1965), I was on top of a slagheap (a pile of coal waste), and I had to roll down it. It was very dangerous. (In Fangs of the Underworld, a.k.a. The Weed of Crime, 1962), I had a girlfriend (played by Akiko Wakabayashi), and both of us tried to run away and get on a train, but my enemy was following us. We got on the train, but he was still chasing us. So I had to get off the train while it was still moving.

Rafer Johnson won a gold medal in the Olympics. In None But the Brave (1965), the Japanese army was trying to get away from Hawaii in a small boat. I was the one who was protecting the boat, but Rafer Johnson’s character found me and tried to take the boat. We had to fight. He is more than two meters tall, and he had a strong heart. So we were fighting in the ocean. I was struggling, but he had a strong heart, so he could stay underwater longer than I could. I was trying to come up to breathe, but he was so strong. (laughs) So it was tough. He beat me at staying underwater. Since that movie, we became good friends. After the movie was over, we became good friends.

Photo © Brett Homenick.

BH: Let’s go back to Siege of Ft. Bismarck. Do you have any other memories of making this movie?

TI: What I remember was, it was so cold. Like I said, before I jumped into the ocean, one of the staff members had to put the cold towel dipped in the ocean water over my heart.

BH: Let’s move on to Ghidrah the Three-Headed Monster (1964). In this movie, you play a killer. So talk about what you remember about making Ghidrah.

TI: I think in that movie the monsters were the main characters. Of course, I played a killer, but I had to run away, but at the same time, I was killed. It was that kind of movie.

BH: What do you remember about Mr. Honda as a director? What kind of memories do you have generally about Mr. Honda?

TI: Mr. Honda was a very tolerant person. One time, an assistant director and some other staff members made a board for actors to stand on in order for them to appear taller. But one day, it was not made correctly and tipped over, so I fell off. It made me very angry. So I punched the assistant director, and it became a big incident.

Usually, of course, actors do not attack the staff when something goes wrong, but Mr. Honda understood why I did that. So Mr. Honda got mad at the assistant director and the person who made the board. He said, “Why didn’t you make the board correctly? That’s why Mr. Ibuki fell off.” He was so mad at them. So Mr. Honda helped me in that situation.

BH: Do you remember which movie this was?

TI: I don’t remember the name of the movie. That assistant director’s father was a famous director in Japan. Nobody complained about this assistant director because his father was such a famous director. But I didn’t care, so I punched him. I remember that story.

BH: Could you name the father?

TI: I don’t remember. I was trying to remember, but I can’t. Many things have happened.

BH: Let’s talk about Frank Sinatra and going to Hawaii to make the movie (None But the Brave). How were you chosen to work on the Frank Sinatra movie?

TI: Frank Sinatra came to Japan. At that time, I belonged to Toho Geino. One day, I was told to go to Hotel Okura, so I went there. Of course, it was a special suite. There was a big room and a smaller room. In the big room, there were so many Americans. They told me to go to the smaller room, so I did. Frank Sinatra was in the room, sitting in a chair.

In that smaller room, Frank Sinatra was asking me how old I was and how many movies I was in, and I was answering his questions. But all of a sudden, a big guy — maybe more than two meters tall — came from behind and put me in a wrestling hold. I think he was a wrestler. He put my neck in a hold, so I hit him from behind with my elbow. I was a karate practitioner, so I let him fall down. In karate, there’s a maneuver called me-wo-toru, which uses three or four fingers, and I used it on his eyes. Then Frank Sinatra said, “Stop it!” So I stopped.

At that time, Frank Sinatra had five bodyguards, and one of them was the mid-level boxing champion. The other one was an Olympic champion for shooting. Another was a black man who always had five knives in his pockets. If he used his knives, it was faster than a gun. The other bodyguard was a wrestler. Since I was good at karate, I was chosen to join his bodyguards.

BH: Did you ever become an official bodyguard for Sinatra?

TI: Yes, I was a bodyguard. Every month, he paid me a salary.

BH: How long were you a bodyguard for Mr. Sinatra?

TI: Maybe for four or five years.

BH: How long did you live in America?

TI: I was in the States for about 10 years. But before my visa expired, I had to go to Mexico, and then come back to the U.S. So during my stay in America, sometimes I had to go to Mexico and come back.

Every Friday and Saturday, Frank Sinatra hosted a big party in Beverly Hills. It was every week. So it was paradise.

BH: What years were these? When were the 10 years?

TI: It was about 55 years ago.

BH: Throughout the ‘60s, you made movies at Toho. So how did you do that?

TI: When I was in the States, I didn’t act in movies. Frank Sinatra used to pay me $350 per day. At that time, an American dollar was worth about 360 yen.

BH: Was this before (Terror of) Mechagodzilla?

TI: Yes, it was.

BH: Let’s go back to the wrestler story. Why did that attack happen?

TI: It was a test for the bodyguard position.

BH: Why do you think Frank Sinatra knew to test you to be a bodyguard?

TI: He knew me from the movies. I was very famous for my tough image in action movies.

BH: Let’s talk about making the movie. Talk about going to Hawaii and any stories you remember about working in Hawaii with the American crew and the Japanese crew.

TI: In Hawaii, I was busy every day with shooting. I was too busy, so I don’t remember.

BH: How long was shooting for this movie?

TI: It was one month.

BH: Of course, Mr. (Tatsuya) Mihashi was there, Mr. (Kenji) Sahara — other Japanese stars. When you stopped filming, did you hang out together, did you go sightseeing?

TI: After shooting, other people went out together. But I personally didn’t like that kind of thing. So after the shooting, I went back to my hotel room.

Photo © Brett Homenick.

BH: In Hawaii, did you do anything fun? You became friends with Rafer Johnson. Was it only Rafer Johnson that you were friendly with at the time?

TI: Yes, Rafer Johnson is the only one with whom I got along well. At the time, Frank Sinatra introduced me to an actress from America. She was famous as the next Marilyn Monroe. She was very famous and a great actress.

BH: Do you remember her name?

TI: She gave me a gold money clip. I think her name was on it. She had blond hair and a gorgeous body. Frank Sinatra said, ”She is the next Marilyn Monroe. So when you go to the States, let her take care of you.” Every time I went to the States, she drove me to the parties. So we got along very well. (After checking, the actress turned out to be Jayne Mansfield.)

BH: My next question is about Frank Sinatra as a director. Talk about how he would direct and what you thought of Frank Sinatra as a director.

TI: For Frank Sinatra, it was his first time as a director. But at the same time, there was a director from Japan. The Japanese director knew the Japanese sensibility. So the Japanese director told Mr. Sinatra what to do, and he just said yes.

BH: Do you remember the director’s name?

TI: It was 50 years ago… (The Japanese director was Kazuo Inoue.)

BH: But he was not just a translator; he was an actual director.

TI: Yes, he was a director, not a translator. He directed the Japanese side, and Frank Sinatra watched.

BH: Aside from Rafer Johnson, did you have any interaction with the Western cast?

TI: He was the only one I hung out with.

BH: So let’s talk about Rafer Johnson. What kind of activities did you do together when you hung out?

TI: When he came to Japan, I took him to many places. His favorite place was a hostess club. One day, I took him there, and he liked it very much. Then he started going there on his own. At that time, there were no such hostess clubs in the U.S., so he really enjoyed those hostess clubs. There were many clubs in Shinjuku and Akasaka, but the best hostesses were in Ginza, so I took him to a club in Ginza. He liked it very much.

BH: Do you have any memories of the “International Secret Police” (movie series)?

TI: I remember doing it, but we were not the main characters, so I don’t remember much.

BH: A big movie you did was Retreat from Kisuka (1965) with director Seiji Maruyama. Please talk about what you remember about making Kisuka and director Maruyama.

TI: I don’t remember anything about Kisuka. I was there, but I don’t remember anything.

BH: I know that you worked with Kihachi Okamoto, a director on movies like Fort Graveyard (1965), as well as Japan’s Longest Day (1967). What do you remember about Mr. Okamoto and working with him?

TI: He was very strict with actors. So we had to do what he said and try to do what he expected. So we were very nervous.

BH: About Eizo Sugawa, (director of) Beast Alley (1965), what can you tell us?

TI: Mr. Sugawa was a little neurotic. He noticed very small details. I was in Beast Alley, but I remember that I was nervous because he noticed the small details. He knew what actors were trying to do, but he understood two levels higher than what actors were trying to do. So that made us nervous.

BH: What kind of direction did he give? What did he tell the actors?

TI: He didn’t tell actors what to do.

BH: Around this time, you also appeared in Ultra Q (1966) for Tsuburaya Productions. At this time, what did you think about working on this new program with the new company, Tsuburaya Productions. It was all very new at the time.

TI: I don’t remember anything about Tsuburaya Productions or working on the show.

BH: One of your biggest Godzilla roles is Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster (1966). This has Jun Fukuda as the director. First, what do you remember about Mr. Fukuda as a director?

TI: I got along well with Mr. Fukuda. Sometimes, he invited me over to his home for dinner.

BH: Why do you think you got along so well with Mr. Fukuda?

TI: Usually, actors are yes-men. But I was not. I think that might be the reason Mr. Fukuda liked me.

BH: As a director, was he similar in the sense that he would just let the actors do what they want, or did he ever give any specific direction?

TI: He didn’t tell the actors what to do. He let the actors do what they wanted.

BH: Let’s talk about the making of Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster. The star was Toru Watanabe, who I believe was not a Toho actor at the time. Do you remember Mr. Watanabe, or why a non-Toho actor was chosen for this leading role?

TI: At that time, I didn’t know anything about Mr. Watanabe. At the shooting location, nobody else knew him, either. So nobody talked to him. But all of a sudden, he was there. It was the first time I’d ever heard of this actor. All of a sudden, he appeared.

BH: Do you remember anything else about this movie? For example, Akira Takarada was there, Kumi Mizuno was there, Chotaro Togin was there — many, many well-known Toho actors. Do you remember them in general, or from this movie?

TI: I knew them. Mr. Togin was my classmate in the New Face program. After shooting, Yu Fujiki, Kenji Sahara, Akira Takarada, and I played mahjong every night.

BH: Who would win?

TI: I would. I don’t lose at mahjong. When I was a university student, a Chinese friend of mine showed me how to play mahjong. He said, “I will show you how to win at mahjong,” which meant how to cheat. I thought I could make a living at playing mahjong. My Chinese friend taught me that.

BH: Next, you worked on Admiral Yamamoto (1968).

TI: In Admiral Yamamoto, I played an officer. It takes place before the war, and they decided whether they would go to war or not. My character was an officer, and he said that he wanted to attack Pearl Harbor. But Admiral Yamamoto asked, “Do you know how many factories there are in Pearl Harbor?” My character replied, “We don’t know.” But we insisted on the raid, anyway, and we went Pearl Harbor.

BH: In the late ‘60s, Toho started to go down a little bit. I’ve asked other actors, and some people say that the last good Toho movie was Japan’s Longest Day. When did the decline start to happen at Toho?

TI: I used to ask the Toho office how many people they needed in the audience per theater, and they said, “The number has to be about 3,000 people every day.” That was Toho’s peak. Later on, I asked the Toho office (the same question), and the number had decreased gradually. So I felt maybe Toho movies couldn’t survive. But at the same time, TV started to appear. At first, I felt TV was like a toy. But then it started to get bigger, and the movie business started to decline.

Photo © Brett Homenick.

BH: That’s the actual number they were getting, 3,000 people per day?

TI: Yes, at the peak in Showa 31 (1956). That was the number of people who came during the peak. But I started asking when the peak was and the size of the audience Toho needed. I felt Toho’s business was starting to go down, and that the television business would start to go up. But at that time, Toho also had the Imperial Theatre. There was a famous writer named Chogoro Kaionji. One of his famous works was Meiji Taiheiki. It became a theatrical drama. So Toho sought an actor to play the main character from all over Japan. So I auditioned, and somehow I got the part. After that, I was featured in newspapers and TV programs.

That year (1968), Japan was celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Meiji period. That’s why Mr. Kaionji wrote Meiji Taiheiki. Then I was chosen to play the main character. It was the first time for me to do theater, so I took lessons for three months. One day, I was told to go to Toho’s headquarters. So I went there at night, and they said, “You were chosen as the main character, but we want to cancel the decision.” I don’t know why they changed their minds. The show would still be performed, but for some reason, Toho wanted me to quit. Instead of me, a previous Toho star was cast in the lead role.

Instead of Meiji Taiheiki, Toho asked me to go to a theater called Meijiza. Hisaya Morishige was the main character, and I was a supporting actor, but we were on the same stage together. After that, Mr. Morishige would ask me to go out for sushi or to a bar in Ginza with him after the show. So every night I went to Ginza. Of course, it was late, but I could stay at Mr. Morishige’s guestroom at his house every night during the show. So I felt like I almost lived there.

After two or three months, Mr. Morishige told me, “I was the one who got you taken off Meiji Taiheiki. I did it because you are a movie actor, and I felt a movie actor should not do a stage play. But now I think you can do it. At that moment, I did not think you were appropriate for the stage.”

BH: At the time, how was it seen, stage vs. movies? Was the stage seen as something like a higher form of art?

TI: Yes, indeed. The priority for the stage was higher than movies. So Mr. Morishige said, “Now you can do it, so let’s work together from now on.” So for the next three years, I went to Mr. Morishige’s house every day. His wife would already have prepared for me when I arrived. I almost lived with Mr. Morishige for three years. Mr. Morishige was a theatrical actor, and at every theater at which he performed, he asked me to join him. We got along very well.

BH: Let’s talk about Terror of Mechagodzilla. This was a few years later with Mr. Honda. You played an alien with Goro Mutsumi. Do you have any memories about making Terror of Mechagodzilla?

TI: No, nothing at all.

BH: Your last major movie at Toho is The Imperial Navy (1981) with Shue Matsubayashi. Please talk about this movie.

TI: I don’t remember anything about it. At that time, I thought Toho’s business was going down. So I don’t remember anything. I try not to go back to that which is going down. I try to move on.

BH: When the contract system ended at Toho, were you already gone? Were you affected when Toho was canceling the contracts?

TI: When I was chosen to play the main character of Meiji Taiheiki, my casting was canceled three months later. At that time, Kazuo Kikuta was a very famous director, and he told me, “I’ll take care of you.” At that time, Mr. Kikuta was a big boss in the entertainment business. So if he says, “I’ll take care of you,” that means nobody would be against my appearance.

So Mr. Kikuta told me, “I’ll take care of you.” My casting in Meiji Taiheiki was canceled. He said, “Next summer, I will write a play for you that can be performed at the Imperial Theatre, ” which is the top theater, and right next to the Imperial Palace. He made that promise to me. But before it could happen, he developed a disease. The disease was very serious. At that time, Kazuo Kikuta was called “Emperor Kikuta.” He was that famous. (laughs)

BH: I’ll do name association (with Toho personalities).

TI: I used to go to Shibuya with Kumi Mizuno and Mie Hama and have coffee together with them. We were good friends.

BH: How about Makoto Sato?

TI: We weren’t friends. It doesn’t mean I didn’t like him, but we weren’t friends.

BH: Yosuke Natsuki.

TI: Same.

BH: Mickey Curtis.

TI: We weren’t friends.

BH: Yuzo Kayama.

TI: We were almost classmates at Toho. He starred in the Young Guy series, and I starred in action movies. So we had that kind of relationship.

BH: How about Yumi Shirakawa?

TI: She was my senior. She was beautiful. Her husband was Mr. (Hideaki) Nitani.

BH: Akira Kubo.

TI: We weren’t friends, but I remember that he was there. I think he probably feels the same about me.

BH: Machiko Naka.

TI: I don’t remember talking to her.

BH: Yoshio Tsuchiya.

TI: He was not a good friend. He was my senior, so we had normal conversations.

BH: Mie Hama.

TI: She was beautiful, and she and Ms. Wakabayashi were both chosen to be Bond girls.


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