"There is so much writing in English on Japanese cinema that can't be accepted at face value — not because the writers are careless, but because the differences in culture and language are just too intricate. When I see August Ragone's name on a piece of writing, it gives me permission to place my faith in it completely. Among Japanese fantasy film historians, he's the best working in English." —Tim Lucas, Video Watchdog

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

All-New Photobook On His Monstrous Career!

新発売!洋泉社の「怪獣秘蔵写真集 造形師 村瀬継蔵」

Cover for this must-own photobook on classic Japanese monsters!

One of the most prolific publishing houses of genre subjects in Japan today, Yonsensha, has formally announced the impending release of their third, monstrous "Treasured Photobook" related to great figures who worked during the golden age of Japanese visual effects films at Toho Studios. Previous volumes featured the living legend, monster suit actor Haruo "Mr. Godzilla" Nakajima, and the late visual effects director, Koichi Kawakita.

Now, while starting out as an upstart in the late 1950s, working in the fabrication department under visual effects wizard, Eiji Tsuburaya, Keizo Murase's legacy started as a part-timer at Toho, with his prolific career exceeding beyond his work for the great Tsuburaya, and which continues even today. As with the previous volumes, this is a photo-filled book, with page-after-page of photographs, but very minimal text (not counting a lengthy interview with the monster maker), most taken by Murase himself.

Here's the hyperbole from the book's obi (paper book band):

"King Kong and Godzilla Armatures, a Blue King Ghidorah, and the Inside Baragon's Head. Never-Before-Published Photographs Have Been Collected for This Wondrous Monster Photobook."

"An assistant fabricator at Toho who helped create Mothra, King Kong, King Ghidorah, Baragon, etc. Sculptor Keizo Murase eye-witnessed the very moment of many monsters were born. As a camera hobbyist during his youth, the tremendous amount of photographs Murase personally captured of the monster-making process are revealed for the very first time. A breakthrough discovery that turns the history of fabrication onto its head!!"

"Matango, Titanosaurus, Takora, Greenman. Gyaos, Viras, Daimajin. Booska, Belocron, Vaxim, Yongary to the Mighty Peking Man... They're all here in this shocking photo collection!!"

"Plus, Keizo Murase's life as a fabricator is documented in an exclusive 16,000-character interview!"

While that sums up no further need for details, this publication is likely to exceed the roughly 400 pages for the previous volumes on Nakajima and the late Kawakita, since the MSRP is just over ¥1,000 ($8.31) higher than the latter. Hitting Japanese bookshelves this September 9th, "Treasured Kaiju Photobook: Keizo Murase, Monster-Maker", was supervised by modern kaiju-builder, Shinichi Wakasa (Godzilla 2000), and famed collector and toy-maker, Yuji Nishimura (the founder of M-Ichigo).

It goes without saying that this is a must-own, even if you don't read Japanese, because based on the previous volumes, "Keizo Murase, Monster-Maker", should measure up to over 95% photos versus text — and will surely be the book hardcore fans will be talking about for years to come. I mean, aren't your curious why the original King Ghidorah was blue and not gold?

Click on the link below to pre-order:
Format: 8.2 x 5.9 inches
ISBN-10: 4800307562
ISBN-13: 978-4800307569
Release Date: September 9, 2015
MSRP: ¥5184 ($43.10 USD)

Special thanks to Shinichi Wakasa and Yasushi Shiroi for info, and a big shout-out to Takao Yoshiba for providing the cover image.

1 comment:

Jim Peavy said...

Thanks for the heads-up - does sound like a must have!

Now do you know what the another book that came out Nov. of 2014 is about? It's ISBN-10: 4800302218 and/or ISBN-13: 978-4800302212. The title has some Japanese characters and then "Monster Master". Just stumbled upon it on amazon japan and sounded interesting.