I feel deeply sorry that I have to open my blog with a sad news.
Shûe Matsubayashi, movie director, passed away due to cardiac failure on August 15 in Tokyo. He was 89.
Mr. Matsubayashi was one of the hit makers at Toho Studios back in 50's and 60's. He directed 28 movies of a smash hit "saralied-man" comedy series, "Shacho series". The series features a legendary actor, Hisaya Morishige as "Shacho" (president), and Keiju Kobayashi (playing Prime minister of Japan in "Godzilla 1984") as his secretary .
Mr. Matsubayashi was born in 1920 in Shimane, mountainous area in west part of Japan. His father was a Buddhist priest and, in fact, he himself was educated as a priest. In 1942, he became interested in movies and joined Toho Studios. He wanted to make his own movies with Buddhist philosophy, so he firstly did not like to make comical movies like "Shacho series". But, it is said that he was gradually learning how he could show his thoughts even in comical movies.
During the World War II, he was in Japanese Imperial Navy. He made many great War movies with Toho in which he put his experiences. Most of those War movies feature SFX by Eiji Tsuburaya.
I believe Mr. Matsubayashi will be remembered most by movie fans, specifically "Tokusatsu" genre fans, outside of Japan, with 1961 Toho production "Last War" (世界大戦争).
To be honest with you, I have a kind of hesitation to say "Last War" is a Sci-Fi movie or Tokusatsu (SFX featured) movie. It is more like human-featured drama. It tells you how the ordinary people in a certain era are living and dying, or I should say, being killed.
I pray his soul may rest in peace.