Eiji Tsuburaya

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Eiji Tsuburaya (円谷 英二 Tsuburaya Eiji?) (born Eiichi Tsumuraya (円谷 英一 Tsumuraya Eiichi?) on July 7, 1901 – died January 25, 1970, in Sukagawa, Fukushima) was the Japanese special effects director responsible for many Japanese science-fiction movies, including the Godzilla series. In the United States, he is also remembered as the creator of Urutoraman, known internationally by the title's literal translation, Ultraman.


Early life

Tsuburaya described his childhood as filled with "mixed emotions." He was the first son of Isamu Shiraishi and Sei Tsuburaya, with a large extended family. His mother died when he was only three and his father moved to China for the family business. Young Eiji was raised by his barely older uncle, Ichiro, and his paternal grandmother, Natsu. He attended elementary school at the Sukagawa Choritsu Dai'ichi Jinjo Koutou Shogakko beginning in 1908, and two years later, he took up the hobby of building model airplanes, due to the sensational success of Japanese aviators, an interest he would retain for the rest of his life. In 1915, at the age of 14, he graduated the equivalent of High School, and begged his family to let him enroll in the Nippon Flying school at Haneda. After the school was closed on account of the accidental death of its founder, Seitaro Tamai, in 1917, Tsuburaya attended trade school. He became quite successful in the research and development department of the Utsumi toy company, but a chance meeting at a company party in 1919, set the course for his destiny—he was offered a job by director Yoshiro Edamasa, a job that would train him to be a motion picture cameraman. While the Tsuburaya family's traditional religion was Nichiren Buddhism, Tsuburaya converted to Roman Catholicism in his later years (his wife had already been a practicing Roman Catholic).[1]

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