The head man at
Toho Studios for some time, Tomoyuki Tanaka produced
every Toho monster movie, Godzilla or otherwise,
from the start of the first Godzilla film in 1954
up until 1995's Godzilla
vs. Destoroyah. He also produced several
Kurosawa's best pictures, and in total was
involved in the production of more than 200 movies
in his 51 year career.
Five years after attending at Kansai University's Economics Department, Tanaka first joined Toho in 1940. Like many of his peers, the producer also briefly left the company in 1947, amid strikes that resulted in the creation of rival studio Shin Toho. In 1954, Tanaka would spearhead the film Godzilla (1954), which would later become the company's most well known asset. Higher ups were pleased, with executive producer Iwao Mori telling him to "make another one", which resulted in Godzilla Raids Again (1955). While most of his work took place inside Toho, Tanaka did occasionally venture outside of their films. He was a big supporter of actor Toshiro Mifune's self-titled Mifune Productions, producing some of his films and seeing their release within Toho on productions such as The Legacy of the 500,000 (1963).
The continued success of his produced films placed Tanaka in the spotlight within Toho. In 1971, Tanaka was promoted to President of Toho's Film Art Production wing, which oversaw many of the kaiju films produced such as Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972). In 1975, Tanaka was again promoted, this time to President of Toho's main film unit, "Toho Eiga". In the mid-1980's, Tanaka became very active again, likely spurred by his renewed interest thanks to the success of The Return of Godzilla (1984). Because of this, the producer was again promoted, this time to Chairman at "Toho Eiga" at the end of the decade.
In 1995, with the death of Godzilla in Godzilla
vs. Destoroyah (1995), Tanaka stepped down from his Chairman position at Toho. He then took on an advisor role for Toho up until his death in 1997.
Given his influence, Tanaka was given concept credit for several productions. This includes the posthumous credit for Rebirth of Mothra II (1997). In terms of scripting an entire concept, Tanaka also wrote the script
for the aborted The Reawakening of Godzilla.
Tanaka was married to Drunken Angel (1948) actress Chieko Nakakita.