Teruyoshi Nakano  Teruyoshi Nakano (中野昭慶)
  Special Effects Director
  Date of birth:
  October 1st, 1935
  Andong, Manchukuo
  Date of death:
  June 27th, 2022
Special Effects Director Filmography - Special Effects Assistant Director Filmography


Born in Manchukuo, Teruyoshi Nakano first came to Japan in 1945 at age ten following the end of World War II, separated from his father who was a war prisoner. Growing up in Niihama on Shikoku Island, Nakano went to the theaters almost religiously, four times a week, thanks to his mother's work that allowed for discount movie tickets. With a love for cinema, Nakano graduated from the film department of Japan University in 1959, and almost immediately transitioned into working at Toho that very same year.

Young in his career, Nakano was one of Toho's many assistant directors, focusing on principal photography and special effects. Early work included The Three Treasures (1959), in which Nakano primarily helped to schedule actors as one of his first assignments, and Submarine I-57 Will Not Surrender! (1959), which was Nakano's first true encounter with more complex special effects. Fascinated by the process, Nakano found his life's calling on the movie's set, later stating in interviews that from that moment on he knew he wanted to be the one conducting and making those sequences. Feeling that while a director is in charge of conveying his ideas through actors, Nakano found the prospect of visually telling a story through effects more compelling.

A few years after joining the company, while making Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964), Nakano was singled out for his work by Eiji Tsuburaya, who took on a mentor role to the younger Nakano. Being promoted to first assistant director, the 1964 film marked the first time that Nakano got to see his name listed in a movie's credits, following five years of hard work at Toho. This started a very strong working relationship between the two, as Nakano joined Tsuburaya for his Toho films to follow.

After a half decade relationship with his mentor, Nakano found himself in the director's chair, with supervision from Tsuburaya, on the Crazy Cats' film Crazy Big Explosion (1969). The year was a busy one for Nakano with Tsuburaya in and out of the hospital, as Nakano was left to finish Toho's special effects productions with the rest of the Toho staff, such as help Ishiro Honda finish the special effects for All Monsters Attack (1969). Sadly, in January of 1970, Tsuburaya passed away, leaving a void at Toho and Nakano without his mentor.

Toho pressed ahead, choosing Sadamasa Arikawa to direct the first film, Space Amoeba (1970), after the esteemed special effects director's passing. However, creative differences prompted Arikawa to leave Toho's film division, allowing Nakano to be promoted to full time special effects director, although without on screen credit, working on films such as Battle of Okinawa (1971) and Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971). The film industry in Japan was in a much weaker state, however, than the days when Nakano first joined. To make do with smaller budgets on more complex productions, such as the monster heavy Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972), Nakano turned toward stock footage, much to his regret. His career would be known for this stock footage use, along with his habit of explosions on set. His love of explosions would serve him well, allowing him to create the box office phenomenon Submersion of Japan (1973), which would also mark his first on screen credit as a special effects director.

In the mid-1970's, Nakano found himself at the head of a beleaguered special effects department at Toho, stuck with smaller budgets and dwindling box office receipts on many productions. Nakano's career found success in unlikely places, with hits like ESPY (1974) and Prophecies of Nostradamus (1974), while Toho mainstays like the Godzilla series were shelved. While Nakano's focus in the late 1970's through the 1980's was largely on the box office hits in the disaster genre, the director got his chance in 1984 to make a more serious Godzilla film with The Return of Godzilla (1984). Using the expanded budget, Nakano set out to create an expansive Tokyo city scape set and a giant cybot for more detailed movement of the character.

A few years later, the director retired from film directing at 42 after Princess from the Moon (1987), being able to realize the dragon and other special effects sequences for the Kon Ichikawa movie.

Special Effects Director Toho Filmography

Date      Title Type
1969 Crazy Big Explosion Produced
1970 Vampire Doll Produced
1971 Godzilla vs. Hedorah Produced
1971 Battle of Okinawa Produced
1971 Lake of Dracula Produced
1972 Godzilla vs. Gigan Produced
1973 Godzilla vs. Megalon Produced
1973 Submersion of Japan Produced
1973 The Human Revolution Produced
1973 Zone Fighter Television
1974 Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla Produced
1974 Prophecies of Nostradamus Produced
1974 ESPY Produced
1974 Evil of Dracula Produced
1975 Terror of Mechagodzilla Produced
1975 Conflagration Produced
1976 The Human Revolution Continues Produced
1977 The War in Space Produced
1978 The Phoenix Produced
1980 Magnitude 7.9 Produced
1981 The Imperial Navy Produced
1982 Lake of Illusions Distributed
1984 The Return of Godzilla Produced
1987 Tokyo Blackout Distributed
1987 Princess From the Moon Produced

Special Effects Assistant Director Toho Filmography

Date      Title Type
1959 The Three Treasures Produced
1959 Submarine I-57 Will Not Surrender Produced
1960 The Secret of the Telegian Produced
1961 Daredevil in the Castle Produced
1961 The Youth and His Amulet Produced
1962 Gorath Produced
1962 King Kong vs. Godzilla Produced
1963 Siege of Fort Bismarck Produced
1963 Matango Produced
1963 Samurai Pirate Produced
1963 Atragon Produced
1963 Attack Squadron Produced
1964 Mothra vs. Godzilla Produced
1964 Dogora Produced
1964 Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster Produced
1964 Whirlwind Distributed
1965 The Retreat From Kiska Produced
1965 Frankenstein vs. Baragon Produced
1965 Crazy Adventure Produced
1965 Invasion of Astro-Monster Produced
1966 Zero Fighter Produced
1966 The War of the Gargantuas Produced
1966 Ebirah, Horror of the Deep Produced
1966 The Adventure of Taklamakan Produced
1967 King Kong Escapes Produced
1967 Son of Godzilla Produced
1968 Destroy All Monsters Produced
1968 Admiral Yamamoto Produced
1969 Latitude Zero Produced
1969 Battle of the Japan Sea Produced
1969 All Monsters Attack Produced
1970 Space Amoeba Produced