Mitsubishi Pavilion (Expo '70)

Mitsubishi Pavilion (Expo '70)


Japanese Title

[Mitsubishi Miraikan]


Expo Event
March 15th, 1970
September 13th, 1970

Episode Guide - Stock Footage - DVDs - CDs - Pictures - Background - Concept Art - Cut Scenes - Reviews


Following Japan's succesful Summer Olympics (XVIII Olympiad) in 1964, the country was eager to host another world event to further demostrate their amazing economic progress. Such an oppurtinity arose when Japan was permitted by the BIE (Bureau International des Expositions) to create a World's Fair in 1970. This attraction, which was held in Suita (Osaka), would be known as "Expo '70". The fair attracted 77 other countries to attend and overall had more than 64 million visitors during its six months of operation.

The fair itself, like many of its kind, was broken up into many pavilions that had different attractions available for visitors. One of these was the Mitsubishi Pavilion. As the name might imply, the exhibition was largely financed by the Mitsubishi Corporation. It was produced, though, by Tomoyuki Tanaka of Toho, as the event incorporated several video elements. The proposal for the Pavilion was drafted by Shinichi Hoshi, Masayoshi Fukushima, Tetsu Yano and Hiroshi Manabe. Music for the complex was provided by maestro Akira Ifukube, who conducted a score both for the recreation space and the various themed areas. The building that housed the exhibition was separated into five distinct areas, which could be attended from a 450-meter moving sidewalk system called "The Travator", which traveled at sixteen meters per minute.

The theme of the first area was "Nature in Japan" and displayed images that were projected onto screens that stretched eight meters from either side of the "The Travator". Images included rainstorms in one room (Room A), which also had images projected on the ceiling and floor to surround the audience, and volcanoes in another (Room B). The rainstorms shown in the videos were a combination of real-life typhoons and scenes created in Toho's special-effects pool. The volcanoes were footage of real-life eruptions, but were enhanced by scenes filmed at the Asahi Ironworks Factory in Tsurumi. Models for the sequences were created by Toho's special effects department while optical effects and prints were handled by Tokyo Process Labs. Special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya oversaw the creation of some of these elements, but due to his hospitalization and untimely passing before production was finished director Yoshimitsu Banno, of Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971) fame, was brought in to finish filming and the sound editing.

The theme of the second area is the "The Skies of Japan", which depicts a future in which weather control has been achieved. Area three features "The Japanese Sea", which is focused an undersea city. The fourth area is "The Japanese Land" that presents a diorama of a futuristic city built at the base of Mount Fuji. Between the third and fourth areas, special smoke screens were located, which were jointly developed by Toho and Mitsubishi. These smoke screens allowed audiences to pass through images of sharks and tropical fish which were projected onto them. Past the Travator in the fifth, and final, area was an activity corner for guests.

Background and Trivia

  • Akira Ifukube's themes for the "Nature in Japan" part of the event would famously go on to be reused for the climax of Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972).
  • Akira Ifukube's "Volcano" theme from the Expo was featured the following year in the trailer for Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971).
  • Thanks to the success of the 1970 Mitsubishi Pavilion, producer Tomoyuki Tanaka of Toho would return to work on Expo '85 in Tsukuba, Japan. There he was in charge a new Mitsubishi Pavilion called "The Wonderful Earth ・ Humanity" (すばらしい地球・人間 - Subarashi Chikyu Ningen). On the project Hideo Shimada was the general committee chair and Kazushige Masaki was the director. Riki Okada and Shigeo Maeda were producers, supporting Tanaka. Music was done by composer Kentaro Haneda, known for his work on Virus (1980) and Bye-Bye Jupiter (1984).
  • As is common with world fairs of the time, one of the themes of the 1970 Mitsubishi Pavilion was a look into the distant future. This was foreseeing 50 years ahead, to the year 2020. To celebrate this year passing, Mitsubishi created a website to compare their preditions with what 2020 is actually like.