Thursday, March 1, 2012

Art director/ Special effects wizard Yasuyuki Inoue, 1922-2012

by Chris MaGee

There were a few very sad losses in the world of Japanese film while the J-Film Pow-Wow was on its month-long break, veteran screen actress Chikage Awashima and Oscar-winning costume designer Eiko Ishioka to be specific, but most recently it's the world of Japanese kaiju and tokusatsu film that lost a real pioneer. Yasuyuki Inoue (above left), best known as the art director and special effects man for such classic kaiju films as "Destroy All Monsters", "Terror of Mechagodzilla" and "Godzilla 1985: The Legend Is Reborn" passed away on February 19th. He was 89.

Inoue, began in working in the film industry at Toho Studios where he got a chance to create the genre that he would work in for his 30+ year career. Inoue was hired by the studio to create the miniature city sets and vehicles for Ishiro Honda's seminal 1954 monster movie "Godzilla". Inoue would bring together a crew of artists and technicians over the subsequent years, creating elaborate mini cityscapes for such Toho productions as "Rodan", "Mothra" and "War of the Gargantuas" (above right). Inoue would continue to champion the craft of miniature set building and art direction right up until his last films: Koji Hashimoto's "Godzilla 1985: The Legend Is Reborn" (1985) and Toshio Masuda's "Black Out" (1987).

As recently as December Inoue was honoured by Kinema Junpo when the venerable film journal and publisher released a book dedicated to his groundbreaking cinematic work titled "The World of Special Effects Art Design by Yasuyuki ‘Taiko’ Inoue". Our deepest condolences go out to Inoue-san's family and friends, and we give a big thanks to Sci-Fi Japan for sharing the details on Inoue's remarkable life.

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