Eiji Tsuburaya (円谷 英二, Tsuburaya Eiji) (born Eiichi Tsumuraya (圓谷 英一, Tsumuraya Eiichi); July 7, 1901 – January 25, 1970, in Sukagawa, Fukushima) was a Japanese special effects director responsible for many Japanese science-fiction films and television shows. He was one of the co-creators of the Godzilla series, as well as the main creator of the Ultra series. During his rise to post-war fame in the wake of Godzilla (1954), many press accounts gave Tsuburaya's birthdate as July 7, which falls on the high day of Tanabata (star festival), a sign of good fortune.
Tsuburaya described his childhood as filled with "mixed emotions." He was the first son of Isamu and Sei Tsumuraya, 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).
Movies & TV shows
1 Movie · 3 TV shows
Monster SeaFood Wars
Yuta, a young master at the Tsukiji Fish Market, accidentally drops his meal of mixed seafood into the Sumida River. Some time afterwards a gigantic mutated squid monster arises from the depths and be...
Ultra Galaxy Fight: The Absolute Conspiracy
Mysterious aliens and evil monsters that shouldn’t exist are attacking! Zero, Ribut, Taiga, Z (Zett), 80, Max, Mebius, Great, Powered, Grigio, and many more Ultra Heroes fight together to solve this m...
Ultraman Chronicle: ZERO & GEED
Tsuburaya Production created Ultraman Chronicle Zero and Geed to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Ultraman Zero. In addition to Riku's exploits as Ultraman Geed, Riku Asakura navigates the viewers ...
Ultraman Z (Zett)
The newest Ultra Hero is Ultraman Zett, the disciple of Ultraman Zero, who is now celebrating his tenth anniversary! An admirer of Zero, Zett worked hard to become a member of the “Inter Galactic Defe...
3 TV shows
Aliens have been emigrating to Earth secretly, but only a handful knows about this truth. Living in such a society, the main character Hiroyuki Kudo begins working at a private security organization E...
Ultra Galaxy Fight: New Generation Heroes
The New Generation Ultras team up to fight the League of Darkness, an evil organization led by Ultra Dark-Killer, made up of a selection of foes previously fought by the Ultras, along with evil clones...
This world was left in peace decades ago by a hero from the stars. The son of Ultraman needs to protect the Earth from a new alien threat.
1 TV show
The two main characters, Katsumi and Isami Minato, are brothers who live with their younger sister and father who runs a specialty store. One day, they found the R/B Gyro and R/B Crystals, which trans...
2 TV shows
It’s the mid-1970s at a time before the TV recording function became commonplace. The Kaijuu Club is a group of youths that loves fancy special effects series such as Ultraman and Ultra Seven. They pu...
Tsuburaya Production's 29th entry to the Ultra Series is a Japanese tokusatsu television series called Ultraman Geed. It was shown on TV Tokyo from July 8 to December 23. "Fate - prepare for it" is th...
2 TV shows
Ultraman Orb: The Origin Saga
The story chronicles upon the past of Gai Kurenai and Jugglus Juggler, the original series' main protagonist and antagonist, who were once heroes fighting on the side of light, facing Dr. Psychi and h...
Ultraman Orb, a warrior of light, battles monsters and aliens threatening Earth.
1 TV show
A solar flare has awakened Spark Dolls from the depths of the earth and the ocean! Fifteen years later, Daichi Ozora transforms into Ultraman X to battle threats from both aliens and monsters. He is a...
1 TV show
Neo Ultra Q
Ultra Q has returned, and continues investigations of monstrous appearances and strange ecological phenomenons.
1 TV show
The 17th show in the Ultra Series is Ultraman Neos. Ultraman Neos was supposed to be a TV series but it was scrapped. Tsuburaya turned the concept into a series. The series is set in an alternate univ...
1 TV show
The TLT is a covert international anti-monster unit established secretly to combat Space Beasts, mysterious monsters that are out to attack humans in the year 2009. One of the TLT's new recruits, Kazu...
1 TV show
Ultraman The Ultimate Hero
The members of WINR (pronounced "Winner") respond when members of the alien Baltan race attack Earth, but the Baltans are only fended off when a gigantic alien, Ultraman Powered, joins with WINR membe...
Ultraman vs. Kamen Rider
A special retrospective of the two franchises, with segments making comparisons between the different characters, their weapons, powers and so forth. The final segment of the special is the short film...
1 TV show
Ultraman: Towards the Future
Jack Shindo and Stanley Haggard are members of the first manned expedition to Mars, and on the red planet find a giant slug-like monster, Goudes/Gudis. Shindo is pinned by a rockslide and Haggard trie...
1 TV show
Ultraman 80 comes to Earth as one of the newest members of the Ultra Space Garrison (it is revealed in Ultraman Mebius that he is the ninth Ultra Brother), in the form of science teacher Takeshi Yamat...
1 TV show
Tsuburaya Production and Tokyo Broadcasting System collaborated to produce The Ultraman. A total of 50 episodes were aired from April 4, 1979 to March 26, 1980, on the Wednesday at 7 PM time slot. Fou...
1 TV show
Ultraman Leo is an Ultra foreign to the Land of Light, instead hailing from the fallen Planet L77 of the Leo constellation, where he and his brother Astra were royalty. After his planet was destroyed ...
1 Movie · 1 TV show
A Mummy's Love
In postwar Japan, an editor visits her old Professor who is working on a modern translation of a legend about a mummified Buddhist monk who was revived, only to turn into a sex fiend that terrorized a...
Kotaro Higashi trained to be a boxer, but after an icident with Astromons, he was killed. However, his body was brought to Nebula M-78 where Mother of Ultra saved his life by joining him with Ultraman...
1 TV show
Yapool, an ancient interdimensional creature from ancient times with similarities to Satan and Legion, sought after the planet of Earth and tried to conquer it with a campaign that involved his experi...
1 TV show
The Return of Ultraman
This series is a follow up to the original Ultraman and Ultra Seven. The first episode begins with a fight between two giant monsters named Takkong and Zazahn, in Tokyo. Amid the monster destruction, ...
All Monsters Attack
A boy who is being bullied dreams of going to Monster Island to befriend a boy who is also being bullied.
Crazy Big Explosion
A Toho comedy film staring the Crazy Cats.
A massive underwater volcano erupts and puts a group of investigative scientists in danger. They are rescued by an atomic super submarine named The Alpha under the command of Captain McKenzie. The gro...
1 Movie · 1 TV show
Destroy All Monsters
At the turn of the century, all of the Earth's monsters have been rounded up and kept safely on Monsterland. Chaos erupts when a race of she-aliens known as the Kilaaks unleash the monsters across the...
Mighty Jack was a tokusatsu SF/espionage/action TV series. Created by Japanese effects wizard Eiji Tsuburaya, the show was produced by Tsuburaya Productions and was broadcast on Fuji TV from April 6, ...
3 Movies · 1 TV show
King Kong Escapes
King Kong was brought in by an evil doctor. When the robot Mechani-Kong is unable to do the job, who will dig for Element X in the mine?. The machine and the real Kong are engaged in a battle atop Tok...
Son of Godzilla
When Goro Maki arrives on Sollgel Island, scientists are conducting weather experiments. There are giant mantids, a cast away woman, and a baby on the island.
Ultraman: Monster Movie Feature
The film consists of re-edited material from the original television series Ultraman. Episodes 1, 8, 26, and 27 were used for the film. They were narrated by Hikari Urano as an "Ultraman Documentary"....
In the not-too-distant future, the Earth finds itself constantly under attack from extraterrestrial threats. To combat them, the Terrestrial Defense Force establishes the Ultra Garrison, a team of six...
4 Movies · 2 TV shows
The Birth of Ultraman
The recorded stage debut of the original Ultraman.
The War of the Gargantuas
Gaira is a sea beast that was spawned from the cells of a monster. While the Japanese military prepares to take action, Gaira's Gargantua brother, Sanda, descends from the mountains to defend his fami...
The Father of Ultra Q
Akio Jissoji's documentary on the production of Ultra Q. Interview with series creator Eiji Tsuburaya.
Japanese war movie.
Ultra Q is a series made in the tradition of Toho's many tokusatsu sci-fi/horror films. The television shows The Outer Limits and The Twilight Zone are similar to it. There are three recurring charact...
When the Earth is threatened by alien invaders and giant monsters, the world relies on the Science Patrol, a special anti-monster defense agency armed with high-tech weaponry and vehicles to combat th...
The Retreat from Kiska
In 1943, the Aleutian island of Kiska was fortified by a small contingent of Japanese soldiers. When word arrived of an impending attack by an overwhelming force of Americans, the Japanese Navy attemp...
Invasion of Astro-Monster
Earth's people are asked to help save their world from "Monster Zero" by aliens from Planet X. The Xiliens offer a cure for cancer in exchange for borrowing two movies. Glenn and Fuji were sent on the...
Frankenstein vs. Baragon
The Germans obtained the heart of the monster and took it to Japan to prevent it from being seized by the Allies. When the United States uses an atomic bomb on a city, it seems like it's lost. A wild ...
Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster
Detective Shindo is assigned to protect the princess of a small kingdom, Maas Doulina Salno. Before she arrives in Japan, Princess Salno is seemingly assassinated as a mysterious meteorite lands in Ku...
A 1964 war film directed by Kengo Furusawa
Set at the end of the Siege of Osaka this film follows the exploits of several members of the defeated Toyotomi clan as they cope with the post battle chaos and the persecution of the Shogun's army. ...
In the form of diamonds, a cellular life-form descends from the atmosphere.
Mothra vs. Godzilla
A giant egg has been washed by a typhoon. Local villagers claim the egg and then sell it to greedy entrepreneurs. The Shobijin are going to plead for the return of the egg. At the same time, there is ...
The lost continent of Mu reappears to threaten the world with its domination. While countries unite to resist, an isolated World War II Captain has created the greatest warship ever seen, and possibly...
A group of people are stranded on a tropical island near the equator. While repairing Kessei's yacht, the island has little food for them to eat. The food ration was left behind by the former crew. Th...
In 1980, a giant planetoid named Gorath is discovered to be on a collision course with Earth. Even though it is smaller than Earth, its mass is huge enough to crush the Earth and destroy it. A mission...
King Kong vs. Godzilla
The monster emerged from the ice cube. King Kong was brought to Japan by a pharmaceutical company. Kong heads towards the monsters when he escapes.
The story tells of a group of samurai who were left leaderless (becoming ronin) after their daimyo (feudal lord) was forced to commit seppuku (ritual suicide) for assaulting a court official named Kir...
There are survivors on Infant Island. The Shobijin, the twin priestesses of the island's deity, are discovered by a joint expedition of Roliscan and Japanese scientists. The divine Mothra sets out to ...
Valley of the Dragons
In 1881 Algeria, an American soldier and a French aristocrat are about to have a duel over a woman when a comet hurtling past the Earth draws them into its gravitational pull. The men find themselves ...
The Last War
This Japanese film speculates on the events which lead the U.S. and the Soviet Union into a nuclear Armageddon.
Daredevil in the Castle
During the raging war between the Toyotomi and Tokugawa clans, the swordsman Mohei (whose family has been completely decimated) is recruited by Toyotomi to overcome the seat of power, Osaka Castle. Mo...
The Secret of the Telegian
Men are being murdered by a psycho called "The Telegian," who uses a matter-transmitting device to locate his victims.
The Human Vapor
A librarian is subject to a scientific experiment which goes wrong and transforms him into 'The Human Vapour'. He uses his new ability to rob banks to fund the career of his girlfriend, a beautiful da...
Battle in Outer Space
In 1965, the space station JSS-3 is destroyed by a fleet of unexplained objects, which then begin a global siege on Earth, using rays to manipulate gravity and control the minds of men. A global counc...
Submarine I-57 Will Not Surrender
In World War II, the commanding officer of a sub, against his will takes on board two Western diplomats, to take them to the Canaries and arrange an armistice. When they get there, peace has been decl...
The Adventures of Sun Wu Kung
The mythical adventures of the legendary Chinese trickster Monkey, who must outwit a variety of wily demons who stand in the way of him and his fellow Buddhist travelers. Though portrayed as a literal...
The Three Treasures
The birth of Shintoism is said to have been legend. In Fourth Century Japan, the Emperor's son Ouso wants to succeed his father on the throne, but Otomo, the Emperor's vassal, wants Ouso to die on a d...
Song for a Bride
There is a film about Ishiro Honda.
Nuclear tests create a radioactive man who can turn people into slime.
When a rare species of butterfly is found in a valley in Japan, a pair of entomologists go to investigate and find more. When they get there, they find an unexplored lake, but as they are observing it...
Throne of Blood
After returning to their lord's castle, samurai warriors Washizu and Miki are befriended by a spirit who predicts their futures. When the first part of the spirit's prophecy comes true, Washizu's sche...
The Paradise Island Story
Musical-comedy about nine soldiers deserted on an island in South Pacific.
In Japan, scientifically advanced invaders from the war-destroyed planet Mysteroid cause an entire village to vanish, then send a giant robot out to storm the city by night, after which they request a...
When a more horrifying discovery is made, the village is besieged by prehistoric nymphs. A giant flying creature that resembles a pteranodon emerges. A second monster is about to appear with its mate....
The Legend of the White Serpent
Lavish Japanese-Chinese coproduction based on an ancient Chinese legend about a man who falls in love with a snake goddess in human form.
Godzilla, King of the Monsters!
A fire-breathing dinosaur awakened by hydrogen-bomb testing off the Japanese coast attacks Tokyo.
The Invisible Avenger
A car strikes an unseen object; blood spreads from an invisible source which becomes visible as the bleeding man dies. He carries with him a suicide note dedicated to his only friend, who is also an i...
Japan was thrown into a panic after several ships exploded and sank. A 50 meter tall monster that the natives call Gojira is discovered by an expedition to the island led by Professor Yemani. The mons...
This is a film about a Naval Air Corps Director who hates the war. Director Honda uses this film to ask the question "What is war?", showing the human bonds between Japan and America, Japanese militar...
Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto
Miyamoto was struggling to rise from his low caste in 17th century Japan when he trained to become a samurai warrior.
Sound of the Mountain
A bride develops warm ties to her father-in-law while her husband slights her for another woman.
The Lady of Musashino
Set in post-war Japan, The Lady of Musashino tells the story of Michiko, a disillusioned young woman trapped in a loveless marriage. She confides in her younger cousin, Tsutomo, and the two become clo...
Invisible Man Appears
1949’s TOUMEI NINGEN ARAWARU (THE INVISIBLE MAN APPEARS/THE TRANSPARENT MAN APPEARS) 透明人間現わる was a monochrome gem with special effects supervised by Eiji Tsuburaya. Loosely based on the H.G. Wells 189...
A Descendant of Urashima Taro
Reputedly based on Frank Capra’s 1939 film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, A Descendant of Tarô Urashima is about a repatriated soldier who becomes populist politician in the Japanese Happiness Party.
Colonel Kato's Falcon Squadron
A 1944 propaganda film that depicts the fictionalised career of IJAAF pilot Tateo Kato, who led the 64th Sentai during the early months of the Pacific War. The film has scenes featuring Ki-43 fighters...
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Eiji_Tsuburaya", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.