|Japanese King Kong (1933 film)|
Wasei Kingu Kongu (和製キングコング?, lit. Japanese King Kong) is a lost Wasei Kingu Kongu1933 tokusatsu kaiju short-film created by Shochiku Company Ltd. It is seemingly based on the U.S. film which was released the same year, or possibly on the 1932 novel that proceeded it. It was released to Japanese theaters on October 5, 1933.
Santa (Isamu Yamaguchi) and his friend Koichi (Nagamasa Yamada) are jobless vagabonds. They make their living by picking up coins on streets. Santa has a girlfriend named Omitsu (Yasuko Koizumi), but her father Seizo (Kotaro Sekiguchi) does not like having his daughter date a penniless man. He breaks the lovers up and tries to marry his daughter off to a rich man. Desperate, Santa seeks employment and wanders the streets. He can’t find a job at all but has an inspiration. RKO’s King Kong has been released and is a big hit in Tokyo. He decides to capitalize on its success by dressing up as an ape and playing King Kong on a vaudeville theater. He approaches one theater owner to tell him of the idea and the owner is pleased with Santa’s plan, thus giving him the job. Santa’s King Kong show becomes an instant success, with Santa interacting amongst props on the theater stage in his gorilla suit (small buildings, toy airplanes, a doll etc.). One day while performing on stage, Santa sees that Omitsu and her new rich boyfriend are in the audience. Blinded with rage, Santa jumps down from the stage and runs after them - with his gorilla suit on. Santa creates chaos in the town, as firemen and hunters chase him thinking him an escaped gorilla that is running wild in the streets. Eventually Santa confronts the rich boyfriend and knocks him unconscious. He puts the gorilla suit on him and leaves him lying out cold in the street. Just then Koichi comes and tells Santa that the theater owner will give him a lot of money for his performances. Now that he has wealth, Santa gets married to Omitsu
Detailed information about this silent, black & white project has been virtually non-existent, particularly outside of Japan, as the film is believed lost since the late 1940s. This has been attributed to the fire bombing campaign of Japan during World War II. Film historians agree this is likely, as approximately only 1% of Japan's prewar films survived these events.
Without physical evidence or accounts by any of the cast or crew, the existence of the film has been long debated. If proven to be real, it would be by far the first daikaiju film, having preceded its equally-enigmatic followup King Kong Appears in Edo by five years, and the current record-holder Gojira by 21 years.
Japanese King Kong is also the earliest-known film produced by Shochiku that involves the kaiju genre. 34 years later in 1967, during the Tokusatsu boom of the 1960s, Shochiku released The X From Outer Space, their second attempt at the genre.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Torajiro Saito
- Written by Akira Fushimi
- Cinematography by Yoshio Taketomi
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- Yasuko Koizumi as Omitsu
- Takeshi Sakamoto as Yokoshima
- Kotaro Sekiguchi as Seizo
- Nagamasa Yamada as Koichi
- Isamu Yamaguchi as King Kong