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Ishiro Honda Biographer to Speak at Book Soup

Ishiro Honda

WEST HOLLYWOOD — Steve Ryfle, co-author of “Ishiro Honda: A Life in Film, from Godzilla to Kurosawa,” comes to Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood, on Thursday, Jan. 11, at 7 p.m.

Honda was arguably the most internationally successful Japanese director of his generation, with an unmatched succession of science fiction films that were commercial hits worldwide. From the atomic allegory of “Godzilla” and the beguiling charms of “Mothra” to the tragic mystery of “Matango” and the disaster and spectacle of “Rodan,” “The Mysterians,” “King Kong vs. Godzilla,” and many others, his films reflected postwar Japan’s real-life anxieties and incorporated fantastical special effects, a formula that appealed to audiences around the globe and created a popular culture phenomenon that spans generations.

Now, in the first full account of this long-overlooked director’s life and career, authors Ryfle and Ed Godziszewski shed new light on Honda’s work and the experiences that shaped it — including his days as a reluctant Japanese soldier, witnessing the aftermath of Hiroshima, and his lifelong friendship with Akira Kurosawa.

The book features close analysis of Honda’s works — including, for the first time, his rarely seen dramas, comedies, and war films — and draws on previously untapped documents and interviews to explore how creative, economic, and industrial factors impacted his career. Fans of Honda, Godzilla, and tokusatsu (special effects) film, and of Japanese film in general, will welcome this in-depth study of a highly influential director who occupies a uniquely important position in science fiction and fantasy cinema, as well as in world cinema.

Together, the authors have provided audio commentary tracks and supplemental material for numerous home video releases, including “Ishiro Honda’s Godzilla” for the British Film Institute. They co-produced the documentary feature “Bringing Godzilla Down to Size” (2008).

For more information on the venue, call (310) 659-3110 or visit

(Editor’s note: This article was previously posted with an incorrect photo.)

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