SciFi Japan

    GAMERA Star Yoshiro Uchida Joins THE GREAT BUDDHA ARRIVAL!

    Child actor Yoshiro Uchida (second from right) in a publicity photo for the original GAMERA. Photo courtesy of Kadokawa Pictures. © KADOKAWA 1965

    Source: Avery Guerra Official Site:


    Yoshiro Uchida today.

    The independent kaiju film THE GREAT BUDDHA ARRIVAL (????, Daibutsu Kokaiku) continues to cast familiar actors from the golden age of the genre. The latest addition is Yoshiro Uchida, a former child actor who became world famous for the leading role of Toshio Sakurai in Daiei Studios’ original GAMERA (??????, Daikaij? Gamera, 1965). His character retained his Japanese name in GAMMERA THE INVINCIBLE, the 1966 Americanized version distributed theatrically by World Entertainment Corp., but was notoriously renamed "Kenny" in the English dubbed version released to home video and television by Sandy Frank in 1985. "Kenny" remains a label used to describe child actors in kaiju cinema to this day. While Uchida was not the first child actors given a prominent role in a giant monster movie, he did inspire a slew of other Japanese monster films and TV shows to attempt to recreate the magic -- and financial success -- of GAMERA. After less-than-expected box office for the second Gamera film, the filmmakers returned to the formula for the rest of the series, even bringing in Caucasian children like Carl Craig for GAMERA VS. VIRAS (????????????, Gamera Tai Uchuu Kaij? Bairasu, 1968) and Christopher Murphy in GGAMERA VS. GUIRON (??????????, Gamera Tai Daiakuj? Giron, 1969). The beloved 1990s Gamera reboot trilogy featured teenage actresses Ayako Fujitani, the daughter of famed action star Steven Seagal, and Ai Maeda, while 2006`s GAMERA THE BRAVE (??????????, Chiisaki Y?sha-tachi Gamera) starred Ryo Tomioka and Kaho. Nikkatsu`s kaiju film GAPPA: THE TRIPHIBIAN MONSTER (?????? Daikyoj? Gappa, 1967) featured Masanori Machida as the islander Saki. And Toho jumped on the bandwagon with Tomonori Izaki as latchkey kid Ichiro Miki in ALL MONSTERS ATTACK/GODZILLA`s REVENGE ??????????? ????????, Gojira-Minira-Gabara: ?ru Kaij? Daishingeki, 1969) and Hiroyuki Kawase starring in both GODZILLA VS. HEDORAH (???????, Gojira Tai Hedora, 1971) and GODZILLA VS. MEGALON (??????? Gojira Tai Megaro). Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Entertainment included a nod to these child actors in their GODZILLA (2014), while writer/director Minoru Kawasaki lampooned the Kenny-types in his kaiju comedy MONSTER X STRIKES BACK: ATTACK THE G8 SUMMIT (??????????????????, Girara no Gyakush?: T?yako Samitto Kiki Ippatsu, 2008). Following GAMERA, Yoshiro Uchida continued to act (particularly in television) and had a very successful career in Japan as a singer. He launched his musical career with the smash single "Mister Robinson" and made 2 albums with 5 singles, including the hit "furusato". He now returns to his roots in THE GREAT BUDDHA ARRIVAL, alongside the likes of Akira Takarada (star of six Godzilla films, including the original), Akira kubo (INVASION OF ASTRO MONSTER/MONSTER ZERO, SON OF GODZILLA, DESTROY ALL MONSTERS), Peggy Neal (THE X FROM OUTER SPACE), Yukijiro Hotaru (The Heisei Gamera Trilogy, GODZILLA, MOTHRA, AND KING GHIDORAH: GIANT MONSTERS ALL-OUT ATTACK), Pippei Ohsako and Inge Murata (SHIN GODZILLA), Shelley Sweeney (four Godzilla films), Yuki Morita (GODZILLA 2014), and many more! For further information and updates on THE GREAT BUDDHA ARRIVAL, be sure to follow the film on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

    Yoshiro Uchida (foreground) in GAMERA. © KADOKAWA 1965
    Covers for some of Yoshiro Uchida`s albums from the 1970s. © Yoshiro Uchida
    Yoshiro Uchida in concert. © Yoshiro Uchida

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