SciFi Japan

    New Japanese Book THE ADVENTURES OF AKIO JISSOJI Looks Back at Acclaimed ULTRAMAN and Art Film Director

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    Cover to the new book The Adventures of Akio Jissoji by author Takeshi Yagi. Photo courtesy of Impress Holdings. © 2023 Rittor Music,Inc., an Impress Group company

    Akio Jissoji (1937-2006) joined Tsuburaya Productions in the company's earliest days and established himself as a standout director on ULTRAMAN (ウルトラマン, Urutoraman 1966-67) and ULTRASEVEN (ウルトラセブン, Urutorasebun, 1967-68) due to his use of creative camera angles and framing, lighting and shadows, and other storytelling techniques. He would then direct New Wave films for the Art Theatre Guild, including the award-winning -- and controversial - The Buddhist Trilogy consisting of THIS TRANSIENT LIFE (無常, Mujō, 1970), MANDARA (曼陀羅, 1971) and POEM (哥(うた), Uta, 1972).  Additional credits would include FX films like TOKYO: THE LAST MEGALOPOLIS (帝都物語, Teito Monogatari, 1988) and adaptations of horror and mystery stories by novelist Edogawa Rampo, such as WATCHER IN THE ATTIC (屋根裏の散歩者, Yaneura no Sanposha, 1992) and MURDER ON D STREET (D坂の殺人事件, D-Zaka no Satsujin Jiken, 1998).  In his latter years, Jissoji would return to the Ultra Series, directing episodes of ULTRAMAN TIGA (ウルトラマンティガ, Urutoraman Tiga, 1996-97) , ULTRAMAN DYNA (ウルトラマンダイナ, Urutoraman Daina, 1997-98) and ULTRAMAN MAX (ウルトラマンマックス, Urutoraman Makkusu, 2005-06).

     The life and career of Akio Jissoji are the subject sof a new Japanese language book, The Adventures of Akio Jissoji: Creation and Aesthetics (実相寺昭雄の冒険 創造と美学, Jissōji Akio no Bōken Sōzō to Bigaku), coming from publisher Rittosha) on August 25, 2023. The book is authored by another longtime Ultra Series director,  Takeshi Yagi*,  and features comments and writings from a total of 21 cast and crew members who worked with Jissoji over his long career.  These commentators each reveal their own impressions of the director, but these images vary and never converge due each person's age and relationship with Jissoji over several decades. Takeshi Yagi, was prepared for this, and presnets the book as a report of the various interpretations of Jissoji.

    Who was Akio Jissoji.. gentle and cruel, fun and deep, eccentric and genius, an indescribable existence? We will never know. But that is what this book seeks to find out.

    In addition to comments by ULTRAMAN actors Sandayu Dokumamushi and Hiroko Sakurai (MANDARA), Sojiro Uchino, Yuriko Hishimi (ULTRASEVEN), Asahi Kurizuka, Masao Nakabori, Minori Terada, Yonosuke Minamoto, Shiro Sano (TOKYO: THE LAST MEGALOPOLIS), Takahashi Iwao (WATCHER IN THE ATTIC) and others, the book includes the "Shooting Report: THIS TRANSIENT LIFE" by cinematographer Yozo Inagaki which was first published in Eiga Satsuei (映画撮影, Cinematography, 1970), articles by director Takeshi Yagi on ULTRAMAN DYNA and "Monster Drama ~ From the Perspective of Tsuburaya Productions' Staff", and an interview with the director himself, "My Favorite Things." There are also valuable materials from Jissoji's personal records such as his "Dream Diary" written down in his later years, handwritten storyboards, and never-before-published photographs that llow this book to be used as a compass (but with traps) for wandering around the vast world of Akio Jissoji.

     Photo courtesy of Impress Holdings. © 2023 Rittor Music,Inc., an Impress Group company

    * About Author: Takeshi Yagi

    Takeshi Yagi studied film at Waseda University's Cinema Society and joined Tsuburaya Productions after graduation. He studied under special effects director Koichi Takano and director Kazuho Mitsuda and became a director, special effects director, and producer on works that include ULTRAMAN MAX (ウルトラマンマックス, Urutoraman Makkusu, 2005), ULTRASEVEN X (ウルトラセブン エックス, Urutorasebun Ekkusu, 2007), ULTRA Q: DARK FANTASY (ウルトラQ dark fantasy, Urutora Kyū: dāku fantajī, 2004), URBAN LEGEND SEPIA (都市伝説セピア, Toshi Densetsu Sepia, 2009) and SUPERIOR 8 ULTRAMAN BROTHERS (大決戦!超ウルトラ8兄弟,  Daikessen! Chō Urutora Hachi Kyōdai, 2008). In 2007, he became independent and is currently freelance. Recently, Yagi wrote and directed a new film AKARI for naro project in North America, which was invited to Fantasia International Film Festival in 2023, and he is currently working on several projects abroad, including the naro special effects course.

    Takeshi Yagi is the author of Ultraman Max: 15th Year Testimonials (ウルトラマンマックス 15年目の証言録, Urutoraman Makkusu 15-Nenme no Shōgenroku), Ultraman Tiga: 25th Year Testimonials (ウルトラマンティガ 25年目の証言録, Urutoraman Tiga 25-Nenme no Shōgenroku), Ultraman Dyna: 25th Year Testimonials (ウルトラマンダイナ 25年目の証言録, Urutoraman Daina 25-Nenme no Shōgenroku), ULTRASEVEN X: 15th Year Testimonials (ULTRASEVEN X 15年目の証言録, ULTRASEVEN X 15-Nenme no Shōgenroku) and The Golden Age of Special Effects: Eiji Tsuburaya's Successor (特撮黄金時代 円谷英二を継ぐもの, Tokusatsu Ogon Jidai Tsuburaya Eiji o Tsugu Mono).


    The Adventures of Akio Jissoji: Creation and Aesthetics Information
    Author: Takeshi Yagi
    Price: 2,750円 (Approximately $18.91 U.S., Tax Included)
    Release Date: August 25, 2023
    Publisher: Rittorsha
    Distributor: Rittor Music

     Photo courtesy of Impress Holdings. © 2023 Rittor Music,Inc., an Impress Group company

     Photo courtesy of Impress Holdings. © 2023 Rittor Music,Inc., an Impress Group company

     Photo courtesy of Impress Holdings. © 2023 Rittor Music,Inc., an Impress Group company

     Photo courtesy of Impress Holdings. © 2023 Rittor Music,Inc., an Impress Group company

    About Rittorsha
    Rittosha is a publishing house that covers pop culture in various fields, including literature and manga. In addition to popular series such as Otome's Bookshelf, Rittosha is a publishing brand that has attracted attention from readers for its reprinting of fantastic manga by Osamu Tezuka, Yukiko Tani, and others.


    About Rittor Music Corporation
    Ritto Music is a leading publisher of music-related media and content, including electronic publishing, video and sound distribution, as well as the publication of music instruction books and other publications for players and creators of musical instruments and music production, such as Guitar Magazine and Sound & Recording Magazine. In addition to operating the newly created multipurpose space "Ochanomizu RITTOR BASE," the company also offers popular web services such as "Digimart," the largest marketplace for musical instruments in Japan, "Mimi Man," an entertainment information site, and "T-OD," a T-shirt on-demand sales site.


    About The Impress Group
    The Impress Group is a media group whose holding company is Impress Holdings Corporation (Headquarters: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; President: Daisuke Matsumoto). The company develops highly specialized media, services and solutions businesses with the main themes of "IT," "Music," "Design," "Mountain & Nature," "Aviation & Railways," "Mobile Services," and "Academia, Science & Engineering. It also develops and operates content business platforms.

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