SON OF KAIJU DAY MARATHON: The King Kong That Appeared in Edo (1938)

In 1938, King Kong was reissued in Japanese theaters and smaller studios — like Zenshō Cinema — took advantage of the popularity by making this film, broken up into two silent chapters.

On March 31, Edo ni Arawareta Kingu Kongu: Henge no Maki (The King Kong That Appeared in Edo: The Episode of the Monster) played theaters, followed a week later by Edo ni Arawareta Kingu Kongu: Ōgon no Maki (The King Kong That Appeared in Edo: The Episode of Gold).

Fuminori Ohashi, who assisted in the creation of Godzilla, as well as working on as a makeup advisor on Planet of the Apes and as a technical advisor and designer for the attractions at the original Disneyland, created the ape suit for this movie.

The first chapter is all about Chinami, the daughter of the rich Hyoue Toba, who has been mysteriously kidnapped one night. Magonojyō Gō, one of Toba’s workers, is the one who kidnapped her, using his father’s pet ape. In the second part, various money stealing schemes end with nearly everyone dead, including the ape.

This is a lost film, as the nuclear blasts and bombing of World War II destroying so much of Japan’s archived films. There was conjecture for years as to whether the film even existed until Ohashi spoke on it and still debate whether the ape in the film is normal-sized or a kaiju.

If he was giant-sized, this would make The King Kong That Appeared in Edo the very first Japanese monster movie of its kind.

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