Tanba Tetsuro

Jim Harper jimharper666
Tue Sep 26 04:38:58 EDT 2006

That's a real shame. Like Donald Pleasence, Tanba had the ability to give a film some entertainment value just by appearing in it. The films themselves weren't always great, but it was fun waiting for his appearance. He will be missed.
  Jim Harper.

Aaron Gerow <aaron.gerow at yale.edu> wrote:
  All the news services are reporting that the actor Tanba Tetsuro died 
on the 24th of pneumonia. He was 84.

Tanba was one of the most singular, impressive actors on the Japanese, 
so forceful that he sometimes, probably to his own delight, bordered on 
self-parody. He graduated from Chuo University and entered Shintoho in 
1952, first appearing in the gang movie Satsujin yogisha, and working 
in many of the Shintoho genres such as war films (Meiji Tenno to 
Nichiro daisenso) and kaidan (Nakagawa's Kaidan kasanegafuchi). His 
height, long, thin face, and low voice made him especially suited for 
bad guys in yakuza movies, jidaigeki and even kaidan. He first made a 
real impression for his style and acting range after he left Toho and 
started appearing in the films of new wave directors like Imamura 
Shohei (Buta to gunkan) and Shinoda Masahiro (Ansatsu), even though his 
mainstay was still in genre pictures directed by Fukasaku, Ishii Teruo, 
and Gosha. He was simply an essential foil for many of Japan's stars. 
His skills in English brought him roles in a number of foreign films, 
including most famously, the James Bond film You Only Live Twice. He 
was also a mainstay on television, starring in such series as G-Men 75. 
He was central to many of the big hits of the 1970s, such as Nihon 
chinbotsu, Suna no utsuwa, Shinkansen daibakuha, Ningen kakumei, etc.

Tanba was quite versatile, directing a couple pictures, starting with 
Korera no shiro in 1964, and producing others, including Sanbiki no 
samurai. He is most famous (notorious?) for his interest in the world 
after death and published many of his thoughts on the subject in book 
form, which eventually appeared on screen as the three Daireikai films, 
which featured his name in the title.

Tanba was really one of the great presences on the Japanese silver 
screen. The JMBD lists over 300 films to his name, but there are 
probably about a 100 more. He will surely be missed, but never 

Aaron Gerow
KineJapan owner

Assistant Professor
Film Studies Program/East Asian Languages and Literatures
Yale University

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