[Interview] Actor Bin Furuya, Ultraman & Ultraseven Star

Happy Halloween to our readers! Today, Hero-Club is proud to present our newest interview, which is with another tokusatsu actor and icon. As the title exclaims, our guest is none other than Ultra Series legend, Mr. Bin Furuya. Longtime fans of the Ultra Series will immediately recognize Mr. Furuya by name alone for having portrayed the original Ultraman. Now, for those unaware, we do not mean Mr. Furuya was the series lead Shin Hayata, but the titular character Ultraman! Yes, Mr. Furuya is the man to bring our hero to life on screen, battling various kaiju and alien invaders. However, before Ultraman, he had minor roles in Toho films and in first the installment of the Ultra Series, Ultra Q. Then following the success of Ultraman, Mr. Furuya would go onto portray Ultra Garrison member, Amagi in Ultraseven.

 

Now, due to Mr. Bin Furuya’s schedule and our language barrier our questions are limited due to some constraints. However, we try to build off on common knowledge regarding Mr. Furuya’s work, and from his past convention appearances. Hopefully, with interview we are able to expose new information on our guest’s career. Also, like our previous interview with Chojinki Metalder’s Seikoh Senoo, the Japanese transcript is available at the bottom of this article. Nevertheless, let us jump right into the English portion of this interview with Mr. Bin Furuya!

 

Question 1: To begin our interview, what inspired you to become an actor and stuntman?

Mr. Furuya: As a child I really enjoyed watching movies, my favorite films were westerns from the United States. From those films, I always dreamed of becoming a movie star when I grew up, and I wanted to be able to share my dream with everyone.

 

Question 2: Where did you obtain your education for acting & theater/ stunt performances?

Mr. Furuya: Toho created a school to teach actors, the Toho Performing Arts School, and that is where I studied acting.

 

Question 3: Now, this is my assumption that you knew Mr. Eiji Tsuburaya before he began his production company due to previous work at TOHO. So, could you recall what your first interaction with Mr. Tsuburaya was like?

Mr. Furuya: An early interaction I can recall is that Mr. Eiji Tsuburaya once told me, “tokusatsu creates a dream that can be seen, but not everything can be done by special effects alone.” Then when I was in Ultraman, I remember being asked to give children dreams, and also let them think on how heroes are cool.

 

Question 4: When Mr. Tsuburaya began the Ultra Series with Ultra Q, you had some minor roles such as Ragon and Kemur Man. Then when production shifted to Ultraman, you became the suit actor for our titular hero. So, how were you approached for the role, and what was the transition like in becoming a series main suit performer?

Mr. Furuya: Before, Ragon or Kemur Man, I was an actor in Toho movies. I had never played a role in a suit before, and I was not very good at action, sword fights, or stunts. When Tsuburaya was looking for an actor to get into the suits they required someone who was tall, thin, and had long limbs. When hearing that, it felt like ‘an arrow to the heart,’ and immediately I wanted to refuse to wear the Kemur suit. However, I swallowed pride for this chance. Whereas, the Ragon suit was painful to wear, but I ended up doing it too. Then with our ‘giant tokusatsu hero,’ Ultraman, I kept doing what Director Tsuburaya said and continued to shoot.

 

Question 5: Since you were Ultraman, you spent most of your time in-suit, performing various tasks and coordinating the fights. On several occasions the man opposite of you performing the monster of the week was ‘Godzilla’ himself, Mr. Haruo Nakajima. For you, what was it like working with Mr. Nakajima, and getting to know him?

Mr. Furuya: Toho’s Nakajima-san, was our ‘senpai’, our senior, so at times it was hard since he was Godzilla’s suit, being the veteran and famous. But in the locker room between scenes we talked a lot. He was a kind-hearted, gentle senior who was very kind enough to teach/ advise me in regards to the action sequences.

 

Question 6: May I ask, what are your thoughts on the series finale, as production had the SSSP defeat Zetton rather than Ultraman?

Mr. Furuya: To begin I must say, the hero must not die. Ironically during the series’ run, a lot of letters arrived from viewers to TV stations or Tsuburaya Productions, which also said ‘Don’t kill Ultraman!’ After reading those letters I also did not want to lose against a ‘weak’ Zetton, but it was a complete defeat. Then Zoffy came to help me, and ultimately I was touched by the scene where I leave with Zoffy…

 

Question 7: Did you have to audition for Amagi, and do you recall how the character was originally described to you for your performance?

Mr. Furuya: There wasn’t an audition for Officer Amagi – I was chosen for the role. Being Ultraman helped me to get recognized, and the role of Amagi was a reward. The role for Amagi was explained as being intelligent and a kind-hearted scientist. Not only that, but the role of Amagi was to be a bit weaker, and not too good in action.

 

Question 8: What are some of your favorite moments for your portrayal of Amagi?

Mr. Furuya: Episode 31, ‘The Devil Who Lives in a Flower’ featuring Space Germ Dally. It is a wonderful story where the main character of this episode is me, Officer Amagi.

 

Question 9: May I ask why following Ultraseven did you step away from acting full-time, only to make various cameos in other productions? Sorry, if we are wrong with this assumption, but here in the west most sites only mention your kaiju-specific roles.

Mr. Furuya: When Seven finished, there weren’t any full-time roles available, so I was thinking of quitting acting. But then I found work with Tsuburaya Productions, Mighty Jack, in the episode ‘Operation: Mystery Ship’. Then following that I set up my own company, Bin Promotion in 1971.

 

Question 10: Finally, you once mentioned how Mr. Eiji Tsuburaya, “told you that wearing the suit of Ultraman would create good dreams and memories for children in the decades to come.” Did you ever expect this quote would be validated like it is today, especially with its huge international expansion? And, what are your opinions on the franchise’s legacy and longevity?

Mr. Furuya: Yes, because tokusatsu hero movies are products that are able to nurture children’s dreams, so I always gave 100%, my all, to it. Another thing that director Eiji Tsuburaya once said was, “these movies are really made with the hearts of many staff, cast and desk workers, and that’s why the movies are able to shine.” So, I wanted to give children dreams like the ones that supported me the whole time. Thank you very much for the support in return.

 

So, this concludes our interview with Mr. Bin Furuya, to which it was an honor for us to have here at Hero-Club. Mr. Furuya does have social media pages where fans may be able to interact with him, both on FaceBook and Twitter. Also, if fans are unaware, Mill Creek Entertainment is distributing the entire Ultra Series on home video in North America, so pick up a copy of Ultraman or Ultraseven when available. Furthermore, we must extend a special thanks to people that made this interview possible. First off, our advocates who negotiated for the interview on our behalf were artist Matt Frank, and Tetsuya Takarada. Then as our for translatoring team which consisted of site regulars ProtomanV89 and Touma Kaito, as well as site sponsor Mr. S of CS Toys International. Finally, as mentioned earlier, the Japanese transcript of this interview with Mr. Furuya is available below:

 

質問1:俳優さんまたはスタントマンになったきっかけを教えていただけますいただけますか?

Ans. 私は映画が大好きな、子供でした。映画はいつも僕に夢を見させてくれましたから、大人になったら、映画俳優になって皆んなに夢を与えられるようになりたいと思いました。好きだった映画はアメリカの西部劇でした。

 

質問2:演技力/スタントマンに勉強した場所を教えていただけますでしょうか。?

Ans. 東宝が俳優を育てる学校を作りました。東宝芸能学校です。そこで勉強しました。

 

質問3:古谷さんは仕事前に既に円谷 英二を知っていたと思います(以前東宝株式会社での仕事経験)。初めて円谷さんとのやりとり経験を教えていただけますでしょうか。?

Ans. 円谷監督は、特撮は夢を作り出す事が出来る、特撮の技術で出来ないものはないと、言っていました。ウルトラマンの時は、僕に子供達に夢を与えてやりなさいヒーローはかっこよくやりなさいと、言われました。

 

質問4:円谷さんがウルトラQを撮影するとき、古谷さんはラゴンやケムールマンなどのマイナーな役割がありました。その後、制作がウルトラマンにされた時、古谷さんはスーツの俳優になりました。古谷さんはどのようにアプローチされましたか?また、シリーズのスーツの主役になる時の移行はどうでしたか?

Ans. ラゴンや、ケムール人の時は僕は東宝映画の俳優でした、スーツに入る役はやった事がありませんでした。アクションや殺陣やスタントはとても苦手でした。スーツの中に入る人を探していました。背が高く、痩せていて、手足が長い演技ができる俳優を。 僕に白羽の矢が刺さりました。僕は直ぐ断りました、ケムール人やラゴンの苦しさがありましたから。でも、やる事になってしまいました。子供向けの特撮巨大ヒーローウルトラマンです。円谷監督の言われた事を守って死に物狂いでやりました。

 

質問5:古谷さんはほとんどの時間はウルトラマンのスーツを着て、さまざまなタスクや戦いシーンを調整しました。時々、ゴジラはシリーズに出たですが、その時ゴジラを演じしたのは中島 春雄さんでした。一緒に共演するのご感想を聞かせたいください。?

Ans. 怪獣とのアクション苦しかった中島さんは東宝の大先輩ですロッカールームが一緒だからいろいろと話はしました。ゴジラのスーツアクターで有名でした、アクションを とても親切に教えてもらいました。心温かい優しい先輩でした。

質問6:番組の最終回の感想を教えていただけませんか?ゼットンを倒したのはウルトラマンではなく、SSSPだったのでしょうか?

Ans. ヒーローは死んではいけない。子供達や母親からも、ウルトラマンは殺さないでくださいと、テレビ局や円谷プロに嘆願書がたくさん届く僕もあんな弱そうなゼットンに やられるのは嫌だった。でも完敗だった。ゾフィが助けに来てくれたので良かったです。ゾフィと一緒帰る感動的でした。

 

質問7:アマギを演じるはオーディションを受けましたか?そのキャラクターを演じるするために最初にどのように説明されたか覚えていますか?

Ans. アマギ隊員はオーデションはありませんでした。抜擢されました。ウルトラマンをやった知名度話題性、ウルトラマンをやったご褒美です。アマギの役は、知的で頭も良く科学者線が細く、弱々しく、アクションが得意でなくでも心温かい優しい人こんな役作りをしました。

 

質問8:アマギを演じる時に一番気に入ったシーンを教えて頂けませんか。?

Ans. 悪魔の住む花 ダリー。この回の主役はアマギ隊員です。ラブストーリーの素敵な作品。

 

質問9:ウルトラセブンシリーズが完成した後、古谷さんはフルタイムの演技から離れて、他の作品でさまざまなカメオを出る理由を教えて頂けませんか。あくまでそれは私達の仮定なので、間違いたら、大変失礼致しました。なざなら、アメリカサイトには古谷さんの出演作品は怪獣の役割しかないからです。?

Ans. セブンが終わってフルタイムの役はありません、俳優を辞めるつもりでした。円谷プロ作品で、マイティジャック怪奇大作戦に出ていました。自分の会社を設立しました。

 

質問10:最後に、円谷さんは「ウルトラマンのスーツを着れば、子供たちに良い夢と思い出を作れる」とおっしゃっていました。現在はこの言葉はまだ通用しますか?特に現在特撮シリーズは既に国際展開です。そして、ウルトラシリーズの遺産と長寿についての意見があれば、教えていただけませんか。?

Ans. 子供達の夢を育む特撮ヒーローの映画を死に物狂いでやりました。円谷英二監督の言われた事を守ってスタッフ、キャスト、デスクワークの大勢の人達が心込めて作った映画ですだから今も燦然と輝いています。子供達に夢を見させてあげたい、これが心の支えでした。 ありがとうございました。

Recent posts

Leave a Reply