2019 Featured Guest - Bin Furuya (古谷敏)

Satoshi "Bin" Furuya attended Toho's acting school and graduated as part of the studio's New Face program. He first debuted in a jailbreak motion picture from director Jun Fukuda in 1962, which led to numerous supporting roles in classic Toho science-fiction films such as Ghidrah, The Three-Headed Monster (1964), The War of the Gargantuas (1966), Gorath (1962) and Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965).

In 1965, Furuya transferred to Tsuburaya Productions and appeared in several episodes of ULTRA Q (1966), which served as his television debut. His work as a monster suit actor in that program led to him being cast as the giant superhero from Nebula M-78 in the ULTRAMAN television series, which was first broadcast in 1966 and ultimately sparked the worldwide franchise that continues to this day.

Furuya was prompted to portray Ultraman by series art director Tohru Narita, who based his design for the character in part on the actor’s own face, from which a life cast had been made. At first, Furuya wasn’t keen on taking a role which required his face to be hidden behind a mask. His mind was changed when he realized the positive effect that Ultraman was having on children and began playing the part in earnest.

Furuya had practiced the superhero’s famous “specium ray” pose 300 times each day until he could do it without any effort. As a huge fan of actor James Dean, he also based Ultraman’s signature fighting stance on that of Dean’s character in the 1955 film Rebel Without a Cause.

Furuya was again asked to portray the giant superhero in Tsuburaya Productions’ popular follow-up series ULTRASEVEN, but he held out for the more traditional dramatic role of Ultra Guard member Amagi. ULTRASEVEN celebrated the 50th anniversary of its initial broadcast in Japan on October 1, 2017.

Following the production of Ultraseven, Furuya retired from acting and began producing a live-action monster attraction show. In 2009, he released an autobiography, The Man Who Became Ultraman, in which he spoke for the first time about the difficulties of shooting the special effects scenes for the 1966 series. Since 2012, he has enjoyed meeting fans at pop culture conventions all over the world.

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Bin Furuya

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