|Date of birth||
April 26, 1910
|Date of death||
April 2, 1997
Soon after graduating from Kansai University in 1940, Tanaka joined Toho Studios. After four years with the company, he began producing his own films. In his 60-year career with Toho, Tanaka produced more than 200 films.
He is best known as the creator of Godzilla, alongside director Ishiro Honda and special-effects wizard Eiji Tsuburaya, with the towering monster becoming the embodiment of post-World War II anxiety. Tanaka created Godzilla in 1954 in an effort to illustrate the terror Japanese felt after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The classic 1954 Godzilla film would spawn a series of sequels, adding up to 28 films by 2004.
In addition to other sci-fi thrillers (often with the other three members of the Godzilla team: Honda and Tsuburaya, and composer Akira Ifukube) such as The Mysterians and Matango, Tanaka produced films directed by the acclaimed Akira Kurosawa. One of them, Kagemusha was nominated for a Best Foreign Film Oscar and took the coveted Palme d'Or at Cannes, tying with All That Jazz.
He has a dedication to his death in the 1998 Godzilla.