"I believe that the simpathy and the human side of the hero, who always appeared to save people in moments of danger, was what captivated the public, and especially the children" - Narikawa Tetsuo
Narikawa-sensei at age 57
Photo taken in France, 2001
In 1967 Narikawa Tetsuo passed with success the recruitment tests for new talents at Toho, entering showbiz. His television debut comes two years later in the cop show "Tokyo By Pass Shirei" (Order to bypass Tokyo), in the role of Inpector Namiki.
In 1970, Sagisu Tomio, President and founder of P-Productions, is trying to bring SPECTREMAN to life. After several dead-ends, Sagisu-sensei discovers Narikawa Tetsuo, who he hires to play the lead in the series, then named SPACE APEMAN GORI. Narikawa faithfully corresponds to the ideal image Sagisu had for the role of a dynamic individual, very charismatic and very capable of playing a hero of dual identity. For over one year thereafter, Narikawa Tetsuo portrays the character of Gamou Jouji, alias Spectreman, on japanese television, reaching a roaring success.
Narikawa Tetsuo finds himself suddenly propelled into the pantheon of national heroes, and newspapers of the country praise him in their articles. It is during the filming of the series that he married actress Sekiguchi Shoko. The popularity of Spectreman crosses borders way beyond the Japanese archipelago, when the rights are acquired by various nations, including the United States, Brazil, France, Italy and Mexico.
Thereafter, Narikawa played guest roles on occasion in episodes of different series such as Kamen Rider, Ultraman Leo and LION MARU. He makes a brief return to cop shows such as "Uwasa no Keiji Tomi to Matsu" (Renowned Policemen Tomio and Matsu), finally retiring from acting altogether in 1983. Narikawa then imerses himself in one of his other great passions: Karate. He founded his own school in the city of Komae.
In addition to the roles of professor and president of the Seidokai school of karate, Narikawa opened an international section and nowadays puts full efforts into training those who have been discovered as revelations. Very popular, he is often seen on the covers of european karate magazines.
Somewhere along the 90s, Spectreman regained serious popularity in Japan. The revival included a luscious laserdisc edition of the series, the sale of dolls, toys, games and trading cards. Narikawa published in 1999 his memoirs about the series in a very thorough book, including episode analyses, interviews with staff, and photo galleries.
Although he never had another role as big as the one he played in SPECTREMAN, Narikawa had a guest starring role in ULTRAMAN LEO as Atalante, an alien villain, which shows Tsuburaya had no hard feelings against their illustrous former competitor.
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Last modified on Tuesday, December 13, 2005
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