Australia provided an (admittedly unacknowledged) touch to Monster Prince (怪獣王子), one of Japan’s most popular TV shows in the late 1960s. Monster Prince told the story of Takeru Ibuki, a boy left stranded on a tropical island while a baby when his family is caught in a volcanic eruption and subsequently raised by dinosaurs living there. Together with his brontosaurus friend, Nessie, Takeru defends the island, and by extension the Earth, from invading aliens. And that’s where the Australian touch comes in…Takeru’s weapon of choice is a boomerang! The show ran for two series and was made by Nihon Tokusatsu Kabukikaisha. The role of Takeru was shared by twins, Yoshinori and Mitsunori Nomura, both of who were prominent child actors at the time, but for who this would be their final role before they both left showbiz. Monster Prince was plagued by troubles throughout its duration, though its merchandise did brisk sales. Confectionary giant, Lotte, the program’s sponsor, wanted to pull the plug after the first series, but agreed to extend its backing when the show was sold to the United States. In-fighting also plagued the program, which was shot in Kyoto but by a crew from Tokyo, and rivalries between those from the ancient and modern capitals were apparently fierce. Nihon Tokusatsu Kabukikaisha wound up following the end of this series, which came as the tokusatsu boom that had encompassed Japan through much of the 1960s slowly declined from its zenith.
Check out KAIJU OUJI: MONSTER PRINCE, which has an awesome write-up on Monster Prince, a program also known outside of Japan by the romanization of its Japanese title,Kaiju Ouji.
See a subtitled version of the first-ever episode of Monster Prince (featuring plenty of boomerang throwing and an awesome scream to kick-off the opening titles!)
豪ノーザン・テリトリー州にある重要な自然遺産として認められつつあった有名なユーカリ林がこの頃放火で全焼された、と豪各大手マスコミ社が4日付報道した。 Ghost gums on the verge of being recognized as part of the Northern Territory’s heritage have been destroyed by arson, according to various mainstream Australian media reports on Jan. 4. このユーカリ林はゴースト・ガムと呼ばれている木であり、初めて国際的に認められ有名となった豪先住民画家故アルバート・ナマトジラ氏が描いた木だった。 These eucalyptus trees had come to prominence after being painted by Albert Namatjira, the first indigenous Australian artist to achieve widespread global recognition. 焼かれた林は、同州自然文化財を認可する寸前だったようだが、この数日間以内に放火された。動機など同州当局が捜査中だという。 The torched trees were apparently about to be recognized as an important part of the state’s heritage, but were burned to the ground some days ago. Northern Territory authorities are investigating the motives into the arson attack. ナマトジラ氏が活躍した時代オーストラリアが先住民を「国民」として認めていなかったが、描いたオーストラリアの風景が世界中に高く評価された。同氏の絵にはこのゴースト・ガムが主体となったものが多かった。 Namatjira was active and his work recognized globally at a time when Australia did not even recognize its indigenous populations as citizens of the country. Many of his works featured ghost gums.
同氏が悲劇的な人生を送った。生まれた1902年では、先住民全員が国家被保護者として扱われ、1967年の国民投票で市民権が与えられるまで「２級国民」まで位置づけにも及ばなかった。にも関わらず、ナマトジラ氏の絵が国内では1930年代以降認められるようになり、徐々に国際的に評価されるようになった。そこから、同氏が裕福となり、得た収入のほとんどを自身が所属する部族に使った。しかし、本人を含めて部族の多くがアルコール依存症に病んで1959年に若き57歳で貧困で亡くなった。 Namatjira lived a tragic life. When he was born in 1902, indigenous Australians were all wards of the state, and they would not even be regarded as “second-class citizens” until voters “deigned” to give them that status in a 1967 referendum (that came too late for Namatjira, although he had been granted rights akin to the average white Australian upon achieving wealth and global fame in the 1950s). Namatjira first attracted attention within Australia in the 1930s and his renown gradually spread across the world. He subsequently became wealthy, but used nearly all his money to support members of the Arranda tribe to which he belonged. Unfortunately, Namatjira, like many of his fellow tribe members, was an alcoholic and died impoverished in 1959 at a tragically young 57.