Berlinale: Programme

Film file


Uchûjin Tôkyô ni arawaru

Die Außerirdischen erscheinen in Tokio

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Japanese scientists are alarmed when unidentified flying objects appear over Tokyo. The extraterrestrials have actually travelled across space to warn Earth’s inhabitants about the threat of a devastating collision with another planet. But because the aliens look like giant monsters to the Earthlings, panic ensues and first contact fails. It is not until one of them assumes the shape of a popular Japanese pop star that the scientists listen. Apparently, however, it is now too late. Even atomic weapons cannot change the planet’s course ... Extraterrestrials as giant starfish! The man responsible for endowing the aliens with this eccentric form was avant-garde artist Tarō Okamoto (1911–1996), who had been influenced in his youth by the French Surrealists. He was also responsible for the colour palette of this first “tokusatsu-eiga” (special-effects film) in colour. Even more notable than the intense red force of the approaching planet and the havoc it wreaks, however, was the film’s positive characterisation of the extraterrestrials, and its confidence in the redemptive power of atom bombs – just a decade after they were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Kōji Shima

Japan 1956


87 min · Colour · 35 mm


Keizō Kawasaki
Toyomi Karita
Bin Yagisawa
Shōzō Nanbu
Bontarō Miake
Mieko Nagai
Kiyoko Hirai
Isao Yamagata


Kōji Shima
Hideo Oguni, adapted from a novel by Gentarō Nakajima
Director of Photography
Kimio Watanabe
Seitarō Ōmori
Special Effects
Tōru Matoba, Yonesaburō Tsukiji, Sutekazu Tanaka
Art Director
Shigeo Mano
Masaichi Nagata

Copy: A collection of National Film Center, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo