Director Shinji Higuchi becomes Yokohama Police Chief

Shinji Higuchi appointed honorary Police Chief, photo by Edward L Holland
Shinji Higuchi appointed honorary Police Chief, photo by Edward L Holland

Director Shinji Higuchi becomes Yokohama Police Chief

by Edward L. Holland
Stripes Japan

Shinji Higuchi, director of Shin Ultraman and co-director of Shin Godzilla was appointed honorary Chief of Police at Yokohama Asahi Police Station, the first Japanese director in the special effects industry bestowed this honor at a ceremony during a nationwide traffic and fraud eradication campaign on September 19.

In addition to his titles on tokusatsu (special effects) blockbusters, Higuchi now adds Police Chief to his resume after public recognition for his contributions to entertainment with prominent leaders from the Yokohama Police department presiding at the function. 


Higuchi breaks down work on Shin Godzilla, photo by Edward L Holland Godzilla ©&TM Toho Co., Ltd.

Higuchi’s one day appointment is a position usually reserved for sports personalities or actors and 170 reservation only fans and staff filled Asahi Public Hall to raise community safety awareness and hear a lecture by the director.

After Higuchi was promoted to chief, the gala transformed into a resounding concert by the Kanagawa Prefectural Police band, performing a motivating medley of classic Ultraman themes.


Kanagawa Prefectural Police Band performs in honor of Police Chief Higuchi, photo by Edward L. Holland

After demonstrations by officers and an address on the threat of phone and bank related crimes, Chief Higuchi returned with a multimedia brief on the fabled emergence of Japanese kaiju and heroes in theaters, television, and manga up to the present day.

After a Q&A with fans, Kanagawa Prefectural Police Department mascots Pgull and Lilypo pranced out for commemorative photos. Chief Higuchi playfully taught the mascots Ultraman’s iconic “Spacium Beam” pose, garnering laughs and smiles from the audience.


 Salute and Photo Op with PGull Higuchi and Lilypo, photo by Edward L. Holland

A bonus appearance by director and prop restoration master, Tomoo Haraguchi rounded out the procession and a final salute ended the historic day with more photo ops of the mascots, Haraguchi and the honorary Chief of Police.

Director Higuchi respectfully extended a branch of friendship to the citizens of Asahi ward, highlighting officer’s faithful service to protect and steward the populace no matter the circumstances.

Like the shining popularity of Shin Ultraman, with more US screenings planned, and a home market release in Japan next year, this was a bright star for the acclaimed director.

On this momentous occasion during the Asahi substation’s 50th anniversary, their chief and current leader of the special effects industry received his formal certificate of appreciation. Otsukaresama deshita. Chief Higuchi, thank you for your hard work this day and always.

 

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Edward L. Holland is an assistant theater manager working in Japan, retired JAG paralegal and aerial photographer. He has volunteered for Japanese artists at events and is a recipient of a community service award from the cabinet office of the Government of Japan.

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