Is Ultraman Based On A Chinese Solar Diety?

Written By: Ken Hulsey
Source: Danwei

Is the Japanese super-hero, "Ultraman" based on an ancient solar deity from the neolithic Hongshan culture in China?

Well, that little question is starting to gain some speed in China after a collector of artifacts learned about the Japanese hero from a young visitor to his home.

Meng Xianqing, a 52-year-old collector of ancient artifacts in Beijing, was recently showing off his collection to a friend and his eight-year-old son. The young man quickly focused in on one item on the shelf and exclaimed, "Wow, a little Ultraman!"

Meng was puzzled by the young man's reaction to a little statue of a solar deity from the neolithic Hongshan culture. The collector had never heard of "Ultraman" and questioned the boy further. The youth then went on to explain that "Ultraman" was a hero from a Japanese TV show that saved the Earth from attacks by aliens and giant monsters.

Sparked by this conversation, Meng would begin to do some research on his own about "Ultraman" and the looting of ancient Chinese relics by the Japanese in the early part of the 20th century. Though his findings didn't point directly to the hero being a direct copy of one of these idols, Meng believes that it may be possible that the hero was 'inspired' by them.

"I couldn't contact the designer of the Ultraman," said Meng. "Additional research is needed to reach any conclusions."

It would be hard for the Chinese collector to talk to the designer of the "Ultraman" because that would be the Japanese special-effects genius Eiji Tsuburaya, the man behind Godzilla and Mothra, and he passed away in 1970.

Could it be possible that Tsuburaya saw one of these idols that had been taken from China and thought that it would make a good design for "Ultraman?"

That is likely to be the topic of debate in China for some time to come.

See the image below to draw your own conclusions (sorry it's kinda small):

See Also: Ultraman: The Next (2005)(Tsuburaya) / The First Trailer From Koichi Sakamoto‘s Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy Legends - The Movie / Mill Creek Entertainment To Release The Complete Ultraman Series On DVD / Hey Kids! It's Ultraman......Sorta / Behind The Scenes Photos From Norman England's It's All Good / Mothra X MechaGodzilla: Revenge Of The Black Hole Aliens / You Really Haven't Lived Until You Have Seen The Japanese Spider-Man TV Show / DEX Wins The Thai Rights To Ultraman Max And Ultraman Mebius / Pusan International Film Festival Focuses On Asian Super Heroes / Ultraman To Appear At This Years Japanese Film Festival In Kuala Lumpur / Ultraman Showcase 2008 - Ultraman Comes To Malaysia / Ultraman Cosmos vs. Ultraman Justice: The Final Battle (2003) / Hitomi Muto Talks About Her Grandfather Eiji Tsuburaya / Ultraman: Towards the Future (1990) / Ultraman Becomes A Permanent Resident Of The Fukushima Airport / Courts Rule That Sompote Saengduenchai Did Not Co-Create Ultraman / Bandai Aquires A Large Portion Of Tsuburaya Productions / Ultra Galaxy: Dai Kaiju Batoru (2007-2008) / Ultraman Exhibit At The Roppongi Hills Mori Arts Center / Ultraman Turns 41 /Eight Versions Of Ultraman Hit The Big Screen In 2008

1 comment:

  1. Hey Ken,

    Having become such an Ultraman fan over the last year I think it's an interesting speculation. Ultraman does look remarkably like the idol. (And the idol looks remarkably like a "chibi" character. There's another speculation for you...)

    But unless Eiji Tsuburaya left behind any as yet undiscovered sketches showing how he developed Ultraman's look we'll never know.