Japanese actor Akira Takarada, star of the 1964 movie “Godzilla” and several movies in the following years that featured the monster, has died in Tokyo at the age of 87.
Takarada, who appeared in the premiere of his latest movie this month, has died in hospital after contracting pneumonia, Japanese media said Friday.
We are saddened to hear of the passing of Akira Takarada. May his memories continue to inspire the lives of many Godzilla fans, tweeted the official account of the Godzilla franchise.
After passing the Toho studio “New Face” audition in 1953 which led to the movie “Godzilla” in 1954, he also starred in subsequent series including “Mothra vs. Godzilla” (1964), “Invasion of Astro-Monster” (1965) and “Godzilla”. vs. the Sea Monster” (1966).
Quoted from AFP, Takarada popularity skyrocketed after starring as the captain of a ship in the first “Godzilla”, a movie that resonated in Japan as an analogy to the radiation of a nuclear disaster.
Just nine years earlier, the country had suffered from the atomic bombing of the United States at the end of World War II.
Takarada also starred in “The End of Summer“, Yasujiro Ozu 1961 movie about a sake brewing family in Kyoto.
Akira Takarada is popular in Asia at the same time, he starred in joint Japanese-Hong Kong productions with actress Lucilla Yu Ming and starred in many Japanese movies and television series.
Quoted from Variety, Saturday, after Japan studio system collapsed in the 1970s, Takarada appearances dwindled in movies although his career rebounded in the 1990s with a supporting role in Itami Juzo.
He also starred in the new “Godzilla” series in the 90s such as “Godzilla vs. Mothra” (1992) and “Godzilla: Final Wars” (2002). His name is listed in the credits of Garth Edwards’ 2014 movie “Godzilla” as a Japanese immigration agent, although the scene was cut from the movie.
Takarada is a person who has a lot of fans on the Godzilla lover circuit, he often appears at events that touch fans.
He last made a public appearance on March 10 for Miyake Nobuyuki movie “If Cherry Blossoms Disappeared from the World” in which he played a counselor.
Takarada was born in 1934 in the Korean peninsula and grew up in the province of Manchuria, China, then the colony of Japan. He is known to speak Mandarin.
Shortly after Japan defeat in 1945, Soviet soldiers shot him in the stomach. Takarada was seriously injured.
“I still remember the sound of (the doctor) cutting my stomach when I was half passed out” to retrieve the bullet without anesthesia, he told the Jiji Press news agency.
Takarada later became an anti-war advocate and said he believed “man greatest sin is war.”
“We no longer have to lose so many lives in the name of war. There is no reason or intelligence in war. We created a crazy world,” he told Jiji.
Regarding Russia recent invasion of Ukraine, he told reporters, “When we look at the reality of the peace-loving country (Ukraine) being invaded, I think we need to make more socially conscious movies.”