Kenji Sahara

Kenji Sahara

Original Name 佐原 健二
Birth Name Masayoshi Kato (加藤 正好)
Born May 14, 1932 (87)
Kawasaki, Kanagawa, Japan

The most prolific sci-fi actor on the Toho lot, starring in no less than 13 Godzilla films, up to and including 2004’s Godzilla: Final Wars, and many others besides. He was admitted to Toho as part of the New Face program in 1953. The next year he made very brief appearances in the original Godzilla as a reporter and as a lovebird on a cruise ship. His first major lead role was as a miner in Rodan (1956), opposite actress Yumi Shirakawa. They would headline two more films together in the 50s: The Mysterians (1957) and The H-Man (1958). Sahara also worked frequently with actor Akihiko Hirata; the two would remain close personal friends until Hirata’s death in 1984.

Sahara was a favorite of both director Ishiro Honda and special effects maestro Eiji Tsuburaya. His frequent appearances in the sci-fi genre earned him the nickname “Mr. Special Effects” around the Toho lot. In 1964 Sahara was part of a select group of Japanese actors appearing in the first Japanese-American co-production, Frank Sinatra’s None But the Brave. Shortly afterward he was offered the lead role in Tsuburaya’s Ultra Q TV series. Sahara led the show to great success, spurring Tsuburaya to proceed with his Ultraman concept in 1966. Honda, impressed with Sahara’s work on Ultra Q, gave Sahara the lead scientist role in War of the Gargantuas (1966) as a reward for the actor’s diligence.

Sahara would continue to appear in sci-fi throughout the 90s, mainly as officials in various anti-Godzilla agencies, culminating with Final Wars. He appeared in more Godzilla films than any other actor (although Koichi Ueda sure gave him a run for his money).

Sahara is best known as the greedy villain Torahata from Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964). He also played villainous characters in Matango and Atragon (both 1963). His most unusual role was as an industrial spy possessed by aliens in Space Amoeba (1970, a role usually reserved for his co-star Yoshio Tsuchiya).

Original Name 佐原 健二
Birth Name Masayoshi Kato (加藤 正好)
Born May 14, 1932 (87)
Kawasaki, Kanagawa, Japan

The most prolific sci-fi actor on the Toho lot, starring in no less than 13 Godzilla films, up to and including 2004’s Godzilla: Final Wars, and many others besides. He was admitted to Toho as part of the New Face program in 1953. The next year he made very brief appearances in the original Godzilla as a reporter and as a lovebird on a cruise ship. His first major lead role was as a miner in Rodan (1956), opposite actress Yumi Shirakawa. They would headline two more films together in the 50s: The Mysterians (1957) and The H-Man (1958). Sahara also worked frequently with actor Akihiko Hirata; the two would remain close personal friends until Hirata’s death in 1984.

Sahara was a favorite of both director Ishiro Honda and special effects maestro Eiji Tsuburaya. His frequent appearances in the sci-fi genre earned him the nickname “Mr. Special Effects” around the Toho lot. In 1964 Sahara was part of a select group of Japanese actors appearing in the first Japanese-American co-production, Frank Sinatra’s None But the Brave. Shortly afterward he was offered the lead role in Tsuburaya’s Ultra Q TV series. Sahara led the show to great success, spurring Tsuburaya to proceed with his Ultraman concept in 1966. Honda, impressed with Sahara’s work on Ultra Q, gave Sahara the lead scientist role in War of the Gargantuas (1966) as a reward for the actor’s diligence.

Sahara would continue to appear in sci-fi throughout the 90s, mainly as officials in various anti-Godzilla agencies, culminating with Final Wars. He appeared in more Godzilla films than any other actor (although Koichi Ueda sure gave him a run for his money).

Sahara is best known as the greedy villain Torahata from Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964). He also played villainous characters in Matango and Atragon (both 1963). His most unusual role was as an industrial spy possessed by aliens in Space Amoeba (1970, a role usually reserved for his co-star Yoshio Tsuchiya).