Akira Takarada

Akira Takarada

Original Name 宝田 明
Born April 29, 1934 (85)
Hamgyeongbuk-do, Korea

Sophisticated, handsome, suave actor (even in his old age) who is best known for his early role as the male lead in the original Godzilla (1954). Korean born and raised in Japanese occupied Manchuria until the Soviets invaded during the war and he was repatriated to Japan. For many years after, Takarada would regularly slip into Chinese while conducting interviews or making TV appearances. He joined Toho fresh out of high school, as part of the 6th New Face program in 1953, along with actors Kenji Sahara, Momoko Kochi, Yu Fujiki and Masumi Okada. He starred in the aforementioned Godzilla the following year.

Takarada did not appear in another sci-fi film until 10 years later when he played a reporter in Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964). He played starring roles as an intrepid astronaut in Monster Zero (1965), a bank robber on the lam swept up in the events of Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster (1966), and as a submarine officer in King Kong Escapes (1967). He also appeared in the Japanese-American co-production Latitude Zero (1969, opposite Joseph Cotten), where he, like all his other co-stars, delivered his lines in English. Takarada remained fond of the genre in his later career, appearing in Godzilla VS Mothra (1992) and the 50th anniversary film Godzilla: Final Wars (2004). He filmed a cameo for Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla (2014), which was cut from the final version of the film, although his name is still mentioned in the credits.

Takarada’s appearance is considered suave in Japan, and he played James Bond-esque roles to that effect, particularly in Jun Fukuda’s 100 Shot, 100 Killed (1965, which he also referenced in Godzilla: Final Wars). He also provided Japanese dubbing for high profile American films released in Japan, dubbing for Rex Harrison in Doctor Dolittle (1968), and later Professor Ratigan in Disney’s The Great Mouse Detective (1989, taking over from Vincent Price) and Jafar in Disney’s Aladdin (1992).

Takarada was married to Japanese Miss Universe Akiko Kojima from 1959 through 1984. He has had a lifelong disgust for Russian cinema and arts from his experience being shot at by the Soviets in Manchuria. He was good friends with famed actor Toshiro Mifune, who was also raised in China, and they frequently conversed together in Mandarin. Takarada was particularly moved by the anti-nuclear message of the original Godzilla and continues to espouse director Ishiro Honda’s vision in interviews and TV appearances to this day.

Original Name 宝田 明
Born April 29, 1934 (85)
Hamgyeongbuk-do, Korea

Sophisticated, handsome, suave actor (even in his old age) who is best known for his early role as the male lead in the original Godzilla (1954). Korean born and raised in Japanese occupied Manchuria until the Soviets invaded during the war and he was repatriated to Japan. For many years after, Takarada would regularly slip into Chinese while conducting interviews or making TV appearances. He joined Toho fresh out of high school, as part of the 6th New Face program in 1953, along with actors Kenji Sahara, Momoko Kochi, Yu Fujiki and Masumi Okada. He starred in the aforementioned Godzilla the following year.

Takarada did not appear in another sci-fi film until 10 years later when he played a reporter in Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964). He played starring roles as an intrepid astronaut in Monster Zero (1965), a bank robber on the lam swept up in the events of Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster (1966), and as a submarine officer in King Kong Escapes (1967). He also appeared in the Japanese-American co-production Latitude Zero (1969, opposite Joseph Cotten), where he, like all his other co-stars, delivered his lines in English. Takarada remained fond of the genre in his later career, appearing in Godzilla VS Mothra (1992) and the 50th anniversary film Godzilla: Final Wars (2004). He filmed a cameo for Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla (2014), which was cut from the final version of the film, although his name is still mentioned in the credits.

Takarada’s appearance is considered suave in Japan, and he played James Bond-esque roles to that effect, particularly in Jun Fukuda’s 100 Shot, 100 Killed (1965, which he also referenced in Godzilla: Final Wars). He also provided Japanese dubbing for high profile American films released in Japan, dubbing for Rex Harrison in Doctor Dolittle (1968), and later Professor Ratigan in Disney’s The Great Mouse Detective (1989, taking over from Vincent Price) and Jafar in Disney’s Aladdin (1992).

Takarada was married to Japanese Miss Universe Akiko Kojima from 1959 through 1984. He has had a lifelong disgust for Russian cinema and arts from his experience being shot at by the Soviets in Manchuria. He was good friends with famed actor Toshiro Mifune, who was also raised in China, and they frequently conversed together in Mandarin. Takarada was particularly moved by the anti-nuclear message of the original Godzilla and continues to espouse director Ishiro Honda’s vision in interviews and TV appearances to this day.