Hiroshio Koizumi died yesterday of pneumonia. The 88 year old actor was an icon and one of the most recognizable faces during the Golden Age of daikiaju eiga in the 1960s.
He succeeded Akira Takarada as the main character, Shoichi Tsukioka, in Godzilla Raids Again (1955). Arguably his more popular role was Dr. Shinichi Chujo in Mothra (1961). Following Mothra's success, Koizumi would be a consistent player in many Japanese science fiction for the following decade. He played Professor Miura in both Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964) and Ghidorah: The Three Headed Monster (1964) and appeared in Atragon (1963), Matango (1963) and Dogora (1964). He was also seen in Eiji Tsuburaya's Ultra Q (1966).
Outside of science-fiction, Koizumi's talent was regularly seen in comedies, crime thrillers and dramas-- Not least of which included 47 Samurai (1962), by director Hiroshi Inagaki. (Samurai I, II and III)
A decade would go by before Koizumi would return to the King of the Monsters in Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla (1974). Another ten years would pass before a small bit in The Return of Godzilla (1984). In 2003 he stared in Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. reprising the role of Shinichi Chujo (from Mothra). It was his final role in the series.
Thoughts and prayers go out to his family and loved ones. He meant a great deal to the fandom and will be painfully missed.
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