REFLECTIONS OF HIROSHI KOIZUMI! The Toho Star Opens Up About His Career!

Actor Hiroshi Koizumi, June 2012. Photo © Brett Homenick.

Hiroshi Koizumi is one of the Godzilla series’ leading men and one of its most popular actors. Mr. Koizumi starred in the second Godzilla film ever made, Godzilla Raids Again (a.k.a. Gigantis the Fire Monster, 1955), and went on to star in countless other kaiju films. Some of these credits include: Mothra (1961), Atragon (1963), Godzilla vs. the Thing (1964), Ghidrah the Three-Headed Monster (1964), Dogora the Space Monster (1964), Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974), and Godzilla 1985 (1984). In 2009, Mr. Koizumi answered the questions of Brett Homenick and totorom in an interview translated by totorom.

Brett Homenick: How did you get started in acting?

Hiroshi Koizumi: Before becoming an actor, I was a radio announcer for NHK (Japan’s national public broadcasting). I worked as an announcer for two years.  Then I auditioned for the 3rd annual Toho New Face (acting class) and passed it. After studying at Toho’s acting class for six months, I contracted with Toho and made my debut as a lead actor for Seishun Kaigi in January of 1952.   

BH: Your first Godzilla movie was Gojira no gyakushu (a.k.a. Godzilla Raids Again) in 1955. How did you get cast?

HK: In 1955, the movie industry was flourishing. It was a golden era. I appeared in about 10 movies, playing lead roles or important supporting roles, during that year. Gojira no gyakushu was one of the movies that Toho gave me to work for.

BH: What do you remember about director Motoyoshi Oda?

HK: I think Mr. Oda originally came from another movie studio, so I did not know him personally before Gojira no gyakushu. He was a modest and calm person. I thought he was a very experienced movie director. He worked quietly and his work was very reliable.  

BH: You appeared in a major role in Mosura (a.k.a. Mothra, 1961). What stories from the set of this film can you share?

HK: I thought it was a luxurious movie with many popular actors. I made good friends with Mr. Jerry Ito and Mr. Frankie Sakai.

BH:A film in which you starred was Uchu daikaiju Dogora (a.k.a. Dogora the Space Monster). What is your opinion on the quality of this movie?

HK: I am sorry, but I do not have a clear memory about this movie.

BH: What was it like to work with director Ishiro Honda?

HK: Mr. Honda was a quiet gentleman. He was always taking great care of actors and production staff.  He paid attention to everything in the studio so that everybody could work pleasantly. Mr. Honda had home parties whenever he completed shooting his movies. I really enjoyed joining his parties.

BH: On Gojira tai Mekagojira (a.k.a. Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, 1974), what was Jun Fukuda like as a director?

HK: I had known him before he was promoted to director. As an assistant director, he had already shown his talent. He was a quiet person, but his direction was always precise. He worked energetically. We were personal friends, playing golf together.

BH: What do you recall about filming Nostradamus no daiyogen (a.k.a. The Last Days of Planet Earth)?

HK: I am sorry, but I do not have a clear memory about this movie.

BH: You had a recurring role on the TV series Rainbowman. How did you get cast on this series?

HK: Back in the early ’70s, the movies lost their position as the “king of entertainment.” Instead, TV was the king. So Toho could not help making TV drama series. As an actor contracted to Toho, I got the job. I had mixed feelings about the changing times.

BH: What was it like shooting Rainbowman?

HK: It was a TV series weekly on the air, so we had a very tight schedule. I was not so familiar with TV drama shooting then. I was surprised to see how roughly and easily they were making the TV programs as compared with making movies. However, I got used to it soon. I still remember I burst out laughing when I heard the name of the villains Shine Shine Dan (“Team Go to Hell”) for the first time.

BH: You appeared in Gojira (a.k.a. Godzilla, 1984) in a small role. What are some of your memories about this movie?

HK: I am sorry, but I do not have a clear memory about this movie.  

BH: In the kaiju movies, who were your favorite actors to work with?

HK: Ms. Setsuko Wakayama of Gojira no gyakushu.  I was her fan.

BH: What do you think of Godzilla movies in general?

HK: I think it was one of the great accomplishments of Godzilla movies to show the tokusatsu techniques of Toho all over the world. Godzilla movies have something that American monster movies could not make. They are still amazing and very attractive. I believe Godzilla movies have something beyond tokusatsu techniques.   

totorom: Please give your message to (the) readers.

HK: I hope that movies will promote even better mutual understanding and greater friendship between the people all over the world.  



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