Akira Takarada  Akira Takarada (宝田 明)
  Date of birth:
  April 29th, 1934
  Chongjin, North Korea
  Date of death:
  March 17th, 2022
Acting Filmography


One of Toho's most recognizable actors during the Golden Age of Japanese cinema in the 1950's and '60s, Akira Takarada was born and raised in Japanese-occupied Chongjin, North Korea, after Japan's invasion of the area. His family returned to mainland Japan after World War 2 in 1948. At the age of 19, in April of 1953, Takarada joined Toho's New Face program where he trained at the studio's acting institute. Fourteen months after joining the institute, Takarada was given his first on screen role with Toho's biographical film And Then the Liberty Bell Rang (1954).

Takarada's jump to super stardom started not long after his acting career did, as one of his first roles was the lead in Ishiro Honda's box office hit Godzilla (1954) as Hideto Ogata. Still young in his career, Takarada stood out from the crowd for his good looks, given the nickname "Mr. Handsome" and often appearing as the romantic lead in films such as A Rainbow Plays in My Heart: Part 1 (1957) and The Capital of Beauty (1957).

Although finding success as a heartthrob, Takarada slightly re-envisioned himself as a cocky, sometimes comedic and slightly cynical character actor, embracing his less admirable qualities in the subject titled Freeloader (1962) and also as the rough but good natured reporter Ichiro Sakai in Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964). The actor also made a name for himself as the character Hoshino Andrew, a James Bond spoof that appeared in Iron Finger (1965) and Booted Babe, Busted Boss (1968). Following a series of roles in 1969, including his all-English speaking role in Latitude Zero (1969) and his very last appearance that year in Mito Komon Manyuki (1969), Takarada left the spotlight just as the Japanese film industry itself started to dwindle due to the continued advent of television.

Over a decade later, Takarada appeared once again on the big screen in the film The Legend of Plumeria (1983). His career then enjoyed a mini-resurgence in the decade that followed, becoming a favorite of director Juzo Itami in movies such as Tales of a Golden Geisha (1990) and Minbo (1992). He was also active with Disney, cast as Jafar in the Japanese version of Aladdin, doing a lot of voice work for the company. However, Takarada always had a soft spot for Godzilla, reappearing in the franchise for Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992) for the Heisei series and Godzilla: Final Wars (2004) for the Millennium series, and embracing the fandom at conventions for the character and his films. Takarada was also set to appear in Legendary Pictures 2014 Godzilla film, but had his scene removed.

Acting Toho Filmography

Date      Title ROLE Type
1954 And Then the Liberty Bell Rang   Produced
1954 Godzilla Hideto Ogata Produced
1955 Half Human Takeshi Iijima Produced
1955 New Kurama Tengu: Samurai of the Rain   Produced
1956 Romantic Daughters   Produced
1957 Big Hit Three Color Daughters   Produced
1957 The Capital of Beauty Koichi Yamawaki Produced
1957 A Rainbow Plays in My Heart: Part 1 Tatsuo Ito Produced
1957 A Rainbow Plays in My Heart: Part 2 Tatsuo Ito Produced
1957 College Samurai Shinichi Takada Produced
1957 The Paradise Island Story Kawaguchi, Lieutenant Distributed
1957 Youth Course   Distributed
1959 The Three Treasures Wakatarashi, Prince Produced
1959 The Big Boss Mineo Komatsu Produced
1959 Samurai Saga Jutaro Karibe Produced
1959 One Day I... Daisuke Kaneko Produced
1960 The Storm of the Pacific   Produced
1961 The Last War Takano Produced
1961 Different Sons Kensuke, Eldest Son Produced
1961 The End of Summer Teramoto Tadashi Distributed
1962 Chushingura Gunpei Takada Produced
1962 Freeloader Yoshimoto Fumitaka Produced
1964 Mothra vs. Godzilla Ichiro Sakai, News Reporter Produced
1965 Invasion of Astro-Monster Fuji, Astronaut Produced
1965 Iron Finger Hoshino Andrew Produced
1966 Ebirah, Horror of the Deep Yoshimura Produced
1967 King Kong Escapes Jiro Nomura, Lieutenant Commander Produced
1967 Let's Go! Young Guy   Produced
1968 Booted Babe, Busted Boss Hoshino Andrew Produced
1968 Imaginary Paradise Takashi Maeno Produced
1969 Latitude Zero Ken Tashiro, Doctor Produced
1969 Mito Komon Manyuki Sukesaburo Sasaki Produced
1983 The Legend of Plumeria Tatsuro Hayasaka Produced
1990 Tales of a Golden Geisha Inukai Distributed
1992 Godzilla vs. Mothra Jyoji Minamino, Environmental Planning Board Chief Produced
1992 Minbo Kobayashi, General Manager Distributed
1997 Lady of Marutai Police Commissioner Distributed
2000 Tales of the Unusual Manabe Haruomi Produced
2004 Godzilla: Final Wars Naotaro Daigo, UN Secretary General Produced