In today’s content, we are going to be talking about a man who played a ritual character that set the course for why we love kaiju movies with Akihiko Hirata leading the charge as the man who created the infamous Oxegen destroyer that would haunt a lot of peoples minds when they view this awe-inspiring movie. Just a reminder for those of you who are new all links provided will be down below and I am an amazon affiliate. Pictures are provided by the following. TOHO pictures
Life before the screen
In his early life, Hirata was born among a wealthy family structure in Seoul, Korea, in 1927, (Something that I think about as I research this is how little information on this is out there despite the point roles he has been in besides Godzilla.)(that is a footnote I thought about bringing up as this reminds me of the trouble I had with another influential person in the Kaiju/giant monster industry with a big role with Merlin Cooper.) (Just something I am noticing as I write this blog for everyone here. But I am sure there is still plenty to talk about here.) Back to Hirata’s story, interestingly that wasn’t the original name he was born with as Akihiko Onoda came to be his known name. Whether this was by design or his family just couldn’t decide what to name him, I can’t say. One thing I will say is this, I wonder when they decided to name him if they knew just how successful he would eventually become?
As more information came out. I am finding Hirata to be a more interesting fellow despite what went on in his world with the Japanese imperial army. He started formal education way back in kindergarten only to later get more education from the military academy which was Tokyo’s answer to West Point.
Bright lights of Japan
Later on with his life, Hirata took up education at Tokyo University’s School of Interior Design.
Before joining Shintoho as an assistant director (under his older brother, Yoshiki Onoda), Hirata moved into still photography and eventually joined Toho in 1953, under the studio’s “New Face” program, which would lead to his casting in Godzilla (although Hirata was originally intended for the part of Ogata, eventually played by another genre regular, Akira Takarada).
The many movies
As with him, After his role with the hit movie Godzilla, Hirata starred with numerous other roles that propelled him higher to the starlight of Japan’s theater.
Hirata’s film debut came in 1953, with The Last Embrace. Hirata would go on to play everything from snarling villains to government officials. His long face and intense features have earned the actor a cult following. Although Hirata earned lasting fame with his part in Godzilla, the role also typecast him, and the actor would go on to star in over 20 other sci-fi fantasy films for Toho (among them The H-Man, Gorath, and Prophecies of Nostradamus, as well as an important recurring role in the original Ultraman series. It is fitting that in both his first and final appearances in a Godzilla film, Hirata would play mysterious and disturbed scientists, as Hirata took on the role of the tragic Dr. Mafune in 1975’s Terror of Mechagodzilla.
(so this only shows how major of an impact he has had in the film. I do feel there should be more info on this person than what I am getting so far, But There is at least enough to make a conversation out of this.)
The sad ending
In later portions of his life, Hirata suffered from lung cancer that would eventually end his life before he would have made an appearance in the movie Godzilla 1984/85 (Heres my hot take)( just coming across this news would have made this movie a game-changer, granted I am unsure how the movie would play out canonically since the original doctor in the movie died in 54, But I am sure something amazing would have come up at some point)
Hirata died in 1984. The actor’s association with the kaiju genre continued right until his death, as he helped announce the production of The Return of Godzilla at a Tokyo press conference, but unfortunately, Hirata was too ill to appear in the film, and the part would eventually go to Yosuke Natsuki, who had appeared alongside Hirata in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster in 1964. Hirata died on the 25th of July, 1984, after a long battle with lung cancer.
Well, we have reached the impasse to where we conclude this blog for the week.I want to give you guys a thank you as we continue to view and comment on these amazing movies and talk about the people behind the said movies. So on behalf of classicgiantmonsters and the amazing people who produce amazing art. Thank you for your continued support whether it is to me or the movies/artist directly out there. So as usual Don’t be afraid to check out the links below and comment on what you thought of this blog and I will see you guys in the next post.