Otaku USA Magazine
Long-time Godzilla Suit Actor Kenpachiro Satsuma Has Passed

There is sad news coming out of Japan with the report that actor Kenpachiro Satsuma has passed away at age 76. Satsuma played one of the most iconic characters from Japanese pop culture, and his work has been seen around the world — even if people didn’t see his face in the part. That’s because Satsuma played none other than Godzilla.

Satsuma, whose real name was Yasuaki Maeda, played Hedorah in 1971’s Godzilla vs. Hedorah, then got to be Gigan in both 1972’s Godzilla vs. Gigan and 1973’s Godzilla vs. Megalon. He later became Godzilla in 1984’s The Return of Godzilla (which also has the title Godzilla 1984).

A number of actors have donned the Godzilla suit for movies over the years. Before Satsuma took over the role, for instance, original Godzilla actor Haruo Nakajima retired and then there were three different Godzilla movies with a different Godzilla actor each time. But Satsuma did such a good job as Godzilla that he played the character in Godzilla vs. Biollante, Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, Godzilla vs. Mothra, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla, and Godzilla vs. Destoroyah. That’s sometimes referred to as the Heisei series.

According to reports, Satsuma caught a bad case of pneumonia, and he died from this on December 16. His funeral will be limited to people close to him. There will also be a owakarekai event, or goodbye party, where more people he influenced will be able to attend.

The official Godzilla Twitter handle shared the news with this statement:

“We wish to offer our condolences for the sudden passing of Kenpachiro Satsuma. He was a true legend who did so much to make the Heisei Godzilla series what it was. The way in which he breathed life into Godzilla as his suit actor is forever engraved in the hearts of fans. We are grateful to him from the bottom of our hearts, and pray that he is resting in peace.”

Source: SoraNews24


Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.