It is with great sadness we report that Godzilla franchise stand-out, actor Yoshio Tsuchiya, passed away this year. He was 89. According to Nikkei Tsuchiya died February 8th, 2017, but the family decided not to announce his passing at the time. If Mr. Tsuchiya's name does not ring a bell for some fans they likely remember his roles as the “Controller” of Planet X in Monster Zero (1965) and Mr. Yasuaki Shindo in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991). It would not be an exaggeration to call Mr. Tsuchiya one of Japan's all-time greatest character actors.
Mr. Tsuchiya was a favorite of both directors Ishiro Honda (Godzilla ) and Akira Kurosawa (Seven Samurai (1954)]. As a result, the actor often faced scheduling conflicts between the directors' projects. For example, Honda wanted him to play the assassin Malness in Ghidorah: The Three Headed Monster (1964), but he was already scheduled to appear in Kurosawa's Red Beard (1965).  Luckily, he appeared in Honda's Monster Zero the following year. Tsuchiya's Controller of Planet X would become one of the most recognized characters in the Godzilla series—And perhaps the greatest antagonist of the franchise.
Science fiction meant a great deal to Tsuchiya—He was disappointed he couldn't be in the original Godzilla, but happily found himself in future monster/science fiction pictures.  He turned down a protagonist role in Ishiro Honda's The Mysterians (1957) to play the Mysterian Leader--He preferred the stranger roles of aliens, strong men and villains. 
Capitalizing on the strange roles of aliens and monsters, Tsuchiya was given the title role in Honda's The Human Vapor (1958). And in Battle in Outer Space (1959) Tsuchiya arguably stole the movie from his leading cast mates as the tragic Iwomura. Tsuchiya would appear in multiple Godzilla movies including Son of Godzilla (1967) and Destroy All Monsters (1968)—His roles ranged from eccentric supporting parts to cameos. He was also found in episodes of Eiji Tsuburaya's sci-fi fantasy series, Ultra Q (1966) and Ultraman (1966).
He returned to the Godzilla series in 1991's Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah as Yasuaki Shindo, a World War II veteran who witnessed Godzilla before he was mutated by radioactivity. Director Kazuki Omori recalled,
“When we brought this [movie] to him and said, 'We'd like you to do this role,' he said, 'I've been waiting my whole life for this role.” 
Toho Kingdom's Patrick Galvan unearthed Tsuchiya's praise of the role from Japanese Giants #9,
“Mr. Shindo is my all-time favorite movie role. I understand where [Godzilla] comes from, and what is in his heart, just like Shindo does. Even though Godzilla is only a fictional character, he is very real to me.” 
The heart breaks over the loss of not just a great actor, but a strong fan of the series. Our condolences and prayers go out to his family.
 Kalat, David - A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla Series - Pg 74
 Galbraith IV, Stuart – Monsters are Attacking Tokyo! The Incredible World of Japanese Fantasy Films - Pg 57
 Galbraith IV, Stuart – Monsters are Attacking Tokyo! The Incredible World of Japanese Fantasy Films - Pg 60
 Kalat, David - A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla Serie - Pg 182
 Toku Legion, via Patrick Galvan from Toho Kingdom, via Japanese Giants #9
 Dead Central
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