Godzilla Movies
Long Live the King of the Monsters: Haruo Nakajima Passes Away at 88

Long Live the King of the Monsters: Haruo Nakajima Passes Away at 88

Scified2017-08-07 14:06:33https://www.scified.com/articles/long-live-king-the-monsters-haruo-nakajima-passes-away-at-88-20.jpg
Scified
30,063 Reads9 CommentsAdd A Comment

*
Ibtimes reports that legendary stuntman Haruo Nakajima passed away at 88. Nakajima was best known for playing Godzilla in the first twelve films in the series.

The Yamagata native was born in 1929 and performed stunts for many films, including Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai (1954) where he played a thief. The same year he and Katsumi Tezuka were picked by the legendary special effects master Eiji Tsuburaya to play the title creature in Godzilla.[1]

In preparation for the role, Nakajima watched the original King Kong (1933) and animal behavior at the Ueno Zoo. However, the suit made it difficult to perform. Despite being able to open and close the mouth from inside, the suit's immense weight and interior heat left Nakajima blistered, exhausted and twenty pounds lighter by the end of the production. (Cups of the actor's sweat was usually drained between takes.)[2]

Initially, the famous scene in which Godzilla destroys the National Diet building was to be shot with Tezuka in the suit. However, a bad take resulting in damage to the model allowed Nakajima to take over--It is his performance that destroys the Diet in the finished film.[3]

Months later, Nakajima would reprise the role in Godzilla Raids Again (1955). While shooting the film's climax, where Godzilla is being buried in an avalanche, the weight of the suit and crushed ice caused the set's platform to collapse. Nakajima and cable operator Eizo Kaimai were not seriously injured, but Nakajima would tumble much further in 1956's Rodan.[4]

Taking on the role of a flying, prehistoric monster, Nakajima's 150-pound Rodan suit was thankfully supported by reinforced steel beams. However, that didn't stop a cable from snapping twenty feet over the Sakai Bridge set. Luckily the water lessened the impact. [5]

Nakajima would continue to play kaiju such as Mogera, Varan and even Mothra, but he would not return to Godzilla until 1962's King Kong vs. Godzilla. Tsuburaya allowed Nakajima and Kong suit actor Shoichi Hirose to choreograph the fights, opting to stage the epic battle like a wrestling match. [6] Nakajima's involvement with the series would later extend to the suit-making process. [7]

During the construction of the highly praised suit from Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964), Nakajima would periodically wear the unfinished product to determine its weaknesses. The end result was a more form fitting and mobile costume. Though he still had to contend with the 130 degree temperature within. [7]

Nakajima would continue to play Godzilla and other monsters for several years, donning the costumes of Baragon (Frankenstein Conquers the World [1965]), King Kong (King Kong Escapes [1967]) and multiple monsters on Tsuburaya's Ultra Q (1966), Ultraman (1966) and Ultra Seven (1967).

Nakajima's final monster performance would be in Godzilla vs. Gigan (1971). Though he played many monsters, he would end his stunt career as the Monster King that started it all. In the film he faces off against Kenpachiro Satsuma as Gigan--Who would take over the role of Godzilla in the 1980s and 90s.

Late in his life, Nakajima continued to be active in the fandom, going as far as touring North American conventions to greet overseas fans. This Halloween, the Tokyo International Film Festival will be screening the original Godzilla with a live orchestra. Nakajima was scheduled to attend.[9]

In January, Nakajima's wife, Kuniko, passed away at 88.[10] Our condolences, love and prayers go out to their daughter, Sonoe Nakajima and extended family. The fandom is ever grateful for the man who was the Godzilla. No actor and/or digital effects will ever do it as well or be nearly as versatile.

The King of the Monsters is dead. Long live the King of the Monsters.
--
Sources:
Ibtimes.com
[1] Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters - Pg 39 - Ragone, August
[2] A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla Series - Pg 18 - Kalat, David
[3] Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters - Pg 42 - Ragone, August
[4] Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters - Pg 45 - Ragone, August
[5] Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters - Pg 50 - Ragone, August
[6] Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters - Pg 70 - Ragone, August
[7] A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla Series - Pg 68 - Kalat, David
[8] A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla Series - Pg 124 - Kalat, David
[9] Crunchyroll - Godzilla Cinema Concert
[10] Skreeonk.com - Facebook Page
*Header image from Anime Boston Con.

If you are a fan of Godzilla, Toho and the Monsterverse and are looking for a welcoming online community to share your passion and engage with other die-hard Godzilla fans, look no further! Join in the Godzilla Movies forum - a dedicated community of Godzilla movie and Monsterverse fans!

Godzilla Quick Links

Get G-ed Up!

With the upcoming release of Adam Wingard's Godzilla vs. Kong, now is a great time to pick your Titan and represent Godzilla or Kong! Check out some products below and click here for even more options!

Godzilla wins 2021 Shirt
Godzilla Hoodie
Kong Wins 2021 Shirt

This article was written By G. H. (Gman) and published on 2017-08-07 14:06:33

More about upcoming Godzilla & Monsterverse projects

Godzilla vs. Kong was the sequel to Michael Dougherty's Godzilla 2: King of the Monsters and was the fourth and final installment in the Monsterverse movie quadrilogy. Now, the Monsterverse takes a new direction - into TV! On January 20th, 2022 Legendary announced a new live-action Godzilla Monsterverse TV Series which will stream on Apple TV Plus network! Be sure to check Godzilla-Movies often for the latest news and info on the Monsterverse TV Series and all things Toho Godzilla as well!

Stay up to date with the latest news on all things Godzilla, Toho and the Monsterverse also by liking us on Facebook and by following us on Twitter and Instagram! Also, consider subscribing your email to our blog for instant notifications of when new posts are made!

Find more info:
Recent Godzilla / Monsterverse Articles
9 Fan responses to Long Live the King of the Monsters: Haruo Nakajima Passes Away at 88

JurassicNight

TitanosaurusMember605 XPAug-07-2017 3:03 PM

Long live the King

KingKaijuGojira

TitanosaurusMember926 XPAug-07-2017 5:16 PM

A legend has passed. RIP.

Ultrazero80

TitanosaurusMember934 XPAug-07-2017 5:53 PM

He may be gone, but he'll never be forgotten. R.I.P Haruo Nakajima.

RR44

BaragonMember339 XPAug-07-2017 9:45 PM

As long as Godzilla's name exists.. so will Haruo Nakajima's name.

May God have a special place in heaven for him.

Thank you for the memories and the inspiration. 

We all will miss you.. but as long as there is a copy of Gojira in existence.. we will see you every time we watch it.

DenachikasuchusRex_4

Mothra LarvaeMember3 XPAug-08-2017 4:37 AM

May you be remembered for years to come, Haruo Nakahima, and RIP.

MU/TH/UR

BaragonMember247 XPAug-08-2017 4:40 AM

May he rest in peace

riggzamortis86

TitanosaurusMember667 XPAug-08-2017 7:42 AM

Through the films, he will live on forever, because through film, nobody can truly die.

Something Real

GodzillaMember5639 XPAug-08-2017 5:58 PM

His immortality is now two-fold. He shall live on through the ages as the heart of our greatest and most beloved monster - a shadow for our dreams and nightmares.

I Meme Everything

GiganMember4115 XPAug-08-2017 6:32 PM

Hail to the king. And I agree with what SR said.

Add A Reply
Log in to Post
Enter Your E-Mail
Enter Your Password

Stay Logged In
Visitor Comments
Godzilla & Kaiju Godzilla & Kaiju Fandom
Hot Forum Topics
New Forum Topics
Highest Forum Ranks Unlocked
sonictiger
sonictiger
42% To Next Rank
Gigan
Spider-Punk
Spider-Punk
84% To Next Rank
Anguirus
Monsterzero11
Monsterzero11
68% To Next Rank
Anguirus
Gojirafan2013
Gojirafan2013
64% To Next Rank
Baragon
Hydra
Hydra
61% To Next Rank
Baragon
The Game Point - UK Casinos not on gamstop
Latest Godzilla Fandom Activity
Gambling PRO Reviews non gamstop casinos
Minimum deposit online casinos - CasinoHEX
Non GamStop Site - Casino Wise

Godzilla-Movies.com is an information resource for fans looking to learn more about the upcoming blockbuster Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Providing the latest official and accurate information on Godzilla: King of the Monsters, this website contains links to every set video, viral video, commercial, trailer, poster, movie still and screenshot available. This site is an extension of the Godzilla Fandom on Scified - a central hub for fans of Godzilla looking to stay up-to-date on the latest news. Images used are property of their respective owners. Godzilla: King of the Monsters and its associated names, logos and images are property of and are in no way owned by Scified and its related entities. This is a fan-created website for the purpose of informing and exciting fans for Godzilla: King of the Monsters's release.

© 2023 Scified.com
Sign in with your E-Mail & Password


Log in to view your personalized notifications across Scified!

Alien Alien-Covenant.com
Godzilla Godzilla-Movies.com
Jurassic World JurassicWorld3.net
Aliens vs. Predator AliensVersusPredator.net
Predator Predator4-Movie.com
Latest Activity
Forums
Search Scified
Sci-Fi Movies