Thursday, August 5, 2010

A salute to Yoshifumi Tajima (1919-2009)

The great Toho character actor Yoshifumi Tajima in perhaps his best role, that of Kumayama in Godzilla vs. the Thing (1964).

One of the most familiar faces in the Godzilla series passed away on September 10, 2009, of esophageal cancer. He was 90 years old.

Tajima was born on August 4, 1919. He became an actor in the early 1950s, working for Shochiku and Nikkatsu, and then became a contracted Toho player in the late 1950s. Some of his Toho credits include: The Secret of the Telegian (1960), King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962), Atragon (1963), Godzilla vs. the Thing (1964), War of the Gargantuas (1966), King Kong Escapes (1967), and Godzilla (1984). Tajima also had a recurring role on the groundbreaking Ultra Q TV series for Tsuburaya Productions.

Although he passed nearly a year ago, it almost completely flew under the radar in the West. So I offer this very humble salute to a giant of the giant monster genre.

Rest in peace, Mr. Tajima.

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