It has been announced that Godzilla series composer Riichiro Manabe has passed away at age 90 on January 29. Manabe-san wrote the scores for Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster (1971) and Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973), among many other film works.
The photo above was taken on January 2. I was able to visit Manabe-san at his retirement home in Yugawara, Kanagawa, bringing a couple of boxes of manju as a gift. I sensed that Manabe-san seemed weaker than usual, but he seemed in fairly good health. As I was leaving, I assisted Manabe-san (along with a nurse on staff) in walking as I headed toward the elevator and gave him a hug. I remember waving to him as the elevator closed and went down. I still hoped for future visits, but it is not to be.
Riichiro Manabe and Yoshimitsu Banno share memories in Tokyo, May 2013. Photo by Brett Homenick.
In May 2013, I first met Manabe-san at a concert which celebrated Akira Ifukube's 99th anniversary. There Manabe-san was reunited with Smog Monster director Yoshimitsu Banno. It was my first time to meet Manabe-san, but I would be very fortunate in having several more meetings. I tried to interview Manabe-san a few times, but he was not interested in discussing his career.