Monday, June 1, 2015

HIROSHI KOIZUMI: 1926-2015

Toho actor Hiroshi Koizumi, signing autographs at a Grissom Gang event, in June 2012. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Some very sad news started making its way across the Japanese press and the Internet worldwide this morning. Former Toho star Hiroshi Koizumi passed away at age 88 in the early morning hours of May 31.

Hiroshi Koizumi and Teruyoshi Nakano in June 2012. Photo by Brett Homenick.

I had the good fortune to meet Koizumi-san a couple of times during my time in Japan at some events. The first time was at a screening of Godzilla vs. the Thing (1964) held in June 2012. Other guests in attendance that evening were SFX director Teruyoshi Nakano and Millennium series director Masaaki Tezuka.

Koizumi-san contemplates his career following a screening of Godzilla vs. the Thing. Photo by Brett Homenick.

I sat next to Koizumi-san during the screening, and when it was finished, our group went to dinner. Suffice it to say, it was a memorable evening.

Shaking hands with Hiroshi Koizumi, the star of many great Toho films, in SEptember 2013.

The following time was in September 2013 at Super Festival. Koizumi-san and Akira Kubo were guests at the event, and after their interview session was completed, I approached the guests in the autograph line and (thanks to my friend Yasushi) was able to have a conversation with both gentlemen.

While I interviewed Koizumi-san by correspondence in 2009, it was a brief interview, and I felt strongly that his entire film career (and not just the usual monster films) should be documented in English. Koizumi-san agreed to the interview, but I'll always regret never getting the opportunity to conduct it.


Akira Kubo and Hiroshi Koizumi take the stage together at Super Festival in September 2013. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Speaking of the interview, it was done for G-FAN, a copy of the magazine was mailed to Koizumi-san's office so that he could be photographed holding it to illustrate the article. The picture was taken by Koizumi-san's agent and sent to us. What truly surprised me, however, was several years later seeing a very similar photo being used on the agency's Web site! To put it mildly, I was honored. A screen cap of the site is below.


Koizumi-san was a warm and friendly gentleman, as many Japanese actors from the old school are. Whenever I saw him interacting with his fans, he was always welcoming. I'll remember him that way.


Thank you for the memories, Koizumi-san, on and off the screen. Please rest in peace.

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