Thursday, July 4, 2024

Actor Makoto Akatsuka, Who Appeared in the Ultraman and Kamen Rider Series, Passes Away at Age 73

Makoto Akatsuka in November 2022. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Film and television actor Makoto Akatsuka passed away on July 4 at a hospital in Ibaraki Prefecture of esophageal cancer. He was 73.

Mr. Akatsuka, who was born on March 19, 1951, began his professional film career in 1967 with Toho, playing youthful character in a variety of productions. He plays Sangoro in the film Double Suicide (1969), Mamoru Watanabe in Wet Sand in August (1971), Chuji Saito in Yoji Yamada's The Village (1975), the grandson in the Tora-san film Tora's Pure Love (1976), a chimpira in The Yellow Handkerchief (1977), Otomatsu Kawase in Nomugi Pass (1979), Makoto in Tora-san Goes North (1987), a policeman in Tora-san Makes Excuses (1992), and Yazaki in the Oscar-nominated The Twilight Samurai (2002).

On television, he appears uncredited in episode 12 of Ultraman Ace (1972-73), episode 11 of Jekyll and Hyde (1973) as a toy factory worker, Fight! Dragon (1974) as Kojiro Musashi, the all-star TV movie Tokyo Earthquake Magnitude 8.1 (1980) as Hiroshi Sakaki, episode 28 of Kamen Rider Black (1987-88) as Tsunekichi Koyama, and Kamen Rider Black RX (1988-89) as the recurring character Shunkichi Sahara.

I met Mr. Akatsuka only once in November 2022. It was after a stage performance in Daikanyama, Tokyo. I approached him after the show to introduce myself and mentioned my interest in tokusatsu productions, specifically mentioning Ultraman Ace. He was very kind, and I enjoyed meeting him.

His acting resume was impressive enough that I did consider reaching out to him for an interview, but, given his recent health issues, it probably wasn't very likely, anyway. I'm sure he had many fascinating stories to tell.

Rest in peace, Mr. Akatsuka.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this news. My son and I watched the entire Kamen Rider Black series, and now we are in the middle of RX. Akatsuka is very entertaining and funny as father of the Sahara family.