We’re heartbroken to confirm that legendary Japanese actor and author Yoshio Tsuchiya, has passed at age 90. Although we are all grieving this tremendous loss, take comfort that Tsuchiya-san lived a long, rewarding life fulfilling his many passions.
To science fiction fans across the globe, Tsuchiya-san will always be remembered as the Controller of Planet X in Monster Zero, the highlight of Toho’s Showa Godzilla canon. The late actor, however, gave wondrous performances in many other classics – most of which revolved around outer space. Tsuchiya-san held a deep love for UFOs and the science of extra-terrestrial life, leading him to author several books on the subject and take on fanciful alien roles in many of Toho’s other films including The Mysterians, Destroy All Monsters, Space Amoeba, and Godzilla vs King Ghidorah (1991).
Our dear friend Kyle Yount, Controller of Kaijucast, was fortunate enough to spend time with the late legend while filming his documentary, Hail to the King (pictured below). It’s candid interviews and historical context come highly recommended from us and the fandom at large. All this considered, there is no better fan and friend than Kyle to leave off with the right words. Here’s to a one-of-a-kind talent we will all dearly miss, Yoshio Tsuchiya:
This morning, I woke up to the terrible news that Yoshio Tsuchiya [土屋 嘉男], the man who had played many an alien -including the controller of Planet X- had passed away.
Of course, I am saddened by this news, but perhaps a bit more than I anticipated. It’s no secret that MONSTER ZERO (1965) is my favorite of the Godzilla series, and that the “controller” title that I claimed for the podcast host/head honcho was in reference to his role in that film.
In addition to portraying the controller, Tsuchiya-san was quite the character and he was at the top of my list for actors to interview during our 2014 Tokyo trip to film HAIL TO THE KING. The films he was in speak to the dedication he had not just towards his profession, but also to the genre we hold so dear. I am so glad that we were able to include his thoughts and memories of his time working in the tokusatsu arena. Hopefully I can cobble together some of the cut segments from that interview.
He relished the odd characters he played, even turning down the lead protagonist role in THE MYSTERIANS (1957) in order to take on the leader of the invaders, and claimed to have seen evidence of real alien life. Tsuchiya was a gifted actor, and an engaging storyteller. I’m heartbroken that I’ll never get the chance to speak to this icon again but I take solace in knowing that he truly respected the films, the fans and looked forward to the future of film’s science fiction genre.
The loss Yoshio Tsuchiya is one that I will be feeling for a very long time.
- Kyle Yount, Kaijucast
Included are several personal, touching photos of Tsuchiya-san, captured again by talented friend David E. Dopko – each from the time he and Kyle were fortunate enough to spend with the prolific actor:
Please join us in sending our very best and condolences to Tsuchiya-san’s family, fans, and friends.