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Nationality JaponBirth 18 may 1927
at Kōfu (Japon
)Death 8 february 2017
(at 89 years)
Yoshio Tsuchiya (土屋 嘉男, Tsuchiya Yoshio, born May 18, 1927) is a Japanese actor who has appeared in such films as Toshio Matsumoto's surreal masterpiece "Bara No Soretsu" (a.k.a. "Funeral Parade of Roses") and Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai (as the firebrand farmer Rikichi) and Red Beard, and Kihachi Okamoto's Kill!. He has a long-standing interest in UFOs and had written several books on the subject. He preferred starring in science fiction films, usually as aliens, or people possessed by them, in such films as Battle in Outer Space, Monster Zero, and Destroy All Monsters.
Tsuchiya was born in Kofu, Yamanashi in 1927. His film debut was in the 1952 Shintoho film Murder Suspect (殺人容疑者). During the auditions for Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai, Tsuchiya was watching, and was picked by Kurosawa although he originally had no intention of auditioning himself.
Seven Samurai was filmed during the same time as Godzilla, and Tsuchiya would frequently leave the set of Seven Samurai to see Godzilla being filmed. In an interview, Tsuchiya said "Because I was doing Seven Samurai I couldn't appear in the first Godzilla. That's why I insisted they put me in the sequel." Tsuchiya's wish was granted and he appeared in a role in Godzilla Raids Again.
Although Tsuchiya appeared in many films by Akira Kurosawa, he also appeared in many science fiction films, saying "Most actors get comfortable with a certain genre, and they stick to that. But as far as I was concerned, it was equally prestigious to appear in science-fiction films or in Kurosawa movies." Tsuchiya especially liked to play aliens (or people controlled by aliens). When originally given the role of one of the heroes in The Mysterians, he turned down the role in favor of the Mysterian leader, because he was only interested in playing "interesting, strong and/or twisted characters". When director Ishiro Honda told him that since the Mysterian leader wore a mask, his face would not be seen, Tsuchiya said "That's all right. I just want to play the alien!" He has a personal interest in space and even claims to have seen several UFOs. "At the time I was very interested in the Space Race, and belonged to an organization which promoted a mission to the moon. I got all my fellow actors to join - Mifune, Shimura. Then I learned that this organization was crooked and really wanted to divide up the moon and sell it as real estate! I was so outraged that in [The Mysterians] when the earth scientists balk at giving the Mysterians some land on earth, I ad-libbed, 'But you're trying to divide up the moon and sell it!'"
He lobbied for the title role in Tomei Ningen (1954), but was forced by the studio to play the leading man. Eventually realizing their mistake, he was cast in the title role in The Human Vapor.
He was originally cast to play the assassin Malness in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, but was unable to because he was filming Red Beard.
In 1991, after a long absence from Toho monster films (his last was in the 1970 film Space Amoeba), Tsuchiya returned to the Godzilla series in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah as Shindo, a World War II veteran who met a pre-mutated Godzilla during the battle in the Marshall Islands.