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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Koichi Kawakita, R.I.P.

Above, Koichi Kawakita and Armand in Hollywood in 2000.

Very sad news has arrived from Japan via the Anime News Network.

Special effects director Koichi Kawakita has passed away at age 72 from liver failure.

They wrote:
Movie visual effects director Kōichi Kawakita passed away on December 5 due to liver failure. He was 72. A funeral service was held for close relatives, with his wife Toshiko as chief mourner. A memorial service is planned in the future.
I first met Mr. Kawakita in 2000 when G-Fest 2000 was held in Hollywood at the Roosevelt Hotel. A year later, Richard Pusateri and I met with him at his office in Toho Studios for a tour of the studio that was led by him and producer Shogo Tomiyama.

Above, pictured at Toho Studios in 2001 are (from left) Shogo Tomiyama, Armand, Richard
Pusateri and Koichi Kawakita with a Godzilla event suit. Photo courtesy of Richard Pusateri.

He didn't exactly recognize us at first. While we were outside looking over the studio with Mr. Tomiyama and Shozo Watanabe, it suddenly dawned on Mr. Kawakita who we were and he ran down one of the studio roads towards us exclaiming, "I remember you!" with a big grin.

Above, Koichi Kawakita describing items in his collection
to Richard Pusateri at Toho Studios. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I found Mr. Kawakita to be a very nice man and quite enthusiastic while he was showing us his collection of Godzilla-related props and figures. I think his best Godzilla special effects work was in Godzilla vs. Biollante.

My sincere condolences to the Kawakita family. This is a big loss and he will be missed.

To read more, go here.

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