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Monday, August 7, 2017

Remembering Haruo Nakajima

Above, yours truly with Haruo Nakajima at G-FEST 2000. I later had him autograph the photo.

The news that the original Godzilla, Haruo Nakajima has passed away today at age 88 is just devastating.

I first met him in 2000 at G-FEST 2000 in Hollywood. I got to see first hand how he enjoyed interacting with his fans. He enjoyed being with them as much as they enjoyed being with him.

A year later, at the premiere of Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack at the 2001 Tokyo International Film Festival, I met up with him following the movie's screening. Richard Pusateri and I had a photo taken with him.

Above, at the 2001 Tokyo International Film Festival with Richard Pusateri. Photo courtesy of Richard Pusateri.

I next saw him at the 2008 G-FEST in Chicago. In fact, I went to O'Hare International Airport to pick him up. It was at this convention that Nakajima was awarded the Mangled Skyscraper Award for his movie work.

Above, Armand with Haruo and Sonoe Nakajima in their suite at G-FEST in 2008.

Above, Sonoe and Haruo Nakajima at the 2008 G-FEST awards banquet. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, Haruo Nakajima during his panel discussion at G-FEST. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, Haruo Nakajima with his Mangled Skyscraper Award. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, Haruo Nakajima and Armand.

At the first Monsterpalooza in Burbank following the Great East Japan Earthquake, I ran into him with Miki Hayashi. The proceeds received for his autograph went to earthquake relief.

Above, Haruo Nakajima with Miki Hayashi at the 2011 Monsterpalooza. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

In 2013, I served has his "wrangler" at the Mad Monster Party convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. At the show, we sat together in the dealers room where he signed autographs and I sold copies of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan. I also moderated a discussion with him and "acted" in a spoof monster video where I was fleeing a giant monster attack and tried to tell him to also flee, but he was too interested in reading his newspaper.

The following photos are from the 2013 Mad Monster Party:

Above, Nakajima signs a fan's poster. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, Nakajima with a signed photo for Tony Isabella. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, yours truly "acting" with Haruo Nakajima.

Above, Nakajima with a costumed fan. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, Haruo Nakajima with actress Lea Thompson. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, Haruo Nakajima and I. Photo by Jeff Blanken.

Above, the panel discussion. Photo by Jeff Blanken.

Above, "Team Nakajima": Yoko Connelly, Sonoe and Haruo Nakajima, Jeff Blanken and Armand Vaquer.

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