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Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan

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Takashi Shimura


Takashi Shimura (志村 喬, Shimura Takashi, March 12, 1905 – February 11, 1982) was a Japanese actor who appeared in over 200 films between 1934 and 1981. He appeared in 21 of Akira Kurosawa's 30 films (more than any other actor), including as a lead actor in Drunken Angel (1948), Rashomon (1950), Ikiru (1952), and Seven Samurai (1954). He played Professor Kyohei Yamane in Ishirō Honda's original Godzilla (1954). For his contributions to the arts, the Japanese government decorated Shimura with the Medal with Purple Ribbon in 1974 and the Order of the Rising Sun, 4th Class, Gold Rays with Rosette in 1980.


Shimura was born Shōji Shimazaki (島崎 捷爾, Shimazaki Shōji) in Ikuno, Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan.[4] His forebears were members of the samurai class: in 1868 his grandfather took part in the Battle of Toba–Fushimi during the Boshin War. Shimura entered Ikuno Primary School in 1911 and Kobe First Middle School in 1917. He missed two years of schooling because of a mild case of tuberculosis, and subsequently moved to the prefectural middle school in Nobeoka, Miyazaki Prefecture, where his father had been transferred by his employer, Mitsubishi Mining. 


At Nobeoka Middle School, he excelled in English and became active in the literary society's magazine, to which he contributed poetry. He also became a star of the rowing club. In 1923, he entered Kansai University, but after his father's retirement the family could no longer afford the fees for a full-time course and he switched to the part-time evening course in English literature, supporting himself by working at the Osaka municipal waterworks. Among the teachers in the English Literature Department were the playwright Toyo-oka Sa-ichirō (豊岡佐一郎) and the Shakespeare scholar Tsubouchi Shikō (坪内士行). These two inspired in Shimura an enthusiasm for drama. He joined the University's Theatre Studies Society and in 1928 formed an amateur theatrical group, the Shichigatsu-za (七月座) with Toyo-oka as director.


 He began to miss work because of the time he spent on theatrical activities and eventually lost his job. He then left university to try to earn a living in the theatre. The Shichigatsu-za turned professional and began to tour, but got into financial difficulties and folded.


After the failure of the Shichigatsu-za, Shimura went back to Osaka, where he began to get roles in radio plays. In 1930 he joined the Kindaiza (近代座) theatre company and became a fully professional actor. He toured China and Japan with the Kindaiza, but in 1932 he left the company and returned again to Osaka, where he appeared with the Shinseigeki (新声劇) and Shinsenza (新選座) troupes. Talking pictures were just then coming in and Shimura realized they would provide opportunities for stage-trained actors.


 In 1932 he joined the Kyoto studios of the film production company Shinkō Kinema. He made his film debut in the 1934 silent Ren'ai-gai itchōme (恋愛街一丁目: Number One, Love Street). The first film in which he had a speaking part was the 1935 Chūji uridasu (忠次売出す), directed by Mansaku Itami. His first substantial film role was as a detective in Mizoguchi Kenji's 1936 Osaka Elegy (Naniwa erejii; 浪華悲歌).

Known for

Godzilla as Dr. Kyohei Yamane