Akira Takarada (born April 29, 1934) is a Japanese actor who is best known internationally for appearing in seven Godzilla films, each time as a different character: Gojira, Mothra vs. Godzilla, Invasion of Astro-Monster, Experiment 213 Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster, the 1992 edition of Godzilla vs. Mothra Godzilla: Final Wars and the 2014 American remake of Godzilla. For the latter, he was credited for a scene which was later omitted from the actual film.
Born in Korea during Japanese rule and a brief resident of Harbin, China, Takarada originally rose from the Tôhô New Face program (with Yû Fujiki and Momoko Kôchi). He became fluent in both Mandarin Chinese and Japanese. He began his film career in 1949 with a small role in ;;When the Liberty Bell Rang;; and after several small roles, his big break came in the original Gojira, he soon became recognizable for his persona as the cocky, slightly cynical urban male and that made him a very successful actor.
Later Toho film credits included: Half Human (1958), The Last War (1961), Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965), King Kong Escapes (1967) and Latitude Zero (1969). Today, Akira is still a celebrity in Japan through his appearances in TV dramas, quiz shows, and commercials as well as a common guest at Godzilla fan conventions. His daughter, Michiru Kojima, later became a famous pop singer.
He also provided the Japanese voices of Professor Ratigan in the Japanese dub of The Great Mouse Detective and, more prominently, of Jafar in the dub of Disney's Aladdin.