Toki Shiozawa: 1928-2007
Toho Character Actor has Died of Stomach Cancer
Author: Oki Miyano and Keith Aiken
Toho fans have lost another piece of the Golden Age with the passing of actress Toki Shiozawa. While not well known in the west, Ms Shiozawa acted in nearly a hundred films and TV shows between 1951 and 1988, including THE HUMAN VAPOR (Gasu Ningen Daiichigo, 1960), MONSTER ZERO (Kaiju Daisenso, a.k.a. INVASION OF ASTRO-MONSTER, 1965), DODES’KADEN (1970), and LUPIN THE 3RD: STRANGE PSYCHOKINETIC STRATEGY (Rupan Sansei: Nenrikichan Sakusen, 1974). She also had a recurring role in Toho’s first super-hero television series, RAINBOWMAN (Ai no Senshi Reinboman, 1972).
Shiozawa was born Toyoji Shiozawa in Nakazato-cho, Shinjyuku-ku Tokyo on April 1, 1928. One of her elementary school classmates was Akihiko Hirata, who would go on to star in the original GODZILLA (Gojira, 1954) and dozens of other films at Toho. In 1948, Toki Shiozawa entered the second Toho New Face Contest and was soon signed by the studio. While at Toho she was mainly cast in supporting roles for comedies and dramas such as THREE DOLLS IN COLLEGE (Daigaku no Onechan, 1959), DESPERADO OUTPOST (Dokuritsu Gurentai, 1959), TATSU (Doburobu no Tatsu, 1962), KONTO 55: OUTER SPACE ADVENTURE (Konto Gojugo-go: Uchu Daiboken, 1969), GO FOR IT! YOUNG GUY (Ganbare! Wakadaisho, 1975), and the Crazy Cats movies OPERATION CRAZY HONG KONG (Honkon Kureeji Sakusen, 1963), LAS VEGAS FREE-FOR-ALL (Kureejii Ogon Sakusen, 1967), and MEXICAN FREE-FOR-ALL (Kureejii Mekishiko dai sakusen, 1968).
Toki Shiozawa also worked regularly on television variety programs and children’s shows. She became particularly popular with Japanese kids in the 1970s and 80s thanks to Kusai-hoei’s long-running KEN-CHAN series (1968-1982) and Toho’s RAINBOWMAN. From episodes 14-25 of the super-hero show she played the villainous Witch Iguana. Despite being killed off by Rainbowman in her last appearance, Toho wanted to bring Witch Iguana back and asked Shiozawa to reprise the role later in the series. According to actress Machiko Soga (best known as Queen Hedrian and Bandora in Toei’s Super Sentai shows, and Rita Repulsa in the Americanized MIGHTY MORPHIN’ POWER RANGERS), Shiozawa declined due to the heavy makeup required so Soga stepped in as God Iguana, mother of the late Witch. Around this time Shiozawa did guest star on another super-hero series, Tsuburaya Productions’ ULTRAMAN ACE (Urutoraman Esu, 1972).
Shiozawa had repeatedly battled cancer throughout her adult life. At age 30 she was stricken with cancer of the tongue, and was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1984 and again in 2004. Each time she managed to fight through the disease, and this past spring at a stage performance Shiozawa cheerfully announced “I’ve beaten cancer!” Sadly, it was soon learned that the actress had stomach cancer, and she died May 17 at a hospital in Meguro, Tokyo at age 79.
Her family has already held a private funeral, and Toho is planning a memorial service.