Although best known for having portrayed the Millennium series GODZILLA, Tsutomu Kitagawa’s career as a suit actor and stunt performer has spanned more than 40 years. He first joined Sonny Chiba’s Japan Action Club in 1975 and began appearing as a supporting player in many of Toei’s Super Sentai programs, including Battle Fever J (1979) and Denziman (1980) in which he served as an understudy for series regular Kenji Ohba.
By the time of 1984’s Bioman, Kitagawa had become a series regular himself, portraying Bioman team member Blue Three. He continued as a lead suit actor in popular Super Sentai entries such Changeman (1985), Flashman (1986), Maskman (1987) and Dairanger (1993), culminating with the role of Ninja Black in 1994’s Kakuranger, the action scenes of which were utilized in the third season of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers as well as the Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers mini-series.
It was after Kakuranger that Kitagawa left Japan Action Club to work as a freelance stunt actor, as well as a motion capture performer for video games. He eventually was chosen to portray King Ghidorah in the 1998 Toho Company production, Mothra 3, which led to him being offered the coveted role of the King of Monsters in Godzilla 2000 Millennium the following year. Kitagawa continued to play Godzilla in the subsequent Millennium series films, including Godzilla X Megaguirus (2000), Godzilla X MechaGodzilla (2002) and Godzilla Tokyo SOS (2003), until the monster’s final Japan-produced feature in 2004, Godzilla Final Wars, in which he also served as suit action adviser to the production.
Beginning in 2007, Kitagawa returned to working with Japan Action Enterprise (formerly Japan Action Club) and has had numerous guest appearances in recent Super Sentai series and films such as Gekiranger, Go-Onger, Gokaiger, Go-Busters, Kyoryuger, ToQger and Ninninger as both a stunt and drama actor.