|This article is about a/an actor in Himitsu Sentai Gorenger.|
Baku Hatakeyama (畠山 麦 Hatakeyama Baku), born Akio Hatakeyama (畠山 昭夫 Hatakeyama Akio) was the Japanese actor who played Daita Oiwa, the first Kirenger in Himitsu Sentai Gorenger. He is the earliest born Sentai Ranger actor, the only one to be born prior to the end of World War II, as well as the first known deceased Ranger actor.
Hatakeyama was born in Minamimaki, a village located in the Minamisaku district of Nagano, Japan. After graduating high school, he attended Waseda University, but dropped out mid-term to join the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force. After completing his service, he pursued an acting career and appeared in several television dramas. In 1975, he landed the role of Daita Oiwa in Himitsu Sentai Gorenger, his best-known role.
Hatakeyama was employed by an acting agency run by the cousin of manga artist Mitsuru Sugaya. He befriended Sugaya at the time they were both in Tokyo. Shortly after appearing in the short film Great Adventure of Finger 5 (directed by Shotaro Ishimori), Hatakeyama went to the Ishimori studio to talk with Sugaya about his manga adaptation of NHK puppet show version of the Ten Braves of Sanada. At that same time, the manager of Ishimori Pro received a request from Toei producer Tooru Hirayama to conduct an audition for Himitsu Sentai Gorenger. When the manager was discussing on who would played Kirenger, Sugaya mentioned Hatakeyama's name to Ishimori on purpose and Hirayama approved of him. Hatakeyama was also the chairman of Sugaya's wedding reception in 1976 while Gorenger was still airing.
During the course of the show, Hatakeyama wanted to take a break from Gorenger in order to participate in a play he wanted to act in, so his character was temporarily written off in Episode 55 and replaced in the following episode by Daigorou Kumano (played by Jiro Daruma). Hatakeyama would return for the remainder of the series in Episode 67, where Kumano was killed off to make room for Oiwa's return to the team. While working on Gorenger, Hatakeyama lived in the same neighborhood as his costar Hiroshi Miyauchi (who played Akira Shinmei/Ao Ranger) and they ate their supper together after returning from filming.
Hatakeyama's role as Kirenger gave children a strong impression at the time. The yellow rangers in Super Sentai are often associated with being a strongman, a big eater and curry lover, despite many of them not fitting this image. It is said that Keiko Hayase almost rejected the role of Remi Hoshikawa in Chikyuu Sentai Fiveman. Hatakeyama was then the oldest actor to ever played a Sentai warrior, though this record was later broken by actors appearing in succeeding Sentai seasons.
Despite his great achievements, Hatakeyama himself was not proud of his work since he had trouble landing another regular role after Gorenger ended. Former Gorenger producer Hirayama, who was worried about Hatakeyama, offered him to play a guest villain in Episode 29 of Kaiketsu Zubat (怪傑ズバット Wonderman Zubat, a show which starred his former Gorenger co-star Miyauchi) and Hatakeyama took the offer gratefully.
On July 13, 1978, while filming a guest role for the police drama Tokusō Saizensen (特捜最前線 Special Crime Investigation Front), Hatakeyama committed suicide by hanging himself at his home. In a suicide note he left, Hatakeyama cited his financial problems, his dwindling career and his inability to escape from being typecast as Kirenger as the reasons for ending his own life. He was 34. Naoya Makoto, who played Tsuyoshi Kaijo in Gorenger and was a regular in Tokusō Saizensen, expressed his regrets in a later interview for being unable to prevent Hatakeyama from taking his own life.
Roles in Super Sentai
- Himitsu Sentai Gorenger (TV series, 1975-1977) - Daita Oiwa/Kirenger (regular)
- J.A.K.Q. Dengekitai vs. Gorenger (movie, 1978) - Kirenger (voice only, uncredited)