Kawakita was born in Tokyo, Japan.
One of Toho's more prolific special effects directors, Koichi Kawakita's first job at Toho was in their matte photography department in 1962, working on films such as Gorath. In 1972, Kawakita found himself helming the special effects on Tsuburaya Productions' Ultraman show. A year later, he returned to Toho and took the reigns of the special effects for their own show, Zone Fighter, before moving on to be Teruyoshi Nakano's assistant from 1974 to 1977. Between those years, Kawakita's first shot at directing the special effects on a major motion picture were realized in 1976 on the film Zero Pilot. In the mid 1980s, Kawakita was given the opportunity to direct the special effects for the big budgeted Bye-Bye Jupiter (1984). Five years later, Kawakita headed the special effects on the 1989 film Gunhed, before receiving his calling that same year with Godzilla vs. Biollante. His work on the Godzilla series continued two years later with the next entry: Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, which netted Kawakita a Japanese Academy Award for his efforts. He continued working on the Godzilla films up until the closure of the Heisei series in 1995, at which point his efforts were then directed to the Rebirth of Mothra series. However, he departed in 1997 after working on the film Rebirth of Mothra II. Kawakita's love for special effects films, particularly his interest toward the science fiction based mechanics featured, kept the director from ever truly leaving the genre, though, as in 2003 he directed the special effects for Toho's successful The Gransazers TV show and also wrote the Toho SFX Mechanic Chronicle 1954-2003 book that year. On December 5, 2014, Kawakita died at his home in Japan.
Special effects director
- Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989)
- Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991)
- Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992)
- Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (1993)
- Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla (1994)
- Yamato Takeru (1994)
- Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995)
- Rebirth of Mothra (1996)
- Rebirth of Mothra II (1997)
- Milner, David. Yohihiko Shibata (trans.) December 1994. "An Interview with Koichi Kawakita", Kaiju Fan Online. (Originally published in Cult Movies)