Where can I find reactions to the original Godzilla?
July 21, 2013 8:55 AM   Subscribe

How did audiences in Japan 9 years out of WW2 react to the extensive use of war-imagery in the original 1954 Godzilla?

Watching the original Godzilla for the first time I'm struck by how deliberately the filmmakers used blatant war-imagery throughout the film, not just the destruction of the countryside followed by the fiery destruction of Tokyo, but also the refugee lines, people crowding hospitals, people fleeing underground into bomb shelters, etc. Not to mention the fact that this happened the same year the film was released!

In light of recent controversy over Man of Steel using 9/11 imagery, I'm wondering if anyone at the time was offended by this piece of entertainment deliberately evoking such a brutally recent historical experience. If not offended or upset, then why not? Differences in culture? Differences in time period? Differences in attitude toward the relationship between art, entertainment, and history?

(Wikipedia says "Japanese critics accused the film of exploiting the widespread devastation that the country had suffered in World War II" with a citation, but I'm more interested in what lay-people thought; it was financially successful after all.)
posted by Ndwright to Society & Culture (2 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
You might want to read Godzilla on My Mind by Bill Tsutsui. NYT op-ed by Peter Kirby.
posted by Ideefixe at 10:30 AM on July 21, 2013


I think the reviews were pretty negative. They eventually put up a statue to Gojira/Godzilla in Tokyo in the 80s but it's only a couple of feet tall in an out of the way location... kinda like they were embarrassed by it.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:15 PM on July 26, 2013


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