How Important Is Godzilla to Japanese Culture?

A list of famous Japanese individuals would probably include movie directors like Akira Kurosawa and national leaders like Naruhito, the newly-enthroned Emperor of Japan. But one of the most well-known Japanese figures didn't become an official citizen until 2015. Despite regularly destroying Tokyo, the giant movie monster Godzilla was ceremonially welcomed not only as a citizen but also as the tourism ambassador for Tokyo's oft-devastated Shinjuku ward. At the official welcoming ceremony, ward mayor Kenichi Yoshizumi described the huge reptilian creature as "the pride of Japan." In addition to his other honors, Godzilla was commemorated with a giant replica of his head, placed atop the offices of the Toho film studio, which released the original 1954 film in which Godzilla first terrified the world. During the ceremony, 5,000 lucky fans got copies of Godzilla's residency papers, which noted that Godzilla is expected to take part in "Promoting the entertainment of and watching over the Kabuki-cho neighborhood and drawing visitors from around the globe."

Getting to know Godzilla:

  • Godzilla's original roar was made by someone rubbing a leather glove coated with pine tar over a double bass string.
  • For his 50th birthday in 2004, Godzilla received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
  • The name "Godzilla" comes from combining the Japanese words for gorilla (gorira) and whale (kujira).
More Info: BBC

Discussion Comments


I think that's so cool.

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