Project Shodaigoji: The Demon of Destruction

Written by Barney Buckley

Email Address – bbuckley@triad.rr.com


image002

Origins of Godzilla

According to legend, Godzilla was born aboard an airplane.

It was spring 1954. As the story goes, Tomoyuki Tanaka, a producer with the Toho Motion Picture Co., was flying home to Tokyo from Jakarta, where plans for a Japanese-Indonesian co production titled In the Shadow of Honor had just fallen apart.

image004

The movie, the story of a Japanese soldier who fights alongside the Indonesians in their struggle for postwar independence, was to be one of Toho’s major releases later that year, and now Tanaka was under pressure to come up with a replacement for it- fast. Nervous and sweating, he spent the entire flight brainstorming.

Suddenly, he had a stroke of genius.

Taking a cue from the successful American science fiction film The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953), in which a dinosaur is resurrected by atomic tests in the Arctic and swims south to terrorize New York, Tanaka decided to make Japan’s first giant celluloid monster, a creature that would not only be reanimated by nuclear weapons but serve as a metaphor for the Bomb itself, evoking the horror of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki holocausts still vivid in Japan’s consciousness. “The theme of the film, from the beginning, was the terror of the Bomb,” Tanaka recalled decades later. ‘Mankind had created the Bomb, and now nature was going to take revenge on mankind.”

Nine years earlier, at the end of World War II, Japan had suffered a defeat unlike any other nation in history. In August 1945, America’s twin atomic bombs had killed nearly 300,000 civilians, and an estimated 100,000 more lives had been lost the previous March when B-29 planes firebombed Tokyo for three consecutive days. Cities across Japan were leveled, leaving millions dead, wounded, or home- less. Factories that had been converted to military production were now either destroyed or rendered useless, crippling Japanese industry and bankrupting the economy.

image006

The country’s massive empire in the Pacific region was lost, and six million repatriated soldiers and civilians returned to a Japan whose mighty spirit was crushed. Then came the seven-yearlong Occupation (1945-1952), in which a nation that had remained unconquered for thou- sands of years suffered the shame of being governed by foreign soldiers and forced to adopt a Western- style constitution that reduced the Emperor to a mere symbolic figure, abolished State Shintoism, and threatened other long-held traditions and beliefs. The late 1940S and early 1950S were a time of political, economic, and cultural uncertainty in Japan.

During the war, the Japanese film industry was booming, due in large part to the government’s use of the movie studios to disseminate heavily regulated nationalist propaganda. Then, after the defeat of Japan’s militarist regime, the Allied powers likewise censored the movies and other media in their efforts to democratize Japan, forbidding discussions of the war, the Bomb and America’s role in the tragedy. After the Occupation a handful of Bomb-themed films began to appear, notably Kaneto Shindo’sChildren of the Atom Bomb (1952), a semi documentary about a schoolteacher who returns to Hiroshima looking for former pupils who were victims at ground zero.

Hideo Sekigawa’s Hiroshima (also 1952) was an angrier film that portrayed the atomic bombings as a racist act in which the Japanese people were guinea pigs in a U.S. nuclear experiment. But in the 40-plus years since the American forces left and censorship was lifted, surprisingly few movies have directly addressed Japan’s status as the only nation to be attacked with nuclear weapons. Film scholars cite prevailing feelings of shame, repression, and guilt but are unable to fully explain the Japanese cinema’s ambivalence toward the Bomb, a subject that would seem to be important and compelling movie material.

During the 1950S and ’60s, several Japanese moves made references to the atomic bombs and to radiation sickness, but only two major films tackled the Bomb as subject matter. The most critically lauded of the two was Akira Kurosawa’s I Live in Fear (a.k.a. Record of a Living Being, 1955), wherein Toshiro Mifune plays a man nearly frightened to death by the specter of another nuclear attack on Japan; the most commercially successful was Tanaka’s barely disguised allegory of the Bomb, manifested in a gigantic monster.

image008

By 1954, Japan was peaceful and relatively prosperous again, but fears of renewed annihilation were brimming below the surface, fueled by new nuclear threats. Cold War tensions were increasing and Japan was now caught -literally- between the two superpowers’ nuclear-testing programs: the Soviet Union’s on one side, and the Pacific Proving Ground established by the U.S. at the Mar- shall Islands on the other. The Korean War was escalating, raising fears that a hydrogen bomb might be dropped on neighboring North Korea or China and rain fallout over the region. It may have been a divine act or it may have been pure happenstance, but around the same time that Tanaka was forced to quickly invent a major new film, a historic, horrifying event was unfolding in the equatorial Pacific, an event that would forever change monster-movie history.

Early in the morning on March 1, the U.S. detonated a 15-megaton H-bomb -with 750 times more explosive power than the atomic bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki -near the Bikini Atoll, 2,500 miles southwest of Honolulu. The explosion, code-named Operation Bravo, was labeled a “routine atomic test” by the Atomic Energy Commission but it proved far more powerful than expected, vaporizing a large portion of Bikini and sending a plume of highly radioactive debris floating eastward over a 7,000-square-mile area of the Pacific Ocean. Into this nuclear night- mare zone errantly wandered a 140-ton wooden Japanese trawler, the Daigo Fukuryu Maru (55 Lucky Dragon #5), which was on a tuna-fishing trip about 100 miles east of Bikini.

The boat’s 23 crewmen were showered with a sticky, white radioactive ash; within a few hours several men became sick with headaches, nausea, and eye irritation, and a few days later some of their faces turned strangely dark. The ship’s captain, not understanding what was happening to his men, abandoned the fishing trip and returned to the boat’s home port at Yaizu in Shizuoka Prefecture. Six months later, on September 23, Aikichi Kuboyama, the chief radio operator, died of leukemia in a Tokyo hospital. His last words, according to newspaper reports, were, “Please make sure that I am the last victim of the nuclear bomb.” Five other crew members later died from cancers and other diseases that were believed to be bomb- related.

The incident was first reported on the morning of March 16 in the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper. At first the U.S. government denied it was responsible for the “death ash” that had poisoned the ship; the Americans later admitted the ash was fallout from a hydrogen bomb but accused the Lucky Dragon of entering the restricted testing area on a spy mission. The U.S. government sent the dead fisherman’s widow a check for 2.5 million yen as a “token of sympathy” in an attempt to put the matter to rest. Only years later would America admit that opera- tion Bravo was the most powerful nuclear bomb ever detonated and that it caused the single worst fallout incident in the H-bomb atmospheric-testing program.

Throughout 1954 and ’55, the Lucky Dragon tragedy released Japan’s pent-up anxieties about the Bomb- an unprecedented public outcry followed it, including a boycott of tuna and other radiation- contaminated fish, a national ban-the-bomb signature campaign (by August 1955,32 million signatures were collected), the formation of the Council Against A- and H-bombs, and the rise of the Japanese peace movement of the 195O’S.

It also gave birth to the King of the Monsters.

Daigo Fukuryū Maru (第五福竜丸?, Lucky Dragon 5)

image010

Daigo Fukuryū Maru (第五福竜丸?, Lucky Dragon 5) was a Japanese tuna fishing boat, which was exposed to and contaminated by nuclear fallout from the United States’ Castle Bravo thermonuclear device test on Bikini Atoll, on March 1, 1954.

Aikichi Kuboyama, the boat’s chief radioman, died less than seven months later, on September 23, 1954, suffering from acute radiation syndrome. He is considered the first victim of the hydrogen bomb of Operation Castle Bravo.

In 1947, the fishing boat was launched from Koza, Wakayama, named Dainana Kotoshiro Maru (第七事代丸?, Kotoshiro Maru No. 7). Later it became a tuna fishing boat in Yaizu, Shizuoka, where it was renamed the Daigo Fukuryū Maru.

The Daigo Fukuryū Maru encountered the fallout from the U.S. Castle Bravo nuclear test at Bikini Atoll, near the Marshall Islands, on March 1, 1954. The boat, along with its 23 fishermen aboard, as well as their catch of fish, were contaminated. They returned to Yaizu, Japan on March 14. The crew members, suffering from nausea, headaches, burns, pain in the eyes, bleeding from the gums, and other symptoms, were diagnosed with acute radiation syndrome and admitted to two Tokyo hospitals. On September 23, chief radio operator Mr. Aikichi Kuboyama, 40, died — the first Japanese victim of a hydrogen bomb. He left these words: “I pray that I am the last victim of an atomic or hydrogen bomb.”

The sky in the west lit up like a sunrise. Eight minutes later the sound of the explosion arrived, with fallout several hours later. The fallout, fine white flaky dust of calcinated Bikini Island coral, had absorbed highly radioactive fission products, and fell on the ship for three hours. The fishermen scooped it into bags with their bare hands. With one fisherman, Matashichi Oishi, reporting that he “took a lick” of the dust that fell on his ship, describing it as gritty but with no taste. The dust stuck to surfaces, bodies and hair; after the radiation sickness symptoms appeared, the fishermen called it shi no hai (死の灰?, death ash).

image012

The US government refused to disclose the fallout’s composition due to “national security”, as the isotopic ratios, namely a percentage of uranium-237, could, through a radio-chemical analysis of the fallout, reveal the nature of the device to the Soviet Union, which had, as of 1954 not been successful with thermonuclear staging. Lewis Strauss, the head of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), issued a series of denials; he also hypothesized that the lesions on the fishermen’s bodies were not caused by radiation.

By the chemical action of the caustic burnt lime that is produced when coral is calcined, that they were inside the danger zone (while they were 40 miles away), and told President Eisenhower’s press secretary that the Lucky Dragon #5 may have been a “Red spy outfit”, commanded by a Soviet agent intentionally exposing the ship’s crew and catch to embarrass the USA and gain intelligence on the tests device. He also denied the extent of the claimed contamination of the fish caught by Daigo Fukuryu Maru and other ships. The FDA however later imposed rigid restrictions on tuna imports. The United States dispatched two medical scientists to Japan to study the effects of fallout on the ship’s crew and to assist their doctors.

Publications of the fallout analysis was a militarily sensitive issue, with Joseph Rotblat possibly deducing the staging nature of the Castle Bravo device by studying the ratio and presence of tell-tale isotopes present in the fallout. With this information having a history of being regarded as potentially revealing the means by which megaton yield nuclear devices achieve their yield. In the History of the Teller–Ulam design, Soviet scientist Sakharov hit upon his “Sakharov’s third idea” during the month after the Castle Bravo test, the final piece of the puzzle being landing upon the notion that the compression of the secondary by the primary’s x-rays before fusion began.

When the test was held, the Daigo Fukuryū Maru was catching fish outside the danger zone which the U.S. government had declared in advance. However, the test was over twice as powerful as it was predicted to be, and changes in weather patterns blew nuclear fallout, in the form of a fine ash, outside the danger zone. The fishermen realized the danger, and attempted to escape from the area, but they took time to retrieve fishing gear from the sea, exposing themselves to radioactive fallout for several hours.

image014

Later, the United States expanded the danger zone and it was revealed that in addition to the Daigo Fukuryū Maru, many other fishing boats were in the expanded zone at the time. It is estimated that about one-hundred fishing boats were contaminated to some degree by fallout from the test. Many hundreds of inhabitants of the Marshall Islands were also exposed, and a number of islands had to be evacuated entirely.

After Daigo Fukuryū Maru returned to its homeport of Yaizu, Shizuoka on March 14, 1954, Japanese biophysicist Yasushi Nishiwaki immediately traveled from Osaka to Yaizu to examine the crew and their boat. He quickly concluded that they had been exposed to radioactive fallout and wrote a letter to the chief of the AEC asking for more information on how to treat the crew. The US did not respond to Nishiwaki’s letter or to letters from other Japanese scientists requesting information and help. Contrary to these claims, The United States dispatched two medical scientists to Japan to study the effects of fallout on the ship’s crew and to assist their doctors.

The US at first tried to cover up[citation needed] the Lucky Dragon incident, sequestering the victims and declaring them off limits.[citation needed] Later the United States paid Kuboyama’s widow and children the equivalent in yen of about $2,500 ($22,000 in 2014).

The tragedy of the Daigo Fukuryū Maru gave rise to a fierce anti-nuclear movement in Japan, rising especially from the fear that the contaminated fish had entered the market. The U.S. government feared this movement would lead to an anti-American movement, and attempted to quickly negotiate a settlement with the Japanese government (led at the time by the Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida, who was considered to be a pro-U.S. politician.

image016

The Japanese and U.S. governments reached a compensation settlement, with the transfer to Japan of a compensation of US $15,300,000, of which it is reported that the fishery received a compensation of US$2 million,[citation needed] with the surviving crew receiving about ¥ 2 million each, ($5,550 in 1954, $48,700 in 2014). It was also agreed that the victims would not be given hibakusha status. The Japanese government also acknowledged that it would not pursue further reparations from the U.S. government.

The Daigo Fukuryū Maru was preserved in 1976 and is now on display in Tokyo at the Tokyo Metropolitan Daigo Fukuryū Maru Exhibition Hall.

Synopsis to Godzilla: King of the Monsters (American Version)

image018

Godzilla, King of the Monsters! Is a 1956 Japanese American science fiction kaiju film. It is an American production incorporating most of the footage of the Japanese film Godzilla, which had previously been shown subtitled in the United States in Japanese community theaters only, and was not known in Europe. For the American production, the original Japanese footage was dubbed into the English language and new footage was shot with actor Raymond Burr.

Although a handful of independent, low-budget films had previously been filmed in Japan after World War II by American companies and featuring Japanese players in the cast, Godzilla represented the first to present Japanese in principal, heroic roles or as sympathetic victims of the destruction of Tokyo (albeit by a fictional giant monster) to the American public in a commercial release given A-picture status and bookings.

It was this version of the original Godzilla film that introduced most audiences outside of Japan to Godzilla and labeled the character as “King of the Monsters”.

The revised story begins at a hastily established emergency hospital in an evidently devastated Tokyo, to which is brought American reporter Steve Martin (Raymond Burr), one of the wounded. In flashback, Martin tells of his stopover in Tokyo on a routine assignment to Cairo for United World News, where he finds himself confronted by the emergence of an inexplicable menace to navigation in the Sea of Japan. Something is causing ships to be destroyed without warning and sink with no time for escape. When a dying seaman finally washes up on an inhabited island, Martin flies there for the story with Tomo Iwanaga, a representative of the Japanese security forces (Frank Iwanaga, also part of the American cast), and learns of the island inhabitants’ belief in a monster god which lies beneath the sea, which they believe is causing the disasters (a claim which appears to have been borne out by the crewman before he died). Martin phones his editor at United World News, George Lawrence (Mikel Conrad, part of the American cast) and is given permission to stay and cover the story.

image020

Martin’s involvement in the unfolding events broadens when paleontologist Dr. Yamane (Takashi Shimura, of the original film), is consulted and, returning to the island with his daughter Emiko (Momoko Kōchi) and her young naval-officer boyfriend Ogata (Akira Takarada) to investigate, sees the monster when it attacks the island village. Returning to Tokyo with clear evidence of the monster’s existence and power, Yamane becomes a leading consultant to Japan in mounting a defense, as it becomes apparent the monster is moving towards Tokyo.

The Japanese navy is unable to faze the monster with depth charges. In the dark of night, the monster attacks Tokyo, and it proves invulnerable to conventional military weaponry no matter how concentrated. Martin is one of millions injured in the attack, and here the flashback ends: Godzilla (a giant mutant dinosaur) has returned to the sea, but it is certain this is only for the moment.

Emiko reveals she may know a solution to the monster’s apparent indestructibility. She loves the young naval officer, but had until recently been engaged to a young scientist Dr. Serizawa (Akihiko Hirata), who was also Steve Martin’s friend in college. She has lost interest in him because he has become almost a recluse, to her and others. After her breaking up with him, he revealed to her the reason for his reclusiveness — over the course of his research, he had accidentally developed a formula capable of destroying all oxygen in water, in the process of which any animal coming in contact with the “Oxygen Destroyer” is stripped clean of all flesh and organs, reduced to a skeleton. His anguish over what to do with this discovery has become a constant preoccupation. She had agreed to keep her knowledge of this a secret. But with Godzilla loose, she realizes this may be the only thing capable of stopping the monster, and informs her boyfriend and father.

image022

The scientist is only reluctantly persuaded to use his remaining sample of the oxygen destroyer to try to kill Godzilla, provided he accompanies the young officer, in a diving suit, to the sea bottom to place and release the formula more or less at the monster’s feet. After concluding this agreement, the scientist destroys all his notes and papers on the formula. Emiko, upon seeing this, breaks down in tears, as she realizes that Serizawa is sacrificing his life’s work to stop Godzilla. Once on the bottom of the sea, he sends the young officer back up to the boat, releases the destroyer, and cuts his own oxygen hose and lifeline, to ensure no one else will ever know the chemical composition of his horrid formula. The young officer joins Dr. Yamane, Emiko and Steve Martin on the ship to watch as the oxygen destroyer does its work, reducing Godzilla to a skeleton. Afterwards, Martin’s last words were, “The menace was gone, so was a great man. But the whole world could wake up and live again.”

It was Edmund Goldman who found the original Godzilla in a California Chinatown theater. He bought the international rights for $25,000, then sold them to Jewell Enterprises Inc., a small production company owned by Richard Kay and Harry Rybnick which, with backing from Terry Turner and Joseph E. Levine, successfully adapted it for American audiences. Levine paid $12,000 for his share.

image023

The adaptation process consisted of filming numerous new scenes featuring Raymond Burr and others, and inserting them into an edited version of the Japanese original to create a new film. The new scenes, written by Al C. Ward and directed by Terry O. Morse, were photographed by Guy Roe with careful attention to matching the visual tone of the Japanese film. Burr’s character Steve Martin appeared to interact with the original Japanese cast through intricate cutting and the use of doubles for the Japanese principals, in matching dress, shot from behind in direct interaction with Burr’s character.

A documentary style was imposed on the original dramatic material through Burr’s dialogue and stentorian narration; he plays a reporter, replacing a comical reporter character in the Japanese original. More importantly, his presence as the lead character, along with trimming (though not outright deletion) of protracted dialogue regarding the arranged marriage between the Japanese heroine and a scientist (a concept unfamiliar[citation needed] to Westerners[clarification needed]), scenes evincing an active affair between her and the young naval officer–hero (a concept unlikely to be accepted by many parents of the film’s youthful target audience), and a raging debate in Japan’s Diet over the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and continued nuclear testing (a concept not likely to be approved of by American veterans of the recent war), served to ease American audiences into comfortable relationships with characters, whose mere nationality might otherwise have made them pariahs. The theme of devastation of Japan by nuclear holocaust became sublimated in the editing, but was not eliminated, giving the film a subversiveness on the nuclear question that would later be consciously recognized by the youngsters at whom the film was aimed as they entered adulthood.

There is sometimes confusion about who distributed the film to the U.S. The poster for the film states only that it is “A Transworld Release”, while the poster itself bears a copyright notice for “Godzilla Releasing Corporation”. Trade reviews from its New York showing indicate that it was released by Embassy Pictures. Classic Media indicates that it was released by Jewell Enterprises, but in fact the credits only show this company as presenting the film. In fact, the film was adapted from the Japanese original by Jewell Enterprises, which took “presentation” credits on the screen and in some advertising copy, copyright by Godzilla Releasing Corporation in its adapted form, and nationally released under control of Transworld, Inc., all of which were companies owned by Rybnick and Kay. It was actually distributed in the western U.S. by Godzilla Releasing Corp. and in the eastern half by Joseph E. Levine’s Embassy Pictures Corporation, then just a Boston-based states’ rights exchange. Embassy was most frequently noted as sole distributor in reviews and trade annuals published in New York: the movie was given “A-film” promotion, and opened at Loew’s State Theatre on Broadway and 45th Street in New York City on April 27, 1956.

image025

New York Times film critic, Bosley Crowther gave the film a bad review the following day. He dismissed it with, “‘Godzilla’ produced in a Japanese studio, is an incredibly awful film.” After complaining about the dubbing, the special effects (“a miniature of a dinosaur”), and an alleged similarity to King Kong, he concluded, “The whole thing is in the category of cheap cinematic horror-stuff, and it is too bad that a respectable theater has to lure children and gullible grown-ups with such fare.”

Crowther notwithstanding, the film was a notable success with the American public. It easily exported to Europe and South America, where the original was unknown and where it also had a major impact, and even made its way full circle back to Japan, where it was exhibited with Japanese subtitles for the American dialogue. The door was thus opened in the Americas and Europe for the import of unexpurgated Japanese science-fiction, horror, and other commercial film products; it also garnered western awareness of Toho Studios, which had retained producer credit. After its theatrical run, Godzilla, King of the Monsters! Became a television staple for decades, even into the cable years, and opened the international market for dozens of Godzilla sequels.

image027

In theatrical form and on original TV syndication, the main title is followed by a minimal credit screen reading “Starring Raymond Burr, directed by Terry Morse and I. Honda” in white lettering over a background; and following the fadeout of the final shot, the scene of the hymn being sung by the schoolchildren was reprised with fuller cast and credits, following the fadeout of which the “The End” title appeared, again white lettering on a black background, with Godzilla’s echoing footsteps eerily replacing the soulful music.

However, when Viacom acquired the film for TV re-syndication and first publication on videotape around 1980, Viacom removed all cast and credit material from both the opening and the closing of the film, and re-publications made thereafter were taken from the Viacom-revised master (even the so-called “uncut” version released on DVD in 1998 by Simitar). This missing material was partially restored in 2006 on the Sony Corp.; however, the opening star-director credits remained missing, and the end cast and credits were mis-edited after the THE END credit instead of before. They were also presented in a widescreen letterbox format on what was otherwise a standard anamorphic-format film image.

Synopsis of Gojira 1954 (Japanese Version)

3055_403818726390342_2010190094_n

The idea first originated aboard a airplane according to legend. Tomoyuki Tanaka a producer of the Toho Company was flying home. When a movie called “In the Shadow of Honor” fell apart at the seams. Tomoyuki Tanaka needed to come up with a new movie and fast. He brainstormed while on the flight going home when he was thinking about the movie “The Beast from Twenty Thousand Fathoms.” Thus the idea of the first Godzilla movie came to life. Godzilla’s birth was a collaboration of many talented people. People like Tomoyuki Tanaka, Ishiro Honda, Eiji Tsuburaya, and many others to mention. If it weren’t for these people Godzilla would have never been born.

This is a movie worth recognizing as a landmark movie. One of the longest-running series in film history. It did start a huge stream of movies that has brought my fans aboard for the ride. The thought or plot of this movie I generally thought was pretty impressive. The bombing of Hiroshima has brought Godzilla to life. The idea of using postwar footage within this movie was a great idea on “Ishiro Hondas’ ” part. He went out and took actual photographs of the post war Tokyo and somehow incorporated them into the movie this was a great idea. It has a documentary feel to it. Making it seem a lot more real.

The characters within this movie seem to display emotion that has not been seen in Godzilla movies in a while. A romantic love triangle. The Toho Company perhaps put alot of effort into the making of Godzilla, but one thing sticks to mind and that is the idea of making Godzilla. What I have are some important factors and names that brought Godzilla to life.

No Japanese film studios at the time would even consider Tanaka’s outlandish idea of making a monster movie, when at that time people were watching wartime movies. Iwao Mori was interested in the idea of the movie. And asked Tomoyuki Tanaka to meet with Eiji Tsuburaya, a special effects direct. When they finally met Tanaka had ask Tsuburaya and his craftsmen to create a monster larger than life monster, something the likes of no Japanese film industry have ever done. Thus the beginning of Godzilla was underway. Senkichi Taniguchi was originally slated to do the movie, but he was tied up with other projects. Tanaka then chose Ishiro Honda to direct the helm of Godzilla.

Project G is the classified status to the production of the movie it was said that not even the children were to know of its production, or Tanaka would be angered by it . He wanted to be a secret. The next person to come aboard was the script writer for the movie Shigeru Kayama, who has written “Orang-Pendek’s Revenge.”. In case you are wondering about this story it is about a Bigfoot like creature found in the Sumatran rainforests.

Gojira opens with the mysterious disappearances of several Japanese fishing ships. Natives of nearby Oto Island rescue the survivors of these shipwrecks. In the hopes of discovering the causes of these disasters the Japanese government sends a small research team to the island. While on the island, the research team observes a traditional ritual to appease a sea demon called Gojira. That night, during a storm, a strange force destroys several houses in the village.

On the mainland, the survivors of the night’s devastation describe the events to the Japanese officials. In a speech to the Japanese government, noted paleontologist Dr. Yamane advises the authorities to sponsor a full research team to the island. During the investigation the next morning Gojira appears over the hill tops. Meanwhile, Dr. Yamane’s daughter, Emiko, who is engaged to controversial research scientist Dr. Serizawa, has fallen in love with a sailor named Ogata. But when she tries to tell Serizawa of her love for another, he reveals to her the secret weapon he has developed – the Oxygen Destroyer – and swears her to secrecy. With this terrible knowledge, Emiko cannot bring herself to break off the engagement with Serizawa.

After the discovery of Gojira, Dr. Yamane begs the authorities to study the creature. Instead, the Japanese Defense Force attacks Gojira at sea with depth charges. That night, the citizens of Tokyo celebrate Gojira’s destruction, until the monster appears in Tokyo Bay and wrecks the dock area. The next day, the authorities surround Tokyo with electrical towers, but when Gojira returns that night, the monster pushes right through them and destroys the city. The next day, thousands of people are victims of Gojira’s rampage.

Emiko tells Ogata about Serizawa’s work; perhaps the only hope humanity has against Gojira. But later, when she and Ogata confront the doctor, the scientist refuses to use his invention. Finally, convinced that Gojira is a greater threat than his invention, Serizawa agrees to help Ogata plant the device. As Gojira sleeps in Tokyo Bay, the two detonate the Oxygen Destroyer. Serizawa remains behind to die, taking the secret of his ultimate weapon with him. As the sea foams, Gojira surfaces briefly, then sinks to the bottom, where the Oxygen Destroyer melts the flesh from his bones.

Akira Ifukube

The Maestroifukube_early_1954

When it comes to musical composers no one is more recognize a well connected to the Godzilla franchise then Akira Ifukube. He does in fact have a signatory monster musical and military marches that are characterized by early Eastern instrumentation. Akira Ifukube is one of the founding forefathers of Godzilla with the other three being Tomoyuki Tanaka, Ishiro Honda, Eiji Tsuburaya and yes the man himself Akira Ifukube these are the four fathers of Godzilla and technical terms. Because without these four particular individuals Godzilla would not be what he is today? If you are not a true fan you will not know who he is but you will recognize the music if you have ever seen a Godzilla film.

This is a composer who was doing music for over 60 years. He has done musical scores for well over 200 feature films and yes that includes the majority of Godzilla films out there as well. Now Akira Ifukube is a self-described country boy he was born on May 31, 1914 in the tiny village of Kushiro on the northernmost island in the Japanese archipelago of Hokkaido. He was raised in the rural district of Tokatsu Plain this is a heavily populated area by the Ainu and aboriginal people racially and distinctly different from the Japanese people. In Akira Ifukube’s use he wasn’t influenced by Ainu folklore, especially improvisational style and spirit of their music and dance, which freed him all the restrictions of music theory and made composition easy for him. Akira Ifukube is self-taught and music as his aptitude for it and then he became a concertmaster in high school and by the time he reached the University of all kind of Hokkaido where he did major and for street and studied music.

A man and a friend of Akira Ifukube who is a pianist whose name is Fumio Hayasaka from 1914 to 1955 would later become the director Akira Kurosawa’s primary composer in the 1940s and 1950s Akira Ifukube wrote his first classical piece “piano composition,” in 1933 by the age of 19 and two years later his first orchestral piece “Japanese Rhapsody,” one a competition held by renowned Russian composer Alexander Tcherepnine this was a major boost for the young Akira. This particular composer did in fact took Akira Ifukube under his wing and trained him and despite his early musical success Akira Ifukube still considered for three more practical career choice. Japanese musicians were thought to be less than the man according to Ifukube this is taken out of the magazine G-Fan in 1995 and one of the interviews.

Ifukube would go on to graduate from the University however he would work for the Hokkaido municipal Forest in the rural countryside and composed in his free time is music. By the late 1940s he did in fact relocate to Sapporo the capital city of Hokkaido to become more active in music. It is during World War II the Imperial government recruited Ifukube just like Ishiro Honda and Eiji Tsuburaya they all seem to join in the war. When the war they used Ifukube’s knowledge of what he had written a thesis at the University on the vibrations of wooden musical instruments to help study a wooden British warplane that the Japanese had captured and using his musical talents to compose marching hymns for the Japanese Army and Navy. Ifukube studies on the plane left him bedridden with radiation sickness from exposure of x-rays while he was hospitalized he was listen to the radio one day he was studying here that his navel marsh performed at a ceremony for Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s arrival in Japan to begin the postwar occupation.

By hearing this Ifukube did switch to music full-time truly inspired him and he began teaching composition at Tokyo Art University and established himself as a concert composer. According to historians Japanese film composes are grossly underpaid as being Hayasaka was classified as an A-list film composer was considered “handsomely compensated” with the equivalent of about $1000 in 1954 US funds for writing the music to the movie The Seven Samurai which came out in 1954 the same year that Godzilla came out. It is safe to say that Ifukube was obviously paid much less in his earlier film career by 1947 Ifukube would write his first musical score for the movie snow trail that was produced by the Toho Company and this movie came out with his musical score and since 1954 he has gone on to produce scores for 60 films this includes the anti-bomb movies Children of the Atom Bomb and Hiroshima as well as many other movies.

Even in today’s standards Ifukube is considered the original Godzilla’s finest film score yet. According to music historian Randall Larson he did document in his book Musique Fantastique it was in fact the Godzilla that Ifukube introduced the traditional March, the harder theme and the Requiem these three particular motifs form the foundation of his genre movie music. The Jietai (self-defense force) March which plays over the opening credits in the Japanese version of the film and examine the military retaliates against the monster has become so synonymous with Godzilla over the years that even Ifukube refers to it as “Godzilla’s theme.” And you do hear many different renditions all the way through the Godzilla movie franchise they have many different versions of it. If cuvée would go on to create more increasingly complex nationalistic marches the best of which are heard on “War of the Gargantua’s” as well as “Destroy All Monsters.”

The actual harvesting of the original Godzilla is a slow-moving piece played by low brass, piano, and strings that conveys the monster’s incredible size and invincibility, her door in the final, annihilating rampage through Tokyo. This is a great piece as well and quite recognizable to say the least! The music that is most commonly associated with Godzilla being on the loose however was now fully realize until 1964 when Ifukube wrote “Gojira No Kyofu” this is called Horror of Godzilla. This particular piece you be here when Godzilla first appears in the movie Godzilla versus the thing or as most people would like to call it Mothra versus Godzilla which came out in 1964 there is an earlier slightly different version of this theme song and it can be heard in the Japanese version of King Kong versus Godzilla.

There is a particular musical piece that I would like to call “The Requiem” this particular piece is a slow mournfully melodicous theme is probably Ifukube’s most profound statement and film music because it represents a tragic ending and we’re talking about the actual ending theme song and Godzilla 1954 Godzilla King of the monster’s 1954. Not the Requiem from Godzilla versus destroyer 1995 that is another classic piece. The Requiem represents in the line of people as a prayer for the future of mankind and it endures as the finest piece Ifukube has written in this type of movie.

The music of a cure Ifukube was lent to Ishiro Honda and Tsuburaya Productions in filming the sense of continuity and commonality it is no coincidence that this creative trio was responsible for the Vegas box office success of Toho’s Golden age of genre pictures. You can recognize his music pretty much an average or all or most of the Toho companies film archive without Akira Ifukube’s ingenuity in the creation of the monster’s war and footsteps Godzilla’s thundering power and awesome horror the very essence of the character might not have been fully realized.

By the 1970s as the Kaiju Eiga went into a serious decline Ifukube’s epic music lost luster in the films that clearly lack the epic scale of the original days movies like Yog Monster From Space, Godzilla on monster Island these particular films they have what is called library tapes of his old scores are incorporated into these movies. Now in my opinion I think when it comes to the movie Terror of Mechagodzilla’s scores are absolutely amazing in this but that’s just my opinion on that however it does seem according to some people Ifukube’s music seems bombastic and ill at ease when paired with a giant squid or a flea bitten King Ghidorah or how about a punchdrunk Godzilla.

As we know Godzilla were going to hiatus by 1975 and it would be by 1991 that the Toho Company we coax Akira Ifukube out of retirement to score yet another four of the last five Godzilla films he would compose for these films. By this time Akira Ifukube is pushing 80 years old and he hasn’t lost his magic. In the movie Godzilla versus Mechagodzilla which came out in 1993 proves to be one of the finest science-fiction scores of his career and the Requiem accompanied in Godzilla’s death from the movie Godzilla versus destroyer which came out in 1995 was truly amazing as well as very emotional.

Is like the director Ishiro Honda and many other artisans and craftsmen’s were associated with the Godzilla genre always classify Akira Ifukube as a perfectionist and they also felt that he was compromised by the tight scheduling and small barges as well as other demands of working in the Japanese film industry however never shied away from his association with the monster and this is what he had to say “I’m not satisfied with my film music because of the lot of the limitations,” he told this to “Soundtrack!” Magazine in 1994 interview he did in fact say something else “so I try to express my ideals and concert music. What my music is popular with people, while my concert works are not so well done.”

Eiji Tsuburaya

859987774_orig

Famous Monsters of Filmland this is a magazine then Lily asked special-effects director Eiji Tsuburaya in 1960 4/2 his film career began and this is what he had to say “when I was a youngster I “borrowed” quarries from my father’s shop,” Eiji Tsuburaya also said “to buy a movie projector I had seen in a store window. I realize that if I were caught with the camera I would be punished, so I took it apart and examined it away. Then I built my own.”

If anyone knows anything about Eiji Tsuburaya this particular story has been told many many times over whether or not it is true it does illustrate the ingenious, make-it-from-scratch at the underline Eiji Tsuburaya’s huge body of work. Blessed with this particular talent Eiji Tsuburaya dedicated 50 years of his life to inventing and creating wonderful illusions for film and television screens ranging from epic war battles to gigantic monsters as superheroes, yet utilizing resources and techniques that were very crude in comparison to today’s CGI standards or computer standards. This is the main reason I am a big fan of the Japanese Toho Godzilla’s because of the standards in the way that they created the films the American version of Godzilla 2014 don’t give you that plus I cannot connect with that so for that very reason it just does not feel like a total hope Godzilla movie.

Mr. Eiji Tsuburaya was born on July 7, 1901 and Sukagawa City Fukushima Prefecture. Mr. Eiji Tsuburaya was fascinated with airplanes and he longed to become a pilot and by the time he was 14 he actually rolled in the Japan Aviation Academy however on a downfall this school actually closed and he went on to study electrical engineering instead. By the time Eiji Tsuburaya was 18 years old he entered the film industry curiously he started out as a scenario writer and this is according to some sources. It would be for the next 18 years that he would work at a number of studios ascending to the position of cameraman and learning early special-effects techniques.

His career was in fact interrupted from 1921 to 1923 he was drafted into the military serving on the Imperial Army’s correspondence staff also Ishiro Honda served as a foot soldier in this very same Imperial Army. Eiji Tsuburaya did let his very first job with a major Japanese film studio in 1925 at Shochiku Motion Picture Company where he worked with critically acclaimed Impressionist and filmmaker Teinosuke Kinugasa. Eiji Tsuburaya was the assistant cameraman on the film “A Page of Madness” which came out in 1925 and this is a film that a lot of historians consider as being dark, brooding examination of depression. Eiji Tsuburaya did in fact earn his first film credit as a cinematographer on the movie Baby Kenpo that movie came out in 1927. This would also be the very first stages of him working on miniatures for the very first time.

It would be sometime in 1930 min 30s that Eiji Tsuburaya saw RKO’s King Kong which came out in 1933 this particular movie did in fact inspire him and at that time Japanese trick photography was very backward. By 1935 Eiji Tsuburaya’s career had accelerated when he was hired by JO Studios in Kyoto were studio head Yoshio Osawa encouraged him to develop his talents for film trickery. The movie “Princess of the Moon” this is a Japanese full story that Eiji Tsuburaya photographed a miniature model of the city of Kyoto superimposing it over a crowd of people and a cow-drawn carriage into the foreground and he devised an effect to simulate Angels descending from the sky. This particular film however long lost solidified Eiji Tsuburaya’s interest in special-effects as a new art form. It is around this particular time that Japan and Germany had signed an anti-communists pact by doing this they created the Japanese German film “The New Land” this particular movie came out in 1937.

By 1937 Eiji Tsuburaya will join PCL studios and two years later it would be become part of The Toho Motion Picture Company. The same is Ishiro Honda those two would go on to do some amazing things when it comes Godzilla films. He was eventually appointed head of his new special photography techniques department. This however is basically a one-man operation at first but then the staff steadily grew as they hired people to do model makers and crass men’s room as a special-effects became integral to the Toho companies popular war films on the early 1940s.

Eiji Tsuburaya spearheaded the first boom in Japanese special-effects working on nearly 40 films most notably atrial of war blockbusters directed by Kajiro Yamamoto. The first film is called “the war at sea from Hawaii to Malaya which came out in 1942. The next bill would be called “General Kato’s Falcon Fighters” and “Torpedo Squadrons Move out” they both came out simultaneously in 1943. If you are a true fan of Eiji Tsuburaya you need to seek out the film that they call “The War at Sea” which was released on home video in Japan and may be found in subspecialty video outlets in United States. The film this is the popular film that he did a special-effects for the Pearl Harbor attack see it was so well done that everybody thought it was real you have to check out this movie.

The real creation of the scene of Pearl Harbor was so convincing that after the war the occupation authorities missed took some scenes as actual newsreel footage not to mention the fact that it seems surreal you need to check out this film to believe it. It was gigantic in every sense of the word because it didn’t cost over $380,000 to make when the average first-class film at that time was peeking around $40,000. After the war Eiji Tsuburaya did in fact leave the Toho company amid the studios feuding with labor unions although according to some sources he was forced to quit the film business when the general headquarters of the occupation purged everyone who made war movies there was a situation during this time that people were forced to quit their jobs for budgetary reasons. He invested would go on to work with acclaimed directors like Kinugasa, Kon Ichikawa, and Mikio Naruse before establishing his own independent company. This particular company would be called “Tsuburaya Special-Effects Laboratory.”

By 1948 Eiji Tsuburaya would do and produce a special-effects for Daiei studios “Invisible Man Appears” which came out in 1949 this would be Japan’s first modern sci-fi film work was scarce in the movie business and Eiji Tsuburaya dabbled in other endeavors including mass marketing the “Auto-Snap,” this is a camera controlled by a foot pedal enabling a person to take self-portraits. Akira Ifukube the musical composer for Godzilla probably the most famous composer of Godzilla he has earned his right in place in the musical score of these movies. He actually met with Eiji Tsuburaya for the very first time doing these lean years. Akira Ifukube and a friend worked in the film industry were drinking saki at a Tokyo Inn one and down on his luck man happen by and, recognizing Akira Ifukube’s friend stopped in to ball a few drinks and Akira Ifukube never saw the man again until 1954. Akira Ifukube was hard to do the score for the Godzilla fill that man’s name was Eiji Tsuburaya and now almost on recognizably upbeat and successful.

Eiji Tsuburaya would return to the Toho Company as a freelancer in the 1950s and was officially a staff member by 1952. When the actual production of the film Godzilla began in 1954 he was already in his 50s but he was about to launch Japan’s second special-effects bill the most productive and creative. Of his life. Eiji Tsuburaya worked very hard to earn the respect for special-effects for this particular film Godzilla 1954 and it was a long time coming as it is his very first screen credit as special-effects director on the movie Gigantis the Fire Monster which came out in 1955. Even during this point in time his work was actually looked down upon and the special-effects director at that time his name was Teisho Arikawa who in fact took over the Toho Companies special-effects director in the late 1960s it was a hard time for Eiji Tsuburaya.

From Godzilla until his death Eiji Tsuburaya worked on 56 featured films mostly science-fiction or war related films. Among the biggest moneymakers for Eiji Tsuburaya was when he was working with Ishiro Honda. Eiji Tsuburaya would go on to win five technical achievement award from Japan Movie Association and this is equivalent to the Oscar for special-effects. Such movies as Godzilla 1954, The Mysterians 1957, The Three Treasures 1959, The Lost World of Sinbad 1963, and monster zero which came out in 1965.

Eiji Tsuburaya’s company is an independent company that opened up and then they renamed it simply Tsuburaya Productions. Which in fact pioneered the production of the special-effects programs for such Japanese television shows as Ultra Q which went into production in 1965 released on Japanese television in 1966. There was a Japanese Outer Limits meets-The X-Files which unfortunately never was aired in United States but it was aired on Japanese television. This was followed by numerous increasingly child oriented superhero programs featuring weekly matchup between the protagonist and a giant monster. Eiji Tsuburaya would wield considerable power at the Toho Company which enable him to retain his job at the studio as special-effects director launching his own production company.

By 1969 Eiji Tsuburaya start running into health problems and the doctors would advise Eiji Tsuburaya to reduce his workload due to his deteriorating health but he took on more projects than ever ignoring the doctors request and dividing his time between his company Tsuburaya Productions and the special-effects of two other films that were being done by the Toho Company one being Latitude Zero’s last patient with Ishiro Honda and Battle of the Japan Sea this would be his final film. In addition Eiji Tsuburaya was hired by Mitsubishi to oversee a special exhibit at Expo 70 the world’s fair in Osaka. With all this happening in all these activities that were occurring Eiji Tsuburaya did in fact I have a heart attack in Tokyo on January 25, 1970. Eiji Tsuburaya’s legacy was shaped not only by his determination and drive but also his fertility and imagination and a soft spot in his heart for children which I failed to mention he also started and created the entire franchise of Ultraman which is his most popular franchise within his company.

Despite the fact that people feel that Godzilla’s origins are treated like a nuclear allegory Eiji Tsuburaya felt the film failed if they did not connect with kids the way his own inspirations had affected him in his youth this is what he had to say “my heart and mind are as they were when I was a child,” Eiji Tsuburaya told Caper Magazine in 1962 it was an article that was reprinted in Japanese Fantasy Film Journal he goes on to say “then I love to play with toys and three stories of magic. I still do. My wishes only to make life happier and more beautiful for those who go and see my films of fantasy.”

Ishiro Honda

ishiro-honda

When it comes to given some credit for Godzilla’s longevity we have to give it to Ishiro Honda. This is a man whose epic cinematic style sensitivity to the human condition are the enduring qualities of Toho’s Kaiju Eiga. Ishiro Honda will always be remembered as a director of monster movies as he is held at least 25 special-effects films and that includes eight of the first Godzilla films and what I mean by that there is 15 films within the Showa Series of Godzilla films he did eight of them. We need to also keep in mind that even though he is a great director he is also a visionary filmmaker who with Eiji Tsuburaya had transcended the limitations of the Gosselin genre to create great films that remain thoroughly entertaining even to this day.

Ishiro Honda as some people would like to call him Inoshiro he was born on May 7, 1911. He was also born in the Yamagata Prefecture area of Japan. Like Tomoyuki Tanaka he was fascinated with films especially the silent films according to Ishiro Honda he did mention “I was more interested in them them what was happening on the screen “Honda told this to the Tokyo Journal in 1991 he also mentioned “my father was a Buddhist priest and didn’t go to the movies. I come back and, as kids do, I tell him the entire story of whatever I’ve seen… I watched movie theaters being built in regular theaters being turned into movie theaters and eventually I realize there could be pretty well-paying future for me in the business. It all came together: I enjoy telling stories and could find in an industry that was financially successful and artistic to boot.”

Soon after he came out a high school Ishiro Honda did study film at Japan University’s art department. This was during his college years as he entered PCL studios apprentice program this particular group was supervised by Iwao Mori who in fact decades later would greenlight the actual movie Godzilla that came out in 1954. Also the members include Senkichi Taniguchi this is another future Toho director. On August 1933 even before he completed his studies Ishiro Honda was already an accomplished cameraman and he did land a job in PCL’s production department. It would eventually happen that PCL would be absorbed into the Toho Company once this happened Ishiro Honda ascended the ranks to become an assistant director.

However Japan’s conquest of Asia I believe that was the one the attack on China interrupted Ishiro Honda’s career. He was eventually drafted into the Imperial Army in 1936 and he did in fact serve three tours as a foot soldier in China and Manchuria. It would be in between his military duties that he when he eventually return to the Toho Studios to work as an assistant director under Kajiro Yamamoto. This particular director did a lot of the war movies for the Toho Company. It would be by 1937 the Ishiro Honda first met budding director Akira Kurosawa another of Yamamoto’s protégés with whom he forced a lifetime friendship and created an alliance with.

It was during this particular period of time that Ishiro Honda would meet and marry his wife Kimi who was a Toho script girl if that makes any sense. By 1942 Ishiro Honda was stationed in China he did in fact see the movie “The War at Sea from Hawaii to Malaya” and was actually wowed by Eiji Tsuburaya special-effects in this film based on the Pearl Harbor sequence. It would be one year later in 1943 of December while Ishiro Honda was working as an assistant director on Yamamoto’s movie “Kato’s Flying Falcon Forces” that Honda actually met and worked with Eiji Tsuburaya for the very first time. It would take many many years for this legendary partnership between these two men to actually develop into a force that we all know today.

It was in a memoir that was asked he published in 1983 Ishiro Honda does recall preparing for a scene wherein a squadron of model fighter planes were to be filmed flying in formation over a bank of clouds made of white cotton. When Soraya inspected how Honda has set up the shot, he wasn’t pleased, and immediately complained to Yamamoto about it. This is what Ishiro Honda had to say about Eiji Tsuburaya “I could tell Eiji was not happy with the width of the stage, the cloud material or the method used to operate the model [plane],” Ishiro Honda also wrote in “the Complete History of Toho Special-Effects Movies.” And this is what he had to say “I couldn’t help feeling like a failure, but Yamamoto was very reassuring and help soothe my feelings.” As you can already see this guy is a very sensitive and adamant person.

By 1945 Ishiro Honda was now stationed along the Yangtze River in central China although was captured and held prisoner of war for about a half a year it was during his incarceration that he learned of the atomic bombing and Japan’s surrender he wasn’t even in Japan when it happened. You probably can imagine what’s going through his mind when he found out about the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima I’m sure all kinds of crazy feelings were going through his head at that time. It was after the war that Ishiro Honda would eventually return to Japan and continue his moviemaking skills and work with other different production companies due to the labor strife at the Toho Studios he had to work with these other companies to make ends meet. In 1949 he was a chief assistant director to cure Kurosawa was film they call “Stray Dog” this particular story was about a young cop (Toshiro Mifune) whose gun is stolen and used in a series of crimes.

By 1949 and 1950 Ishiro Honda when you want to do two documentaries the first one is called “The Story of the Collaborative Union” and “The Legend of ISE Shima” by the end of these two documentaries it would eventually lead him back to the Toho company. There he would do his actual first directing of a Toho film it was called “The Blue Pearl” it came out in 1951 and he was a movie about female pearl divers. Within the next two years we would see Ishiro Honda directing five more feature films that also included “The Man Who Came to Port” which came out in 1952 it also starred Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura and they were Japanese whalers in this film.

During the filming of “The Man Who Came to Port” this would be the first time was the first collaboration directly with Eiji Tsuburaya who actually use rear screen projection to make the Japanese actors appear as if they were at the South Pole.

He would work with Eiji Tsuburaya on several other films and after February 1954 they were scheduled to do a film called Bukushi Sanjiro however thankfully that particular film was canceled and Ishiro Honda was instead chosen to direct the film that would forever change the world and science-fiction cinema “Godzilla.” What Honda did with this film is he approached it more like a war drama with a documentary straightforwardness feel to it rather than a monster or science-fiction movie and that is why this film is so classic in nature and no other Godzilla film has ever come close to this one.

Ishiro Honda wanted Godzilla to actually be represented as the bomb was foremost in his mind it was after the war that Ishiro Honda visit the devastated area of Hiroshima and was haunted by the images and he wanted the monster to convey the same horrific, destructive power. Ishiro Honda did mention that most of the visual images he got from the war experience and this was done in an interview published in Toho S.F. Special-Effects Movie Series Volume 3 this is what he had to say in a quote “after the war, all of Japan, as well as Tokyo, was left in ashes. The atomic bomb had emerged and completely destroyed Hiroshima….If Godzilla had been a very ancient dinosaur or just some other animal, he would have been killed by just one cannonball. But if he were equal to an atomic bomb, we would know what to do. So I took the characteristics of the atomic bomb and apply them to Godzilla.”

Ishiro Honda would do a total of 44 feature films however in his opinion Godzilla would be his best work and I have to agree on that. Though I’ve never seen any of his other films at least not to my knowledge after Godzilla Ishiro Honda would make a variety of melodramas and like comedies however he was a grizzly called upon to work with the Toho Studios and make some more Kaiju movies is by the mid-1960s that he was exclusively a monster movie director as you can see the pattern because he’s done so many of the Kaiju movies that they nominated him as the official Kaiju director. Ishiro Honda would sometimes decline working on certain films if he felt the scripts for these films did not move him he would not do these films because I very reason.

It was during interview with “Cult Movies” and magazine shortly before his death Honda explained in his absence from the Godzilla series from 1966 to 1967 and 1970 to 1974 this way: this is what he had to say “there was scheduling problems, and also, Toho decided that they did not want people to feel that monster films had to be directed by me….Frankly I was having a hard time humanizing Godzilla the way Toho wanted anyway.” He also mentioned that during the scene where Mothra intercedes between feuding Rodan and Godzilla in the movie “Ghidrah: The Three Headed Monster particularly bothered him, and he would have found it difficult to direct the “Son of Godzilla”

During an interview in 1995 Ishiro Honda’s wife told the magazine that Ishiro Honda prefer sci-fi side is like “The Mysterians” and “Gorath” that focused on the need for nations to unite in the face of world destruction and he was worried about being pigeonholed. Ishiro Honda also mentioned “I’m not sure if the success of the Godzilla movies was a good thing or not,” this is what Kimi Honda said “they were so popular Mr. Honda became trapped. He had to work on them.” Despite all the differences here Mr. Honda continued to repeatedly deliver a sci-fi spectacles of epic proportions.

Eisei Amamoto once said a nice thing about Ishiro Honda he did mention in a quote “he was a very interesting man,” and this was told to guide talker in Ultra-Fan Magazine. He also said “he was a romantic, but he didn’t like to express his own nature too much. The company made him into the director of special-effects movie, and I was all; he didn’t get to show much of his own personality.”

Eventually Ishiro Honda would take a hiatus from film directing after the movie “Yog Monster from Space” which came out in 1969 in Japan and in 1970 here in the United States. During the 1960s and early 70s he would supervise and re-added eight of the monster films reduce and enter matinee life a process he describes as “destroying” himself or the Toho Champion festivals a series of rereleases to exclusively kiddie audiences. He also forayed into television by doing certain TV programs for Tsuburaya Productions such as The Return of Ultraman, Mirror Man, and Fireman.

Ishiro Honda’s last film would be “Terror of Mechagodzilla” which came out in 1975 however you would think by this time his film career was over but it was far from over. He does in fact reunite with Akira Kurosawa’s friend of nearly 60 years Ishiro Honda has contributed to screenplays and directed scenes for five films on which he was billed as associate director with movies such as “ Kagemusha: The Shadow Warrior” which came out in 1980, “Ran” which came out in 1985 Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams Which Came out in 1990 and He Directed the Segment Called “The Tunnel”, Rhapsody in August which came out in 1991 he directed the segment they call “The Buddhist Ceremony” and Madadayo which came out in 1992.

Ishiro Honda died at 11:30 PM on February 28, 1993, at Kona Hospital at Setagaya, Tokyo at the age of 80 one of respiratory failure brought on by heart problems. Many many of his friends and colleagues attended a memorial service in Tokyo on March 6. However Ishiro Honda long for nuclear disarmament did not live long enough to see his dream come true. With the mutual destruction of nuclear warheads by the US and Russia in recent years. It may have helped him to rest easier. Ishiro Honda has mentioned that he was adamant about nuclear disarmament he was very passionate about that because ever since he came back from the war and saw Hiroshima and its destruction and this is what he had to say “it is said that the number of atomic bombs hasn’t been reduced even by one since 1954. Honda also said “we’d really like to demand all abolition of nuclear weapons to both America and Russia. That is where Godzilla’s origin is. No matter how many Godzilla movies are produced, it is never enough to explain the theme of Godzilla.”

Tomoyuki Tanaka

Tomoyuki_Tanaka

The actual creation of Godzilla was a combined collaboration of many talented people but in technical terms there is only one actual father of Godzilla. His name is Tomoyuki Tanaka. In fact Godzilla was the brainchild of this man without whom Japan and Japan’s Kaiju cinema likely would never have had this particular phenomenon.

Tomoyuki Tanaka was born on April 26, 1910 on the outskirts of Osaka in Yamanashi Prefecture and he was born into a wealthy family. It was when he was a very young boy that he fell love with silent movies and he would literally go out of his way walking miles just to go see a silent film in the theater at the local theater and spent afternoons just watching these adventures. Along he would also watch ninja stories and tragedies as well.

When he was just 14 years old he saw his very first American film and it was called “The Covered Wagon” which came out in 1923 and it was directed by James Cruze. This particular store was an early Western about the plight of settlers on the Oregon Trail and Mr. Tomoyuki Tanaka was so impressed by this particular film and its vivid cinematography that it did remain his top favorite film of all time. There was a particular point in time in his life that his parents literally disowned him for paying a little too much attention to his passions and that is film and acting over his own studies. Mr. Tomoyuki Tanaka went to Kansai University and he studied economics but his real dream and passion had always been for the stage and film acting. While he was at the University Tomoyuki Tanaka did in fact hook up with a drama troupe and he later joined the Shingeki which is comprised of modern drama and is also a Western-style theater founded in the early 1900s that broke away from Kabuki and other traditional Japanese dramas this particular theater was completely different than anything else in Japan.

Mr. Tanaka realized he only had average dramatic skills he then turned to producing and directing place in the 1930s. Tomoyuki Tanaka entered the film industry in 1941 he was hired by the Taisho Film Company this was a small Tokyo outfit that it indeed acquire by the Toho company the following year. From this particular point on his rise was very meteoric another interesting fact about Tomoyuki Tanaka is the fact that when he worked for the total company he did work in total literature department just briefly and Tomoyuki Tanaka was groomed by studio chief Iwao Mori to actually become what he had done until his death in 1997 and that was to become the producer of the Toho company.

The very first movie that Tomoyuki Tanaka would actually produce was a war drama and it was called “Until the Day of Victory” which came out in 1944, and soon after that it would follow with a handful of films before the end of World War II. After the war it would be from 1945 to 1948 that Tomoyuki Tanaka would make at least a half-dozen movies and this would include the movie “Those Who Make Tomorrow” this was codirected by Akira Kurosawa and that was done in 1946. The next film that he would actually produce would be “Over the Silvery Peaks this is also called “Snow Trail came in 1947 this particular movie was controversial prounion propaganda type film that was sanctioned by the Allies to bolster Japan’s labor movement, and the latter was another film that was a melodrama about bank robbers who escaped into the Japanese Alps or Japan Alps in this particular film did feature early appearances by superstar Toshiro Mifune and Godzilla star Takashi Shimura and this particular film of the very first though that had a musical score by the infamous musical composer Akira Ifukube.

By 1948 Tomoyuki Tanaka was among a group of producers and actors as well as other employees who left the Toho Company to protest the purging of 1200 supposedly communist workers and its crumbling relationships with the labor unions. For the next few years Tomoyuki Tanaka will work with the Society of Film Artists that by two directors that were exiled and their names were Kajiro Yamamoto and Akira Kurosawa who had eventually left the Toho Company. In 1952 Tomoyuki Tanaka would eventually return to the Toho Company as he was back by his old friend Iwao Mori. It would be to use later that he would actually create a monster!

It would seem that Tomoyuki Tanaka would give his directors free reign during the moviemaking process with the Toho Company special-effects films where Tanaka’s domain and he may pivotal decisions concerning the scripts as well as the marketing of these films. Tomoyuki Tanaka would introduce what is called a monster versus monster type movie and it was called Gigantis: the Fire Monster. He also capitalized on Russia’s 1957 launch of the Sputnik satellite and the ensuing interest in space travel with the movie called The Mysterians and that famous and classic film done by Ishiro Honda called Battle in Outer Space. Tomoyuki Tanaka also produce films like The H-Man, The Human Vapor, and the Secret of the Teligian.

Not here something a little bit interesting about Tomoyuki Tanaka as we go into talking about how Rodan came to be. Rodan originated as get this a dream so by doing this Tomoyuki Tanaka goes ahead and hires a professional sci-fi novelist Takahashi Kuronuma to pen an original story which the screenplay was based on. It seems that Tomoyuki Tanaka was particularly fond of writers who commission their stories other examples of this would be the film Godzilla, The Mysterians, Battle in Outer Space, Mothra and finally Attack Other Mushroom People.

It seems that Tomoyuki Tanaka wanted to keep Toho ahead of its competitors in special-effects, filmmaking, and his influence over the genre was all-encompassing. He also produce other types of films that included the works by director Akira Kurosawa this would include the film Yojimbo, Sanjuro, High and Low these would be three films that he would produce with our Akira Kurosawa. Tomoyuki Tanaka also was very adamant about exporting his films and traveling abroad and helping arrange and coproduce other films of foreign capitals as well as incorporating American actors by doing this this would increase the overseas marketability of his feature films.

It was during Tomoyuki Tanaka’s career that he would run into a few miscues in his long career it was his idea to make a Godzilla film but make Godzilla a hero and to increase his appeal to children and this would be a move that he would later regret. He believes that this particular character change would have been responsible for his decline and it was obviously a mistake as he told people magazine in 1985. But he would atone for it years later when he does in fact resurrect the beast as an infernal villain in the movie The Return of Godzilla which came out in 1984. He was also adamant and very serious about making a monster a serious threat once again.

Colleagues and friends were classified Tomoyuki Tanaka as a workaholic and a ferocious reader of newspapers and magazines from which he often gets his crazy ideals for films. Here is a little crazy thing that happened to Mr. Tanaka that he went to see Mr. Masumi Fujimoto who is a high-ranking Toho producer to get some project authorization Mr. Fujimoto glanced at the proposal and went straight to bed. This is what Mr. Tomoyuki Tanaka did. Mr. Tanaka waited patiently in the corner of the room and Mr. Fujimoto woke up several hours later and found Mr. Tanaka still sitting there in the corner. Mr. Fujimoto mentions to have “What in the World Are You Doing? I can’t even take a leak!” Then Mr. Tanaka answered “I will move it to you okay that project.” What persistence!”

Mr. Tanaka remained active in the movie business in his later years holding the title of executive producer on all of the 1990s Godzilla movies however his frail health for Santa hand most of the actual production chores over to his successor producer Shogo Tomiyama who in comparison, is grossly lacking in original ideals and tends to throw everything but the proverbial kitchen sink into the monster films, hoping to please everyone usually failing the latter days Godzillas were among the most successful domestic films in Japan which included these two films both Godzilla versus Mothra 1992 and Godzilla versus destroyed in 1995 they in fact top years box office charts concluding that Tomoyuki Tanaka’s long string of monster box office hits that begun for decades before.

Mr. Tomoyuki Tanaka died of a stroke at the age of 86 on April 2, 1997 in Tokyo just 16 months after Godzilla perished in Godzilla versus destroyed which came out in 1995. It was during the last few years of his life that Tomoyuki Tanaka was reportedly eager to see his monster child remade in grand style and a big-budget Hollywood movie. His dream in fact came my true year later right after his death but although TriStar pictures Godzilla 1998 was dedicated to Tomoyuki Tanaka’s memory perhaps it was better that he never saw the picture in the first place which fell short of its own vision and spirit it did not have the spirit of the Japanese Godzilla and there was so much hate based around this particular film that is a good thing that he did pass away because he would be rolling in his grave right now!

History of the Toho Company

maxresdefault

A dominant force in fantasy filmmaking for nearly fifty years, Toho Co., Ltd is famous for gracing motion picture screens with such classic giant monster luminaries as Mothra, Ghidrah, Rodan, and the reptilian embodiment of unbridled atomic power, Godzilla, the undisputed King of the Monsters. For kaiju aficionados, the step into the Toho world of colossal creatures begins from the very first moment of screen time, when the company’s colorful gem-like logo glitters radiantly around a pair of kanji spelling out the studio’s name. Despite the best efforts of western studios to entangle their names with their creations, none enjoy the near synonymous connection that exists between Toho and its monsters.

The largest film studio in Japan, Toho was founded in 1936 by railroad magnate, show biz tycoon and politician, Ichizo Kobayashi. Innovative in his organization of industry, workers, and customers, Kobayashi was instrumental in the transformation of Japan from a feudalistic nation and into an economic power through his introduction of a unique brand of corporate socialism.

After establishing the successful Takarazuka Review Company (a female dance troupe named after the city where they perform), Kobayashi set his sights on the nation’s growing film industry. In 1936, he purchased the movie studios PCL (Photo Chemical Laboratory) and JO and with them formed Toho Motion Picture Distribution Company. Kobayashi’s plan was to circulate his new company’s films along with American imports throughout a chain of theaters he had been gradually acquiring. Soon after, he bought two more film companies, combined them all, and renamed the group The Toho Motion Picture Company—`Toho` being an acronym of `Tokyo-Takarazuka`, derived from the first kanji `to` in Tokyo, and `ho`, an alternate reading of the kanji `takara` in Takarazuka.

Erecting a large production studio west of Tokyo in the town of Kinuta, a section of the affluent Setagaya suburb, Toho was the first studio to abandon the then prevalent star system of film production, embracing instead a producer-based approach, giving more power to the studio in the process. With World War II looming, Toho became the leading makers of propaganda pictures, churning out films fostering nationalism amongst the nation’s populace.

In 1940, Kobayashi was assigned the post of `Ministry of Commerce and Industry` in the Imperial Government. However, his views on the direction of Japanese business did not mesh with that of the military led government, and he was soon dismissed. Three years later, Tokyo Takarazuka Gekijyo inc. and Toho Movie Company were combined to form Toho Co., Ltd, the name under which the studio operates to this day.

Following the war, the studio found itself in hot water with the US occupation force because of its involvement with the propaganda machine. Despite this, Kobayashi was able to acquire a position within the new Japanese government as a minister of state. He spent his remaining days helping to rebuild the devastated country, eventually passing away in 1957.

Toho, like many businesses after the war, became embroiled with its workers as the nation experienced intense political power struggles. Between the harassment by the Americans following the war and a drawn-out strike, the studio nearly went bankrupt. But the nation was soon to profit greatly from the coming war between Korea and the United States. As Japan prospered and movie ticket sales soared, Toho was back on its feet in no time. Toho began an unprecedented foray into filmmaking. While elaborate tales were often derived from Japanese literature, most films were quickie comedies made to appeal to the growing number of salaried workers across the nation. Included in Toho’s catalogue of films of this time were most of the pictures of Akira Kurosawa, including his classics, The Seven Samurai, Yojimbo, and Ikiru.

In 1954, Toho entered the world of science fiction cinema with Gojira (Godzilla). The creation of Tomoyuki Tanaka, Godzilla was a symbol of Japanese ineffectiveness in the face of American military might, notably atomic weaponry, and the perception of the nation as an insignificant gnat in the eyes of western power. The highest-budgeted film in Japan up to that point, the film proved successful beyond the studio’s expectation, and Gojira became one of the top ten most popular films of the year.

Perhaps Godzilla’s greatest contribution to the genre, besides its unique analogy to atomic devastation, was its use of the (relatively) simple but effective special effect technique of filming a man in a monster costume surrounded by miniature buildings in order to create the illusion of a towering, rampaging behemoth. This method was the brainchild of Toho effects director Eiji Tsuburaya, considered today the granddaddy of Japanese special effects techniques (who would later go on to create the highly successful Ultraman series). Toho originally went with the suit style of SFX in order to avoid the expense of the more costly stop-motion animation popular in the West since King Kong (1933). In doing so, Toho unwittingly gave birth to the Japanese tokusatsu (special effect) film industry that has since become a staple of the country’s cinema.

During the 1950s, with a growing number of sci-fi, comedy, drama, and action movies, Toho Studios was wildly successful and enjoyed a solid reputation at home and abroad. The studio employed hundreds of actors, technicians and office personnel. But, by the end of the 1960s, the Japanese audience’s taste had shifted, becoming more in line with that of America film ideology. Finally, in 1972, the entire Japanese cinema industry crashed. All at once, every salaried actor at Toho was let go, to be used only on a film-by-film capacity.

While production of Godzilla films continued until 1975, their budgets were severely scaled back, and many effect scenes were blatantly lifted from past movies. Fantasy pictures such as War in Space, House, and Bye Bye Jupiter were evidence of Toho’s commitment to stay in the genre. Nonetheless, compared to the SFX advancements going on in the US, it was a struggle for Toho not only to stay current, but just to stay afloat.

In spite of the hard times, Toho refused to follow other Japanese studios that had resorted to making `roman-porno` films, exploitative movies spiced up with sex and violence. Toho, instead, downsized its operation and pulled in its belt as it waited out the dry spell. It was not until the early ‘80s that Toho’s downward trend began to reverse itself. In 1984, after a nearly ten-year absence, the studio chose to revive Godzilla.

The new Godzilla did modest business, and Toho eventually returned fulltime to the costly kaiju business, starting full production in 1989 with Godzilla vs. Biollante. Under the guidance of effect director Koichi Kawakita, Toho experienced a mini-boom of creativity. Armed with a more realistic SFX look, Kawakita more or less successfully reinvented Godzilla, along with several other classic Toho monsters, who once again took their turn at trying to defeat the King of the Monsters. (After killing Godzilla in 1995, Toho filled the gap in their release schedule by bringing back seminal monster bug Mothra in a slightly puerile, kiddie-oriented trilogy.) Despite the more convincing visuals, the films of Kawakita lacked the strong personal touch of former director Tsuburaya. Moreover, although the Toho kaiju films of Tsuburaya were often chided for being unreal looking, they contained a certain sui generis, endearing quality, one less evident in the works of Kawakita.

In a much-anticipated move, Toho sold the foreign rights of Godzilla to Tri-Star Pictures in the early 1990s. The result was the Roland Emmerich-directed Godzilla released in 1998. While a box-office success with world ticket sales approaching $375-million, the film failed to please critics and Godzilla fans. In almost every instance, the American Godzilla went against the very things established by the original. Rather than a reworked homage utilizing cutting edge effects, audiences were instead given an irradiated iguana that ran and hid from the military. Quite pathetically, too, was its being killed in the end by a missiles. Toho’s official stance is of pleasure over the US filmmakers reworking of Godzilla; however, this may be due to their having received in excesses of twenty-eight million dollars in royalty checks in 1999 alone.

Today, Toho Studios is in many ways a shadow of its former self. While films continue to be produced, business is maintained through careful management aided in part by land holdings and business interests unconnected to the film industry. Budgets for the roughly four films made each year average four to five million dollars. Only Godzilla movies, such as last year’s Godzilla 2000: Millennium and the now-in-production Godzilla X Megagiras receive slightly higher ones of up to ten million. Many films are now often co-produced through TV companies such as TBS; the burden of budget is shared along with rights, ticket sales and broadcast revenues. Godzilla, however, remains entirely under the Toho banner.

In addition to being the main distributor for many smaller film production houses (such as the Ring series from Asmik Ace, and the Gakko no Kwaidan series from Sandansu Company), Toho remains committed to fantastic cinema, coming out with last summer’s hit horror thriller Saimin (The Hypnotist) and their just released sci-fi bid, Cross Fire. Directed by modern Gamera series director Shusuke Kaneko, Cross Fire is being heralded as a return to a time when Toho films were the touchstone of Japanese sci-fi.

With ticket sales second only to the US, it is unlikely that Japan’s filmmaking industry will ever completely dry up. And, as with the rest of the nation, Toho is now undergoing yet another restructure process. Indications are that with a new breed of filmmakers moving in, a revitalization is occurring, one that could very well usher in another age of quality Japanese filmmaking. For fans of Japanese sci-fi and giant monsters epics, such a prospect maybe the best news to hit the fantasy film genre since the initial shot of Godzilla raising from behind a mountain top in what was to be the first in a long line of Toho fantasy films.

Beyond The Atomic Age

500px-PS3_Godzilla_Game_Logo

“Born in the Burning Heart of a Nuclear Blast?”

Well, then maybe the official line on Godzilla, but even in the original 1954 film Gojira, there was not enough ambiguity to allow for the creature to become what he indeed became–a monster for all seasons.

Not that there was any doubt about the intentions of Tomoyuki Tanaka and his comrades at Toho; we know from their own testimony that to Hiroshima and the H-bomb tests at Bikini atoll that had just poison the hapless fishermen on the Lucky Dragon number five were very much all in their minds at the time they concede their greatest creation.

If the films dialogue about nuclear testing didn’t make it clear, the heroic sacrifice of Doctor Serizawa, the changes to die red and that’s at least the terrible secret of the Oxygen Destroyer, spelled out the message in bold letters. But moviegoers attracted to Gojira and spectacle to take it all for a McGuffin, and even the producers must have known that the “science” they used was dubious–gesture I can figure out how that ” Oxygen Destroyer ” was actually supposed to work!

As it happens, the very year that Gojira appeared in Japan also shall the released in the in an estate of Them!, a classic of the monsters genre in which nuclear testing creates giant and that attack Los Angeles. Them! The set the stage for a slew of movies about giant mutant creatures is bomb by a comic radiation–mostly silly, like the giant grasshoppers that attack Chicago in The Beginning of the End (1957)

But now the Hollywood mutant had staying power. Neither the ants nor the grasshoppers ever made a return engagement. Not even The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953), Godzilla’s Immediate Screen Inspiration, prompting a sequel. This a reason for that. These Hollywood monsters would just special affection extra, a Godzilla was an individual. More than that, he had soul. Godzilla wasn’t the first science fiction creation with soul, of course. Mary Shelley created Frankenstein in 1818, and James Whale reinvented her monster for the movies more than a century later. Merian C. Cooper brought us King Kong in 1933. But there is only one Frankenstein story, really, as there is only one King Kong story. Beyond them, the protagonists can only become parodies of themselves–as in the endless remakes and variations of Frankenstein.

As for mutants, they aren’t always the best medium for a message: Science-Fiction critic Richard Hodgens remarked, “A 50-ton, woman-eating cockroach tells us nothing about the dangers of nuclear energy just because it to is radioactive, and has crawled out of the crater.”

Yet Godzilla keeps rising again and again, lump has a time when nuclear test bans and the end of the Cold War has rendered his original message a relevant to. That’s because Godzilla was more than a message to begin with. He supposed to be a dinosaur, of course, like the denizens of Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World and, much later, Jurassic Park. But the fishermen of Odo Island and identifying him with a legendary monster of the past that could be appeased only by a virgin sacrifices–which was him squarely in the tradition of the fire breathing dragons of folklore.

Gojira was ambiguous about his origin; the prevailing theory was that he had been awakened and mutated by nuclear testing, but it wasn’t a nuclear entity as such. That, of course, was before the revelation that Godzilla was powered by an internal nuclear engine–waged, alas, gave him a fatal case of heartburn in Godzilla versus Destroyer (1995).

But the mythology of Godzilla was never set in stone. That nuclear engine which did him in will doubtless be forgotten in the new American film, and the creature will again become a force of nature. And in the future, we will surely see more of both the “evil” Godzilla, who devastated Tokyo in other cities, as well as the “good” Godzilla, who defend humanity egg and other monsters in battles as carefully stage and those of today’s professional wrestlers.

Given a host of weapons used against him, it is evident that Godzilla has infinite powers of regeneration. But that regeneration can also be considered a metaphor: Godzilla lives on and on because he can always be reborn in whatever guise works best for the time, and be invested with whatever great significance suit’s our psychological needs.

Godzilla is, and always shall be, a monster for all seasons.

Shodaigoji Suit Statistics

1zillashowa

·       Suit 1 – Shodai-Godzilla

·       Films: Godzilla King of the Monsters (1954)

·       Height: 50 Meters (164 feet)

·       Mass: 20,000 metric tons (22,000 tons)

·       Powers/Weapons: atomic Ray, super regenerative power (Godzilla can be wounded, but his G cells heal very rapidly.

Trivia

Godzilla’s original statistics remains the same numbers 15 films. His appearance is the one thing that seemed to change. Notably the loss of the year like appendages on his head and having three toes rather than for those earning one.

· Wins 18, Losses 3, Ties 7

· Box Office Sales: 1954-$9,610,000

The creators of the suit were Ryosaku Takayama and Iwao Mori, and they would properly named the suit Shodaigoji. Weighing in at a extremely heavy 220 lbs. This suit was the very first suit used in a Godzilla film. It is also one of the largest and bulkiest in that film. The actor wearing this would faint because of the intense heat it would hold inside; and could only take around 5 minutes inside this huge suit. Also there was two latex suits made for this movie. Both having four toes little ears behind his head. This suit also had a inner lining of cloth like substance with bamboo for the durability of the suit. The suit was painted a brown color different from all the rest. They were grey or green in color. The only exception to the suits was its color.

Several versions of the origin for the name ‘Gojira’ (pronounced GO-dzee-la) have been told, but according to [Tomoyuki] Tanaka himself, the name was brought to his attention by his friend Ichiro Sato. In the course of their conversation, Sato mentioned a burly man on the Toho lot whose physical presence was so imposing that he was likened to a gorilla and whale. The staff had given the man the nickname ‘Gojira’–a combination of the words ‘gorilla’ and ‘kujira’ (whale). Tanaka took a liking to the name and decided to use it for his monster.

The Shodai-Godzilla is popular with fans who prefer the first, serious tone Godzilla film. This suit featured a heavy lower body, small arms and a large, round head. The face had pronounced brows while the eyes were completely round with tiny pupils, a feature unique to this costume. The suit also included several features particular to itself and to the Gyakushu-Godzilla: fangs, four toes, a rough underside for the tail and pointed tail tip, and staggered rows of dorsal plates (these features would reappear with the “second” series of Godzilla films from 1984 to present). The dorsal plates for both the Shodai-Godzilla and the Gyakushu- Godzilla were dynamic in design and unique to the two costumes. During filming, a separate pair of Godzilla legs were used for close-up shots of Godzilla’s feet.

· Contrary to popular belief, Godzilla is 50 meters (164 feet) tall, not 400 feet, as stated in Godzilla: King of the Monsters (1956.

· Also contrary to popular belief, Godzilla is charcoal gray, not green.

· Eiji Tsuburaya, the film’s special effects director, originally envisioned Godzilla (Gojira) as a giant octopus before settling for a more dinosaur-like creature.

· The idea for Gojira (aka Godzilla) was spawned after producer Tomoyuki Tanaka was forced to cancel a planned Japan-Indonesia co-production called Eiko kage-ni (Behind the Glory). The story was inspired by a real-life nuclear accident in which a Japanese fishing boat ventured too close to an American nuclear test and was contaminated.

· Tomoyuki Tanaka originally wanted Godzilla to be a giant fire-breathing ape.

· The name Gojira is a combination of the Japanese words for gorilla (gorira) and whale (kujira). It was originally a nickname given to an immense man who worked as a press agent for Toho.

· Haruo Nakajima could walk about thirty feet in the original costume, which weighed over 200 pounds (91 kilograms). Later costumes were a little lighter but all of the costumes were very heavy. It was also very hot inside the costume. All of the costumes after the first one were easy to work with, as they were made to fit Nakajima, whereas the one that had been built for Godzilla had not been made for his body size.

· There were three cables coming out of the back of the costume. Two were for the operation of the eyes, and one was for the operation of the mouth. Eizo Kaimai was responsible for the movement of the eyes and the mouth. Batteries were installed in the Godzilla costume that was made for the second Godzilla movie. They were for the operation of the eyes and the mouth. The batteries made the costume even heavier than the one that had been constructed for the first Godzilla film.

· The sound department tried numerous animal roars for Godzilla but felt they were unsuitable for an animal of such immense size. Akira Ifukube came up with Godzilla’s roars by rubbing a coarse, resin-coated leather glove up and down the strings of a contrabass (double bass), and reverberated the recorded sound. Also, Godzilla’s thunderous footsteps were made by beating a kettle drum with a knotted rope.

· The electrical towers that Godzilla melts with his radioactive breath were actually made of wax. The special effects crew melted them by blowing hot air on them, as well as shining hot studio lights on them for the white-hot effects.

· Director Cameo: [Ishirô Honda] The man in the electric room who pulls the switch, activating the 300,000-volt tower lines to electrocute Godzilla.

· In 2004, Rialto Pictures released the original Japanese version of “Gojira” in the U.S. for the first time. The release included a new print in the original Japanese with new English subtitles.

· The scenes of the troops going to the coast to face Gojira were actual Japanese Defense Force troops. They were on maneuvers when Honda shot the footage of them.

· Revealing mistakes: You can see the wires leading from the planes as they attack Gojira.

· Factual errors: When Professor Yemane is addressing the Diet on Gojira, he says that Gojira was a creature of the Jurassic Age and is over two million years old. The Jurassic Age was 50 million years ago meaning that there was no way the dinosaurs were around two million years earlier.

· The name of the first two ships destroyed by Gojira were the Nankai-Maru and the Bingo-Maru.

· Originally when Gojira (Godzilla) makes his first appearance, there was supposed to be a bloody cow in his mouth. However, director Ishiro Honda didn’t like how it looked so he decided to re-film the sequence without the cow.

· There were supposed to be more scenes filmed on Odo Island. One was to have Emiko and Ogata visit the graves of those that died during the typhoon when Gojira (Godzilla) came ashore. Another scene was to have been filmed on the beach and in that one Emiko and Ogata become frightened when the get their first glimpse of Gojira (Godzilla) as they see his tail splashing in the water.

· Godzilla (Gojira) is a giant, amphibious, dinosaur-like fictional creature first seen in the Japanese-produced 1954 tokusatsu (kaiju specifically) film Gojira produced by Toho Film Company Ltd… In total, 28 films have been made by the Toho Film Company and a further two made unofficially (not related to the Toho Film Company). The most notable unofficial movie is the 1998 film Godzilla, directed by Roland Emmerich. Despite being the highest grossing film of the year factoring in overseas profits, the film has been widely panned by cult followers of the Godzilla franchise, critics on both sides of the Pacific, and movie-goers in general and has since been dubbed GINO (Godzilla In Name Only). Ironically, the Americanized Godzilla featured in Godzilla: Final Wars (2004) was killed by the “true” Godzilla from a hit to the tail, and its radioactive breath. In this film, the American Godzilla appeared simply as “Zilla”. Godzilla has three primary abilities: regeneration, amphibious mobility, and an atomic fire beam.

· Godzilla is also extremely durable and can resist almost all physical assaults. The atomic fire beam is Godzilla’s trademark skill. Although much of Godzilla’s significance as an anti-war symbol has been lost in the transition to pop culture, the nuclear breath remains as a visual vestige of the creature’s early Cold War politics

· Born on the coastal regions of Oto Island (located near the Bikini Atoll, where he was affected by nuclear tests), Godzilla became a modern god, feared by the fishing villagers on that island, and ultimately, all of Japan. Standing at a towering 50 meters (164 feet), he is a powerful demon of destruction.

· Among his popular characteristics: His iconic design (a charcoal-colored dinosaur-like figure with small pointed ears, rough bumpy scales, powerful tail, and bony white dorsal fins shaped like maple leaves).

· He is virtually indestructible, impervious to all modern weaponry.

· He can release a powerful atomic energy beam, usually blue but in some films red, from his mouth (which is ominously signaled when his dorsal fins glow/flash in the same color as the atomic beam).

· The name “Gojira” is a combination of “gorilla” and kujira, which means “whale” in Japanese. The name was allegedly originally a nickname of a large worker at Toho Studios. But since Gojira was neither a gorilla nor a whale, the name “Gojira” was devised in a different way for the film’s story; Gojira’s name was “originally” spelled in kanji, but for sound only. The combined characters, oddly enough, mean “give you net”!

· Gojira was first released in the United States in 1955 in Japanese-American communities only, under Toho’s international title, Godzilla, King of the Monsters!. In 1956, it was adapted by an American company into Godzilla, King of the Monsters (based on Toho’s international title), edited and with added, principal scenes featuring Raymond Burr, and this version became an international success. As a result, the monster came to be known as “Godzilla” also in Japan.

· While it has been a misconception that the American distributors were responsible for the name “Godzilla” in America, it was Toho who came up with the name for international markets to begin with.

· Godzilla was originally an allegory for the effects of the hydrogen bomb, and the unintended consequences that such weapons might have on Earth. The Shinsei series have largely continued this concept. Some have pointed out the parallels, conscious or unconscious, between Godzilla’s relationship to Japan and that of the United States; first a terrible enemy who causes enormous destruction, but then becoming a good friend and defender in times of peril.

· Films have been made over the last five decades, each reflecting the social and political climate in Japan. All but one of the 29 films were produced by Toho; a version was made in 1998 by Columbia Pictures and set in the United States by the directors of Independence Day (ID4) and is somewhat despised by Godzilla fans, many of whom refer to it as GINO (Godzilla In Name Only), a term that would refer to all monsters modeled after Godzilla. Toho immediately followed it with Godzilla 2000: Millennium, which began the current series of films, known informally as the Mireniamu or Millennium series.

· Much of Godzilla’s popularity in the United States can be credited with TV broadcasts of the Toho Studios monster movies during the 1960s and 1970s. The American company UPA contracted with Toho to distribute its monster movies of the time, and UPA continues to hold the license today for the Godzilla films of the 1960s and 1970s. Sony currently holds some of those rights, as well as the rights to every Godzilla film produced from 1991 onward. The Blue Öyster Cult song “Godzilla” also contributed to the popularity of the movies. Also made an appearance in the Nike commercial where Godzilla went one-on-one with NBA star Charles Barkley.

· The Japanese version of Godzilla was greatly inspired by the commercial success of King Kong, and the 1953 success of The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. Godzilla would go on to inspire Gorgo, Gamera, and many others. The American version is just an iguana-turned -dinosaur.

· In 1996, after his then-final appearance in Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, Godzilla received an award for Lifetime Achievement at the MTV Movie Awards. Creator and producer Tomoyuki Tanaka accepted on his behalf via satellite but was joined by “Godzilla” himself.

· On his 50th (Japanese) birthday, on 29 November 2004, Godzilla got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

­­­——————————————————————————————

This E-Book is for noncommercial use only and is not affiliated with, or authorized or endorsed by Toho Co. Ltd. Toho is the owner of all copyrights and trademarks in its respective films and characters, and all of its rights are expressly reserved. © 1943-2014 Toho Co. Ltd. and its related entities. All rights reserved. Godzilla, Gojira, the character designs and King of the Monsters are trademarks of Toho Co., Ltd. All rights reserved. Any reproduction, duplication or distribution of these materials is expressly prohibited.

Copyright © 2015 Project Shodaigoji Inc. All rights reserved.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s