Gojira (1954)

Gojira was born of a cultural anxiety in Japan toward nuclear weapons. At the time of the film’s release, the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Lucky Dragon 5 boating incident were still fresh in Japanese public consciousness. The Lucky Dragon 5 was a Japanese tuna boat that was exposed to lethal levels of nuclear radiation from a hydrogen bomb that the U.S. dropped into the South Pacific for testing purposes in 1954. Gojira was created against a historical setting characterized by the fear that these sorts of incidents would continue to happen in Japan.

Gojira is an inherently Japanese story; to mobilize it is to decontextualize it, and to decontextualize it is to remove its very essence. Despite this, U.S. studios still tried to successfully Americanize the Japanese film, and its first attempt came just two years after the original.

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