Presentation Title

Godzilla’s Transformation from a Symbol of Evil to a Force of Nature and Balance

Start Date

April 2020

End Date

April 2020

Major Field of Study

History

Student Type

Undergraduate

Faculty Mentor(s)

Cynthia Taylor, PhD and Jordan Lieser, PhD

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

Godzilla’s Transformation from a Symbol of Evil to a Force of Nature and Balance

This paper analyzes how Godzilla, a character in Japanese films, first served as a negative symbol of the nuclear bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and eventually emerging as a permanent and positive icon in Japan. Through Japanese filmography, Godzilla has become a highly recognizable figure known throughout the world. By providing analysis of Japanese filmography after World War II, this paper demonstrates how Godzilla contributed to the growth of the Japanese film industry in the two periods known as the Showa Era and the Reiwa Era. This paper is divided into three sections. The first section covers the Showa Era, the period when Godzilla was associated with the negative fallout of the atomic bombs. The second section analyzes the same period through written works of several experts on the topic, as Godzilla’s popularity increased in Japanese culture, transforming Godzilla into a positive force of nature. The third section of the paper advances to the Reiwa period, to examine Godzilla’s continuing positive symbolism connected to environmental issues such as pollution and climate change, as evident in the film Godzilla vs. Hedorah, where Godzilla fights Hedorah, an evil creature of smog and pollution.

Comments

This presentation was accepted for the Scholarly and Creative Works Conference at Dominican University of California. The Conference was canceled due to the Covid-19 Pandemic

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Apr 22nd, 10:00 AM Apr 22nd, 8:00 PM

Godzilla’s Transformation from a Symbol of Evil to a Force of Nature and Balance

Godzilla’s Transformation from a Symbol of Evil to a Force of Nature and Balance

This paper analyzes how Godzilla, a character in Japanese films, first served as a negative symbol of the nuclear bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and eventually emerging as a permanent and positive icon in Japan. Through Japanese filmography, Godzilla has become a highly recognizable figure known throughout the world. By providing analysis of Japanese filmography after World War II, this paper demonstrates how Godzilla contributed to the growth of the Japanese film industry in the two periods known as the Showa Era and the Reiwa Era. This paper is divided into three sections. The first section covers the Showa Era, the period when Godzilla was associated with the negative fallout of the atomic bombs. The second section analyzes the same period through written works of several experts on the topic, as Godzilla’s popularity increased in Japanese culture, transforming Godzilla into a positive force of nature. The third section of the paper advances to the Reiwa period, to examine Godzilla’s continuing positive symbolism connected to environmental issues such as pollution and climate change, as evident in the film Godzilla vs. Hedorah, where Godzilla fights Hedorah, an evil creature of smog and pollution.