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The Liverpool Companion to World Science Fiction Film$
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Sonja Fritzsche

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781781380383

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781380383.001.0001

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date: 13 December 2017

On the Monstrous Planet, Or How Godzilla Took a Roman Holiday

On the Monstrous Planet, Or How Godzilla Took a Roman Holiday

Chapter:
(p.69) 4. On the Monstrous Planet, Or How Godzilla Took a Roman Holiday
Source:
The Liverpool Companion to World Science Fiction Film
Author(s):

Takayuki Tatsumi

Seth Jacobowitz

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9781781380383.003.0005

Pop heroes and anti-heroes like Astro Boy and Godzilla represent not only our technological consequences but also the mythological unconscious. For example, one of the origins of Godzilla could well be discovered in a pseudo-scientific and pseudo-religious theory championed by a nineteenth century new shintoist Masumi Ohishigori, who was so aware of the limit of Shintoism as to re-locate the origins of man in dinosaurs born of Japanese gods. Therefore, it is his syncretic and creationistic theory of dinosaurs that doubtlessly helped Meiji Japan modernize itself, and even survived the postwar junkyard in the form of Godzilla. Thus, a decade after Godzilla (1954), Ghidorah the Three-headed Monster (1964), which re-appropriates Audrey Hepburn’s Roman Holiday (1954) and dramatizes the way Godzilla, Rodan and Mothra join forces to defeat Ghidorah from outer space, skillfully allegorizes a critical point from the U.S. Occupation period to the High Growth period in Japanese history. The chapter also discusses the influences of Ray Bradbury, Edgar Allan Poe, and Herman Melville on the dinosaur imaginary.

Keywords:   Ray Bradbury, Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster, Godzilla, Japanese science fiction film, Herman Melville, Edgar Allan Poe, Roman Holiday

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