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Japan Fun Fact #1

November 23rd, 2004

The name “Godzilla” (who will make his ‘sayonara’ appearance in Godzilla: Final Wars coming out in a few weeks) is not a randomly chosen one. In Japanese, by the way, it is pronounced “Gojira,” and is not about God or reptiles. It is a composite of two words: “gorilla” and “kujira” (Japanese for “whale”). We can only assume that, in the story, a gorilla mated with a whale, before or after being zapped with radiation. Gojira became “Godzilla” when the film was first brought to the United States. The film series was prompted by a 1954 incident in which a Japanese fishing boat was exposed to fallout from an American H-Bomb test at the Bikini Atoll, killing 1 of the 23 crewmen and making the rest seriously ill. For the Japanese, Godzilla has represented nature’s revenge against the nuclear weapons that America used against Japan at the end of WWII.

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  1. November 27th, 2004 at 00:03 | #1

    Hmm. Godzilla looks neither like a gorilla or whale..funny.

    I always thought the interpretation of godzilla was as a symbol of nuclear power itself. At first it was considered evil, then suddenly as about the same time Japan started building nuclear reactors, godzilla became the hero and then in the eighties about the same time as Chernobyl Godzilla became the bad guy again.

    Also, there’s always a foreigner in these films who wants to “release” godzilla as if it was the foreign influence at fault.

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