In Godzilla's Footsteps: Japanese Pop Culture Icons on the Global Stage

In Godzilla's Footsteps: Japanese Pop Culture Icons on the Global Stage

William M. Tsutsui

Language: English

Pages: 212

ISBN: 1403964637

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

These essays consider the Godzilla films and how they shaped and influenced postwar Japanese culture, as well as the globalization of Japanese pop culture icons. There are contributions from Film Studies, Anthropology, History, Literature, Theatre and Cultural Studies and from Susan Napier, Anne Allison, Christine Yano and others.

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Doraemon, and Hello Kitty goods may be spotted everywhere. The year 2004 was proclaimed the year of Japanese culture, paving the way for numerous art exhibitions, musical performances, and cinema festivals. Whereas such exhibitions and performances could be enjoyed mainly by the citizens of large urban centers, the majority of Russians, especially the youth, see Japan through the lens of anime and manga. This phenomenon is, of course, a part of the general process of globalization, as since the

finding something that they do not find in their own cultures. It helps, of course, that we are now part of an enormous global system where entertainment flows seamlessly and almost instantaneously toward a large and hungry public. Anime and manga, like Godzilla, are nothing if not commercial. But there may be yet another reason for the popularity of Japanese culture today and this may be found in what I believe is a new approach to what we used to call the “real world,” an approach that

plunges to his death in mid-broadcast. When the scarred scientist veteran Serizawa sacrifices his life for the sake of defending Japan with science, yet without endangering the rest of humanity, we hear a funeral dirge as we are shown pictures of Japanese victims receiving medical treatment. Soon we see a choir singing funeral music in a ceremony of national mourning. Soundtrack music becomes diegetic as we hear and see the ceremony as a television broadcast. In Gojira, the nation is brought

now-familiar epithets like “happy horrors for children,” “combination of horror and hokum,” and “strictly for the comic set,” spawning an array of merchandise on toy counters and sugar-coated chocolate monsters in the supermarket candy aisle. A public Halloween children’s party in Chicago even played Godzilla vs. the Thing as its main attraction in 1969. In both its native land and its transplanted country, Godzilla became an enduring, constitutive part of a vastly commercialized childhood and

Shuppansha, 2004), p. 274. 22. The 1992 version of Godzilla vs. Mothra replicates this incongruity between the Japanese characters’ attire and the natives’ “primitive” appearance on Infant Island. 23. It is important to point out that Yanagita wrote extensively about Oshirasama, the deity of sericulture in Japan’s Tphoku region. 24. Minami Yoshikazu, “Aru sanson no seikatsu—Chichibu,” Taiyp (July 1967), pp. 174–184. 25. Simon Partner, Assembled in Japan (Berkeley: University of California Press,

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