The background of Godzilla

On the 13th, the Japanese government officially decided to dispose of the nuclear waste water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident by means of marine discharge, which aroused widespread concern and condemnation from the Japanese people and neighboring countries such as China and South Korea. Since the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011, the Japanese panic about “nuclear explosion” and “nuclear radiation” has been ignited again. “Nuclear panic” is shown in many Japanese films and TV works. Whether it is “Fukushima 50 dead”, which reflects the real events positively, or “son of the original bomb”, “black rain”, “Akiko’s piano”, “land of hope” and other films with the historical background of atomic bomb attack and nuclear radiation pollution, as well as the fantasy “atomic beast” series “Godzilla”, all show the Japanese people’s concern for nuclear energy It’s a complex emotion.


a nightmare


In 1945, Hiroshima and Nagasaki dropped two atomic bombs, which was a nightmare for the Japanese people – images of charred ruins, deceased relatives and survivors with radiation sequelae also appeared on the screen. In addition to documentaries such as “the impact of 10 seconds” and “white light / Black Rain: the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki”, the feature films based on real characters’ experiences also carry the Japanese sentiment of reposing grief and reflecting on the war. In 1952, “the son of the original explosion”, directed by Shindo Jianren, tells the story of a lucky Hiroshima original explosion’s filial son’s return to his hometown. Although his family had been killed, he still found three young children who stood in front of the ruins of the Hiroshima explosion.


The work “black rain” (1989) by the famous director Masako Imamura also witnessed the huge trauma left by ordinary Japanese people after suffering from nuclear radiation through the sight of young girl Yasuko. In addition to the physical illness, there was also a long-term psychological torture. In the 1980s and 1990s, it still won wide resonance and artistic affirmation from all walks of life in Japan.


In 2012, “the land of hope” borrowed the tsunami and nuclear leakage crisis in 2011 to recall the memories of the local elderly about the nuclear explosion, revealing the Japanese people’s fear of nuclear radiation and distrust of the government.


Lack of reflection


In “Mingzi’s piano” released last year, a girl who loves piano was attacked by atomic bomb and died at the age of 19. Also released last year, “Fukushima 50 dead” focuses on the first-line rescue workers at the nuclear power plant, praising their courage to sacrifice, but also exposing the high-level bureaucracy in Japan. As a commercial film, it is not easy for this film to faithfully present the situation at that time, but it is still insufficient in reflection.


A scholar familiar with Japan’s social culture told the global times that the scarcity of film and television works on the nuclear leakage of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and the works of accountability and reflection actually reflects the attitude of Japanese society towards the nuclear leakage. Most Japanese believe that Japan is also a “victim” on this issue. The nuclear leakage of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has nothing to do with Japan. Therefore, they adopt an ostrich attitude, neither touch nor reflect.


Just as Japan has always stressed that it is “the only nuclear weapon victim in the world” since its defeat in 1945, it seldom mentions Japan’s aggression against other countries and why Japan suffered from nuclear weapons attacks, which actually reflects the limitations of the Japanese nation.


From “God of destruction” to “God of protection”


It is precisely because of the heavy memory left by the nuclear explosion to the Japanese that Japanese film and television creators turn to the fictional “monster film” type to portray people’s panic about the “nuclear” from the side. Godzilla series is a typical embodiment of this creative idea. When the first “Godzilla” movie was born on the big screen in 1954, it was only nine years since Hiroshima and Nagasaki were hit by atomic bombs. In the original design, Godzilla himself was also the victim of mankind’s crazy development of Atomic Energy – his habitat was destroyed by the U.S. hydrogen bomb test, and he was also exposed to strong nuclear radiation.


In addition to being inspired by the classic monster film “King Kong”, the more direct source of Godzilla’s birth is that Japan still can’t get rid of the haze of “nuclear explosion” after the war. According to the analysis of Japanese writer Tadao Sato, the reason why Godzilla’s birth can cause such great repercussions is that Godzilla’s radioactive ability can trigger the collective emotions of Japanese audiences. Its “atomic breath” instantly destroys Tokyo, which reminds people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II. So far, the Japanese have made 29 “Godzilla” films, derived numerous monster films, and fed their influence back to the United States.


For more than half a century, Godzilla has completely completed the transformation from “God of destruction” to “God of protection” in Japan. The Japanese’s complex feelings of love and hate for this giant beast also reflect their complex mentality of “nuclear” from fear to acceptance, but unable to completely put down their guard.


After Hollywood got the copyright of Godzilla, it continued to work along this line. For example, in Godzilla 2: the king of monsters, the injured Godzilla was “blown alive” by a nuclear bomb, and opened a higher radiation “red lotus form” against the alien monster three headed dragon kidora.


In other words, Godzilla, designed by the Americans and Japanese, has a higher form on the screen – not only does it not harm humans, but also provides more comprehensive protection. In reality, only the US government has announced its support for Japan to discharge Fukushima nuclear waste water into the sea.

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