chapter  7
10 Pages

The Menace from the South Seas: Honda Ishiro¯’s Godzilla (1954)


In 1954, two years after Japan regained its independence following the San Francisco Peace Treaty, To¯ho¯ managed to resume production following a protracted struggle with its trade union. This is also the year when the studio made two films that would long be remembered in film history: Seven Samurai (Shichinin no samurai, Kurosawa Akira) and Godzilla (Gojira, Honda Ishiro¯). Both films were remarkably successful both in Japan and abroad, and ever since that time ‘samurai film’ and ‘monster movie’ have become mythologised as perhaps the two most representative genres of Japanese cinema.