Japan’s Green Monsters

Environmental Commentary in Kaiju Cinema


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About the Book

In 1954, a massive irradiated dinosaur emerged from Tokyo Bay and rained death and destruction on the Japanese capital. Since then Godzilla and other monsters, such as Mothra and Gamera, have gained cult status around the world. This book provides a new interpretation of these monsters, or kaiju-ū, and their respective movies. Analyzing Japanese history, society and film, the authors show the ways in which this monster cinema take on environmental and ecological issues—from nuclear power and industrial pollution to biodiversity and climate change.

About the Author(s)

Sean Rhoads is a film historian, Japanologist, and lifelong monster cinema aficionado. He has taught courses on East Asia and published on Godzilla and environ­mentalism in G-Fan magazine, and lectured on Japanese monster cinema at G-FEST. He lives in Ottawa, Ontario.

Brooke McCorkle is a Japanologist, double bassist, and a visiting assistant professor at SUNY Geneseo. She has published in Horror Studies and the Journal of Fandom Studies. She lives in Rochester, New York.

Bibliographic Details

Sean Rhoads and Brooke McCorkle

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 226
Bibliographic Info: 11 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6390-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3134-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
1. Japanese Giant Monster Movies 5
2. Nuclear Terror and Radioactive Landscapes 19
3. Godzilla, Nature and Nuclear Revenge 34
4. Mothra, Marx, Mother Nature 50
5. The Decline of Cinema and Rise of Monsters 71
6. Daikaijū Gamera: Consuming Natural Resources 87
7. 1970s Japan: “A polluter’s paradise” 101
8. Smog, Sludge and Hippies: Godzilla vs. Hedorah 112
9. Gamera vs. Zigra: A Tale of Space Invaders and the Sea 127
10. The Bubble and the Beasts: Kaijū eiga of the 1980s 138
11. Rebirth of Mothra: Daikaijū and the Environment in the ­Post-Bubble Era 156
12. Prevailing Concerns in the New Millennium 173
Chapter Notes 185
Bibliography 205
Index 213

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “An interesting study of both film and psychology…a must read”— Against the Grain
  • “Detailed, scholarly and well-written…well worth reading and re-reading…Definitely recommended”—G-Fan.