Godzilla has roared through Japan’s history

IMage of Godzilla

International Week will be tackling at least one really large topic — Godzilla.

William Tsutsui, president of Hendrix College in Arkansas and THE expert on the Godzilla movies, will discuss the socioeconomic impact of the Godzilla franchise in his lecture “Godzilla on My Mind: Godzilla in Japanese History and the Global Imagination” on Oct. 16.

The talk at the William Pitt Union Assembly Room will be followed by a free screening of the original 1954 Godzilla film “Gojira.”

Since Godzilla's first appearance almost 65 years ago, the King of the Monsters has become a globally recognized symbol of Japan. But what can a giant, radioactive movie monster tell us about Japanese culture and Japan's national experience since World War II? What is it about an actor in a rubber lizard suit destroying miniature Japanese cities that has inspired love, loyalty and laughter over generations of fans around the world?

This talk will introduce the 1954 film, survey the history and impact of the 32 Godzilla movies, reflect on Hollywood’s handling of the King of the Monsters, and assess the impact of changes in special effects technology, cinematic fashion, and global politics on the world’s oldest and longest film franchise.

The International Week event is co-sponsored by the Pitt National Consortium for Teaching about Asia, the Asian Studies Center, University Center for International Studies, Pitt Program Council and Asia on Screen. See related story about other International Week events.

The lecture starts at 6:30 p.m., followed by the movie screening. Find more information on the UCIS website.