Shin Godzilla begins with the search for Goro Maki who is a central figure in the film. He plays a pivotal role providing key information into the origin and structure of the Godzilla. Like Godzilla he is elusive and mysterious. In the opening moments the police are searching his pleasure craft found adrift in Tokyo Bay. But Prof. Goro Maki (牧悟郎) is not to be found. Behind he left his research documents, and a red origami crane. Like the government authorities we as moviegoes had only scant clues of his whereabouts. Although the search was on it was sadly apparent that he cast himself into the bay evidenced by his empty pair of shoes. From information made available by the release of the Art of Shin Godzilla we can begin to piece together his whereabouts on the days leading up to his disappearance.
The Art of Shin Godzilla book provides photographs of Prof Maki’s research along with the police investigation report listing his resident and brief notes (pages 303-304) about whereabouts prior to discovery of his boat. Although imperfectly, I’ve recreated and translated the police investigation form so we can get a closer look into the mysterious life of Goro Maki.
From this record we learn Maki lived in the New York until October 28. He arrived home the following day, October 29, at 1:30PM aboard flight JAS 301 bound for Narita International Airport. This was confirmed by a convenient store camera not far from his home (Kanagawa prefecture Kawasaki City, Mita 5 – Chome 13, No. 2 No. 2). I’ve mapped both locations below. However, I was not able to find a convenient store but there is a camera in that exact location. There are several stores but farther away.
According to the US presidential representative, Kayoko, Maki landed in Narita 7 days before she meet Rando Yaguchi to share the documents. From this data we can construct the following timeline: Oct 28 – Maki departs the US; Oct 29 – Japan; Nov 3 – Maki’s disappearance and Gojira’s appearance; Nov 4 – First meeting between Kayoko and Yaguchi.
Maki’s residence in Japan is found in the Kawasaki prefecture Kawasaki prefecture, Kawasaki City, Mita 5 – Chome 11, No. 1 No. 1 (神奈川県川崎市多摩区三田5丁目11番地1号).
With the help of Google Street View we can visit his home and begin to piece together the final moments of his life.
Several days later, Maki took take his final journey aboard his pleasure craft in Yokohama Bay. The Tower of the Winds 風の塔 (of the Tokyo Aqua-Line Tunnel) could be seen in the distance from the Glory Maru. Although difficult to see this is a close proximity to his boat and last whereabouts.
There are many connections between Shin Godzilla and Shodai Godzilla from 1954. Maki is one of those notable and obvious connections. From the the film’s synopsis in the program book, we learn that Maki derived the name “Godzilla” from the legend of a malevolent god from his hometown on Odo Isand (牧博士はこの生物に、故郷・大戸島の伝説の荒ぶる神「呉爾羅」の名を与え、英語表記を「GODZILLA」とし、GOD＝神をその名に冠させました｡). Another notable connection is from the investigation report that states Maki’s unmanned boat drifting off Haneda was found by the Japan Coast Guard on November 3, the date Gojira was released in Japan in 1954.
Although we have no more trace of Prof Maki, we might hypothesized about his whereabouts as he did about the origin and nature of Godzilla. And at the close of the film we may have found Goro in Shin Godzilla’s tail.
Note: I’ve attempted to be as accurate as possible. Mistakes in translation, locations, dates, and times are my own.