Godzilla and related characters are trademarks of the Japanese movie company, Toho Co., Ltd.
Gojira (ゴジラ) is his Japanese name formed by combining gorilla (gorira, ゴリラ) and whale (kujira, クジラ)
The original 1954 Gojira was released only nine years after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, of which Godzilla is a metaphor.
“Godzilla is the son of the atomic bomb. He is a nightmare created out of the darkness of the human soul. He is the sacred beast of the apocalypse.” —Tomoyuki Tanaka
The fathers of Toho movie monsters, Tomoyuki Tanaka (producer), Ishiro Honda (director), Eiji Tsuburaya (special effects), Akira Ifukube (music composer) brought Godzilla to life.
Inspired by King Kong (1933) and The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953), Tomoyuki Tanaka conceived of Godzilla after hearing of the tragedy of fishing boat, the Lucky Dragon No.5, and the Atoll Bikini H-Bomb Testing.
“Monsters are tragic beings. They’re born too tall, too strong, too heavy. They’re not evil by choice. That is their tragedy.” —Ishiro Honda
The original story was written by novelist Shigeru Kayama. Godzilla’s roar was created by rubbing a resin-coated along the strings of a contrabass.
Special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya used a man in a suit rather than stop motion animation. Haruo Nakajima was the first Godzilla suit actor, followed by Kenpachiro Satsuma, Tsutomu Kitagawa, and Mizuho Yoshida.
Godzilla films span five eras: Showa (1954-75), Heisei (1984-95), Millennium (1999-2004), Legendary (2014), and Shin (2016). His suit, appearance, and disposition changed over his 60+ year movie history.