The Godzilla movies of the 1970s were special and were very much a reflection of their time. Pollution was a major concern and was center stage in the 1971 battle between Godzilla and Hedorah. Hedorah was a kaiju born out of celestial and terrestrial origins. Ingesting sludge, smoke, sulfuric acid, mercury, poison, and all kinds of human pollution it became an existential threat to humanity. Hedorah is a derivative from the Japanese word for sludge,「ヘドロ」hedoro. Godzilla vs Hedorah, directed Yoshimitsu Banno, has received more praise and appreciation as the years have gone by and is more relevant today as it was at the time of its release. Despite its flaws, its message is acute and unrelenting particularly with its scenes of human suffering, destruction, and death.

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Shining through its dreary look and feel and jazzy scores by Riichiro Manabe, there is hope even as the movie’s end postulates that yet another Hedorah may appear. The movie’s young protagonist Ken Yano, played by Hiroyuki Kawase, reflects the movie’s target audience and hope for taking on pollution and changing the future. Ken writes about the world he sees and in which lives. His words I never forgot as child and are worth revisiting particularly in our world facing climate change and suffering the result of human behavior and pollution.

Ken's message

Ken's message

げんばく Atomic bomb
すいばく Hydrogen Bomb
しのはい は うみ へ Atomic fall out into the sea
どくがす Poison gas
へどろ Sluge
みんな みんな うみ へ すてる Everything, everything into the sea
おしっこ も Pee-pee too
ゴジラが みたら If Godzilla could see
おこらないかな This would not be.
おこるだろうな He would do something
ニねん一くみ Second grade, Class A
矢野 研 Ken Yano