The Cultural History of Godzilla Introduction – Pt 6

9.13.2022

「ゴジラの精神史」The Cultural History of Godzilla 1954 by Shuntaro Ono (2014)
「ゴジラの精神史」The Cultural History of Godzilla 1954 by Shuntaro Ono (2014)

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この本のねらい
Aim of this book

『ゴジラ』が海外にも受け入れられて影響を及ぼしたのは、怪物や脅威と英雄が戦い倒すという叙事詩の観点が含まれているせいではないか。だが、理解の始まりは誤解の始まりでもある。日本の怪獣と欧米の怪物は同一視されていることが多いが、生命観や倫理観に大きな違いがある。これが独自性を生んだのだろう。ゴジラを「神」とする扱いについても、彼我の宗教観の違いは無視できない。しかも、恐竜と人間が同居するという形で古生物史(先史)と人類史(有史)とが交差するとき、世界から取り残されている日本と時代錯誤の恐竜ゴジラが重なったりもする。 山根博士を中心とする人物設定に原 作者の香山滋が果たした役割も大きいし、それを映像化するときに本多猪四郎監督たちがおこなった 映画上の工夫もたくさんある。この本で強調したいのはこのあたりの本編ドラマに関する部分である。

Perhaps the reason why “Godzilla” has been accepted and influenced overseas is because it includes an epic perspective of monsters, menaces, and heroes fighting and defeating them. But the beginning of understanding is also the beginning of misunderstanding. Japanese monsters and Western monsters are often regarded as the same thing, but there is a big difference in their views on life and ethics. This is what makes it unique. Regarding the treatment of Godzilla as a “god,” the difference in religious views between us cannot be ignored. Moreover, when paleontological history (prehistory) and human history (history) intersect in the form of dinosaurs and humans living together, Japan, which is left behind from the rest of the world, and the anachronistic dinosaur Godzilla overlap. The original author, Shigeru Kayama, played a major role in setting the characters centering on Dr. Yamane, and there were many creative ideas in the film that were made by director Ishiro Honda and others when making it into a film. What I want to emphasize in this book is the part about the main drama around here.

ゴジラの精神史
Godzilla’s spiritual history

初代の「ゴジラ』はアメリカ版が作られ、二年後に全米公開されて「怪獣王ゴジラ』となった。この半世紀以上日米両国の観客が同じ内容の作品を観てきたわけではない。六、七〇年代にテレビで繰り返し放映されたゴジラ映画のファンになったアメリカ人が観た「ゴジラ」はあくまでもこちらの改変作のほうである。こうした認識のズレが、太平洋の両岸におけるゴジラ像の相違となってくる。そのあたりを踏まえて、水爆を持った国と水爆はおろか原爆さえ持てなかった国との『ゴジラ』の受け止め方の違いはきちんと把握すべきだと思う。そして、「かれら」の言動も踏まえて、その相違点をさぐり、可能な限り「われら」のゴジラの姿を明らかにしたい。

The first “Godzilla” was made in America, and two years later it was released in the United States and became “Godzilla, King of the Monsters.” For more than half a century, audiences in both Japan and the United States have not seen the same content. The “Godzilla” seen by Americans who became fans of the Godzilla movies repeatedly aired on TV in the 1970s is just this modified version. This misunderstanding leads to differences in the image of Godzilla on both sides of the Pacific Ocean. With that in mind, I think we should understand the difference in how people perceive “Godzilla” between countries that had hydrogen bombs and countries that didn’t even have atomic bombs, let alone hydrogen bombs. And based on the words and deeds of “their,” I would like to explore the differences and clarify the appearance of “our” Godzilla as much as possible.

そこで、最初の三章は、叙事詩、海をめぐる問題、最終破壊兵器といったテーマにそって、海から陸へとあがり大暴れをし、最後は海に散ったゴジラをいろいろな角度から追いかけて議論を進める。

Therefore, the first three chapters follow the themes of epic poems, issues surrounding the sea, and ultimate destructive weapons, and discuss from various angles the Godzilla that rises from the sea to the land, rampages, and finally scatters in the sea.

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続く三章は、それぞれ「原子怪獣現わる』、『キング・コング』、『怪獣王ゴジラ」との比較を念頭において、映画「ゴジラ」の特徴をあぶりだしていく。最終章では数あるゴジラ映画のなかでも初代とのつながりが深い「ゴジラの逆襲』、『ゴジラ(一九八四年版)』、『ゴジラVSデストロイア』との関係を考える。

In the following three chapters, the characteristics of the movie “Godzilla” will be revealed, keeping in mind the comparison with “Atomic Monster Appears,” “King Kong,” and “King of Monsters Godzilla.” In the final chapter, we will consider the relationship with “Godzilla Raids Again,” “Godzilla (1984 version),” and “Godzilla vs Destoroyah,” which are closely related to the first generation among the many Godzilla movies.

あらすじと主な登場人物
Synopsis and main characters

本書は読者が『ゴジラ』を観ている前提で書かれているが、未見の人も内容を忘れてしまった人もいるだろう。そこで簡単なあらすじと主な登場人物表をつけるので、必要に応じて参照してもらいたい。

This book is written on the premise that the reader has seen “Godzilla,” but there may be people who have not seen it and who have forgotten the contents. Therefore, I will add a brief synopsis and a list of main characters, so please refer to them as necessary.

◎あらすじ
Synopsis

(ゴジラ洋上攻撃) 南海汽船所属の栄光丸が謎の炎上事故で沈没する。そのために南海サルベージの尾形秀人は本社に呼ばれて、古生物学者の娘である山根恵美子とのデートがご破算になる。栄光丸以 外の船もやられ、生存者が大戸島の漁船に救われたというのだが、その漁船もまた行方不明となる。 海上保安庁は原因もつかめず、手をこまねくばかりだった。

(Godzilla offshore attack) Eikomaru belonging to Nankai Kisen sinks in a mysterious fire accident. For that reason, Hideto Ogata of Nankai Salvage is called to the head office and his date with Emiko Yamane, the daughter of a paleontologist, is canceled. Ships other than the Eikomaru were also destroyed, and survivors were said to have been saved by a fishing boat on Odo Island, but the fishing boat also went missing. The Japan Coast Guard couldn’t figure out the cause, and just kept doing nothing.

まさ (ゴジラ大戸島攻撃) 大戸島に漁師政治だけがいかだにつかまって帰ってきた。魚がさっぱりとれずに困っていたときに、東京からヘリコプターで記者の萩原が取材に訪れる。萩原は海のなかに巨大な 生物がいるという政治の話を信用しなかったが、神楽を見ながら、村の老人から島のゴジラの伝説を聞く。その夜に嵐が島を襲ってきて、そのなかゴジラが村を歩き回って家屋を踏みつぶす。政治と母とは家の下敷きになり、弟の新吉は孤児となる。

Masa (Godzilla Attacks Odo Island) Only the fisherman politics came back to Odo Island with a raft. Hagiwara, a reporter, comes by helicopter from Tokyo when he is having trouble getting any fish. Hagiwara doesn’t believe the political tales about giant creatures in the sea, but while watching Kagura, he hears from an old village man the legend of Godzilla on the island. That night, a storm hits the island, in which Godzilla roams the village and tramples houses. Politics and his mother fall under the rubble of the family, and his younger brother Shinkichi becomes an orphan.

Kagura ( 神楽 ( かぐら ) , “god-entertainment”) is a type of Shinto ritual ceremonial dance.