The Cultural History of Godzilla – Pt 35


「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)

P 89

Dr. Serizawa and the Japanese atomic bomb


Dr. Serizawa’s greatest secret, the “Oxygen Destroyer,” would be the equivalent of the “atomic bomb” that the Japanese military was developing during the war. The dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki gives us the illusion that the atomic bombs were unilaterally developed and dropped outside of Japan, like “black ships.” And by extension, the hydrogen bomb test seems irrelevant. However, Japan and the atomic and hydrogen bombs are not connected only in the form of damage.


Dr. Serizawa’s invention is regarded as an extension of the research done when he was studying in Germany, as Hagiwara, a newspaper reporter, says, “A story that a correspondent in Switzerland heard from a German.” Dr. Serizawa’s 27-year-old age setting in the movie is somewhat unrealistic because even a genius would have gone to Germany to study immediately after the war. However, since he was 40 years old in his first “G work review script,” he became a person who studied abroad during the war, and such a connection is also persuasive. Moreover, it is somewhat reminiscent of Einstein, who was German and was active in Switzerland. However, since he himself is Jewish, he escaped from Nazi Germany and fled to the United States.


Dr. Serizawa’s secret research bears parallels with Japan’s wartime atomic bomb development. Before the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan did not have information related to atomic bombs. On the contrary, information on various new weapons was in print, including scientific enlightenment magazines. Since Einstein came to Japan in 1922, cutting-edge theories of modern physics have been introduced in various forms. Einstein was invited by a publishing company called Kaizosha, and it was a kind of entertainment as well as an advertisement. What’s more, there was an incident that the news of winning the Nobel Prize arrived on the ship he called. Such an event must have stimulated his interest in science.

P 90


Juzo Unno, who is known as a science fiction writer before the war, wrote in his early novel “Will Broadcast (Broadcast Will)” (1927), the nucleus when hydrogen combines to form helium. It speaks of the image of an entire planet collapsing from a chain of energies released by fusion.


I imagine fear will be the beginning of the most terrible events. A gigantic force generated in such a small space in such a short amount of time transcends human power, tramples on human will, and what appears there is the second atomic metamorphosis, the third. Atomic metamorphosis, then atomic transformation, 4th, 5th, and so on. Atomic metamorphosis, which expands and expands without stopping, simultaneously strikes this world with tens of thousands of thunder, earthquakes, and whirlwinds. I believe that it will destroy and annihilate the spherical world in which they are placed.


What we have here is not so much a depiction of an actual hydrogen bomb as an imaginary event that would cause a chain reaction that would destroy the stability of the earth under our feet. Ever since H.G. Wells predicted future nuclear war in The World Set Freed (1914), the idea of uncontrollable technology once its power has been unleashed has been there.

P 91


When the war reaches a dead end, these new energy-based nuclear weapons will become the secret weapon that will save Japan. Then, Ken Tachikawa’s astonishing atomic bomb novel “Kuwano Keshifly” was published in the July 1944 issue of “New Youth” (Yasuo Nagayama ed. “Meiji, Taisho, Showa Japan-U.S. Fictitious War Record Collection”). Here, it is the Japanese side that completes the atomic bomb and attacks the United States. It was the ultimate weapon that could turn the tide of the situation in a moment when the sense of defeat was strong.

New Youth was a Chinese literary magazine founded by Chen Duxiu and published between 1915 and 1926. It strongly influenced both the New Culture Movement and the later May Fourth Movement. (Source: Wikipedia


This is not nuclear fusion, but nuclear fission, but Tachikawa’s novel first talks about the information on the American side. Harold Urey of Columbia University was awarded the Nobel Prize for discovering deuterium, and in 1939 he discovered the isotope uranium “235” and opened the possibility of using bombs. Suppose Curie, a group of physicists who gathered in New York in In fact, there was a desire to possess atomic bombs, starting with Einstein’s letter, which worried that Nazi Germany would acquire atomic bombs, and the Manhattan Project, led by physicist Oppenheimer, was proceeding in absolute secrecy. However, in Tachikawa’s novel, it is the Japanese who have not given up on the development of the atomic bomb.


Dr. Shirakawa of Taipei University in Taiwan makes a new discovery leading to the atomic bomb. In the course of his experiments, he discovers how to produce aluminum in large quantities, and how to use the new energy as a flight fuel. Furthermore, the doctor himself is unfortunately blown away by the bomb development experiment. In other words, it was an opportunistic development in which a lightweight aircraft that crossed the Pacific Ocean, its energy source, and even a bomb that would smash the enemy to pieces were invented with one stone. All three were lacking in Japan’s production capacity at the time to attack the American mainland.