To Children’s Land We Go


Godzilla vs Gigan (1971) was a childhood favorite that put Justice Godzilla up front and center. As a 70s Godzilla movie it continues to introduce new kaiju and anticipating new ones. The space cyborg monster Gigan made his debut and would reappear with two new Toho additions of Jet Jaguar and Megalon in Godzilla vs Megalon (1973). Gigan gives us Godzilla tower at the center of World Children’s Land that portends the coming of MechaGodzilla in 1974. Godzilla takes a beating, bleeds and comes close to dying. His ally Anguirus joins him in the tag team match. The theme of alien invaders continues with invaders as far as the M-Nebula but as close at the ground under our feet.

Godzilla vs Gigan (1971) movie poster

Godzilla vs Gigan (1971) Japanese theatrical poster

The 70s Showa era brings us great human characters. We also are introduced to another great team made up of Hiroshi Ishikawa as manga artist Gengo Kotaka, Tomoko Umeda as tape-stealing Machiko Shima, Yuriko Hishimi as karate-kicking Tomoko Tomo, Minoru Takashima as corn-eating Shosaku Takasugi, and Kunio Murai as computer technician Takeshi Shima, brother of Yuriko. They form a beloved team that stands out as one of the best 70s teams.

Godzilla vs Gigan team

Left to Right: Shosaku Takasugi, Gengo Kotaka, Tomoko Tomo, Machiko Shima, and Takeshi Shima

Gigan is not short humor. The story of how the team comes together brings out the best in each member. Jokes, humorous insults, hilarious illustrations and pretense make this group great and memorable. The team starts to come together when Gengo returns home in the evening after bumping into Tomoko stole the space alien secret tape for the conquest of earth. Along with Shosaku, Tomoko confronts Gengo demanding the return of the tape. He insists he does not have it. But followed by a funny moment, Shosaku shoves an ear of corn into back pretending to have a gun, Gengo faints.

Fujima Part in Godzilla vs Gigan (1971)

This scene has stuck with me as one of the funniest. During my recent trip to Japan, I was determined to visit this movie location. This scene was shot in Fujimi Park (世田谷区立富士見公園, 4 Chome-36-1 Kinuta, Setagaya City, Tokyo 157-0073, Google Maps). Little did I know that this is located in Soshigaya (祖師ケ谷), the birthplace of Ultraman. Soshigaya is about an hour train ride from Shinjuku Station. Upon arrival an Ultraman statue stands outside the station to greet visitors and the park is a short walk from there.

Fujima Part in 2023

Built in 1962, Fujimi park has drinking fountains, benches, benches, slides, swings, horizontal bars, animals and sandboxes. The large slide is the symbol of the park. When I entered the park children were playing on the slide having a good time. The park hasn’t changed that much since 1971. The location of the steps is the same but over the years the width of the slide has changed with steps placed and removed on the other side. The ramp on the left remains for children to play. A playground sits below the ramp and at the bottom of the steps. The park was renovated in 2021 to improve its quality for children’s play.1

As I took pictures, the children must have thought, “Why is this strange man here?” I wonder if they knew the Godzilla history of their playground. With this visit to Fujimi Park, my trip was complete. Going to Godzilla places will enhance every trip to Japan for fans. Traveling to these places deepens my knowledge of Japan and my appreciation of the movies.