10 Things You Didn't Know About Godzilla: The King Of All Kaiju

By | September 12, 2022

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Godzilla as seen in 'Godzilla vs. Hedorah; (1971). Source: IMDB

In 1954, Godzilla first walked out of the Pacific Ocean to attack Japan and this big, bad kaiju hasn't stopped since. Sure, Godzilla has changed over the years --he's gotten bigger, he's had babies, and he's even had run-ins with King Kong. Directed by Ishirō Honda for Toho Studios, the first film in the long-running Godzilla series gave the world one of its most enduring creatures, but over the next 30 years the creature grew, he adopted a little monster, he made friends like Mothra and Rodan, and he made enemies like King Ghidorah and Mechagodzilla. As cool as all of those creatures are, everyone knows that the real star is the King of Kaiju, Godzilla.

Go Go Godzilla

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source: Toho Studios

While we know him as Godzilla in the states, in Japan the King of the Monsters is known as Gojira. This is a portmanteau of the Japanese words gorira, meaning gorilla, and kujira, meaning whale. No one knows exactly where the idea of the "gorilla-whale" came from, although it may have been the nickname of a stagehand at Toho. Director Ishiro Honda explained:

There was a big— I mean huge — fellow working in Toho's publicity department and other employees would say 'That guy's as big as a gorilla'. 'No he's almost as big as a kujira.' Over time, the two mixed and he was named 'Gojira.'

Honda's claim has never been substantiated, and Honda's widow has gone so far as to say that her husband and the character's other creators Tomoyuki Tanaka and Eiji Tsubaraya would have taken considerable time to think of the name. She continued:

The backstage boys at Toho loved to joke around with tall stories, but I don't believe that one.