Shigeru KayamaNov 23, 2023
Godzilla and Godzilla Raids Again
The Original Novellas by Shigeru Kayama
University of Minnesota Press 2023
Earlier this month, Toho Studios released “Godzilla Minus One”—the 37th film in the now almost seven-decade-old franchise. Godzilla has gone through many phases over the past 70 years: symbol of Japan’s nuclear fears, cuddly defender of humanity, Japanese cultural icon and, now, the centerpiece of another Hollywood cinematic universe.
But it was 1954’s Godzilla that launched the whole thing, with a story written by Japanese author Shigeru Kayama. He also wrote a novelization for the movie and its sequel Godzilla Raids Again (University of Minnesota Press: 2023), both translated by Jeffrey Angles.
In this interview, Jeffrey and I talk about these novels, how they differ from the movies, and how they start Godzilla’s journey to becoming a cultural icon.
Jeffrey Angles is a professor and advisor of Japanese in the Department of World Languages and Literatures at Western Michigan University. He is also a prominent translator of modern Japanese literature, with several volumes of Japanese literature in translation to his name. His book of poetry won the Yomiuri Prize for Literature, making Jeffrey the first American ever to win this prestigious prize for a book of poetry.
Jeffrey can be followed on Twitter at @jeffreyangles.
Nicholas Gordon is an editor for a global magazine, and a reviewer for the Asian Review of Books. He can be found on Twitter at @nickrigordon.