In 1954, just nine years after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Godzilla, the "bipedal atomic warhead," made his debut. But as Godzilla stomped on into the '60s and '70s, the nuclear metaphor softened, along with Japan's view of itself. As the country turned to nuclear power to help fuel its power needs, so too did Godzilla transform into Japan's protector. Little more than a month before Japan's latest series of horrific disasters struck, a British director was announced to take the reins of the next Godzilla film — and for the first time since his creation, Godzilla is poised to be frighteningly relevant. Just how the character will be portrayed will prove to be intensely interesting in light of the current nuclear crisis in Japan. Dr. William M. Tsutsui
examines the King of Monsters' enduring legacy in a light-hearted but erudite discussion, "Godzilla and Postwar Japan
," which traces Godzilla's path of destruction alongside Japan's evolving identity. The discussion takes place at 5 p.m. in the Student Government Chamber at University of Missouri-St. Louis' Millennium Student Center (1 University Drive at Natural Bridge Road; 314-516-7299 or www.cfis-umsl.com
). Admission is free.
Wed., April 27, 2011