Did the B-29 firebombing raids influence Godzilla: King Of The Monsters?

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Rhedosaurus
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Did the B-29 firebombing raids influence Godzilla: King Of The Monsters?

Postby Rhedosaurus » Tue Dec 18, 2018 5:12 pm

While Godzilla has been a metaphor for atomic weapons, I've wondered if it also was a metaphor for something else. In this case, that 'something else' is the firebombing raids on Japan via U.S. B-29 heavy bombers during World War 2. Let me explain.

In the Pacific theater, we used firebombs, mainly napalm, carried by B-29 long range heavy bombers to level Japanese cities. When done at low altitude, the results were horrific. Tokyo alone was mostly destroyed, somewhere between 80%-90%, depending on what you read. I have a book that says it was 86% destroyed IIRC. In fact, more people died from the Tokyo bombing raid then at Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. Not only that, but when the Emperor himself went to see the devastation, what he saw forced him to admit that Japan had lost the war. Needless to say, it still remains the deadliest air raid in history.

Here's a picture. You can find more online.

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What does this have to do with Godzilla? A lot. You know the scenes of Toyko on fire? All the blazing going on in the background? Well, I believe those scenes were inspired by the B-29 raids, the Tokyo raid in particular. After all, the movie did come out on the 10th anniversary of when the U.S. started those raids, and a lot of people had to have had vivid memories of said raids when they saw it in the theaters.

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Your thoughts. I'm quite curious.

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Re: Did the B-29 firebombing raids influence Godzilla: King Of The Monsters?

Postby eabaker » Tue Dec 18, 2018 5:22 pm

While I don't know of any specific quotes from the filmmakers, the significance to the firebombings of Tokyo to the themes and imagery of Godzilla has often been discussed by critics and scholars.
Tokyo, a smoldering memorial to the unknown, an unknown which at this very moment still prevails and could at any time lash out with its terrible destruction anywhere else in the world.

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Re: Did the B-29 firebombing raids influence Godzilla: King Of The Monsters?

Postby Mr_Goji_and_Watch » Tue Dec 18, 2018 5:55 pm

I'd say so. The firebombings devastated Tokyo, and as you said they proved deadlier than the atomic bombings. The original Godzilla is about more than just the atomic bombings; it's an anti-war film. I don't want to make any loaded remarks about a man I don't know, but Ishiro Honda's family lived in Tokyo while he was serving in China. I'm sure just hearing about the raids left an impression on him as he would have no clue as to whether or not his wife and children were fine.
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Re: Did the B-29 firebombing raids influence Godzilla: King Of The Monsters?

Postby UltramanGoji » Tue Dec 18, 2018 6:42 pm

Mr_Goji_and_Watch wrote:I'd say so. The firebombings devastated Tokyo, and as you said they proved deadlier than the atomic bombings. The original Godzilla is about more than just the atomic bombings; it's an anti-war film. I don't want to make any loaded remarks about a man I don't know, but Ishiro Honda's family lived in Tokyo while he was serving in China. I'm sure just hearing about the raids left an impression on him as he would have no clue as to whether or not his wife and children were fine.


Didn't Honda walk through the ruins of Tokyo when he came home from the war? Or was that Hiroshima/Nagasaki or the anecdote of another cast member instead?
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Re: Did the B-29 firebombing raids influence Godzilla: King Of The Monsters?

Postby Mr_Goji_and_Watch » Tue Dec 18, 2018 11:20 pm

UltramanGoji wrote:Didn't Honda walk through the ruins of Tokyo when he came home from the war? Or was that Hiroshima/Nagasaki or the anecdote of another cast member instead?


The popular story was that Honda walked through a destroyed Hiroshima, but in reality he "couldn't see much of anything" on the train ride en route to Tokyo. I have no idea on what state Tokyo was in when he arrived in early 1946, but I think it's safe to say that he walked though a great number ruins on his way home.
Last edited by Mr_Goji_and_Watch on Tue Dec 18, 2018 11:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Moogabunga wrote:Ive said it before and I'll gladly say it again, this is going to be the best Godzilla film ever and more importantly, its going to be the film that truly makes Godzilla mainstream (and cool)

动态网自由门 天安門 天安门 法輪功 李洪志 Free Tibet 六四天安門事件 The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 天安門大屠殺 The Tiananmen Square Massacre 反右派鬥爭 The Anti-Rightist Struggle 大躍進政策 The Great Leap Forward 文化大革命 The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution 人權 Human Rights

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Re: Did the B-29 firebombing raids influence Godzilla: King Of The Monsters?

Postby edgaguirus » Wed Dec 19, 2018 12:50 pm

I would say that the scenes of destruction were based on both the atomic bombs and other attacks on Japan. I've heard the story where Honda saw first hand the destruction of Hiroshima, and this had an impact on the film. The after effect of the fire bombings and the bomb certainly look like Tokyo after Godzilla's main rampage.
Last edited by edgaguirus on Wed Dec 19, 2018 12:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Did the B-29 firebombing raids influence Godzilla: King Of The Monsters?

Postby Rhedosaurus » Wed Dec 19, 2018 2:55 pm

Mr_Goji_and_Watch wrote:I'd say so. The firebombings devastated Tokyo, and as you said they proved deadlier than the atomic bombings. The original Godzilla is about more than just the atomic bombings; it's an anti-war film. I don't want to make any loaded remarks about a man I don't know, but Ishiro Honda's family lived in Tokyo while he was serving in China. I'm sure just hearing about the raids left an impression on him as he would have no clue as to whether or not his wife and children were fine.


I didn't know about Ishiro Honda was part of the IJA. Did he ever find out about the atrocities the IJA committed against China, via the Rape Of Nanking, Unit 731 using biological weapons on civilians, and all that other stuff?

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Re: Did the B-29 firebombing raids influence Godzilla: King Of The Monsters?

Postby Mr_Goji_and_Watch » Wed Dec 19, 2018 3:08 pm

Rhedosaurus wrote:I didn't know about Ishiro Honda was part of the IJA. Did he ever find out about the atrocities the IJA committed against China, via the Rape Of Nanking, Unit 731 using biological weapons on civilians, and all that other stuff?


Honda was drafted 4 times and worked at a comfort station at one point, he saw firsthand how the women were treated and unfortunately had a part in maintaining it. He later wrote about his experiences and the sympathy he had towards them. It's safe to say he knew about Nanking, it wasn't a secret by any means. Honda hated the war and was a pacifist, I'm sure everything he heard and experienced contributed to his stances (and informed his filmmaking decisions).
Moogabunga wrote:Ive said it before and I'll gladly say it again, this is going to be the best Godzilla film ever and more importantly, its going to be the film that truly makes Godzilla mainstream (and cool)

动态网自由门 天安門 天安门 法輪功 李洪志 Free Tibet 六四天安門事件 The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 天安門大屠殺 The Tiananmen Square Massacre 反右派鬥爭 The Anti-Rightist Struggle 大躍進政策 The Great Leap Forward 文化大革命 The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution 人權 Human Rights

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Re: Did the B-29 firebombing raids influence Godzilla: King Of The Monsters?

Postby Rhedosaurus » Wed Dec 19, 2018 3:16 pm

Mr_Goji_and_Watch wrote:
Rhedosaurus wrote:I didn't know about Ishiro Honda was part of the IJA. Did he ever find out about the atrocities the IJA committed against China, via the Rape Of Nanking, Unit 731 using biological weapons on civilians, and all that other stuff?


Honda was drafted 4 times and worked at a comfort station at one point, he saw firsthand how the women were treated and unfortunately had a part in maintaining it. He later wrote about his experiences and the sympathy he had towards them. It's safe to say he knew about Nanking, it wasn't a secret by any means. Honda hated the war and was a pacifist, I'm sure everything he heard and experienced contributed to his stances (and informed his filmmaking decisions).


So he was basically the Japanese Gene Roddenberry, but with a far more first hand account?


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