Exploring the Iconicity of Godzilla in Popular Culture. A Comparative Intercultural Perspective: Japan-America
The present study aims to compare the representation of Godzilla or Gojira, considered one of the most representative cultural icons of Japanese cinematography within the intertwinement of the fluid, versatile and dynamic context of contemporary Japanese and North American film industry. The undying popularity of Godzilla is puzzling, and one can ask himself where the appeal of this irradiated dinosaur-like fictional monster lies in. The author adopts a comparative intercultural perspective, one that integrates research into a much broader sociohistorical context, with particular attention to how the culturally enhanced linguistic component influences the symbolism incorporated by Godzilla in Japan and how it is reimagined in its Hollywood counterpart.Hence, the theoretical section brings into discussion relevant and previously unpublished Japanese-language literature on Godzilla, thus trying to balance both Western and Japanese perspectives academically. The present research applies the methodology of narrative analysis to investigate from a comparative perspective significant differences existing in the narrative development and portrayal of the iconic monster in “Shin Godzilla” (Japan, 2016) versus “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” (the USA, 2019). One of the most relevant findings refers to the impossibility of ultimately transferring or translating the cultural specificity of the iconic beast within the North American media context, despite recycling almost the same film narrative: therefore, Gojira is inherently Japanese.
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