NOW a battle-scarred 62, Japan’s king of monsters refuses to die. Godzilla is again lumbering across the big screen, menacing Tokyo with his radioactive breath and walloping attendance records. His 29th cinematic appearance, “Shin Gojira” (“Godzilla Resurgence”) has drawn over 4m people and earned ¥6.6 billion ($65m) making it the most-watched film in Japan this year. Fans in America will be able to see the oversized reptile’s latest outing from next month, starting with a premiere in Los Angeles on October 3rd.

Godzilla has mined box-office gold since the early 1950s, partly by channelling the anxieties of successive eras. Initially a repository of fears about the American nuclear bombs that had incinerated Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, he morphed into a family favourite during the optimistic post-war decades, periodically rising from Tokyo Bay to smite external threats.

From the 1980s, amid unease about the suddenness of Japan’s runaway economic growth and the ostentatious displays of wealth that accompanied it, a darker-themed (and much taller) Godzilla challenged the wits of dithering bureaucrats and smashed his way through Tokyo’s new office...Continue reading