Godzilla's Body: Reviving Memories through Collective Flesh
Through Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy of the body, this paper explores the one of the most recognizable characters of Japanese pop culture – Godzilla. Born in specific historical conditions of the postwar Japan, Godzilla stands as a cinematic behemoth which has been countlessly (re)generated ever since, both domestically and internationally. In Godzilla narrative, Merleau-Ponty’s statement that „I am my Body“ can be extended to „we are other’s Body“ by transcending Japanese collective entity into its monstrous embodiment. Positioning Godzilla’s body as a site of remembrance, a walking monument, the memories of nuclear attack and fallen soldiers in South Seas battle become alive. Variety of those memories in flesh is followed by abundant Godzilla filmography which can be understood by Deleuze’s argument „that each multiplicity is already composed of heterogeneous terms in symbiosis, and that a multiplicity is continually transforming itself into a string of other multiplicities“. Godzilla’s identity shifts, from terrifying invading force meant to reflect on a national trauma, morphing to benevolent protector of Japan from foreign intruders, into a global phenomenon preying the western audience.
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