Six Ways to Encounter Godzilla in Japan

Little did I know that a movie starring a man in a rubber suit would be the first domino to fall in the chain of events that led me to Japan

Anthony Griffin
Kokoro Media
Published in
6 min readNov 30, 2020

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Some of my earliest memories involve family trips to the San Bernardino, California, Fedco in the early 1980s. It’s an understatement to say that, as a child, I wasn’t very excited about checking out the latest appliances or home furnishings. The real highlight of those shopping trips was excitedly browsing the VHS movie section. (And yes, I realize just how much this opening paragraph dates me.)

Each movie on display was a gateway to another world. This is where I first got a hold of VHS copies of the original Star Wars trilogy (for some reason, I watched them in the wrong order, but I digress). But most importantly, this is where I picked up Godzilla vs. Megalon, the film that sparked my fascination with kaiju (Japanese giant monsters) and one of my first introductions to Japanese pop culture. Back then, little did I know that my enthusiasm for a movie starring a man in a rubber suit would become the first domino to fall in the chain of events that led me to live and work in Japan, decades later.

Monster Hunting Since 2007

A surprise encounter with Godzilla at a pop-up store in Akihabara Station in 2019.

While my appreciation for Japan goes far beyond pop-culture these days, there’s no denying that Godzilla, or Gojira as he is known here in his native land, remains a cultural icon and soft-power brand ambassador. An instantly recognizable theme song, unmistakable roar, and still-relevant symbolism of mankind’s penchant for nuclear self-destruction ensure Godzilla’s place as an ever-present fixture in the global zeitgeist.

In the U.S., Godzilla’s popularity has had its ups (the 2014 movie) and downs (the 1998 movie), but here in Japan the character enjoys a rather consistent level of popularity, sometimes permeating society in unusual ways (Chibi Godzilla, for example). I’ve had the pleasure of tracking down Godzilla-related attractions since I first visited Japan in 2007, and in this article, I’ll share my favorite…

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Anthony Griffin
Kokoro Media

Founder and principal consultant (www.consultsaga.com) helping Japan-based organizations market to and communicate with international audiences.