A Japanese Professor illustrates studies on the Japanese constitution with Godzilla films.
In an effort to make the study of the Japanese constitution and anti-war ideas more accessible to his students, Professor Hiroshi Ito has decided that the best tool for the job is the King of Monsters, Godzilla. As a professor of media studies at Wakayama Shin-ai Women’s Junior College, he began a course back on April 26, utilizing footage from throughout the six decades of Godzilla films to help students frame their understanding of the document.
Starting with the first film in the series, the professor charts Godzilla’s initial inception and purpose. “Godzilla (films) started as an anti-nuclear, anti-war project,” Ito states, as he goes into the history of how the attacks of Godzilla were meant to reflect the post World War II fears about nuclear attack and fallout among the Japanese people. Throughout the course, Ito uses the films to help describe the country’s pacifist history, and how those ideas are shown through the most recent live-action film.
At the time of release in 2016, Shin Godzilla (Godzilla: Resurgence), went on to become the highest grossing movie of the year in Japan, bringing in 180 million yen ($73 million). After seeing the film’s depiction of the politics surrounding a military solution for dealing with Godzilla, Ito saw this as an opportunity to use the film to educate people about the current debate surrounding the Japanese constitution.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has spoken about plans to change Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, which states that the country will not maintain any armed forces with war potential. The use of military power by way of the Japan Self-Defense Forces, or JSDF, is a large portion of dealing with threats such as Godzilla in the movies. In real life, the possibility of expanding the use and power of the military is something that Ito wanted to make sure people understood the implications of. “These things were now taken for granted, and it worried me,” Ito said, in regards to the nuclear options spoken about in Shin Godzilla.
Shin Godzilla is available now on Blu-Ray, DVD, and streaming services.
Source: The Mainichi