Godzilla made Tokyo resident, tourism envoy
Godzilla has stomped so many buildings in Japan that the irradiated monster was appointed special resident and tourism ambassador for Tokyo’s Shinjuku ward.
A Godzilla-size head towering 52-meters (171 feet) above ground level was unveiled Thursday at an office of Toho, the Japanese studio behind the 1954 original. Toho is shooting a comeback film this year after a decade-long hiatus.
Godzilla’s standing as an icon has had its ups and downs, but its stature has been reinstated after the Hollywood “Godzilla,” directed by Gareth Edwards, became a global hit last year.
Japan is hoping the biggest star in this nation’s movie history will help lure tourists during a marketopening strategy launched by the prime minister.
At an awards ceremony next to the giant Godzilla head, an actor in a rubber suit waddled to Shinjuku Mayor Kenichi Yoshizumi. However, Toho executive Minami Ichikawa had to accept the residency certificate in Godzilla’s place, since the suit’s claws aren’t designed to grab anything.
The longtime belief is that any place Godzilla destructs in the movies is sure to prosper in real life, Yoshizumi said.
“Godzilla is a character that the pride of Japan,” he said.
Hiroshi Ohnishi, chief executive of the Isetan-Mitsukoshi department store chain, who heads the area’s tourism promotion, kept referring to Godzilla with the very polite honorific “sama” — used at the end of a name — underlining re-
is spect for the creature as a businessdrawing landmark for the region.
Shinjuku, known for its downhome bars and noodle restaurants, has not been spared, flattened in three Toho movies. If Godzilla chooses to return, it can now stomp on its own giant head. But Ichikawa told reporters where it will show up was still undecided.
(Above) A life-size Godzilla head on a balcony of the eighth floor of Hotel Gracery Shinjuku expels smoke from its mouth during the official unveiling ceremony at Kabukicho shopping district in Tokyo on Thursday, April 9. The Godzilla is a main feature of the new commercial complex comprising a 970-room hotel, movie theaters and restaurants, which will be open this month. (Right) A life-size Godzilla head is seen through a window of the “Gozilla View Room” of Hotel Gracery Shinjuku at Kabukicho shopping district in Tokyo on Thursday.