Godzilla made Tokyo res­i­dent, tourism en­voy

The China Post - - ARTS - BY YURI KAGEYAMA

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.

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