Godzilla in Japan and the World and Raising Funds for Japan

June 24th, 2011

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BU Japanese Student Association members collect donations to benefit victims in Japan

On Thursday, April 21, 2011, over 130 Asian Studies faculty, film enthusiasts, and students gathered at the Colloquium Room of the BU Photonics Center for a truly unique film viewing of the 1954 Japanese classic Gojira (known in the United States as Godzilla).

The event took place just over a month after the earthquake in northeastern Japan, and amid daily news coverage of the ongoing disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant. This made the discussion about nuclear dangers, a prominent theme in the 1954 film even more poignant. In recognition of the gravity of these events organizers invited the BU Japanese Student Association to collect donations and sell wristbands at the door to benefit the victims of the earthquake.

Students, Faculty, and members of the community attend the screening.

Students, faculty, film enthusiasts, and members of the community attend the lecture.

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Event organizers Keith Vincent and Hiromi Miyagi-Lusthaus with speaker Greg Pflugfelder.

The evening began with a lecture by Gregory Pflugfelder, a Japanese historian at Columbia University. Professor Pflugfelder’s lecture, titled “The many faces of Godzilla: Figuring atomic danger and urban devastation in cold war Japan,” helped to contextualize the film historically and provided some insight into why the original Gojira movie was made. The lecture was made even better by a slide presentation of Professor Pflugfelder’s extraordinary collection of Godzilla posters and paraphernalia from all over the world, including many from communist Eastern Europe.

Following the film screening, participants were invited to continue the discussion with a sushi reception.

This event was made possible by financial contributions from the Center for the Study of Asia, the Boston University Humanities Foundation, and the Department of Modern Languages and Comparative Literature.  This event attracted significant attention from outside the BU community, with stories being written in BU Today, The Japan Society of Boston, the Boston Phoenix, and The Quad.

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Gojira (1954) on the big screen.