Takuma Sato, the Indy 500, and Godzilla

by Nathan Marchand

Takuma Sato in the winner’s circle after winning the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 Sunday. (Source: LAT Images)

Congratulations on winning the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 this past Sunday, Takuma Sato!  We here at Kaijuvision Radio are not only excited to see the underdog win, but also to see the first Japanese driver win the greatest spectacle in motorsports.

Some of you may be wondering, “What does this have to do with the podcast or Godzilla?”

Well, G-Fans and kaiju lovers, this is relevant for several reasons:

  • A big part of Kaijuvision Radio’s focus is Japan and its history and culture. As mentioned, this marked the first time a Japanese driver has won the Indy 500. Heck, he’s the first Asian to win the 500.  That’s a big deal.  Undoubtedly, he’s made his home country quite proud.
  • This is a fairly local story for Brian and I since we both live in Indiana.  The Indianapolis 500 is easily the biggest event here.  It’s the one time a year the whole world pays attention to our great little state (unless you count the one time Indianapolis hosted the Super Bowl).  The 500 is a prestigious event that has become an annual tradition for the entire country for over a century.
  • There are two subtle connections between the Indy 500 and Godzilla films:

-In 1969’s All Monsters Attack (aka Godzilla’s Revenge), one of the bullies who tortures Ichiro wears a red sweater adorned with an Indianapolis 500 logo. Well, maybe not a logo, per se, but certainly an Indy 500 artwork of some kind.

-In 1973’s Godzilla vs. Megalon, the character Hiroshi seems to be a car collector since he’s seen driving several different ones.  During his first car chase with Seatopian agents, an Indy 500 logo sticker can clearly be seen on the windshield of the car he’s driving.  Perhaps he’s an Indy racing fan?

What these seemingly weak connections show is that there’s been something of a fandom for auto racing in Japan for several decades.  It was prominent enough that not only was the sport shown in Godzilla films, but it was a direct reference to me and Brian’s little corner of the world.  So, in a way, with Mr. Sato’s victory Sunday, it has finally come full circle.

I’m sure Hiroshi would be a huge fan—and probably give him advice on how to drive down stairs while eluding bad guys.