What the Podcast Taught Me about Japan

by Nathan Marchand

Image by geralt. Courtesy of www.Pixabay.com.

Many listeners have told Brian and I that the podcast has been educational for them. Not only did they learn things about Godzilla films they didn’t know, but they also learned much about Japan (which is just as important). It was a goal we set early in our planning process, and I’m happy to see that we’ve succeeded. It’s one of the things that sets us apart from other Godzilla/kaiju podcasts.

However, listeners weren’t the only ones who learned new things—I did as well.

That might seem like an unusual thing to admit. I’m podcasting about this, after all, which makes me something of an expert, right? In many regards, that’s true. I’ve been a Godzilla fan since I was a teen, and I’ve absorbed a lot of knowledge about the franchise over the years. But in researching for Kaijuvision Radio, I feel like I’ve more than doubled my knowledge about these films.

One of my favorite “discoveries” was learning about screenwriter Shinichi Sekizawa. Being a writer myself, I normally pay attention to screenwriter credits in films, but I never bothered to look up anything about him. I wish there was more information on him because he’s easily the most underappreciated member of Toho’s Showa era creative team. That’s why we take every opportunity to mention Sekizawa and the huge contributions he made to the franchise. He really did help make Godzilla the kaiju the fandom knows and loves.

More importantly, though, I learned much about the country that created Godzilla: Japan. Before this podcast, much of what I knew about the country was part of “Cool Japan.” I grew up watching G-films and anime and playing Japanese video games, among the country’s other exports. I learned things about the “real” Japan, but I still only knew the country in a pedestrian sort of way.

Now thanks to Brian and my research, I’ve become acquainted with the Japanese national spirit, which is one of the trademark subjects of our podcast. I’d heard a few things related to Japanese history—the Meiji Restoration, WWII, the Occupation, etc.—but not in detail. Things like the Japanese Economic Miracle, the Lost Decade, and the Yasukuni Shrine I didn’t know. One of the most eye-opening shows for me was episode 19 (Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla) when I dove deep into the rabbit hole that is Okinawa. If I once knew the island had been returned to Japan in the early 1970s, I’d forgotten, so I didn’t realize Toho made that Godzilla film for a people with a long history of animosity toward the mainland. It gave greater significance to a movie that’d long been just a fun romp.

It wasn’t just that film, though. The entire franchise has been enhanced by my new knowledge. Kaijuvision Radio is a film appreciation podcast, and part of that is understanding the original context for a movie’s creation. It doesn’t happen in a vacuum. I, like most people, am separated by time and culture with these films. I needed to be educated in order to more fully appreciate them. Without that, I was missing part of the story. How was I to know that the Xiliens were an expression of how the Japanese felt about foreigners? (See episode 11 for all the details). To me it was just a cool alien invasion film. Now it’s much, much more. Even something as recent as Shin Godzilla (episode 37) I wouldn’t have understood nearly as much if not for everything I’d learned in planning the podcast.

So, listeners, what was the most educational episode of Kaijuvision Radio for you? What did you learn from us that you didn’t know before?

If you’d like to help us continue creating podcasts that are both entertaining and enlightening, please support us on Patreon. We just added a new membership level with some great rewards, so don’t miss out!

Episode 19: Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974)

The first Mechagodzilla film is roughly a spoof of James Bond and a twist on The Planet of the Apes, only the apes are alien invaders! The soundtrack fits like a glove to this gloriously campy and fun movie, made to celebrate Godzilla’s 20th anniversary.  Because this movie features an Okinawan kaiju, King Caesar, our related topic is the history and culture of Okinawa. Join Nate and Brian as they continue on with 70s Month – every 70s movie in the series in just one month. This episode is dedicated to Shinichi Sekizawa.

MP3:

Introduction: 0:00 – 1:49

Part 1 – Film Description: 1:49 – 6:38

Part 2 – Opinion and Discussion: 6:38 – 51:43

Part 3 – Related Topic: 51:43 – 1:25:09

Closing: 1:25:09 – End

 

Co-Hosts: Brian Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

Editor: Brian Scherschel

Video Location: Lindenwood Cemetery, Fort Wayne, Indiana

Video: Brian Scherschel

Music: Audiophiliac (http://www.fiverr.com/audiophiliac)

Copyright Brian J. Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

All Rights Reserved

 

Episode 17: Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972)

For this week’s episode, we present Brian’s favorite Godzilla movie! Though it’s an underrated movie, it sold the most tickets of any of the late Showa series movies (after 1968). It’s also filmed well, full of action, yet also cerebral. The movie contains a story with multi-layered symbolism, yet it has lots of fire, explosions, and monster fights. Plus it’s infused with the Japanese National Spirit. Listen to Nate and Brian synthesize everything fascinating about this movie. Our related topics are the symbolism of Godzilla vs. Gigan and the 1972 Sapporo Winter Olympics. Our 4k video for this episode was made at a location much farther away from home than usual: New York state.

We’d like to send a shout-out to our patrons Kyoei Toshi and Sean Stiff for pledging at the Kaiju Visionary level. Thank you for your support! We really appreciate it.

This episode is dedicated to Haruo Nakajima.

MP3:

Introduction: 0:00 – 1:40

Part 1 – Film Description: 1:40 – 6:33

Part 2 – Opinion and Discussion: 6:33 – 45:42

Part 3 – Related Topic: 45:42 – 1:19:36

Closing: 1:19:36 – End

 

Co-Hosts: Brian Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

Editor: Brian Scherschel

Video Location: Donahue Memorial Park, Cornwall-On-Hudson, New York

Video: Brian Scherschel

Music: Audiophiliac (http://www.fiverr.com/audiophiliac)

Copyright Brian J. Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

All Rights Reserved

Episode 13: Son of Godzilla (1967)

Believe it or not, this was intended to be a date movie. We have a cute monster that resembles a human baby. Japan experienced a huge drop in the birth rate in the year before this movie was released, so maybe this date movie was intended to get couples in the mood? Listen to Nate and Brian discuss this challenging and extremely different kind of Godzilla movie.  Our related topics are weather control, extreme weather, and the Three Non-nuclear principles.

MP3:

Introduction: 0:00 – 1:45

Part 1 – Film Description: 1:45 – 7:03

Part 2 – Opinion and Discussion: 7:03 – 39:36

Part 3 – Related Topic: 39:36 – 1:07:52

Closing: 1:07:52 – End

 

Co-Hosts: Brian Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

Editor: Brian Scherschel

Video Location: Bryan, Ohio

Video: Brian Scherschel

Music: Audiophiliac (http://www.fiverr.com/audiophiliac)

Copyright Brian J. Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

All Rights Reserved

Episode 12: Ebirah – Horror of the Deep! (1966)

City slicker Brian and country boy Nate discuss the Godzilla film for young people with a South Seas adventure flavor.  Though it’s featured in Mystery Science Theater 3000, we conclude that this a considerably underestimated film.  Our related topic is how kaiju film audiences changed during this decade.

We’d like to send a shout-out to our patrons Kyoei Toshi and Sean Stiff for pledging at the Kaiju Visionary level.  Thank you for your support!  We really appreciate it.

MP3:

Introduction: 0:00 – 1:41

Part 1 – Film Description: 1:41 – 6:53

Part 2 – Opinion and Discussion: 6:53 – 48:00

Part 3 – Related Topic: 48:00 – 1:09:59

Closing: 1:09:59 – End

 

Co-Hosts: Brian Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

Editor: Brian Scherschel

Video Location: Historic Old Fort, Fort Wayne, Indiana

Video: Brian Scherschel

Music: Audiophiliac (http://www.fiverr.com/audiophiliac)

Copyright Brian J. Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

All Rights Reserved

Episode 11: Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965)

Nate and Brian analyze a big fan favorite, and it has major sci-fi flavor. It’s our first alien invasion movie, and features the return of King Ghidorah! Our related topic is the international affairs dimension of the alien invasion.

This episode is dedicated to Yoshio Tsuchiya.

MP3:

Introduction: 0:00 – 1:32

Part 1 – Film Description: 1:32 – 7:26

Part 2 – Opinion and Discussion: 7:26 – 52:20

Part 3 – Related Topic: 52:20 – 1:15:33

Closing: 1:15:33 – End

 

Co-Hosts: Brian Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

Editor: Brian Scherschel

Video Location: Lakeside Park, Fort Wayne, Indiana

Video: Brian Scherschel

Music: Audiophiliac (http://www.fiverr.com/audiophiliac)

Copyright Brian J. Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

All Rights Reserved

Episode 10: Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)

The franchise reaches a turning point with some James Bondian flair. Brian and Nate discuss Godzilla turning into a hero and the introduction of Godzilla’s archenemy King Ghidorah! Our related topics are China’s first nuclear test, Japan during the Vietnam War, and Japan joining the OECD. (Hail Ghidrah!)

MP3:

Introduction: 0:00 – 1:40

Part 1 – Film Description: 1:40 – 7:18

Part 2 – Opinion and Discussion: 7:18 – 56:19

Part 3 – Related Topic: 56:19 – 1:15:47

Closing: 1:15:47 – End

 

Co-Hosts: Brian Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

Editor: Brian Scherschel

Video Location: Clinton Street, Fort Wayne, Indiana

Video: Brian Scherschel

Music: Audiophiliac (http://www.fiverr.com/audiophiliac)

Copyright Brian J. Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

All Rights Reserved

Episode 9: Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964)

Nathan and Brian discuss this momentous and archetypal film.  Many fans consider this to be one of the best Godzilla sequels. It was created in 1964, a seminal year for Japan, Japanese cinema, and the kaiju genre.  Our related topics include Typhoon Vera, the 1964 Summer Olympics, the preview for the 2020 Summer Olympics, the Shinkansen Bullet Train, and the Tokyo Monorail.

MP3:

Introduction: 0:00 – 1:53

Part 1 – Film Description: 1:53 – 5:52

Part 2 – Opinion and Discussion: 5:52 – 26:43

Part 3 – Related Topic: 26:43 – 41:47

Closing: 41:47 – End

 

Co-Hosts: Brian Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

Editor: Brian Scherschel

Video Location: Towpath Trail, Fort Wayne, Indiana

Video: Brian Scherschel

Music: Audiophiliac (http://www.fiverr.com/audiophiliac)

Copyright Brian J. Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

All Rights Reserved

Episode 8: King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)

Two giant monster franchises collide in this momentous blockbuster that changed everything. Listen as Brian and Nate discuss this well-produced and entertaining parody that stars one of our favorite kaiju film characters, Mr. Tako! Our related topic is the Japanese Economic Miracle, which led to Japan becoming a global economic powerhouse.

We’d like to send a shout-out to our patron Kyoei Toshi for pledging at the Kaiju Visionary level. Thank you for your support! We really appreciate it.

MP3:

Introduction: 0:00 – 1:25

Part 1 – Film Description: 1:25 – 7:07

Part 2 – Opinion and Discussion: 7:07 – 45:21

Part 3 – Related Topic: 45:21 – 1:20:15

Closing: 1:20:15 – End

 

Co-Hosts: Brian Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

Editor: Brian Scherschel

Video Location: Cedar Creek, Metea County Park, Allen County, Indiana

Video: Brian Scherschel

Music: Audiophiliac (http://www.fiverr.com/audiophiliac)

Copyright Brian J. Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

All Rights Reserved

Episode 7: Mothra (1961)

The Golden 60s begin with Mothra’s solo movie.  It’s the first film we cover written by Shinichi Sekizawa who changes the kaiju film formula forever, and the first kaiju movie in Tohoscope.  Listen to Brian and Nate as they tackle this overlooked, amazing, and high-quality kaiju masterpiece. Our related topic is the US-Japan Security Treaty and its renewal in 1960.

MP3:

Introduction: 0:00 – 1:48

Part 1 – Film Description: 1:48 – 6:59

Part 2 – Opinion and Discussion: 6:59 – 42:24

Part 3 – Related Topic: 42:24 – 1:12:26

Closing: 1:12:26 – End

 

Co-Hosts: Brian Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

Editor: Brian Scherschel

Video Location: Eagle Marsh, Allen County, Indiana

Video: Brian Scherschel

Music: Audiophiliac (http://www.fiverr.com/audiophiliac)

Copyright Brian J. Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

All Rights Reserved