A Medievalist’s Guide to Godzilla & Friends

History hides the best monsters.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters is the latest movie iteration starring the classic kaiju, which also re-introduces multiple enemies from Godzillas past, including Mothra and Ghidorah.

It’s common knowledge that Godzilla was created as an artistic response to the atomic bombs used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki—the bomb awakens Godzilla in the original film, and the radiation makes the creature more powerful. But what about Godzilla’s fellow world-stompers?

According to medievalist Sarah Durn, “All of the monsters introduced in Michael Dougherty’s new film, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, can trace their roots in some way to the legends of Japan’s dragons.”

Over at io9, Durn looks at the beasts in Japanese myth and art that may have inspired the monsters of the Godzilla universe, including the King himself. Durn’s fascinating article explores Japanese bestiaries and the kami of the Shinto religion, drawing connections between the myths and the monsters of the Godzilla-verse. The three-headed Ghidorah is a modern take on the eight-headed (and nearly unstoppable) dragon Yamata no Orochi, while Godzilla draws some inspiration from the dragon deity Ryūjin.

Check out Durn’s full piece here.

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