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Godzilla Franchise: Why Is It Still So Popular?

Devon Lord-MoncriefDevon Lord-Moncrief
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May 31, 2024
A statue that features the Godzilla franchise.

For 70 years, the Godzilla franchise has stomped and stormed through massive battles against the most ferocious assortment of aliens and monsters imaginable! Godzilla has become more than just a successful film franchise, though.

He has become a walking symbol to Japan, acting as a hero and a cautionary tale. As one of the world’s most famous movie characters, it’s easy to see why Japan loves Godzilla so much!

Who created Godzilla?

Godzilla was created in 1954 by Toho Co., Ltd. Specifically, he was created by Tomoyuki Tanaka, Eiji Tsuburaya, and Ishiro Honda. His debut film, Godzilla, introduced viewers to the harrowing tale of how the giant dinosaur monster rose from the ocean’s depths to wreak havoc on mankind. The original film is earnest and treats Godzilla’s radioactive origin as a cautionary tale for the horrors of nuclear weaponry.

How many movies does Godzilla have?

Godzilla has starred in 33 mainline films, five American-made films, and several spin-off movies. He battles against monsters such as King Ghidora, Gigan, and Megalon and receives aid from friendly monsters like Rodan, Angirus, and Mothra.

A Godzilla diorama in the Hotel Gracery.
This awesome diorama is in Hotel Gracery! Image via Shutterstock

In his American films, Godzilla is often depicted very differently from his Japanese entries and has even fought the likes of King Kong. Despite the big monster madness in his films, Godzilla rarely becomes too frightening for younger viewers to watch.

How is the Godzilla franchise seen in Japan?

Godzilla has evolved mightily over the years and has come to represent many different things to the people of Japan. He started as a walking disaster, a living testament to the consequences of the nuclear holocaust. For a time, he became a fun anti-hero and even the defender of Earth.

A large lizard statue in Yokosuka.
This statue in Yokosuka is actually a slide! Image via Shutterstock

In recent years, Godzilla has returned to its tragic roots, as seen in 2016’s Shin Godzilla and 2023’s Godzilla Minus One. The Godzilla franchise kickstarted the kaiju tokusatsu (monster movie) genre in Japan, involving giant monsters in productions emphasizing practical special effects. This accomplishment holds immense significance and cannot be understated.

Where can you see the Godzilla franchise in Japan?

Godzilla appears virtually everywhere across Japan, especially when a new film is about to debut. The King of the Monsters adorns cups, flyers, and snacks in Lawson’s, 7-11’s, and Family Marts. Vending machines feature the giant green monster’s face, and advertisements grace almost every train station.
Godzilla’s presence extends beyond movies, appearing in video games, magazines, and books. For true Godzilla enthusiasts, here are a few unique places to spot the giant monster!

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Shinjuku: Godzilla Head

The Godzilla Head in Shinjuku.
This Godzilla is right behind a hotel and a movie theater! Image via Shutterstock

Located just a few minutes from Shinjuku Station, Godzilla’s giant head can be seen from atop the Hotel Gracery Shinjuku. Impressive during the daytime, seeing Godzilla at night is even better. Just watch out for the crowds that flock to see him, too!


The King of the Monsters isn’t stuck just in one spot in Tokyo. If fans find themselves near Yurakucho Station, they can find a gorgeously detailed statue of Godzilla. Based on his Shin Godzilla design, this version of the monster is fearsome and terrifying but still incredible to behold. At roughly 13 feet tall, this is a statue you’ll have to look up to.

A Godzilla statue in Yurakucho.
This is Japan’s biggest Godzilla statue! Image via Shutterstock


Fans who can visit the Toho Studios building in Setagaya in Tokyo have a special treat in store! Standing in front of the building is a statue of Godzilla himself. Luckily for everyone visiting him (and Tokyo), this Godzilla seems content to stand guard.

Godzilla Festival Osaka

Once a year, the Godzilla Festival in Osaka officially celebrates the giant monster himself. The most recent festival was based on the Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire film. Attendees could purchase tons of Godzilla merchandise, enjoy a monster meet-and-greet, and watch the Operation Jet Jaguar short, among many other things.

A large, monster lizard statue in Osaka.
This event took place this past April! Image via Shutterstock

Why is the franchise important?

Godzilla has become more than just a famous movie monster in Japan. He has become one of the world’s most famous and recognizable movie characters of all time. He has crossed over into every primary medium with outstanding success. Godzilla appeals to young and old viewers, those who enjoy his sillier adventures, and those who love his more serious films.

Godzilla has come and gone over the years but has experienced a fantastic return within the past ten years. As new visions shape the giant dinosaur into even bigger and better versions of himself, fans can rest easy knowing the popularity of Japan’s gigantic movie star is more significant than ever.

A Godzilla statue in Akihabara.
What do you think of the Godzilla franchise? Image via Shutterstock

Are you a Godzilla fan? Do you have a favorite monster? If so, who is it (Mothra, obviously.) Please let us know in the comments below! We would love to hear about how much you love Godzilla!

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