December 25th, 2012
Below article abridged version of H. Ryder Søggard’s piece on Godzilla day. Shortened by the author with great thanks from the mountain for allowing us to use it
Commonly celebrated between the 24th and 25th of December. This feast day has, like Christmas, had its name changed with each permutation of the resurrecting God-entity said to born on this day. Though disputed, it is said the direct translation of its earliest name from the Japanese adapted classical Chinese script of the time was ‘Birth of the Death-Lizard’ or more confusingly (since the entity is more often than not depicted as female) ‘Rise (sometimes crowning) of the God Lizard’ (though western translators of the late 19th century would mistakenly reword to this ‘Lizard King’). Although Gojira Day or as it is more commonly known outside of Japan, ‘Godzilla day’, has from its inception always been a day of celebration and festivities. It is a little known fact that its roots are within an ancient death-cult that can be traced back to the worship of a primordial entity that many scholars have likened to Tiamat, the monster/goddess from ancient Sumerian mythology. Noted Japanese scholars on the subject say that there is nothing ancient about the cult and that the ‘Heavenly Soldiers of the Death Lizard’ has been an active force within the world at least up until the nineties.
While also one of the leading experts on the cult, the loudest proponent of this theory is the the owner of the Unit404 conspiracy theory website who writes under the pseudonym ‘Satō’s Eye’. Who, though once respected within this rather insular and paranoid community, has drawn ridicule and distance from his fellows in recent years due to his wild rants on the “Cult of the Death-Lizard’. Satō’s claims run from the fantastical to the mildly plausible and are usually backed up by a seemingly limitless supply of data that at first glance appears to substantiate his theories. Which include; that the Chernobyl and Three Mile Island disasters were both caused by agents of the cult trying to bring about the early rise of the Death Lizard. Or that Jim Morrison, having made contact with a member of the cults Californian branch and gaining vague knowledge of the cult, decided to cobble together several other psychological, shamanic and Buddhist meanings to it and adopt the name ‘The Lizard King’. Which he would later use to push the astral profoundness of his words and sell his poetry. Satō insists that the cult grew vexed with the increasingly shambolic and vulgar Morrison essentially blaspheming their deity for his own ends and duly poisoned him in Paris. Interestingly enough, Satō says he can find no traces of the cult’s movements in the last two decades, a fact he often worries about in his blog.
The festival itself would overgo two radical changes before becoming as we would know and celebrate it in modern times. The first of which would begin with the release of the 1954 film ‘Gojira’ by the Toho Film Company. The name allegedly comes from a nickname of a Toho Studios worker and is a combination of gorilla and kujira (which means “whale” in Japanese). Satō and several scholars in the field say that this is just an obscure way of referring to a leviathan like being, essentially, the Death Lizard. Released in 1954 almost ten years after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The film was a grim and serious allegorical tale about the consequences of the hydrogen bomb. With the radioactive contamination of the Japanese fishing boat Daigo Fukuryu Maru through the United States’ Castle Bravo thermonuclear device test on Bikini Atoll, happening on March 1, of the same year. Its timing on a people devastated and deeply paranoid of atomic weapons and energy was perfect and it would have a lasting place within popular Japanese culture. Godzilla appearing in no less than twenty eight films.
Some have pointed out the parallels, conscious or unconscious, between Godzilla’s relationship to Japan and that of the United States; first a terrible enemy who causes enormous destruction, but then becoming a good friend and defender in times of peril. While others, including Satō, state that the whole franchise is nothing but the media being manipulated by the cult and that while Godzilla itself has many social, parabolic and philosophical meanings. That the series is a very clear effort to disseminate the beliefs and worship of the Death Lizard.
The final change undergone by the festival would happen in the last days of the twentieth century. Tired by the continuing Americanisation of the December holidays and equally disillusioned by the stranglehold the Christian mystery religion of the resurrecting God-Man ‘Jesus’ had on one of the most ancient festival periods. An unknown group of Europeans, decided to find their own resurrecting God-entity and set up a counter movement to what at the time was commonly known as ‘Christmas’. It is rumored that there was some argument within the original group as to which entity to pick, with some favoring a more classical approach and others wishing to create their own being. Although Satō argues otherwise, pointing to the Cult, the exact story of the festival’s modernisation is not known. With some sources pointing to meetings members of the group had with fanatical and poorly educated American and European Christians others saying that simply the group just wanted the period to have a real meaning and yet more others dryly noting that “Bob must have willed it.” There is also some argument as to whether the movement began as a greeting first or an explanation followed by a greeting.
The greeting in question, “Happy Godzilla Day”, has become commonplace outside of the Christian norm of the West and the explanation is a mantra often heard repeated throughout the pubs and clubs of the continent.
“I wish you Happy Godzilla Day because this is the eve of Godzilla’s birth. If you think about it, you’d understand. Rather than gathering around a huge crucifix, you worship a large green, vaguely triangular shaped tree covered in flashing lights. Beneath the feet of which lie building like boxes wrapped in garish paper as if they were burning. In truth, by purchasing a tree and decorating it in silver and lights, you have built an effigy to Godzilla, King of the Monsters. And by placing your carefully wrapped presents beneath it, you offer symbolic sacrifice to Godzilla in the form of a city. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, the coming of Godzilla is something to be rejoiced, as upon the King of the Monsters resurrection, the old stagnant world will be torn down and trampled by his mighty feet, its corruptions cleansed away by its holy atomic fire beam. So. Happy Godzilla Day.”
The holiday generally begins with the burning of a Raymond Burr picture. This ritualistic act is both an acknowledgment of the true history and way of Godzilla and a sign of continued devotion and loyalty. Families do not send cards to each other in the traditional sense, rather they give and receive images of atomic and nuclear detonations. In recent years, pictures of Chernobyl have also become both acceptable and fashionable. These images tend to be displayed quite prominently around the home. Whilst many families still purchase trees and decorate them in effigy of Godzilla (with small likenesses of tanks, planes and trains replacing the baubles that would normally hang from it). Purists within the movement are known to construct paper-maché likenesses of Godzilla which can either be Godzilla at rest, mid-trample, or with careful preparation mid-atomic fire beam (flashing lights running up its tail and dorsal fins and a larger flashing bulb set within a jagged shade that projects from its mouth. Presents are universally wrapped to resemble buildings and city structures, with many being depicted in various states of destruction.
The holiday begins proper once all members of the family, regardless of age, have sat down to watch a documentary on atomic weapons and nuclear power. Though ‘The Atomic Cafe’ is possibly the most common, recent years have not only seen a rise in a greater variety of documentaries watched, but also the inclusion of those that deal with the fire bombing of Dresden and such cautionary tales as Mononoke-hime and Kaze no tani no Nausicaa . The reason behind this part of the holiday is somewhat complex and often disputed. One of the more commonly held views is that while part it is a remembrance, it is also an admittance of the culpability of man for the state of the Earth to Godzilla. In a hope that the acceptance of the stupidity and horror that is so clearly shown within these documentaries, that perhaps through the ways of Godzilla, mankind can change by destroying the remaining evil of the past and build anew upon the good with resilient hope for a better future.
Another view is that the act of viewing this material is a preventative measure implemented by the movement to stop its members succumbing to the blithe brainwashed acceptance pushed by the mainstream media. Satō and others claim it has more sinister reasons, that is in fact a ritualistic event whereby the followers of the cult prepare themselves for the inevitable coming of Godzilla by numbing themselves with images of what will trail in his wake.
Presents are generally kept small and are opened on the morning of the 25th to mark ‘Godzilla’s rise from the sea’.
A Godzilla day meal is also held, many of the dishes have been crafted to look like elements from the legend of Godzilla. This can simply be an A or H formed with bacon on a turkey or duck (to symbolise atomic or hydrogen bombs) to the more elaborate, where side dishes, cakes and puddings are made to resemble people, trains, city structures or even some of the metaphorical monsters Godzilla has encountered (such as Anguirus or King Ghidorah). After the dinner, the holiday is all but over until the ‘Feast of Godzilla’s Resurrection’ (which happens later in the new year) and the family members are free to do as they wish without any social or family obligations on them. The very last aspect of the holiday, though not commonly celebrated, is a last family gathering held at some point on the day after. Wherein one or another of Godzilla’s many movies is watched. The reasoning for this has sometimes been attributed to a celebration of Godzilla’s son or protege Minya (sometimes known as Godzuki/Godzooky) although many say they do it just because they like Godzilla movies.