Godzilla and Whaling

I caught this piece of news via AmericaBlog (the original article is here).

Apparently, the Sea Shepherd anti-whaling group is now going to confront Japanese whaling ships using a boat called Gojira, after the big lizard himself (whom I've written about in the In Godzilla's Footsteps anthology). Now, I have problems with whaling myself, and think Japan's pursuit of whaling through "scientific research" is a crock. And perhaps using the Godzilla name - especially the Japanese version of that name - is one way of really thumbing your nose at Japanese hypocrisy. 

But I was really disturbed when I saw the image that emblazons the new boat: it is not that of the Japanese Godzilla, but of the American remake from 1998. If it was the Japanese Godzilla, it could serve as a sly reminder that Godzilla does not attack Japan simply because it's a radioactive beast, but because it's a Japanese god that goes after Japan when it has somehow strayed from its natural path (or so intimates the old islander in the original film). 

Maybe there were copyright problems, but we have to think about the meanings separate from that. With the American Godzilla on the boat, it is not only emphasizing that this is America (the Sea Shepherd group is based in the US, even if the ship is Australian) attacking Japan, it is asserting that it can appropriate Japanese ways, warp them to its own interests, and then force them down their throats. And of course along the way forget that Godzilla was originally also a critique of American power (and use of the bomb). It's a classic neo-colonialist mentality, one that here appropriates nature as something the West really values and imposes it on everyone else. No wonder most Japanese (who also dislike the US Godzilla) hate the Sea Shepherd. 

In the same way I talked about the controversy over The Cove, this is not the way to engage in real debate about the environment and conservation. 

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