The fishermen on the Lucky Dragon were not the only ones exposed to the deadly fall-out.
When nuclear debris fell on nearby atolls, children played in it like it was snow. Radiation-related cancers persist in the Marshall Islands to this day, after the nation endured 55 other explosive US nuclear tests.
The producers of the film felt that a debate by Japanese politicians of the morality of US nuclear policy would upset World War II veterans — they also decided that including an American would make the movie more palatable.
A shift away from the anti-nuclear narrative happened immediately with the next release.
In 1956, “GOJIRA” became Godzilla when the giant monster landed on American shores.
The movie titled “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” was an editing mashup of the original 1954 film with a few new American actors.The drastic difference in the clarity of Godzilla’s origin and intentionality of the message between the 1954 Japanese version and the 1956 American version was explicit in the last line of each movie.Both films end when the only weapon that can kill Godzilla is deployed and takes the life of both its scientist creator and Godzilla.In the final line of “GOJIRA,” a serious warning is provided.The man who discovered Godzilla’s origin says solemnly, “If we keep on conducting nuclear tests, it’s possible that another Godzilla might appear somewhere in the world, again.” Conversely, in “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” the American narrator ends with a message of hope: Even though this tragic event has occurred, “The whole world [can] wake up and live again.” The different perspectives are not surprising; the citizens of the United States and Japan felt completely different fears after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.Almost everyone has heard of Godzilla, even if they’ve never seen a Godzilla movie.What most people don’t know is the famous monster’s connection to nuclear weapons.The film clearly explains that hydrogen bomb testing by the United States is what caused the disaster; the explosive atmospheric test awoke and irradiated a giant green sea creature who arose from the water to wreak havoc on Japan.Less than a decade after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, anti-nuclear sentiment can be felt throughout the film.The combination of the massive explosion and an unexpected shift in wind meant the sailors on the Lucky Dragon were in fallout range of the largest explosive nuclear test in US history.The crew all suffered radiation poisoning with one member dying a few months later and others remaining hospitalized for more than a year.