“I learned from this exhibition that this genre was the first Japanese cultural product to win a truly global audience,” explained Amy Heinrich, Director of the C. V. Starr East Asian Library. “The exhibition illustrates how the icon was translated in multiple ways throughout the globe.” Godzilla, a dinosaur-like monster, frequently appears as “King Kong” in Italian posters, and as “Frankenstein” in German advertisements. Within a year of Godzilla’s American debut (Loew’s State Theater in Times Square, 1956) Godzilla, King of the Monsters had played on five continents as well as on both sides of the Iron Curtain.
The exhibition showcases 14 large posters from the private collection of Professor Gregory Pflugfelder, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, who hosted a symposium on Japanese monsters on April 2, 2004. In addition to posters, rare materials from the Starr Library collection are featured, such as illustrated books with monsters, and woodblock prints.
For more information about the exhibition, and C. V. Starr East Asian Library hours, please visit http://www.columbia.edu/cu/ealac/dkc/calendar/godzilla/.
The C. V. Starr East Asian Library is one of the major collections for the study of East Asia in the United States, with close to 750,000 volumes of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tibetan, and Western language materials, as well as some holdings in Mongol and Manchu, and over 5,500 periodical titles. The collection established in 1902, is particularly strong in Chinese history, literature, and social sciences; Japanese literature, history, and religion, particularly Buddhism; and Korean history. The Library’s website is located at http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/indiv/eastasian/index.html.