Saturday, July 30, 2011

Garden of the Godzillas

Akira Ifukube's home

Who needs garden gnomes to accent the yard? Wouldn't a garden Godzilla be much more fun?

I'd prefer a garden Godzilla, personally, but then again, so would Akira Ifukube!

Ifukube lived in the Oyamadai neighborhood of Tokyo. Known as a rather affluent area, many of the homes here are uncommonly large and even allow for relatively spacious backyards.

Ifukube's backyard

Notice anything?

Ifukube's backyard was a virtual oasis of open, natural space in an otherwise very congested and built up suburban neighborhood. The yard included many plants and beautiful old trees as well a small pond complete with footbridges. One easily notices all of this at a first glance but, if you look more closely, the face of a familiar friend seems to emerge furtively from the surrounding foliage. Indeed...Gojira desu yo! It's Godzilla!

Ifukube acknowledged his firm ties to the King of the Monsters by including two effigies of the famous kaiju in his backyard. In the image above we see a large Godzilla "bust" to the left and, if you look even more closely, a Godzilla figurine stands ready to attack on the right.

This vignette seems to be an hommage to Godzilla's first appearance in Gojira (1954), no?

Yes, it seems similar enough to me!

The Godzilla figurine

Both the head and the figure portray, by the way, Godzilla in his original 1954 design. It is not surprising that Ifukube chose this image of the monster to adorn his yard as he considered his musical score for Gojira (1954) to be his best. Obviously, there is special affection here!

These twin Godzillas, I think, speak of the composer's lighthearted and playful side, which was perhaps not always at the fore when taking on the role of a "serious" composer. The figures also represent a sincere recognition of the monster who put the Ifukube's name on the map like never before. What a perfect way to say arigato to the big guy, then, by making him a permanent resident at the composer's home!

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