October 26, 2010
By MARC RAMIREZ
The Dallas Morning News
The amphibian beast hails from the East, big and green and mostly mean. King of the Monsters, they call him – which is to say that Godzilla is the Elvis of monsters, a hunka-hunka-burnin'-breath who has left countless cities and towns all shook up in his cinematic wake.
Revered and feared, defender and destroyer, he's just a big lug who is misunderstood. For 56 years, this icon of pop culture and Japanese film has conquered imaginations and similarly costumed foes, creating perhaps the world's most prolific movie franchise.
Along his torn-up trail, the menacing brute also has created some major Godzilla geeks. One of them is William Tsutsui, the recently appointed dean of SMU's Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, whose obsession with Godzilla goes beyond campy special effects.
As he was growing up, his childhood fascination gave way to scholarly interpretation – and Tsutsui came to see the globally recognized monster as cultural ambassador, the therapeutic creation of a postwar Japan.
"I realized there was something more there than just a guy in a rubber suit," said Tsutsui, 47.
Earlier this month, Tsutsui addressed Godzilla's place in Japanese culture for about 130 people at SMU's Dallas Hall, where his passion and admiration for the big fella was evident in his lecture, sponsored by the Japan-America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth.
Read the full story.
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