Godzilla is among the top five movie monsters of all time in terms of fame and longevity along with Frankenstein, King Kong, Alien and Predator. He was on books, TV shows, movies, and even games, proving that he is indeed the “King of the Monsters.” I mean, who doesn’t know him? Although he’s famous and loved by many, most of us are not aware that Godzilla was created by a Japanese prisoner of war who faced his own monsters at that time. Here’s the story behind the creation of our favorite monster.

The Man Behind the Monster

Godzilla’s beginning could be traced back to May 7, 1911, when Ishiro Honda was born in Japan. He turned out to have a knack for films, and so by the 1930s, he was a promising film director who was working under the legendary film director Kajiro Yamamoto. Everything was going well as far as his film directing journey was concerned until, in 1934, Honda received a draft notice: he was being called to serve in the military in early 1935. And so he did.

A year into the military, his commanding officer started a coup against the government and failed. Honda was not personally one of those who staged the coup. Still, he was included along with his whole regiment, who were sent away to Manchukuo(Manchuria) in 1936 because they were all considered dangerous, and the government could not trust them anymore.

Japanese filmmaker Ishirō Honda at the National Museum of Nature and Science, in Tokyo, during the filming of Frankenstein Conquers the World. (Honda Film Inc., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

He was one of the men who participated in 1939 during Japan’s invasion of China. In 1944, he was supposed to be sent to the Philippines, which at that time was under their country’s occupation, but he missed the boat that would bring him there. He was left to serve in China instead, where the war was less vicious for the Japanese because they had the upper hand. Throughout his six years at war, he would spend his free time pursuing his film career and love for movies, although the films that were being produced at that time were nothing but war propaganda.