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Explore Future Kaiju Monsters in Japan

• What is the future of kaiju monsters in Japan? Godzilla has slept for a long time in Japan, although it woke up in the U.S. and slapped fans’ cheeks to wake them up.

• Hiroshi Sagae, a master maquette sculptor and model maker for the film and toy industries, returned to G-FEST last July. He spoke about building miniature cities and demonstrated figure making. The Godzilla fans kept watching his finger movements and clay, which turned out Gamera.

• Growing up in the kaiju era, Sagae looked for a way to bring back the boom and started to create a local kaiju with prefectures, cities, villages, and local towns. Each town in Japan has its own culture, heritage, customs, and specialties, and more importantly, residents are proud of their own. Sagae said that local kaiju would spread throughout Japan with the support of local governments and their residents.

• For example, the panda in Ueno Zoo is popular in Tokyo, so he made a kaiju based on a panda.
• Osaka is home of “obachan”, who are powerful, meddling, not necessarily old, but not young. When Sagae transforms obachan to a kaiju, the result can be seen in the image.
• Ibaragi prefecture is famous for producing natto, fermented soybean with a stale smell. It’s a common breakfast item, but its sticky characteristic looks weird. He made it into a kaiju. See the image in this page.
• Sagae installed eyeholes in those kaiju, so the kaiju suits can be made easily when the time comes to produce a kaiju movie.

• Ancient clay pots with flamelike decoration were excavated at Uonuma City in Niigata Prefecture. Sagae collaborated with the City to create a kaiju based on the image of the pot, and the City is going to promote its image and specialties. He created the kaiju free of charge, and when the City makes a profit by selling T-shirts and other goods with the kaiju character, he and the City will share the profits. Sagae said, “When we set up a profit-sharing system, local cities can make their own kaiju without taking any risk. As the number of collaborating cities increases, new kaiju will spread across Japan.”

• He also said that the local kaiju could be used in a game. Osaka’s obachan kaiju, for example, can fight with natto kaiju. Since Osaka people dislike natto, obachan kaiju might be defeated by natto kaiju. “Such a story would promote solidarity among local cities. It is not just a dream to make a film from kaiju characters. Actually, Transformer was a series of toys, but it became a movie some years later,” Sagae said.

• Sagae currently teaches figure making courses at the Oosaka University of Arts Junior College. The courses are approved by the Japan’s Government and became the first courses in the world in the figure making field.

• Shingo Maehata and Kosuke Otani, students of the Osaka University of Arts, participated in G-Fest and screened their independent kaiju film “Zella Monster Martial Law”. The image of the film can be seen at the internet.

• The full story is available in the Chicago Shimpo’s 2014, August 8th issue

from left: shingo Maehara, Hiroshi Sagae, Kosuke Otani, and Yumiko Sagae

Natto Kaiju "Bchllking" (c) ITTSU

Osaka's obachan kaiju "Hyougarayan" (c) ITTSU

Uonuma City's kaiju "Dokira" (c) ITTSU

Tokyo's kaiju "Pandan" (c) ITTSU

Nagoya's kaiju "Shachihokon" (c) ITTSU