Kaiju originally referred to monsters and creatures from ancient Japanese legends. The word "Kaiju" first appears in Classic of Mountains and Seas. After Sakoku, opening Japan to foreign relations, Japanese came to use the term kaiju to express concepts from paleontology and legendary creatures from around the world. For example, in 1908, during the Meiji period, it was suggested that the extinct Ceratosaurus was alive in Alaska, referred to as kaiju. However, there are no traditional depictions of kaiju or kaiju-like creatures in Japanese folklore but rather the origins of kaiju are found in film. The title of the first film with the name of the Kaiju is an atomic Kaiju appears (原子怪獣現れる, Genshi Kaiju ga Arawareru), the title of The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms in Japan. Gojira (transliterated to Godzilla) is regarded as the first kaiju film and was released in 1954. Tomoyuki Tanaka, a producer for Toho Studios in Tokyo, needed a film to release after his previous project was halted and upon seeing how well American Hollywood giant monster movie genre films King Kong and The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms had done in the box offices of Japan, as well as personally being a fan of the films, Tomoyuki Tanaka set out to make a new movie based on those American giant monster movies and created Godzilla. Tomoyuki Tanaka aimed to combine Hollywood giant monster movies with the re-emerged Japanese fears of atomic weapons, which came about due to the Daigo Fukuryū Maru fishing boat incident, and so he put a team together and created the concept of a radioactive giant creature emerging from the depths of the ocean which would become the iconic monster Godzilla. Godzilla was initially met with commercial success in Japan, inspiring an entire genre that came to be known as kaiju movies.
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