The character first appeared in Ishirō Honda’s 1954 film Godzilla and became a worldwide pop culture icon, appearing in various media, including 32 films produced by Toho, three Hollywood films and numerous video games, novels, comic books and television shows.

The statue of Godzilla, at the entrance of Toho Studios

Toho was created by the founder of Hankyu Railway, Ichizō Kobayashi, in 1932 as the Tokyo-Takarazuka Theater Company. It managed much of the kabuki in Tokyo and, among other properties, the Tokyo Takarazuka Theater and the Imperial Garden Theater in Tokyo.

Toho competed with the influx of Hollywood films and boosted the film industry by focusing on new directors of the likes of Akira Kurosawa, Ichikawa Kon, Kinoshita Keisuke and Shindo Kaneto.

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