Kaiju (Japanese: 怪獣, Hepburn: Kaijū, lit. 'Strange Beast') is a Japanese term that is commonly associated with media involving giant monsters. A subgenre of science fiction, it was created by Eiji Tsuburaya and Ishirō Honda. The term can also refer to the giant monsters themselves, which are usually depicted attacking major cities and battling either the military or other monsters.
Director Ishirō Honda and tokusatsu director Eiji Tsuburaya's 1954 film Godzilla is often regarded as the first kaiju film. Kaiju characters are often somewhat metaphorical in nature; Godzilla, for example, serves as a metaphor for nuclear weapons, reflecting the fears of post-war Japan following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Lucky Dragon 5 incident. Other notable examples of kaiju characters include King Kong, Rodan, Mothra, King Ghidorah and Gamera. Directors Ishirō Honda and Eiji Tsuburaya drew inspiration from the character of King Kong, both in its influential 1933 film and in the conception of a giant monster, establishing it as a pivotal precursor in the evolution of the genre.

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