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Last Updated: Monday, 18 October, 2004, 12:38 GMT 13:38 UK
Monster meet for Godzilla experts
Godzilla's 28th and final film will be released in December
Academics are to gather at a university in the United States to discuss the legacy of film monster Godzilla.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the lizard's first cinematic outing, since when he has been in 27 films.

The University of Kansas Center for East Asian Studies will host the conference, looking at Godzilla's impact on global culture.

The event, on 28 October, will include a film festival, exhibitions and a giant inflatable Godzilla.

Popular culture

The film Gojira - the Japanese movie that started Godzilla's career in November 1954 - will be shown during the conference.

Organisers want to provoke discussion of globalisation, Japanese popular culture and Japanese-American relations after World War II.

Bill Tsutsui, a history professor at the University of Kansas and author of the book Godzilla on My Mind, said he would like people to take Godzilla "more seriously".

Historians, anthropologists and other academics from prestigious universities such as Duke, Harvard and Vanderbilt are expected to attend.

'Serious analysis'

Yoshikuni Igarashi, director of east Asian studies at Vanderbilt, said he saw Godzilla films as important cultural artefacts.

He plans to lecture on the 1964 film Godzilla vs The Thing, in which Godzilla battles the giant moth, Mothra, and its offspring.

Japan's Toho Co produced 27 Godzilla films over five decades, with a 28th movie, Godzilla: Final Wars, to be released in December.

Takao Shibata, the Japanese consul general in Kansas City, said the meeting would help educate people about his nation but added: "The idea of this kind of serious analysis of the evolution of Godzilla - it never occurred to me."

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