Godzilla (ゴジラ, Gojira?) ( /ɡɒdˈzɪlə/; ) is a Kaiju (Giant monster), first appearing in Ishirō Honda's 1954 film Godzilla. Since then, Godzilla has gone on to become a worldwide pop culture icon starring in 28 films produced by Toho Co., Ltd. The monster has appeared in numerous other media incarnations including video games, novels, comic books, and television series. A 1998 American remake was produced and a second American version is in development.
With the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Daigo Fukuryū Maru incident still fresh in the Japanese consciousness, Godzilla was conceived as a monster created by nuclear detonations and a metaphor for nuclear weapons in general. As the film series expanded, some stories took on less serious undertones portraying Godzilla as a hero while other plots still portrayed him as a destructive monster; sometimes the lesser of two threats who plays the defender by default but is still a danger to humanity.