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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Kaijū is a Japanese word that means “weird beast,” but usually translated in English as “monster.” Specifically, it is used to refer to a genre of tokusatsu entertainment.

Related terms include kaijū eiga (monster movie), a film featuring kaijū, kaijin (referring to roughly humanoid monsters) and daikaijū (giant monster), specifically meaning the larger variety of monsters.

The most famous kaijū is Godzilla. Other well-known kaijū include Mothra, Anguirus, Rodan, King Kong, Gamera, and King Ghidorah. The term ultra-kaijū is short-hand for monsters in the Ultra Series.

Though kaijū and kaijin are typically modeled after conventional animals, insects or mythological creatures, there are more exotic examples, featured primarily in the Super Sentai and Kamen Rider television franchises. For example, Choujin Sentai Jetman features monsters based on traffic lights, faucets and tomatoes.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Kaiju" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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