Kingu Kongu (Godzilla version)

Real Name: Kingu Kongu

Identity/Class: Gigantic Primate

Occupation: God of Faro Islanders, rescuer and protector of damsels in distress

Affiliations: Faro Islanders

Enemies: Oodaku, the Japanese Self Defense Forces (JSDF), Gojira

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: King Kong

Base of Operations: Faro Island, South Seas

First Appearance: “Kingu Kongu tai Gojira” (first aired August 11, 1962 in Japan; English translation “King Kong vs. Godzilla”)

Powers/Abilities: A gigantic simian, Kingu Kongu stood an impressive 45 metres (148 feet) and weighed 25,000 tons, one of the largest creatures to ever walk the face of the Earth. As a result of his incredible size and weight, Kongu possessed equally incredible strength and durability. His physical strength was never accurately measured but he was capable of crushing steel and shattering concrete-reinforced structures with comparative ease. In addition, he could perform incredible leaps and jumps and despite his enormous size, possessed an impressive degree of speed and agility as well. His body proved capable of withstanding impressive impacts and physical shocks and was completely resistant to regular armaments and artillery fire. He was vulnerable to a special sedative known as soma, derived from a berry that grows on Faro Island. It is unknown if other drugs or chemicals might also have affect him. Kongu was also able to absorb electricity and apparently used it to boost his strength, or he harness it to throw from his fingertips. Kong was also immune to the adverse effects of electricity. The exact nature or source of this ability is unknown.

Kongu was also a surprisingly cunning fighter, adept at attacking opponents with his fists, wrestling maneuvers, and surprising acrobatic flips; he was also known to grab and hurl gigantic rocks with tremendous force and accuracy against his opponents.

History:The gigantic ape known as Kingu Kongu (a.k.a. King Kong) lived much of his life in relative peace on Faro Island. His tremendous size and spectacular strength earned him the Faro Islanders’ reverential worship as a living god. Unexpectedly however, his idyllic life was disrupted with the arrival of a pair of Japanese men representing Pacific Pharmaceuticals. Interested in acquiring samples of the soma berries native to Faro Island that were a key ingredient in a unique sedative, they unexpectedly discovered the existence of the gigantic ape during an attack by Oodaku, a gigantic octopus monster. Despite the humans' best efforts, Oodaku seemed unstoppable to the primitive spears and modern gunfire of the Faro Islanders and the Japanese when a bestial roar interrupted them and Kong appeared. With stunning speed and ease, Kong quickly dispatched Oodaku.

Mr. Tako, the chairman of Pacific Pharmaceuticals saw this as a wonderful publicity opportunity to unveil the discovery of such a gigantic creature alongside the discovery of the soma berry. However his media campaign was quickly overshadowed when Gojira made a stunning reemergence from a glacier, having apparently been slumbering in hibernation since his battle with Anguirus. Angry at the media hype over Gojira, Mr. Tako was startled to learn that Kongu had rendered himself comatose by sampling the soma juice. Tako quickly ordered his men to load the gigantic primate onto a makeshift raft and tow the ape to Japan, certain that the news media will find this more thrilling than Gojira.

The JSDF was less thrilled and tried to order them to return Kong to Faro Island but they were too late; the ape awoke and broke free from his feeble restraints. Kongu quickly entered the waters and swam for the nearest land in sight; Japan. By chance or perhaps instinctively sensing the presence of a powerful enemy, Kongu unerringly headed to confront the King of the Monsters, Gojira and a battle between the two commenced. Although clearly the superior fighter in hand to hand combat and agility, Kongu was ultimately bested by Gojira’s powerful atomic rays and fled from his adversary. Retreating to Tokyo, Kongu encountered the JSDF’s first line of defense, an electrical barricade that was originally meant to dissuade Gojira. However Kong not only proved immune to the electrical currents, but also apparently used the electricity to increase his already incredible strength. Kong began to wreck havoc in Tokyo only to be arrested by a beautiful young woman (who coincidentally happened to be the sister of one of the men sent to Faro Island by Pacific Pharmaceuticals) and took refuge on the National Diet Building, where he proved quite invulnerable to modern day weaponry.

The JSDF however loaded the sedative soma into rockets and gassed the defiant primate into unconsciousness, rescuing his hostage. But the battle against Gojira was going poorly, so the JSDF decided that the only way to fight one gigantic monster was with another and airlifted the comatose Kongu to Mount Fuji  to be dropped atop the rampaging Gojira. A second battle took place and Kongu quickly adapted to Gojira’s long distance advantage by flinging gigantic boulders at the King of the Monsters and relying on his superior agility to evade the radioactive rays of his opponent. But Kongu suffered a bit of a bad luck and collided head first with a rock, momentarily stunning him. Gojira quickly capitalized on his advantage but a freak storm began, and a lightning discharge revived the gigantic primate, who renewed his enraged assault. The two monsters were furiously grappling when they tumbled off a cliff and plunged into the ocean. After a long moment, Kong surfaced and began swimming, presumably to return to his island paradise and home. His opponent however was nowhere to be seen ... but ultimately Gojira would return again.

Comments: They were destined to meet in battle. The original giant monster, the grandfather and forerunner of them all and his atomically powered descendant. However this version of King Kong was only superficially related to the original gigantic ape from Skull Island, although the idea was based on Willis O’Brien’s hopes to bring back the legendary primate in another feature film. In his original script, he intended for King Kong to face a gigantic monster as his foe, a sort of Frankenstein monster created as an amalgamation of various African animals. However O’Brien’s stop-motion cinematography which was used to bring the original King Kong to life was extremely time consuming and hideously expensive which made various producers wary of backing such a project. As a cost cutting measure, the producers sought out Toho Film Company, Limited having heard of their use of “suitmation” to bring such gigantic creatures as Gojira and other kaiju to the screen. As it so happened, Toho was in the process of developing a new film to return their own flagship monster, Gojira to the big screen and quickly suggested Gojira as a possibility. The idea of a clash between an American monster and a Japanese one was too good to resist and as a result, O’Brien’s African Frankenstein was dropped in favor of a bout with the King of the Monsters.

Shoichi Hirose was the actor who portrayed the actor in the King Kong suit during filming. In order to give a convincing battle against Gojira, Kong was suitably scaled up in size and is approximately five times his original size from the original movie and also gains his ability to channel electricity as a counter to Gojira’s radioactive breath.

One of the common and persistent recurring misconceptions about this movie is that there are in fact two endings that were filmed. One Japanese version in which has Gojira was the triumphant winner whereas the American version has King Kong as the clear and undisputed victor. Actually only one ending was filmed but the fans drew their own interpretations as to which monster was actually superior. In the ending, both monsters are locked in mortal combat and tumble off a cliff and into the ocean. Shortly afterwards, Kong is spotted swimming off towards their horizon and his island home while Gojira is nowhere to be seen. Fans of the great ape claim that this was proof of Kong’s supremacy over the oversized iguana ... while Gojira devotees protest that supersized monkey is as yellow as a banana and is swimming away in defeat, forced to cowardly retreat from the undisputed King of the Monsters.

Another recurring misconception that has arisen from this film is that the American public widely and mistakenly assumes that Gojira is colored green due to the widespread promotion of colorized movie posters that has him mistakenly sporting a green hide which was probably meant to contrast vividly from Kong’s darker coloration of black and brown while Gojira’s true color of grey would not have been so striking.

The film was one of the most commercial successful of the Gojira franchise, which Toho correctly interpreted due to the appearance of King Kong. As a result, Toho made plans to bring back their version of King Kong in a sequel film known as “Ebirah, Horror of the Deep” which was co-produced by Rankin-Bass to coincide with the release of their own television animation series, “The King Kong Show” and boost their ratings. Rankin-Bass however rejected the “Ebirah, Horror of the Deep” although Toho did manage to recycle much of the film as possible by recasting the lead monster as Gojira. This probably explains some of the curious elements in this movie in how the dormant Gojira is revived by electricity and has an unlikely romantic interest in the beautiful female lead.

About a year later, in 1967 Toho and Rankin-Bass released a movie called “King Kong Escapes” which stars a much smaller version of King Kong and a mechanical version known as Mechani-Kong. King Kong briefly battles and kills a gigantic dinosaur known as Gorosaurus who later was resurrected to return the following year in 1968 in the film “Kaiju Soshingeki” or “Destroy All Monsters”. Gorosaurus was presumably a last minute substitution himself as in the Japanese dialogue; his rampage was blamed on another kaiju entirely known as Baragon. The Baragon suit however required major repairs from damages sustained in filming the Ultraman TV series.

Toho had hopes to remake the original film in 1991 as part of the Hesei Series as “Godzilla Vs. King Kong” but the Eighth Wonder of the World was unwilling to accept second billing. In actuality, the current copyright owners to King Kong wished a larger stake in the movie than Toho was willing to accept and the deal fell through. Not that it mattered as Kong would return to the big screen in a titular role in an American remake in 2005 directed by Peter Jackson.

Profile provided by Michael Higuchi.


Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.

Back to Japanese heroes main page


All images and characters depicted on this site are copyright their respective holders, and are used for informational purposes only. No infringement is intended and copyrights remain at source.