The exact nature of Daimajin is unknown, but it is worshiped as a god and protector by the Hanabusa, Chigusa, and Nagoshi peoples, in addition to an unnamed people in Daimajin Strikes Again. It is unclear if the films share continuity, as the four groups worship at three separate warrior statues that awaken in their times of need. Given that Daimajin is a spirit inhabiting the statue, it could be surmised that the same god is worshipped by multiple groups at around the same time, through three different stone effigies.
Name[edit | edit source]
Daimajin's name (大魔神) literally means "giant devil" or "giant demon god" in Japanese. It may also be written as 大ま神, pronounced the same. He is seldom referred to as "Daimajin" in the films themselves, having only been referred to by this name once by Priestess Shinobu, and it is possible that few people know it. The natives of the Hanabusa kingdom in the first film referred to him primarily as Arakatsuma (阿羅羯磨), but he is otherwise generically called "God," "Demon," or "Devil." Daimajin is also sometimes referred to in English as Majin or Giant Majin, with his films released in America under various titles using these names. In the television series Daimajin Kanon and the manga adaptation of The Great Yokai War: Guardians, he is instead called Bujin-sama (ブジンサマ). He identifies himself in the former as Omahito (
Development[edit | edit source]
Daimajin art director Akira Naito recruited sculptor Shozo Okamoto to design Daimajin. Okamoto based his design on Nio statues, mixing in various other idols and statues from around the world. Naito was the one to suggest that Daimajin's face be green, while director Kimiyoshi Yasuda requested he be given a "Kirk Douglas-like" cleft in his chin. The film's modelmaking was led by Ryosaku Takayama over a period of three months. In total, he and his staff created two full-scale models which measured 4.5 meters in height, two costumes, and hand and foot props for close-up shots. However, because the movement of the full-scale props was not deemed satisfactory, the suits were used for the majority of filming. Daimajin was played by former baseball player Chikara Hashimoto, whose real eyes were left visible through the mask to better express emotion. Hashimoto never blinked during takes and catchlights were shined in his eyes, becoming bloodshot. To achieve the effect of Daimajin turning into dirt and crumbling in his final scene, a model was cast in real soil. The film also made significant use of compositing, for which Daiei purchased a 50.6 square meter bluescreen and lighting setup from the United States.
For Return of Daimajin, a new suit was created by Ex Productions with reference to Takayama's originals. Keizo Murase and Yoshito Komatsu of ExPro traveled to Daiei Kyoto, where a corner of the movie's town set was reserved for them as a makeshift modeling studio. Because Takayama's suits were deemed too bulky, the new one was made intentionally thinner and lighter. Yukio Fujisaki, also of ExPro, created the costume's torso armor, which was composed of individual sheets attached together one at a time to allow for more natural movement.
Daiei approached filmmaker Ishiro Honda about directing a remake of the 1966 film in 1984. While Honda was reportedly interested, the project never came to fruition. Daiei tried again in 1998, with actor Steven Seagal set to star. Coincidentally, Seagal is the father of Ayako Fujitani, who played Asagi Kusanagi in the Heisei Gamera trilogy that was underway at the time. Takashi Miike was selected to direct a Daimajin reboot in 2006, which Kadokawa scheduled for release in 2008. While they cancelled it after assessing the box office failure of Gamera the Brave, Daimajin ultimately appeared in Miike's 2021 film The Great Yokai War: Guardians.
Design[edit | edit source]
Daimajin is a huge stone statue that comes to life. He has an angry scowl on his face, green skin, red eyeballs with yellow irises, and wears samurai armor. He also carries a massive dagger, which hangs around his waist in a sheath. When Daimajin is not active, he resembles a massive statue which is either embedded in a rock face or the ground, and has a smoother face which is either stone-colored or bright red. In Daimajin Kanon, Daimajin's inactive form looked more like a rock formation than a statue. His active form was far more muscular, and he had no upper body armor. His face was also drastically different. His overall expression was more neutral, and his eyes had no irises or pupils, instead being a solid red color. His mouth was also covered by ornate carvings fashioned into a 'scarf.'
Origins[edit | edit source]
A kind warrior named Shino fought Daimajin some years ago and won. He trapped the spirit of Daimajin inside a stone statue. From that day forward, Daimajin could be summoned by people who needed his help, but only by waking the spirit from its slumber within the statue.
History[edit | edit source]
The film opens with a household of peasants cowering during a series of tremors that are interpreted as the escape attempts of Daimajin, a spirit trapped within a nearby geological formation. The entire village gathers at their shrine to pray that Daimajin's spirit will remain imprisoned. This torchlit parade is observed by the local feudal Lord Hanabasa, a good and just ruler. Also observing is his chamberlain, Samanosuke (Yutaro Gomi), who harbors ill intentions and has been waiting for just such a diversion to stage a coup d'état.
As the villagers pray, Samanosuke and his henchmen strike, slaughtering Hanabasa and his wife, but their son and daughter, aided by the heroic samurai Kogenta (Jun Fujimaki) escape. Concurrently, at the shrine, more of Samanosuke's men break up the prayer meeting and forbid any such gatherings by the town's people in the future. The priestess Priestess Shinobu issues a dire warning against forbidding the prayers, but the men ignore her. Discouraged, Shinobu goes home.
Upon arriving, Shinobu discovers that she has unwittingly become the last hope of survival for Hanabasa's orphans, and their protector, Kogenta. She takes them up the side of the mountain, into forbidden territory, where the stone idol, Daimajin, stands half-buried. Near this idol is an ancient temple - the only safe place for the children, as only Shinobu knows of its existence.
Ten years pass, and the children grow to adulthood. The son, Tadafumi (Yoshihiko Aoyama) reaches his 18th birthday, high time to reclaim his throne, according to his thinking. In fact, the last 10 years have been extremely hard on the villagers: Samanosuke is the ideal tyrant, and is currently using every man in the starving village as slave labor to build his fortress. The place is ripe for revolution, and surviving Hanabasa retainers are starting to filter in on the 10th anniversary of the coup.
Kogenta journeys to the village to try to gather the old retainers, but gets himself captured. A boy gets word to Tadafumi and his sister, Kozasa (Miwa Takada) that their friend is a prisoner. Tadafumi, being a brave young samurai, tries to rescue him, only to discover it is all a trap laid by Samanosuke. With both of the men under arrest and awaiting execution, Shinobu tries to talk some sense into the tyrant, who is drinking way too much and becomes incensed at all this talk of the god of the mountain; he murders the priestess and orders the idol demolished, to all the more thoroughly demoralize the villagers.
The crew that travels up the mountain to smash Daimajin accidentally discovers Kozasa, and forces her to take them to the idol. When repeated beatings with sledgehammers do no good, the soldiers break out an enormous chisel and proceed to hammer it into Daimajin's head; they are soon forced to stop when blood begins dripping from around the chisel. Horrified, the men flee, but to no avail - the ground cracks open and swallows them.
Seeing the god suddenly get so proactive, Kozasa falls to her knees before it, begging Daimajin to save her brother and punish the wicked Samanosuke. Meanwhile, at the fortress, Tadafumi and Kogenta are tied to large crosses, awaiting their fates. Kozasa, sensing no reaction from the idol, offers her life to Daimajin and attempts to throw herself over the nearby waterfall, stopped only by the boy. This is apparently good enough, as the rock and earth covering the lower half of the idol fall away, and the 50-foot statue walks out into the clearing. Kozasa prostrates herself before it, and the idol gestures toward its face: the stone mask disappears, revealing the true face of Daimajin, a vengeful spirit resembling that of a grotesque shogun.
Daimajin makes its way to Samonosuke's stronghold, which it proceeds to destroy. The idol now turns its wrath upon the villagers. Only Kozasa, once more offering her life and letting her teardrops fall on his stone feet, stops Daimajin's rampage. The Daimajin spirit leaves the statue, flying away in a ball of fire. Without the spirit to animate the statue, it collapses into a heap of rubble.
In Return of Daimajin, the statue rests on an island in Lake Yakimono between Chigusa and Nagoshi, and had a legend surrounding it indicating that if the idol's face turned red, it was an indicator that the feudal kingdom would fall. On the night his face turned red, Lord Danjo Mikoshiba invaded the Chigusa kingdom before advancing on Nagoshi. As an example, he blows up the idol to prove that there was no god protecting his victims, and Lady Sayuri Nagoshi is set to be burned at the stake as the price for the people's resistance.
However, before she dies, she prays to the god, offering her life in exchange for his protection and restoration of the Chigusa and Nagoshi peoples. As tears fall down her face, winds pick up and blow out the fires, and the full body of the god's image rises from the bay of his island. He causes landslides, and sinks the island before parting the waters of the lake and beginning his walk to the shore. When he arrives, the Mikoshiba enter a panic. The god breaks Sayuri's stake off, and gently lays her on the ground before advancing on the castle in pursuit of Lord Mikoshiba. Despite their attempts to barricade him out, the god continues without breaking pace. They then attempt to slow him down with enormous grappling hooks, which do not hinder the god. They then attempt to blow him up and bury him beneath fallen stones from a wall, but once more, the god continues his advance, and hurls a boulder at Mikoshiba's lieutenant, crushing him beneath it. Mikoshiba then attempts to flee into the lake by boat, and nearly outruns the god, who forces the boat to spin around and face him before launching a ball of fire across the water, igniting his boat. Lord Mikoshiba climbs up the mast in an attempt to escape the fire, but becomes entangled in the rigging, leaving him in an almost identical situation to Sayuri's on her cross-shaped pyre. As the burning ship falls into the sea, the storm the god had brought on cleared up. Sayuri then runs into the lake and says a prayer of thanks as the god turns to face her. her tears of gratitude hit the lake's surface, and the god turns back into stone before its body turns into water and it falls into the lake. The island's sunken bell then rang out from the bottom of the lake as a sign that the kingdoms would forever have peace.
In the third and final film, the same statue from the first two movies is on top of a mountain rather than on the side. The fathers of some of the local children have been captured by an evil warlord and forced to work in their labor camps. When the four sons decide to go out and save their fathers, they have to cross Majin Mountain, where the stone god lays sleeping, a notoriously dangerous area full of treacherous terrain, evil samurai, and the angry Daimajin. The four boys are smart enough to pay their respects to the statue when they pass it so that they do not incur the monster's wrath.
Eventually, the warlord's men anger the statue, who once again comes to life and destroys all those who have not been paying respect to him. The children and their fathers are spared while the work camp is destroyed.
This film is different, politically, from the first two in that Daimajin is awakened by the pleas of a poor, rural boy rather than by someone of rank, and fights to rescue and avenge common people. None of the heroes in this film are of noble rank, unlike the first two, in which the main protagonists were members of deposed noble families. That Daimajin is on the side of the common man in this film is made clear when he kills castle retainers who, though unaffiliated with the villains, are indifferent to the commoners' peril.
Thousands of years ago, when a small castle town was under attack by a malicious demon Ipadada, a young woman sang a song of prayer to summon the great warrior Bujin. He fought valiantly, but was overcome and remained asleep as stone in a mountainside for generations.
The yokai need Daimajin, a gigantic warrior god enshrined in Shogunzuka, to defeat the Yokaiju. To accomplish this, they will need the assistance of a descendant of the ancient Yokai hunter, Watanabe no Tsuna. They find two descendants of Watanabe, Kei and Dai, who awaken Daimajin to help defeat the Yokaiju.
Filmography[edit | edit source]
- Daimajin (1966)
- Return of Daimajin (1966)
- Daimajin Strikes Again (1966)
- Daimajin Kanon (TV 2010)
- The Great Yokai War: Guardians (2021)
Comics[edit | edit source]
- Return of Daimajin (1966) - Omoshiro Book
- Daimajin Strikes Again (1966) - Weekly Shonen King
- Sanshomajin (1967) - Weekly Shonen Saturday
- Daimajin Strikes Again (1967) - Omoshiro Book
- Daimajin (1967) - Shonen Gendai
- Kamen Rider Stronger (1975-1976) - TV Magazine
- Daimajin Kanon (2010) - Young Ace
- The Great Yokai War: Guardians (2021) - Monthly Shonen Ace
Abilities[edit | edit source]
|This article or section needs to be cleaned up to meet the standards of Wikizilla.
Psychic powers[edit | edit source]
Daimajin can put fear into his enemies by filling their heads with visions of ghosts and demons.
Fireball transformation[edit | edit source]
Daimajin can turn into a fireball and cover a huge amount of ground very quickly.
Fire blasts[edit | edit source]
According to an anatomical illustration, Daimajin can emit blasts of flames from his hands and legs.
Electricity[edit | edit source]
According to an anatomical illustration, Daimajin can emit bolts of electricity from his headdress.
Fighting style[edit | edit source]
Daimajin is almost invincible. He attacks mercilessly and punishes the evildoer with a violent and horrible death. He cannot be stopped unless there is a kind act, then he will leave. Daimajin, when attacking buildings, tends to simply walk through them, but if enemies are in the buildings, he actively destroys them by punching or kicking. Daimajin also appears to be able to calculate and take advantage of any situation he is placed into. For example, a group of soldiers attempted to slow him down by using grappling hooks on his arms, and Daimajin simply continued forward, tearing the building that the soldiers were in down by the ropes' strength. He also appears to have telekinetic abilities, as shown when he parted the lake in Return of Daimajin to reach the warlord's village.
Transformation[edit | edit source]
In order to transform, Daimajin must first be awakened, either by driving an object into his head when in statue form, or by the pleas for help from someone in need. When Daimajin transforms, he crosses his forearms over his face, and then moves them apart, revealing his true form. After he has accomplished his task, and witnesses a kind act, Daimajin can revert back into his spirit form by repeating the same arm motions, causing his statue body to crumble into dust.
Sword[edit | edit source]
Each incarnation of Daimajin wields a sword. In The Great Yokai War: Guardians, Daimajin extended the sword and engulfed it with flames.
Hawk[edit | edit source]
In Daimajin Strikes Again, Daimajin uses a hawk as a messenger.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Daimajin/Gallery.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Art depicting Daimajin's anatomy reveals that, while his active form is almost entirely made of stone, it has a complex system of nerves which allow for movement.
- Daimajin is the nickname of Kazuhiro Sasaki, a former pitcher for the Seattle Mariners.
- The activation of Daimajin - namely, driving an object into its forehead - may be a reference to the Golem, a creature in Jewish mysticism. The Golem is a clay creature that requires the word "Emet" (the Hebrew word for "truth") to be written on its forehead in order to be activated. To deactivate it, the first letter of "Emet" must be removed, changing it to "Met" (the Hebrew word for "death"), after which the Golem will crumble to pieces.
- Daimajin is the name of one of the Jovian robots in Martian Successor Nadesico.
- All three of Daimajin's original trilogy of films were released in the same year, 1966. It is possible that they were all in production at the same time, then given a staggered release into theaters.
- Daimajin was one of the inspirations for the kaiju Take-Majin from the 2008 Shochiku film Monster X Strikes Back: Attack the G8 Summit.
- Daimajin is also partially a basis for the famous super robot Mazinger Z, who in turn was a possible inspiration for Jet Jaguar.
- Two statues of Daimajin are located outside of the entrance of Kadokawa Daiei Studio in Tokyo.
- The benign statue form of Daimajin is also called Bujin, according to Arrow Video's bonus booklet for its Daimajin Trilogy set (p. 35).
Notes[edit | edit source]
- The height of the full-scale models used in the films measured 15 shaku in height, or roughly 4.5 meters. The height of the Showa Daimajin has also been listed as being 5 meters, 6 meters, or 15 meters.
- The weight of the Showa Daimajin has been inconsistently listed as 6, 50, or 250 metric tons.
References[edit | edit source]
This is a list of references for Daimajin. These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: 
Bibliography[edit | edit source]
- Yanagita, Rikao (2006). Fantasy Science Reader 3 [New Edition]. Media Factory. ISBN 978-4840115674.
- Shimizu, Takashi; Makuta, Keita; Motoyama, Sho (20 July 2010). Daiei Tokusatsu Movie Chronicle. Kadokawa Shoten. ISBN 978-4-04-854511-2.
- Murase, Keizo (24 September 2015). Monster Maker: Keizo Murase - Treasured KAIJU Photobook. Yosensha. ISBN 978-4-8003-0756-9.
- Matsunomoto, Kazuhiro (19 July 1996). The Gamera Chronicles. Takeshobo. ISBN 4-8124-0166-6.
- Ryfle, Steve; Godziszewski, Ed (3 October 2017). Ishiro Honda: A Life in Film, from Godzilla to Kurosawa. Wesleyan University Press. ISBN 9780819577412.
Showing 19 comments. When commenting, please remain respectful of other users, stay on topic, and avoid role-playing and excessive punctuation. Comments which violate these guidelines may be removed by administrators.