Koichi Shikishima

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Koichi Shikishima
Koichi Shikishima in Godzilla Minus One
Species Human
Nationality Japanese
Aliases Samejima[1]
Affiliation 601st Naval Air Group, Imperial Japanese Navy
Occupation Minesweeper gunner; ensign and kamikaze pilot (formerly)
Related to
  • Eiichiro Shikishima (father)
  • Haru Shikishima (mother)
  • Akiko (adopted daughter)
  • Noriko Oishi (girlfriend)[2]
Enemies Godzilla
First appearance Godzilla Minus One
Played by Ryunosuke Kamiki
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Fate has brought you together as a family. Accept it. Embrace it.
„ 

— Shikishima's friend disscussing his, Noriko's, and Akiko's relationship

Ensign Koichi Shikishima (敷島浩一,   Shikishima Kōichi) is the main protagonist of the 2023 Toho Godzilla film Godzilla Minus One.

Name

Shikishima is erroneously referred to as "Samejima" in the name of a picture of him on the official Godzilla Minus One website.[1] At the beginning of the film, he can be seen wearing a name tag which reads "601st Ensign Shikishima" (六〇一空 敷島少尉,   Roku Maru Ichi-kū Shikishima Shōi).

Description

Although he survived the war, he lost his parents. He meets Noriko in a devastated Japan.[3]

History

Godzilla Minus One

During the final days of World War II in 1945, kamikaze pilot Koichi Shikishima landed his Zero fighter at Odo Island's repair base. After the mechanics there inspected it, Sosaku Tachibana reported to Shikishima that no issues were found. Shikishima was defensive, having lied about a malfunction to save his life. Shortly afterwards, another mechanic told Shikishima he wished there were more soldiers like him, as the war was already all but lost. Shikishima then witnessed several dead deep sea fish in the waters around the island.

That night an air-raid siren sounded, heralding the arrival of a dinosaur-like creature the Odo Islanders called "Godzilla." He demolished the guard tower after its searchlight illuminated him; Shikishima and the others seek shelter in a trench. Tachibana urged Shikishima to use his plane’s 20mm gun against Godzilla, but he froze up once in the cockpit as the monster approached and stood in front of him, staring him down. The panicked repairmen opened fire on Godzilla themselves, enraging him and causing him to begin brutally slaughtering them one by one. Terrified, Shikishima jumped out of the Zero, but Godzilla grabbed and threw the plane into the air, with the resultant explosion when it crashed back to the ground knocking Shikishima unconscious. He awakened the following morning to find only one other survivor: Tachibana, who blamed him for failing to act. On the troopship taking them home following Japan's surrender to the Allied Powers, Tachibana gave Shikishima the photos he found with the slain men.

Shikishima returned to his Tokyo neighborhood to find it in ruins, his own house little more than rubble. His neighbor Sumiko Ota, recalling his kamikaze assignment, berated him for his cowardice. She had lost all of her children to the American bombings, and told him that his parents met the same fate. He reflected that in a letter to him, they told him to come back alive.

Shikishima built a rudimentary shelter from the rubble some days later. At the black market, a woman pursued by several men for stealing blankets left a baby in his arms. He considered leaving her in the market, but decided to take her with him and promptly encountered the woman again, who had been waiting nearby for him to leave. Impressed that he didn't abandon the baby, she followed him home and he begrudgingly cooked a meal for them, but insisted she leave afterward. When he inquired about her husband, she explained that she wasn't married; in fact, the baby wasn't even hers, but was adopted from a dying mother during the Tokyo air raids. She introduced herself as Noriko Oishi and the baby as Akiko. Like Shikishima, her own family was gone. She fell asleep during a lull in their conversation, ultimately spending the night.

The next day, Ota sneered at Shikishima for taking in Oishi and Akiko, saying he was too late to play the hero. She changed her tune upon learning Oishi was not the child's mother, giving them a bag of rice for Akiko. In March 1946, Shikishima returned home to Oishi and Akiko to announce had found a well-paying job detonating unexploded mines in the waters around Japan. She was aghast at the danger he was prepared to putt himself in right after surviving the war, but he saw no other way to keep them all from starving.

At the dock, Shikishima was startled to find he would be be serving on the Shinseimaru, a small wooden boat. Former navy technical officer Kenji Noda explained that its composition was to ward off American magnetic mines. Shikishima then met Captain Seiji Akitsu and Shiro Mizushima, the latter too young to have served in the war. They headed out on the water and Akitsu explained their work. A cable suspended between their boat and the Kaishinmaru allowed them to clip mine wires and bring them to the surface, where they could be exploded from a distance with machine gun fire. Shikishima quickly proved himself a skilled marksman, taking over from Akitsu. At Shikishima's recollection of flying fighter planes, Mizushima mused that he wished the war had lasted longer so he would have been able to enlist, prompting a sharp rebuke. That night, Shikishima had a nightmare about his encounter with Godzilla on Odo Island. As Oishi comforted him, he questioned whether he died on Odo Island and everything since has been the real dream, so aggressively that she was forced to throw him off her.

Unbeknownst to Shikishima, in July 1946 an American nuclear test at Bikini Atoll mutated Godzilla. The Shinseimaru continued its minesweeping work as Oishi raised Akiko at home. Shikishima was soon able to afford a motorcycle and major renovations to their house. When his crewmates visited for dinner one night, Noda snapped a picture of Oishi. The men assumed her to be Shikishima's wife and were startled to learn of their living arrangement. When Akiko called Shikishima her father, he told her not to call him that, to their alarm. They encouraged him to accept that he had found a family, but he angrily refused.

Oishi took a desk job in Tokyo's prospering Ginza district in March 1947, explaining to Shikishima that she wanted to be able to support herself and not keep him from finding a wife. He asked what she planned to do about Akiko, and she answered that Ota had already excitedly offered to take care of her while they were both at work. Meanwhile, Godzilla destroyed multiple ships, including several American military vessels, as he swam towards Japan. Despite the danger, the U.S. refused to intervene, concerned that a military buildup in Japan would damage relations with the Soviet Union.

By May 1947, the Shinseimaru and Kaishinmaru were dispatched to find Godzilla. They first came upon a massive American ship he had ravaged. After the crewmates debated what could have caused such damage, Shikishima spotted deep sea fish on the surface. He shared with them what happened on Odo Island, which was covered up after the war ended; in the process, they learned that he was a kamikaze pilot. Mizushima was horrified that the Japanese government expected them to fight Godzilla in their tiny boats. Noda explained that their job was simply to delay his advance until the cruiser Takao, returned to Japan to respond to the crisis, could arrive from Singapore. Their orders suggested that they use the mines they recovered as weapons - and, to Akitsu's disgust, forbade them from telling anyone else about the mission. After they collected two mines, Noda commiserated with Shikishima about the war, saying he also had trouble sleeping. Shikishima was still struggling with his fear of Godzilla, though he hoped to avenge his comrades on Odo Island. As larger deep sea fish surfaced all around them, Shikishima and the rest of the crew urged Akitsu to flee, but he was determined to face the monster, not wanting to see Tokyo destroyed again. Then Godzilla suddenly surged out of the water, sinking the Kaishinmaru, and Akitsu took their advice. Godzilla chased after them, unfazed by the first mine they detonated against his dorsal fins and Shikishima's machine gun bursts. Noda suggested setting off the next mine in Godzilla's mouth. When the detonator switch failed to work, Shikishima exploded the mine with the machine gun instead. The blast destroyed Godzilla's left eye and a large part of his cheek, while the ensuing wave rocked the Shinseimaru so severely that both Shikishima and Mizushima were injured. Godzilla appeared dead in the water, only for the wound to regenerate before the crew's eyes. He rose out of the water and roared at them, but was cut off by the guns of the Takao. Godzilla attempted to maul the cruiser up close, and Shikishima became hopeful as the cannons blasted Godzilla backwards. However, the creature swam underneath the Takao and obliterated it in an instant with an explosive heat ray. As Godzilla surfaced and roared in triumph, Shikishima passed out.

Shikishima woke up in a hospital after the battle and was greeted by his crewmates. He wanted to alert the populace, but Noda told him the government was still covering up the creature's existence, as no one was willing to be responsible for the panic that would ensue. At home, he tried to dodge Oishi's questions about what happened to him. He finally told her everything, ending by saying he shouldn't have lived. She countered that everyone who survived the war was meant to live, echoing her parents' final words to her. Wracked with guilt, he again wondered if he died on Odo Island and dreamed everything since in his final moments. She held him and repeated that he was still alive.

The next morning, he watched Oishi tenderly feed Akiko soup, then turned to his parents' altar and asked if he could finally let the past go. That same day, Godzilla effortlessly passed through a mine blockade and entered Tokyo Bay before making landfall in Ginza. Shikishima, at home with Akiko, heard the news on the radio as sirens blared. Shikishima went to Ginza and found Oishi, frozen in panic amidst the destruction after surviving Godzilla's attack on her train. He led her away from the monster. Tanks positioned in front of the National Diet Building fired on Godzilla. He retaliated by blasting a blue atomic heat ray from his mouth that struck the tanks and produced a nuclear explosion that flattened most of the surrounding area. Noriko was swept away in the shockwave after pushing Shikishima to safety. As Godzilla roared at the mushroom cloud he created and a black rain fell, Shikishima screamed in grief amidst the ruins of Ginza.

Godzilla returned to the sea, leaving an estimated 30,000 civilians killed or injured and 20,000 houses and other buildings destroyed. Following a memorial service for Oishi, Shikishima sank further into despair. Staring at the pictures of the slain Odo Island mechanics, he believed that they had yet to forgive him. Noda informed him that a group of private citizens was formulating a long-shot plan to destroy Godzilla. He attended a meeting, along with Mizushima, Akitsu, and many former navy personnel. Tatsuo Hotta, an ex-destroyer captain, explained that Japan has negotiated the return of four destroyers, albeit stripped of their weapons. To the surprise of his crewmates, Noda himself explained Operation Wada Tsumi, which he devised. He proposed luring Godzilla above the deepest part of Sagami Bay and tying canisters of Freon gas to him, which when ruptured would lower the water's buoyancy and forcibly sink Godzilla to a depth of 1,500 meters, crushing him with the sudden pressure change. He was unable to guarantee this would kill Godzilla, to the dismay of many attendees, including Shikishima, who nearly left. Noda elaborated that the operation required two destroyers to circle Godzilla and wrap him in cables which the canisters would be attached to. He reassured them he had built in a back-up plan: giant balloons would be inflated under him to rapidly bring him to the surface and destroy him via explosive decompression. Upon hearing that neither the U.S or Japanese government would be backing them, some of the attendees left, but most stayed, including Shikishima.

The crew of the Shinseimaru went out for drinks, where Noda voiced the belief that Godzilla would return to Japan in as soon as 10 days, since he now considered Tokyo part of his territory. To lure the monster to the trap point, he planned to use acoustic minesweepers to play recordings of his roar. Mizushima suggested using the destroyers to pull Godzilla to the surface instead of balloons, but Noda dismissed him, saying the monster was too heavy. He admitted that his plan could fail in many different ways, but challenged them to come up with a better one. Shikishima finally spoke up, offering to help with the luring operation if Noda could procure a fighter plane. Akitsu asked whether Shikishima had a death wish, then grabbed him, saying he couldn't avenge Noriko; he missed his chance to marry her, which would have kept her out of Godzilla's path. Shikishima explained that he wanted to marry her, but his war wasn't over.

Noda soon invited Shikishima to a hanger where the nimble Local Fighter Shinden sat. Developed at the end of the war as an anti-bomber fighter, only a few prototypes saw use, as Japan surrendered before the Allies could invade the mainland. Years in storage left the plane inoperable; Shikishima recommended Tachibana to repair it. Unable to find the mechanic's current address, he resorted to sending inflammatory letters to comrades from Tachibana's postings before Odo Island. Tachibana soon turned up at his house and beat him, furious that he would blame him for the Odo Island massacre. When Shikishima explained the true purpose of the letters, Tachibana initially refused. He relented when Shikishima revealed his own plan: based on the damage Godzilla sustained from the mine detonated in his mouth, he should be able to kill him if he flew the Shinden, loaded with explosives, into his mouth.

The day before Godzilla was projected to return, Noda ordered the volunteers to spend the night with their families. He reflected that Japan treated life cheaply during the war, including the use of kamikaze planes, but hoped to execute Operation Wada Tsumi with zero casualties. At home, Akiko gave Shikishima a drawing she made of them and Oishi, then began to cry.

The morning of the operation, Shikishima left a letter next to Akiko while she slept and slipped out. At the hangar, Tachibana explained that he replaced some of the plane's nonessential components with two bombs. Sitting in the cockpit, Shikishima realized that part of him wanted to live; Tachibana reminded him that the mechanics on Odo Island wanted to live too. Shikishima took out the mechanics' pictures and the drawing made by Akiko, whose future he wanted to protect. Tachibana showed him the bomb's safety and one more thing. Ota found Akiko by herself and opened the letter, which contained a large sum of money and a note instructing her to take care of the child.

The acoustic minesweepers deployed in Sagami Bay after a buoy there detected Godzilla. The monster quickly threw one of them ashore, having reached the shore faster than anticipated. After placing Noda's photo of Oishi in the cockpit, Shikishima exchanged salutes with Tachibana and took off. Noda ordered the destroyers to set sail, with the task of bringing Godzilla into position now entirely up to Shikishima. After declining to reply to Akitsu's order to survive the operation, he came upon Godzilla terrorizing the countryside. He flew his fighter perilously close to Godzilla, evading his jaws and then his tail while peppering him with machine gun fire. Godzilla turned around to chase him, with the Shinden luring him all the way to the trap point in Sagami Bay.

At first, the plan seemed to go well. Godzilla, distracted by gunfire from the Shinden, was encircled by the Freon canisters, and upon activation, was sunk to the crush depth. He was then partially brought back up by the balloons, only to tear through them. Fortunately, a fleet of tugboats—led by Mizushima, despite orders from Noda and Akitsu to stay home—arrived to help the destroyers pull the monster back to the surface. Upon surfacing, Godzilla was heavily mutilated, having suffered critical damage to his body from decompression, but was not dead. As Godzilla prepared to unleash his heat ray upon the defenseless ships, Shikishima interceded, flying his plane towards Godzilla as Oda and Akitsu shouted for him to stop. He thought of Oishi just before his plane lodged in Godzilla's mouth and exploded. Before the operation, however, Tachibana installed an ejection feature into Shikishima's plane, and ordered him to live. Shikishima ejected from the plane just before it hit Godzilla's mouth, and descended safely by parachute as Godzilla's body began to break apart.

The volunteers and crew returned to port to find a jubilant crowd waiting, including Mizushima, who reunited with his crewmates. Shikishima spotted Oda, carrying Akiko, in the crowd, and she handed him a telegram. He and Akiko rushed to a hospital and found Oishi in one of the rooms, injured but still alive. She asked if his war was finally over before he tearfully embraced her, not noticing a veiny pattern resembling Godzilla's dorsal fins on her neck. In the depths of Sagami Bay, a surviving fragment of Godzilla's flesh began to regenerate.

Video games

Gallery

Godzilla Minus One

References

This is a list of references for Koichi Shikishima. 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: [1]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "cast_samejima.webp". godzilla-movie2023.toho.co.jp. Retrieved 5 September 2023.
  2. "Your Guide To Godzilla Minus One". AMC Theatres. 15 November 2023.
  3. "New GODZILLA MINUS ONE Press Release From Toho!". SciFi Japan. 5 September 2023.

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