Sunday, July 13, 2014

Pachimon Kaiju Showcase: NOT Godzilla

Pachimon, or Pachimon Kaiju, is a term used for various Japanese bromide cards published around the early 1970's. These bromide cards were known for featuring bizarre imitation monsters, directly and indirectly based on more famous characters, if not outright stealing the likenesses completely through pre-digital methods of photo manipulation; hence the term Pachimon, 'Pachi' as in stolen, and 'Mon' as in monster.

Of course, this being simple 'fan slang', the term Pachimon is quite misleading as a good number of these bromide cards also featured fully illustrated, originally designed creations. Hopefully a better terminology will make itself present in the near future but, for now, we'll just refer to these cards collectively as Pachimon Kaiju.

Pachimon are quite obscure as it is, so instead of doing what every other blog has done in the past by uploading these visual oddities in bulk, I'm going to showcase these images a little at a time, along with my own personal insight towards the monster designs featured.

I'm going to start with two Godzilla-based rip-offs, just to get greater exposure among the more fickle American-based Kaiju fans, and to show off just how extreme the 'borrowed likeness' side of these cards truly went.

Above we have the mid-60s Godzilla suit altered with huge ears and a slightly larger bird-like beak. This entry hails from a particular series published by the company Yokopro which had giant monsters menacing foreign landmarks and countries around the world. Despite the Katakana on the bromide card itself (which simply translates as New York), this bird-beaked Godzilla has no real, proper Kaiju name, but a re-purposed playing card reissue of the image does rectify this.

The playing card names the monster Wadorisu (which can also be read as Waadorisu or Wardorisu). Wadorisu is a name that, to me at least, seems to match perfectly with the design's funny beak and ears.

Not much else to say on this New York Pachimon other than that the poor Statue of Liberty was getting harassed by monsters long before baby Cloverfield came along!

Now onto our second Godzilla knock-off who's been altered oh-so-slightly with a neck-frill and porcupine-style spines. The lower line of katakana on this image roughly translates as Yakobu which also means 'Jacob' in Japanese, however, I no idea if this is the monster's name or the airport location that its menacing. For now, we'll just refer to this critter as Yakobu whose design and overall card is a lot more appealing than the earlier New York Pachimon.

Actually, it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibly that Yakobu is the Pachimon version of Jirass from "Ultraman", who itself was a refurbished Godzilla suit with an added neck-frill.

If that's the case, then this would be creature design equivalent of painting pure karat gold bars with gold hobby store paint. And then wrapping those golden abominations in shiny, gold colored foil, bought from a party supply shop.

Okay, so maybe its not THAT bad, but Yakobu still has the nicer looking bromide card between the two shown.

Further Reading Online:

All Monsters Blog's Profile of Jirass
More Pachimon Images


  1. Glad to see you are covering these! Long ago I downloaded over 100 of these cards off of a Japanese website that is no longer up (though there are a few other Japanese sites with scans still up, IIRC), they are an obscure kaiju fan's dream!

    1. I might know the web-site you're talking about, and have many of those images safe in both CD and floppy disc storage.

      And thank you so much for the kind words; I have a terrible habit of writing long winded articles, and the lack of 'substance' of the Pachimon Kaiju helps me in regular updating.

      Plus how awesome it is to get props from Tars Tarkas! The man who helped bring "The War God" (1976) some much needed online exposure. Among other great Kaiju obscurities, which is what I hope to do with this blog of mine.

  2. "Wadorisu" can also be read as "Waadorisu" (or WARDORISU in more standard romanization) since the "Wa" has a long 'a' sound, which can be read as an "r" sometimes (example being "Supaa" which of course means "Super").