Although Godzilla will always be my favorite giant Japanese monster, Mothra is a close second and a very different sort of character. Whereas Godzilla has alternatively played the roles of villain, antihero, hero, and “a force of nature”, Mothra has been pretty consistently depicted as a benign and protective heroine.
She’s worshiped as a goddess, and that divine air is evoked beautifully with her iconic song. A song that is, in fact, a prayer sung to her in Malay in the original movie. There’s something mythically powerful about that, as it is a plea to a higher power:
Mosura ya Mosura
Mothra oh Mothra
Dongan kasakuyan indo muu
With the Power of your Ancestor
Rusuto uiraandoa, hanba hanbamuyan, randa banunradan
Grant the prayer of your followers, Arise and
First performed by Yumi and Emi Ito —a singing duo known as “The Peanuts” who play the roles of the Shobijin or “little beauties” in the 1961 film— The twin, doll-sized Shobijin fairies are another layer of Mothra’s mystique. She rarely makes an appearance without them, and the fairy (or at least, fairy-like) nature of the twins adds a feeling of both the unknown and the fantastic.
The tune has become inseparable from the character of Mothra ever since. To me, it taught a lesson at a young age that took until adulthood to put into words. What it taught me was that when times are dire and we need to beseech the divine, we must do so from an emotive place, not a logical one.
To that end, I’ve figuratively sung out to Mothra on some pretty dark days.