What James Bond Did For Japan

by Armand Vaquer
Above, Akiko Wakabayashi and Sean Connery at the sumo stadium in "You Only Live Twice."  Photo: United Artists.
In 1967, James Bond 007 (in the form of Sean Connery) had a mission to stop the hijacking of U.S. and U.S.S.R. space capsules by S.P.E.C.T.R.E. to prevent a war between the two nations.  That mission took him to Japan.  The movie was You Only Live Twice.

As this year is the fiftieth anniversary of the James Bond movies, the Japan Times took a look at what Bond did for Japan in "The Gentleman In The Tux and What He Did For Japan."

Along with Connery, Toho actresses Akiko Wakabayashi and Mie Hama were featured as Japanese agents Aki and Kissy Suzuki respectively.

The article starts out with:
In 1967, James Bond made his official Japan debut in "You Only Live Twice": The gentleman spy came to Tokyo and Fukuoka, saw some sumo, consorted with ninja and got intimate with two homegrown Bond girls. Directed by Lewis Gilbert, "You Only Live Twice" goes down in Japan's collective memory as the one and only time 007 made it to these shores.
The movie version of You Only Live Twice is quite different from Ian Fleming's novel, although both are centered in Japan.

On working with Connery, Wakabayashi said in my interview with her, "James Bond in the movie is a ladies' man, but Sean-san is a warm-hearted honest man. He has a clear vision as an actor. He can be stubborn from time to time, but he is a real man with a bit of old-fashioned taste."

One bit of trivia:  the location used for Osato Chemicals in Tokyo was the New Otani Hotel.

To read the full article, go here.

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