Contents Tourism – Himeji

In the next of my posts on contents tourism (if you don’t know what contents tourism is, please see my post about Tanigawa and Ichi-no-kurasawa), I am doing my third and final one (probably) related to You Only Live Twice (007は二度死ぬ).

When thinking of Himeji and its castle, I suspect most people don’t immediately think of You Only Live Twice. But my introduction to Japan came from the other direction – I just never expected to end up regularly visiting, studying, lecturing and writing about the country. For me Himeji Castle will always be part of the James Bond movie first and foremost.

As I’m not planning on doing any other posts on You Only Live Twice at the moment, I’m going to take the opportunity to discuss one of the things that bugs me most about the movie. And it’s not the attempt to turn James Bond into looking Japanese, or any other bizarre racial or sexist, parts to the story. What concerns me is the journey that Bond and Aki take from Tokyo to Kobe docks. Why on earth did they do this by car? Back in the 1960s this journey would have taken ages… and even then they would only ‘just’ make it. So why not jump on the newly opened shinkansen (bullet train) and go to Shin-Osaka and then get picked up in another Japanese Secret Police car for the final part of the journey? It would have saved so much time. It would have also given an opportunity to include this new icon of Japan. Especially as over the years Bond often does like to go by train. It may even have allowed inclusion of an image of Mount Fuji. OK, so my concern largely stems from my research on the shinkansen (and I mentioned the absence of the shinkansen in You Only Live Twice in my book on the shinkansen), as well as my interest in symbolism, but I would like to know the answer. Was it never considered? Did Japan National Railways not allow it? Does anyone know?

See my other posts relating to Contents Tourism, by clicking here.

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