T H E J @ P A N I N C N E W S L E T T E R
Commentary on the Week's Business, Technology and Cultural News
Issue No. 329
Tuesday July 12, 2005 TOKYO
+++ VIEWPOINT: An Island's Bid for 007
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+++ VIEWPOINT An Island's Bid for 007
The recent G8 summit of world leaders was held at Gleneagles Hotel,
in Perthshire, Scotland. The hotel was designed after a French
chateau with landscaping inspired by Lancelot Brown (1716 - 1783),
England's most famous landscape designer. Indeed the vintage hotel
is of a grandeur befitting world leaders. While the Magnificent Eight
hobnobbed and confabbed amongst the 850 acres of the five-star golf
resort, their guardians derived peace of mind from the summit's being
off the track beaten by the anti-global rabble.
Unlike the first summit, which brought together leaders of the G6,
including Prime Minister Takeo Miki (1907-88), at a castle in
the Parisian suburbs 30 years ago, recent summits must be kept out
of range of demonstrators' brickbats as well as protected from
terrorists. So summiteers have taken to lakesides and to highlands --
to places like Perthshire.
A small island, too, offers the virtue of isolation from the caterwauling
mob. Raymond Benson, an American author, opines no place would be better
for a summit than Naoshima, an Inland Sea island 20 minutes by ferry
from Uno in Okayama Prefecture. Benson makes Naoshima the venue
of a summit in his "Man with the Red Tattoo," the latest novel in the
007 series. The year after the Okinawa summit (2000) the author visited
Naoshima and decided to set the novel there.
Two years ago, even before translation of the novel from the English,
Naoshima cineastes launched an effort to have the novel filmed on
island. The islanders, in cooperation with people in Nobetsu, in
Hokkaido, a town that also appears in the novel, collected 80,000
signatures. But an affirmative reply has not come from the British
production company that makes the Bond films. "A decision to base
the next film on another novel has already been made," said a company
spokesperson. "We are still in the casting stage, and so are unable to
decide upon the locations of films after the next one."
In a nod to the sole 007 film shot in Japan, "You Only Live Twice"
(1967), an aging Tiger Tanaka returns to aid Bond in "The Man with the
The earlier film fared well at overseas box offices despite
(because of?) its emphasis on ninja and ama (woman pearl divers) and
its Fuji-and-geisha approach to the country. Such a take on Japan was
perhaps inevitable 40 years ago, when the moviegoing public held less
diverse or nuanced views of the country, and an iconoclastic film
would have been a box-office risk. Leastwise Mt. Fuji does soar,
geisha do delight the well-heeled in select venues, and cherry trees do
blossom in spring. However, a 6-foot-two-inch Scotsman does not
easily morph into a diminutive Japanese fisherman, however much he
stoops and hides under a coolie hat. A Western actor may succeed
in the role of a Japanese if he acknowledges the campness upfront,
and forges ahead. Marlon Brando did just that as a sly Okinawan
interpreter in "The Teahouse of the August Moon" (1956).
Japan will chair the G8 summit in 2008. Kyoto, Sapporo and
Yokohama are already competing to host the gathering. Will
moviegoers thrill to the exploits of 007 protecting the British
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Written and edited by Burritt Sabin (firstname.lastname@example.org)
(C) Copyright 2005 Japan Inc Communications KK. All Rights Reserved.