Review: Books Set In Japan – ‘The Man With The Red Tattoo’ (2002)

A slight tweak on the Tokyo Fox ‘Review: Films Set In Japan…’ series for this one-off special book review. I’ve never read any 007 novels and I only came across this a couple of years back when I was surfing the net in search of the filming locations for the 1967 film ‘You Only Live Twice’. I’d forgotten all about it until I saw it in a second hand book shop a few weeks ago so I picked it up (I paid for it too!) as I was interested to see what parts of Japan the story takes place in.


This James Bond adventure was written by Raymond Benson and is in some ways the natural follow-up to the aforementioned movie even though they are over thirty years apart. Of course Bond never really ages and his ally Tiger Tanaka is back albeit not in tip-top condition following a triple bypass.

The book doesn’t stray too far from the film formula with a host of symmetrical characters and sets. For example, Agent Rieko Tamura is a carbon-copy of Agent Aki in ‘You Only Live Twice’ and Bond experiences traditional Japanese culture this time via a chase through the Kabuki theatre as opposed to going to see some sumo action in ‘You Only Live Twice’.

Unlike the Bourne franchise, Bond stories have always taken place at famous sites around the world and this book is no exception as it features Hachiko, Meiji shrine, Yoyogi Park, Kabuki-cho in Shinjuku, Tsukiji fish market, Kabuki-za theatre, the Great Buddha in Kamakura as well as places up in Hokkaido which I’m not familiar with. As a locations geek I’m never too keen to see such landmark places appear in stories and this particular one did feel like a guide-book at times as the history of the places was worked into the story. Maybe thats ok for readers who don’t know about Japan but personally I didn’t see a need for such lengthy background of the places featured. Chases through both Tsukiji fish market and Kabuki-za seem to only happen in order to give the author a chance to pad out the book with some facts about those places.

I found the book fairly easy to read and therein lies a kind-of problem as I often fail to get a proper real grasp of the plots in the movies but thats almost of secondary concern among the gadgets, girls, catchphrases and action.

The photos below are of places that feature in ‘The Man With The Red Tattoo”:

Hachiko statue outside Shibuya station & Meiji Shrine in Harajuku (below)


Mejiji Shrine outer gate, Harajuku & Studio Alta in Shinjuku (below)

  Oct 2011 045

Kabukicho area in Shinjuku (below)


Bond stays on the 30th floor of the Imperial Tower which is part of the Imperial Hotel & Tsukiji fish market (below)

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The remains of Kabuki-za theatre in Ginza & The Great Buddha, Kamakura (below)


Takanawa Prince Hotel in Shinagawa (below)


About tokyofox

A Leicester City fan teaching English in Japan
This entry was posted in Books, James Bond, Japan Life and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Review: Books Set In Japan – ‘The Man With The Red Tattoo’ (2002)

  1. makiko says:

    So,you’re not Dirty Harry, you’re #3Sick Boy!
    Thanks very much for the copies of your filming locations book, I’ve found it’d be
    reeeally usuful!
    I’m sure that I’ll check some places in SF next month, hope I won’t get lost!
    What’s the title of the book by the way?
    Is it still available? I’d like to have it to read more about my other favourites…

    • tokyofox says:

      no worries regardting the copies makiko. book is called ‘worldwide guide to movie locations’ or something like that. its by tony reeves but there hasn’t been a new one since 2006. you can check out a wealth of info at theres more in the book and I like having a hard copy but I guess many people are fine with the website these days

  2. Pingback: Review: Films Set In Japan – ‘You Only Live Twice’ (1967) | Tokyo Fox (東京狐)

  3. Pingback: Review: Films Set In Japan – ‘You Only Live Twice’ (1967) | Beyond The Movies

  4. Pingback: Okayama 2016 Pt VII: 007 Museum in Naoshima | Tokyo Fox (東京狐)

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