This Sam Fuller directed film was released a decade after the end of WWII and Japan has of course transformed itself quite a bit since then. ‘House Of Bamboo‘ was the first post-war American movie to be filmed in Japan and as you can imagine most of the Tokyo locations (including Ginza and Asakusa) now look nothing like what’s seen on screen. However, there are a couple of locations which have remained relatively unchanged in the six decades that have passed since filming wrapped and the reason for that is that they are places of worship in the form of a temple and shrine respectively.
Now, yes I do know that Kamakura is actually part of Kanagawa prefecture but lets not small things like that get in the way! If it was good enough for ‘Ju-on: The Grudge 2‘ (filmed in Tokorozawa in Saitama) and ‘The Ramen Girl‘ (filmed in part in Yokohama) then it’s fine for ‘House Of Bamboo‘ to be included in this Tokyo-based series!
First up on 33 minutes is the Great Buddha (below) of Kamakura at Kōtoku-in temple (200 yen entry) which appears for less than a minute! The 13.4 metre Daibutsu statue is an awe-inspiring sight even after many visits and it’s quite easy to see why it’s a national treasure.
Suddenly the scene changes to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrine (below) for a couple of minutes and Maiden and Wakamiya Shrine are seen before the guys ascend the 60 steps that lead up to Hongu (Main Shrine).
However, the place at the top where they have a discussion is not where it seems in the film. In fact, I’m not even sure where it was filmed. It could have even been shot in the studio but my guess is that it was filmed in the Shrine Museum which costs (200 yen to enter) which features some time-honoured treasures such as weapons and craftwork. Remember that a long, long time has passed since this film was made!
From the outset of the film the narration informs viewers that it was filmed entirely on location in Japan and then the magical and mystical Mount Fuji lingers beautifully in the background (a matte painting perhaps given it really is captured so perfectly in the centre of the screen!) as the scene is set.
The film concludes in the city of Yokohama which is actually Japan’s second largest city and just a short train ride south of Tokyo.
Screenshots appear courtesy of thisislandrod.blogspot (though of course they are just copied from the movie!)
For other Japan filming locations click on the links below:
You Only Live Twice Lost In Translation Kill Bill Babel Godzilla Walk Don’t Run Into The Sun Monster Wasabi The Grudge Ju:On The Grudge The Ramen Girl The Toxic Avenger Pt II The Wolverine Memoirs Of A Geisha The Last Samurai