Thanks to two sports stars it was actually the city of Nagoya which helped open my eyes to the country which would become my home many years later. One of those was former Foxes favourite Gary Lineker who played for Nagoya Grampus Eight during the inaugural J-League season in 1993.
The other was the fictional baseball player Jack Elliot (Tom Selleck); an aging Major League baseball player whose only offer was from the Chunichi Dragons in Nagoya. There may be better and more famous movies about Japan but it is still ‘Mr Baseball‘ (1992) which holds a special place in my heart and ever since I started roaming the earth in search of filming locations I have wanted to do some from this movie.
The obvious place to start is Nagoya Stadium (below) which was the home stadium for the Dragons when they made this film back in the early 1990’s. It was their home from 1948 and held 35,000 people before they moved to the slightly bigger and much more modern Nagoya Dome in 1997. The old stadium is a short walk from Otobashi station on the JR Tokaido Line and is still in use. It first appears on screen after 10 minutes and, as you might expect in a baseball film, features heavily throughout the movie.
Fujisengen Shrine (below) in the Osu Kannon Place area is the shrine which Jack and love interest Hiroko go to around the 47 minute mark. It also featured in a deleted scene (Watch it here). Wikipedia is a place I don’t usually check for filming locations but if I had checked the ‘Mr Baseball‘ page before this visit I would’ve known that Fujisengen was used. As it was, when I found this place I was very excited as I thought it was an exclusive Tokyo Fox discovery!
The action then quickly moves on to Osu-Kannon Temple (below) itself and it’s shopping arcade on 48 minutes.
The exterior of Jack’s apartment features after 10 and 51 minutes as well as for a deleted scene (Watch it here). Tsukimi-gaoka Mansion (below) is a five minute walk from Kakuozan Station on the Higashiyama Line. The D block apartments used in the film are slightly hidden away at the back of this fairly vast complex. The address is 1-10-2 Tsukimizakacho and I have to say a big thanks to Tiziano d’Amore who mailed me information pinpointing the exact building where Jack stayed.
The foreign-style bar (below) where Jack goes on 24 minutes is in Sakue and is now called Shooters. It’s here that Jack discovers his translator Yoji wasn’t exactly telling the media the real words that Jack said at his signing-on press conference. Sadly it wasn’t open for business at the time of the day I was passing by.
The scenes on the train (below) between Jack and his translator were filmed between Nagoya and Otobashi stations. They take place on 36 and 45 minutes with Yoji reading the local sports pages to Jack.
Jack’s commercial for an energy drink (below) on 36 minutes (and replayed later on in the movie on his TV) was filmed in a tea field in Shizuoka. Sorry, can’t be any more accurate than that I’m afraid!
Okazaki Stadium (below) was used for the “away game” versus Hiroshima Carp on 55 minutes and I was planning to go there until I realised it was a long, long way from the nearest station and therefore not worthy of effort just to get a picture of the stadium. Okazaki station is as close as I got when I passed through there en-route to Toyokawa Inari Shrine.
The countryside scenes where Jack and Hiroko visit the home (below) of the Dragons manager Uchiyama (Ken Takakura) on 61 and 77 minutes appear to have been filmed in the Komaki or Inuyama area according to other internet sources.
Heiwa Park Cemetery (below) was used for a cut scene (Watch it here) between Jack and Uchiyama.
The Hibarigaoka neighbourhood was the home of Hiroko’s concept designs business (below) which appears on 72 minutes.
After that, it’s back to Nagoya Stadium for the remainder of this 108 minute romantic, sports comedy. I’m certainly no baseball fan but I do consider this to be something of a cult classic.
Click here to read ‘Review: Films Set In Japan – Mr Baseball (1992)’
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 The Ramen Girl The Toxic Avenger Pt II Ju-On: The Grudge 2 The Wolverine Memoirs Of A Geisha The Last Samurai House Of Bamboo The Grudge 2 The Hunted