For a James Bond locale, exotic Japan fits the bill nicely with sliding doors and ninjas, high-tech gadgetry and interesting options for expendable henchmen. Yet for Ian Fleming Japan offered more than literary background colour.
Tokyo was a city bristling with explosive espionage secrets – from the Soviet spy ring that turned the course of the Second World War to the Australian Triple Agent (and close friend of Fleming) whose secretive Sherlock Holmes society connected to the highest echelons of Japanese power and was at the centre of the Cold War.
Grab your Beretta, put on your tuxedo and fire up the Bentley… In this talk, Dr Damian Flanagan took us on a thrilling spy adventure, showing us Japan in a way we had never imagined before – the extraordinary untold true story of Bond, James Bond and Japan.
Damian Flanagan is an award-winning author and translator who has published a number of books on Japanese literature. He wrote his first book, a controversial study of Japan’s greatest modern author Natsume Soseki, in Japanese. His second book (The Tower of London and other Stories, 2005) told the story of Soseki’s experiences in Britain and won the US-Japan Friendship Commission Prize for the Translation of Japanese Literature. His third book, again in Japanese, was Natsume Soseki: Superstar of World Literature (2007). He has also written widely on Japanese politics, arts and society for publications including The Japan Times, the Asahi Shinbun, Newsweek and the Nihon Keizai Shinbun. Yukio Mishima is his latest book, published in October 2014. He lives in Manchester and Nishinomiya, Japan.