The 1967 James Bond film “You Only Live Twice” was, despite is not-so-successful run compared to its predecessor movies, staked a small but fond memory for many in Japan, where most of the plot takes place and many of the scenes were shot. One particularly memorable action sequence involves Sean Connery’s Bond flying over a volcanic island in southwest Japan in a heavily armed auto-gyro and then fighting off a squad of helicopters. While the actual aerial battle was shot in Spain, the volcano during the flight was really in Japan. Said volcano, intermittently active, had a sudden eruption recently.
Reuters tells us that Shinmoedaki in Japan’s Kagoshima prefecture had an explosive eruption this Friday, June 22. The volcano, located on the southernmost main Japanese island of Kyushu some 985 kilometers away from Tokyo, had already undergone a brief eruption earlier in April; but this one is being theorized as having a connection to the earthquake measuring 6.1 in magnitude that hit Osaka just this Monday, June18. Shinoedaki’s eruption, which shot smoke and volcanic material into the air which fell as far as 1,100 meters away from the crater, barely lasted all day before quieting down again. As a precaution the Japan Self Defense Force has blocked access to the volcano’s peak, 1,421 meters high.
The Shinmoedaki volcano was featured in “You Only Live Twice”, the fifth official James Bond film produced by Eon Productions and United Artists in 1967, loosely adapted from the original book by Bond creator Ian Fleming. The volcano, which Bond scouted by air in the middle of the story as detailed above, turned out to be the secret rocket launching facility of terrorist organization SPECTRE, led by mastermind Ernst Stavro Bloefeld. Bond later assaults the hidden volcano base alongside ninjas from the Japanese secret service.
Japan is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, an interconnecting series of oceanic trenches and volcanic belts and arcs that are influenced by activity of tectonic plates in the ocean floor near their locations. The country alone already has 110 volcanoes that are officially designated as active, and 47 of these are under constant surveillance for potential eruptions. The worst record of fatalities by volcanic eruption recorded by Japan in almost a century happened in 2014 when Mount Ontake on the main island of Honshu erupted; 63 people were killed by the volcanic activity.
Images from Forbes and James Bond Film Review