Naoshima, Island of Art and…007?

I recently visited Naoshima, an island in the Inland Sea, for the first time. Formerly an industrial waste dumpsite, the island has been converted into an art lover’s mecca. I had a chance to visit a couple of art museums, as well as the delightfully kitschy 007 Museum, near the harbor.


Here is the entrance. Although I had to change out of my shoes and into slippers to view the Monet at the Chichu Art Museum (which has only three exhibits total, two of them inaccessible by wheelchair), this place invited visitors to step inside  shoes and all. Paperbacks of James Bond novels, movie posters, and guns (movie props?) were encased in glass.

And there was this big heart thing, that must have something to do with the  James Bond novel, “The Man with the Red Tattoo,” by Raymond Benson, which takes place partly on Naoshima.


Supposedly, Benson visited the island and loved it so much, that he set his book there, hoping that movie makers would then use the island as a film location. Although signatures are still being collected, Hollywood has yet to call.


There’s a little cafe connected to the museum. While not a “must-see,” the 007 Museum is free, and the perfect low-brow antidote to the “slippers only” exhibits up in the hills.


One thought on “Naoshima, Island of Art and…007?

  1. Thank you so much for the book, Suzanne. I will see if Terrie has a real-life address for you as I’d love to send you a ‘proper’ thank-you. That will have to wait for a bit though — I am still too torn-up after just reading ‘You’re So Lucky’ to risk making a chatty phone call. Powerful stuff!

    I was just reading your blog and was shocked to see that Irabu had killed himself. It may have nothing to do with it, but sometimes I think Japanese schooling/society is too focused on ‘My Dream.’ What happens if you don’t achieve ‘My Dream’? Or what happens if you do — what then? Or, as in Irabu’s case, what happens if you scale that pinnacle but then start sliding down the other slope?

    I also didn’t realize he wasn’t ‘pure’ Japanese. What with Darvish and the Olympian Genki Dent in the news a lot, being ‘half’ seems to be quite the vogue. I was also very surprised to recently read that Murofushi, the hammer thrower, is also bicultural — his mother’s from Romania.

    Thanks again for thinking of me and all the best to you with your writing and in your life as a gaijin mama.


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