Mention Bond villains and most people probably tend to think of Blofeld (You Only Live Twice), Jaws (The Spy Who Loved Me), Dr No (Dr No), Scaramanga (The Man With The Golden Gun), Nick Nack (The Man With The Golden Gun) and Goldfinger (Goldfinger). There are many other classic bad guys who probably deserve to be on that list and and one of the strongest and most brutal (according to my 007 Top Trump cards information data!) is Oddjob who was Auric Goldfinger’s manservant in the 1964 film ‘Goldfinger‘.
Displaying a perfect combination of strength, skill and loyalty Oddjob knew seven ways to kill a man with just one blow and as well as his unusual appearance and manners he formed the archetype for which many henchmen of the Bond film series were based on. His sharpened, steel-brimmed bowler hat became a famous and much-parodied trademark of the Bond series. Oh and he could also crush a golf ball with one hand!
Last month a friend of mine called John walked alongside the Kanda River one day on a mission reminiscent of when I cycled the length of the river back in 2011. One of the photos which he posted on Facebook particularly fascinated me and that was what appeared to be a rather random statue commemorating Toshiyuki “Harold” Sakata who played the aforementioned ‘Oddjob’ in ‘Goldfinger‘.
Although the character is Korean the actual actor is Japanese-American and was born in the USA where he went on to be an Olympic weightlifter and professional wrestler and then a film actor of Japanese descent.
This bizarre statue is located roundabout Nishishinjuku 5-1-3 and is just a stone’s throw away from the temple featured in ‘Lost In Translation‘ (2003). It is on the ground floor of a private apartment (so please respect privacy and all that) just before the second bridge if you follow the Kanda River from Yamate Dori (route 317) heading in the direction of the Sumida-gawa river where the river starts…or ends if you like.
Is this really a statue of him? There is some kind of faded inscription on the statue but I couldn’t read it and didn’t really wanna lean too far over the tenants balcony to catch it on film for someone to translate. The sunlight shining through onto the statue didn’t help make things any clearer. It seems like it has almost been abandoned but given that his nationality its not impossible that it could well be him. I’d sure like to think that it is, and given that the third Bond film is one of just a few 007 films to have eluded me so far on the filming locations front, this may be as close as I get to anything ’Goldfinger‘ related!
Sakata died of liver cancer in Hawaii in 1982 and Oddjob may have quite literally died a shocking death but in this small statue he lives on in Tokyo overlooking one of Tokyo’s nicest rivers.