Literature: You Only Live Twice

The twelfth James Bond book by Ian Fleming, published in 1964.

Eight months have gone by since the events of the tenth book, and Bond's a wreck who can barely keep his job. In order to help, M gives him a promotion and sends him on a tough diplomatic assignment to Japan to get information that would benefit England out of Tiger Tanaka, head of the local Secret Service. He and Tanaka become pals, and soon Bond finds himself in an another assignment: assassinate one Dr. Shatterhand, a man "who collects death".

The book was the basis for the fifth James Bond film.

This novel has the examples of:

  • Artistic License Geography: Dr. Shatterhand's castle resides near Japan's coast. In real life, they were never build so close to water due to storms and other natural problems.
  • Awesome Aussie: Dikko Henderson, though his awesomeness largely revolves around consuming grossly large quantities of alcohol.
  • Balls of Steel: Tiger Tanaka describe the sumo wrestlers' ability to retract their genitals up into a recess in their hip bone, to which Bond responds with amazement.
  • Big Bad: Dr. Shatterhand.
  • Chalk Outline: Bond is somewhat shocked over an incident where Japanese police insisted in drawing outlines around the victims of a road accident, and complaining when the victims moved.
  • Dead Hat Shot: Bond witnesses one man killing himself in the Garden of Death by walking into a fumarole field. Only his tophat is left behind on the surface after he sinks.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: Blofeld in his Dr. Shatterhand guise, however; as penitent suicide has such an honoured place in Japan (especially as portrayed by Fleming), no-one bar Tiger Tanaka is in a hurry to do anything about him.
  • Direct Line to the Author: When Bond is believed dead, his obituary mentions that there is a book series being written about his adventures. It also mentions that if the books were any closer to the truth, they'd prosecute the author, an old friend of Bond's, under the Official Secrets Act.
  • Evil Gloating: Bond waits patiently for a change as Blofeld, who has him at his mercy, goes on about how he is a genius and Bond is just a common criminal on a payroll.
  • Foreign Culture Fetish: Tiger Tanaka puts down Westerners who live in Japan and emulate and study (and often marry) the Japanese. Bond calls him out on this and Tiger admits that many of these scholars are sincere but Tiger is still rather old fashioned and racist toward any non-Japanese.
  • Garden of Evil: The Garden of Death, created by Dr. Shatterhand as a mecca for suicidal Japanese. It lives up to its name.
  • Hannibal Lecture: Dr. Shatterhand subjects Bond to one of these; 007 answers him in the bluntest and most terminal way possible.
  • Heroic BSOD: Bond is going through one at the start of the novel. He ends in an even worse one — amnesiac, and on his way to Vladivostok to try and find clues to who he really is. This sets up for his Brainwashed and Crazy moment at the beginning of The Man with the Golden Gun, when under Soviet brainwashing, he tries to assassinate M.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Dr. Guntram Shatterhand turns out to be none other than Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
  • In Medias Res: The book starts with Bond exchanging polite words with Tanaka at a Geisha parlor.
  • Interchangeable Asian Cultures: Tiger Tanaka insults Bond for talking about Ming dynasty as Japanese art.
  • Japanese Politeness: Tiger Tanaka explains to Bond that Japanese criminals will stop and surrender when ordered to by the authorities, because of the Japanese culture.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Bond's obituary makes reference to a series of "sensationalistic novels" written about Bond's life.
  • Majored in Western Hypocrisy: Tiger Tanaka studied in Ofxord, and used it as a pretext to spy on the Brits.
  • My Secret Pregnancy: At the end of the book, Kissy is pregnant with Bond's child but never got a to tell him about it.
  • Piranha Problem: The Garden of Death has many lakes in it, all filled with hungry piranha.
  • Politeness Judo: As Bond drinks with Tiger in the first chapter, they constantly trade polite comments with each other. Bond, who has been tasked to get Tiger's co-operation, struggles to avoid one-upping him in any way.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: By contemporary standards Dikko is jaw-droppingly racist — not with regard to the Japanese, whose culture he shows some knowledge of and who he has respect for, but with regard to Indigenous Australians:
    Dikko: Don't talk to me about the Aboriginals. Do you know there's a movement afoot in my country, not merely afoot but at full gallop, to give the Aboriginals the vote? You pommy poofter. You give me any more of that liberal crap and I'll have your balls for a bow-tie.
  • The Reveal: Dr. Shatterhand and his wife are actually Ernst Stavro Blofeld and Irma Bunt.
  • Revealing Coverup: Even Dr. Shatterhand knows that the sensationality of all the suicides in garden is bound to force him to relocate.
  • Sanity Slippage: Blofeld has suffered one of these; his ego has bloated and his formerly calm speech has been replaced by a Hitleresque bark.
  • Sequel Hook: Bond, suffering from Identity Amnesia, goes on a Quest for Identity. Into Soviet Union.
  • Title Drop: It's part of a haiku Bond composes.
  • Unusual Euphemism: "Stop looking at my black cat."