Over the years, Asian representation in comic book storylines has gradually improved. Just recently, DC Comics hosted an anthology called Festival of Heroes: The Asian Superhero Celebration, featuring their past, present, and future Asian superheroes.
In addition, Asian countries have also served as the setting for scenes in comic book films and television shows. Japan, in particular, seems to be a favourite shooting location for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So in case you are wondering which of your favourite scenes were shot in The Land of the Rising Sun, here is our rundown of iconic Marvel scenes shot in Japan!
Logan’s Mortality in The Wolverine
Guilt-ridden after killing Jean Grey, Logan led a hermit lifestyle until he was found by Ichirō Yashida, through the mutant Yukio. Yashida was a soldier Logan saved during the Nagasaki bombing, but now, he is dying of cancer. Wanting to save his life, Yashida offered his body as a host for Logan’s near-immortality. When Logan refused, he was infected with a robotic parasite that removed his healing abilities.
While it was almost impossible to witness a version of Logan teetering on the brink of death, this film does that perfectly. It even encapsulates what it is like to be caught in between family politics and life preservation.
Chase for Orson Randall in Iron Fist
When people think of Japan, the bustling city of Tokyo is often what they immediately imagine. In contrast, other towns and cities across the country might not strike many as settings for heroic chase scenes and gunfights. In fact, according to a Japan country guide on Expat Bets, Hokkaido is not that populous, so a lot of people who live there enjoy the tranquillity. The accommodations are also cheap, so it is frequented by many travellers. But it’s precisely this quiet atmosphere that has made Hokkaido the perfect location for people — and heroes — to hide in.
When black-market seller Orson Randall sold the corpse of a previous Iron Fist to Davos, he was tracked down by Danny Rand and Ward Meachum in Hokkaido. To their disappointment, they only ran into Randall’s henchmen. As expected, the men denied any connections with Randall, so Meachum had no choice but to let Rand deal with them in a gunfight. Having regained the power of the Iron Fist, Rand charged his dual pistol with chi and destroyed the henchman’s bullet.
Interrogation of Toshiro Mori in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Following a HYDRA attack against the UN Headquarters, S.H.I.E.L.D. director Phil Coulson sent his agents to Okinawa, where engineer Toshiro Mori was located. Donning a HYDRA cover, agent Bobbie Morse went in to interrogate Mori, who after moments of flirting admitted his involvement in the weapon, even revealing that he based the bombs on HYDRA’s WWII technology. When Mori’s bodyguards received orders to kill Morse, a gunfight followed, with Mori ending up dead.
The scene’s location, Okinawa, also called the Hawaii of Japan, is composed of more than 150 islands, famous for their pristine beaches and tropical climate. Some of the islands have been developed into luxury resorts, while others remain uninhabited. On the larger islands, tourist attractions are spread out, and public transportation is intermittent. This dispersion of establishments might be a factor why fictional secret bases like that of HYDRA were able to make it their home.
Ronin’s Vengeance in Avengers: Endgame
In 2018, when his wife and three children disappeared during the Snap, Clint Barton, who now adopted the vigilante name Ronin, vowed to bring justice to those who were not killed by Thanos, particularly criminals and gang members. After killing the remaining members of the Yakuza faction in Tokyo, Ronin had a heated one-on-one duel with their leader, Akihiko. As Ronin finished the job, he noticed Natasha Romanoff silently observing him. She then informed him of their plan to bring everyone back. After initially rejecting the idea, Barton was finally convinced.
Although why he specifically went to Japan remains a mystery, the scene might be based on the comic issue New Avengers #27, where Ronin found himself pitted against ninjas.
Overall, Japan is attractive not only to tourists, but also to Hollywood filmmakers who continue to narrate their action-packed stories against an elegant backdrop that blends tradition and modernity.