Akiko Wakabayashi stars with Sean Connery in You Only Live Twice (1967)

Akiko Wakabayashi is a Japanese actress who became popular after appearing in the James Bond movie You Only Live Twice (1967), where she starred as Aki. She was born in Tokyo, Japan on August 26th 1941 and is well admired by Japanese audiences.

Wakabayashi also appeared in another English language film, What’s Up, Tiger Lily? (1966), a spy movie spoof produced by Woody Allen. Before You Only Live Twice, Wakabayashi acted in many Japanese movies, and built up a loyal following.

Akiko Wakabayashi is Aki in You Only Live Twice (1967)
“My job is to help you … I'm taking you to a place of safety.”

After beginning work with Toho Studios Akiko Wakabayashi’s film career took great strides. One of the popular films she appeared in was King Kong vs. Godzilla (1963), where she played the character of Tamiye.

Akiko Wakabayashi had various roles in movies until 1971, when she formally retired from acting. Here is a selection of the films she has appeared in:

  • Le orientali (1959)
  • Akiko (1961)
  • Love of Frozen Lake (1962)
  • Sensation Seekers (1963)
  • Dagora, The Space Monster (1964)
  • Key of Keys (1965)
  • Diamonds of the Andes (1968)


Aki

In You Only Live Twice (1967), Akiko Wakabayashi plays the character of Aki, a Japanese Secret Service agent. Aki is a tremendous assistant to James Bond in Japan, saving his life on numerous occasions. She drives a Toyota 2000GT sports car and evades her adversaries in style.

Agent 007 first meets Aki at a sumo wrestling contest. When she sits down next to Bond, he tells her "I love you," which is their meeting code. Aki then drives 007 to a meeting with Dikko Henderson, a British agent.

Akiko Wakabayashi is Aki in You Only Live Twice (1967)

Aki trails Bond as he takes off in a car with the enemy. At the Headquarters for Osato Chemicals & Engineering, 007 is soon in danger and Aki comes to the rescue. She then brings Bond to see Tiger Tanaka, head of the Japanese SIS.

Aki then saves Bond again when he is nearly gunned down after visiting Mr Osato and Helga Brandt. 007 and Aki are followed by an enemy vehicle into the countryside where Aki utilises her Japanese contacts - the villain’s car is sucked up by a magnet hanging from a helicopter, and then dropped into the ocean.

Bond and Aki then travel to the port of Kobe where they flee from a whole host of enemy thugs, before Bond is captured by Mr Osato and his guards. After Bond cheats death, by escaping a plane crash, he meets with Aki and Tanaka who inform him of the possible location of the villain’s hideout.

Akiko Wakabayashi is Aki in You Only Live Twice (1967)

Agent 007 is required to go undercover as a Japanese fisherman. To do this he must be traditionally married and have a change in appearance. Tanaka does not permit Aki to marry Bond, however he allows her to supervise 007's makeover before they then sleep together.

During the night a SPECTRE assassin climbs onto their dwelling and poisons Aki, after hanging a string through the roof. It was actually Bond’s life that was meant to be taken. However, as Aki had shifted in her sleep it meant the poison dripped into her mouth, killing her immediately.


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