The Blue Box House

Welcome to the Home of Jet Jaguar

11.13.2023

When the 50th anniversary celebration was announced for Godzilla vs Megalon (1973) the next Godzilla place I had to visit was a no-brainer. To celebrate the anniversary, a new Jet Jaguar was commissioned for a new movie short debuted at Godzilla Fes 2023. So I had to go to the place where Jet Jaguar was born. Checking out the Blue Box House was my first priority and day trip during my November Japan trip. This classic house is located in Tokyo about an hour from my place of stay in Asakusa.

My journey to the Blue Box House

There’s no more iconic location in Godzilla movie history than the Blue Box House (ブルーボックスハウス), the laboratory of inventor Goro Ibuki, big brother of Rokuro Ibuki, friend of Hiroshi Jinkawa and creator of Jet Jaguar. The Blue Box House was not an insignificant set but rather the backdrop of our heroes for the first half of the movie. Fighting breaks out inside the house before the fighting breaks out on the outside. Car chases were a big part of the movie action and the racing-themed murals on the garage and inside the house supported the car action. There was Roku-chan’s baby rider, his car abduction sequence by the Seatopians, and Jinkawa’s chase scene. In addition, the cubic shape of the house and the hanging cubic mobiles with racing themes were a repeating visual metaphor extended outside the house to the entrapment of Goro and Rokuro inside a truck’s yellow cargo box.

Approaching the Blue Box House

The Blue Box House is the creation of Japanese architect Mayumi Miyawaki (宮脇 壇), who born in Nagoya to two artists. His work in the 70s was driven by the idea of “primary architecture” and the play with cubic forms.1 His motto, “Everything is good as long as it’s cool,” is a fitting description of his iconic masterpiece, the Blue Box House, he built in 1971 as part of his “Box Series.” Its design is the Brutalist style that appeared in the United Kingdom in the 50s. This style is characterized by minimalist construction featuring the essential building materials and structural elements such as concrete, brick and geometric shapes.2 Miyawaki built the home for his friend and photographer Osamu Hayasaki (早崎治), known for his work on posters for the Tokyo Olympics.3 The Blue Box House features a big bright blue-green box cantilever floating out and over a cliff where bamboo was allowed to grow up into a courtyard.4 The exterior blue and green was inspired by the colors of Hayasaki’s racing Mini Cooper. All these features are upfront in Godzilla vs Megalon. But none more interesting than the the mural create by graphic designer Yuzo Yamashita [山下勇三]. Yamashita was Hayasaki’s racing buddy. He is responsible for the paintings on the wall of the garage. Perhaps he was an inspiration for the creation of the budding racer Jinkawa who used his custom hot rod to track down the undersea kingdom agents.

Various image of the Blue Box House

In the 70s, the house stood alone in a rural environment as seen in the movie. Today, it is surrounded by many homes in a beautiful neighborhood and community. The Blue Box stands out among the others and can be seen from afar. Its original design remains intact and the same. The interior has been updated over the years. Today, the house is under its fourth generation of owners.

The Blue Box House in Godzilla vs Megalon (1973)

From a close inspection of the movie, comparing movie stills, the blueprints and shots of renovated interior confirms that scenes with the cast were filmed inside as well as outside. I was careful walking through the neighborhood and approaching the home so as not to disturb the residents and their privacy. As I walked up to the house I was imagining our heroes to descend and Jet Jaguar to take off to get Godzilla on Monster Island. Seeing the parked car in the garage reminded me of Jinkawa’s hot rod and Roku’s baby rider. Finding the Blue Box House was a big part of my trip to Japan. It felt right to visit Jet Jaguar’ on his 50th anniversary.

References:

1 Enlessinterior
2 WIkipedia: Brutalist architecture
3 Brutus.jp: A concrete box floating on a cliff.
4 Architectuul: Blue Box House