Textbooks and Manga
The Time and Ideology of
Space Battleship Yamato
by Inoue Sizuka
208 pages, Seron Jiho Co., Jan. 1997
This book contained a series of essays on the societal aspects of Yamato and comparisons to contemporary SF titles, with an emphasis on nationalism and globalism. All text, no pictures. An expanded edition was published in 2004 under the title Anime Generation: Study of Anime Culture from Yamato to Gundam.
Space Battleship Yamato Anatomic Table
by Takaaki Yamada
248 pages, San’ichi Shobo, Feb. 1997
As the title indicated, this book was a thorough dissection of the Yamato saga that investigated characters and concepts alike to explore their symbology and context. There was also a brief look at Star Blazers, highlighting the editing and name changes. All text, no pictures.
The Space Battleship Yamato Legacy
by Leo Anzai
248 pages, Footwork, July 1999
This book focused on the making of the first TV series. It is text-heavy, but includes color stills and a large collection of model sheets. It’s worth seeking out if you don’t happen to have some of the vintage 70s or 80s books in your collection. This was the first book published after Leiji Matsumoto took temporary possession of the Yamato copyright. It included interviews with both Matsumoto and vocalist Isao Sasaki. (Click on each name to read them.)
Space Battleship Yamato,
Thriving After 30 Years
by Masayuki Endo
224 pages, Treasure Island Co., April 2005
This was a detailed walk-through of the first TV series, an in-depth analysis of the story highlighting the many aspects that relate to world history as we know it. It was largely a prose presentation with some occasional black and white stills, which makes it a prize for completists only. The more casual fan should look elsewhere.
Space Battleship Yamato & 70s Japan
by Hiroyuki Arai
367 pages, Social Commentary Co., November 2010
Another book that analyzes Yamato from a sociological standpoint. It examines the cultural and subcultural trends that began with Yamato and resonated throughout Japan during the production years. It’s almost entirely opaque to non-Japanese readers, but stands as another testament to the phenomenon.
The intriguing chapter titles are as follows: Crisis Period, Yamato‘s Revival / Birth of Subculture / Who is the Author of Yamato? / The Most Important Lessons of Yamato / Is Yamato Militaristic? / In 2199 AD, a Journey to the Past / Susumu Kodai’s Chosen Path to Escape from Loneliness / Birth of Anime Business / Examining the Sequels: Treachery and Yamato‘s Unchanging Spirit / Stories Only the Japanese Crew can Tell.
Rediscover Space Battleship Yamato
220 pages, Take Shobo, December 2014
The Japanese title loosely translates as Now Talking Space Battleship Yamato, and it lists three authors (M. Takehara, Agila, and M.D.). This book reviews the entire history of Yamato including 2199, as well as the unfinished Yamato 2520, Dessler’s War, and New Yamato.
The enticing blurb on the inner dustjacket sleeve reads as follows:
The universe is infinite, teeming with the variety of life. A work fades away, and another work is born…the breath of human drama is handed down from person to person for eternity. What is the “excitement” that Space Battleship Yamato ignites in our hearts? Here, the untold stories and themes of the work are thoroughly analyzed. Now, the greatest mysteries of Space Battleship Yamato are revealed. “Cast off…Yamato, launch!”
This book is all text and can be ordered here.
PD Company, Ltd.
Starting in 2014, Yamato crossed over into the world of Amazon Kindle with the first of five books by author/critic Akira Kawamata. Given their nature and packaging, it’s safe to assume these are unauthorized works that seem to share the mission of this website; examining the Yamato phenomenon from as wide and as deep a vantage point as possible.
This mission becomes clear when we review their descriptions at Amazon.co.jp. (Click on the book titles to see their Amazon page.)
The dirt you didn’t know behind the hit and downfall of Space Battleship Yamato
150 pages, first published 2014, expanded edition in April 2020
A critical look at the social climate that led to the original Yamato and the remakes.
Space Battleship Yamato is dead
61 pages, March 22, 2018
This ominously-titled volume claims that Yamato wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be in terms of its position in otaku culture, probably in an attempt to widen the context.
The truth you didn’t know about the Space Battleship Yamato Roman Album
30 pages, June 25, 2018
The author goes on an unprecedented deep dive, comparing 14 different (according to him) variants of the first Yamato Roman Album.
The truth you didn’t know about Space Battleship Yamato‘s copyright; the unknown swamp of the 70s
84 pages, December 2, 2018
Here the author examines and attempts to untangle the numerous and byzantine licensing practices of Yamato merchandise.
Space Battleship Yamato • books • videos • music • sheet music list 1974-2020: Aggregated Data Analysis
188 pages, September 13, 2020
Over 700 Space Battleship Yamato items were examined from the bibliography of the National Diet Library (Japan’s version of the Library of Congress) and analyzed to make them easier to grasp. The researcher was able to confirm the existence of books, records, CDs, DVDs, sheet music, game books, “mystery” books, and more. They even identified a Korean publication. (Hope someone told them about the American comic books.) The publisher’s promise from PD Co. Ltd. is “you can read it as material for Yamato research, but of course you can also read it to discover something new.”
Hopefully these book will eventually get a paper edition to expand access outside of Japan. For now, they are simply another item for our own database.
The Man who made Space Battleship Yamato ~ The Madness of Yoshinobu Nishizaki
by Yasumasa Makimura and Tetsuhisha Yamada
352 pages, Kodansha, September 2015
History has not yet decided if Nishizaki was a hero or a scoundrel, but none can deny that he was a very unusual man. This is the first full-fledged biography to be published after his unfortunate death in November 2010, covering as much of his history as possible with a warts-and-all approach. Early reviews of the book were as mixed as opinions about its subject, but it seems to have confirmed opinions on either side of the love-him-or-hate-him divide.
A book this significant demands translation, and it will be done sooner or later at this very website. Meanwhile, the table of contents is as good a summary as any of what this book has to offer:
Intro: A man who can’t be dismissed even after he’s gone
Chapter 1: Lone wolf in the anime village
Chapter 2: Theater, jazz, and music shows
Chapter 3: Yamato was not built in a day
Chapter 4: The glory within
Chapter 5: The victor’s dilemma
Chapter 6: Big company on the sand
Chapter 7: Countdown to ruin
Chapter 8: Prison wars
Chapter 9: The resurrected soul
Final Chapter: Farewell, Nishizaki
Kodansha, December 2017
The “Plus Alpha” designation indicates new material, in this case testimonies by 2199 director Yutaka Izubuchi and live-action Yamato director Takashi Yamazaki.
The Truth of Space Battleship Yamato
224 pages, October 2017, Shodensha
This paperback by Series 1 writer Aritsune Toyota documents the genesis of the story from earliest concepts through to broadcast. It is described as “the hidden story of the huge hit work revealed through priceless records and testimony.” Since it is 100% text, it will have to wait for future translation.
Order it from Amazon Japan here.
Meanwhile, you can learn much from our Yamato Origins series right here at Cosmo DNA.
The original manga drawn by Akira Hio during the production years has seen one reprint after another, and Leiji Matsumoto’s version has essentially been in print continuously since its first appearance in paperback. Here are all the editions that one could get during the legacy years.