Legacy Years Discography, Part 2: 2000-2010

Back up to Part 1 (1983-1999)

Space Battleship Yamato Eternal Edition
File No. 0: Symphonic Suite Great Yamato

CD, 9/30/2000
Columbia Records, COCX-31082~3

Great Yamato was the “international” name of a new manga written and drawn by Leiji Matsumoto that was serialized in Gotta Comics starting from February, 2000. (The name in Japanese was simply New Space Battleship Yamato.) In that same year, Nippon Columbia had changed names to Columbia Records and began to assemble the holy grail of Yamato music: The Eternal Edition CD series.

Its purpose was to track down all remaining unreleased tracks, combine them with bits from various concept albums, and repackage them with extensive historical liner notes (which were a significant resource in the writing of these music articles). You can explore individual discographies for descriptions of each disc, or read about the entire set here.

With two new Yamato ideas moving forward simultaneously, they were destined to meet. This happened with the very first disc in the series, the Symphonic Suite Great Yamato. It was a dream come true for all involved: Hiroshi Miyagawa would create an ‘image album’ for Matsumoto’s new manga and take the opportunity to revisit some earlier scores for another round. The finished product was packaged with Eternal Edition File No. 1, which contained long-awaited BGM tracks to the first TV series.

Leiji Matsumoto’s liner notes:

Yamato‘s voyage will be a long one, but the crew will be accompanied by the music of the great Hiroshi Miyagawa from beginning to end. It think the world meant for it to be this way. If we were to ask 100 people, 120% of them would insist that the music of Miyagawa must never change. Just as a person cannot be separated from their voice, Yamato and its theme music are one thing. It could be said that Yamato‘s fate is dependent on its music.

In this new symphonic suite, Mr. Miyagawa makes paintings in our minds that recall scenes from our imagination. When the Yamato theme flowed out during the recording we were overwhelmed by a flood of emotions.

I have designed—I use the word ‘design’ intentionally—a place in my soul that contains the power and force necessary to create a new Yamato. As you listen to this CD, let’s join our hearts and launch on this new voyage together.

Hiroshi Miyagawa’s liner notes:

I chose my favorite Yamato motifs to compose this symphonic suite. The demands of composing Yamato music were very high, and by the time we reached Final Yamato, I felt like all the music in me was used up. When Mr. Matsumoto asked me to wrestle with Yamato again, I worried him with a troubled look. I had to weigh the pros and cons about how to express the future of the year 3000.

This time my son Akira helped me to do the arrangement. ‘Metanoid’ is executed brilliantly. He understands the project very well and this outstanding music will help New Yamato stand out as a work of art. I’m sure it will be compared favorably with whatever musical upgrade is in store for a future Yamato.

I am very pleased with the great musicians and excellent recording staff who made a wonderful CD, and I thank all of them. This is a strange album in the age of CDs and if you listen to the themes so much that you wear it out, that would make me very happy.

Eternal Edition File No. 10: Yamato the Best

Song collection CD, 3/31/2001
Columbia Records, COCX-31162

Eternal Edition [extra]: Yamato the Best II

Song collection CD, 12/22/2004
Columbia Music Entertainment, COCX-33060

Each and every Yamato song got the Eternal Edition treatment on these discs, which were actually released over three years apart. The Best was the concluding volume of the Eterrnal Edition series, and its first pressing came with a keepsake box for all 11 discs. The Best II was not numbered as part of the series, but functioned as an addendum for all the songs that did not fit onto its predecessor. Taken individually, The Best is a sequential collection of all the primary songs and The Best II contains image songs and variants. Between the two, the only songs left out were Akira Fuse’s cover of Galaxy Legend and two karaoke tracks released by Tokuma on the 1979 Theme Song and BGM Collection.

Phantom Melody Vol. 1, Katsuo Ohno

UN Doughnuts Label, December 2003

Katsuo Ohno had a claim to fame shared by no one else: he was the only composer to write a song that Yoshinobu Nishizaki preferred over one by Hiroshi Miyagawa. That song was From Yamato With Love, and it became the legendary ending theme for Farewell to Yamato in 1978, sung by pop superstar Kenji Sawada. That makes this CD a rare treat; it was the first in a series that brought Katsuo Ohno’s demo tapes out of the vault and into daylight for the first time. From Yamato With Love is the last of 15 tracks, and is solo-performed by Ohno before Kenji Sawada was brought on board, a true rarity for Yamato music collectors.

Order it from Amazon or CD Japan.

Space Battleship Yamato
Reminiscence of Iscandar

Playstation 2 Soundtrack CD, 10/6/2004
Bandai, UYCD-0001

Yamato games for Playstation were released from 1999 to 2005. A PS2 game based on The New Voyage was among them, supervised by Leiji Matsumoto for Bandai and released on the 30th anniversary of the original TV series. A deluxe box-set version of the game included a mini-artbook and this soundtrack CD, half of which consists of midi-style synthesizer versions of original BGM. The other half is all-new music written for the game, which sounds utterly unlike a Miyagawa score. It is also one of the few CD sources for the “TV size” version of the Yamato theme as originally heard in the broadcast of series 1.

Eternal Edition Premium Set

11-CD Collection, 11/25/2004
Columbia Music Entertainment, COCX-33021

With Columbia’s recording studio approaching its final days, the complete catalog of symphonic Yamato albums was re-released in miniaturized packaging to commemorate the single most successful line of recordings in the company’s history. The silver-foil container was modeled after the 13-LP TV series drama box from 1979.

Read all about this set here.

Eternal Edition “Special File”


This disc was limited to just 300 copies and released in 2001. It contains three unique tracks that were recorded in a special session at Columbia music studio on December 3, 2000. Lucky fans who won a postcard lottery could attend and watch as Hiroshi Miyagawa lead the studio orchestra in re-arrangements of music heard on Eternal Edition Disc 0. The CD was probably sent to those fans afterward, and is now quite possibly the rarest Yamato disc of all.

Continue to Legacy Years Discography Part 2

Acoustic Yamato

Concept album, 3/23/2005
Columbia Music Entertainment COCX-33144, March 2005

The very last recording to emerge from Columbia’s Akasaka recording studio was intentionally chosen to be a Yamato album. Hiroshi Miyagawa’s son Akira had built a thriving musical career of his own by this time, and his association with Yamato (which went all the way back to 1980) made him the ideal choice to carry on the legacy. The liner notes, written by Producer Masashi Yagi, brought the entire story of Yamato music full circle:


The music merchandising of Yamato began with a cover album. As everyone knows, the music of the first TV series won the hearts of anime fans. Columbia answered the cry for music releases with the high-quality album, Symphonic Suite Yamato. When this plan was announced, some were unhappy that Columbia had chosen not to release the actual music heard in the series. But Columbia’s decision was no mistake.

The album was actually superior to the TV soundtrack, which had been recorded monaurally. To those who have heard both on CD, the difference is clear. Symphonic Suite established the “brand” for Yamato music and set the stage for tremendous growth with new symphonic albums for each subsequent production. But the first album made the biggest impact, and is difficult to surpass. Most afficianados of Yamato music still consider Symphonic Suite the best album in the series.

Akira Miyagawa is the one who did the arrangement and piano playing on Acoustic Yamato. In late 2004, Columbia’s director of planning, Tomohiro Yoshida, approached Mr. Miyagawa about producing a new album similar to the beloved Symphonic Suite. We were already planning to re-release all of the original BGM in its original and simplest form, and were once more concerned with Yamato music.

We wanted to produce something else that would be a little different and allow the music to be recognized anew. The simpler the better. Furthermore, it would require someone who thoroughly knew the creative soul of maestro Hiroshi Miyagawa. There was no better choice than his son, Akira.

He had already proven himself on an earlier album titled Hiroshi Miyagawa’s Hit Parade, in which Yamato pieces were performed by members of the Miyagawa family. This new project would be similar in concept. We settled on a plan that would include Akira’s longtime partner, a saxophone player named Makoto Hirahara. I had previously seen them in concert, which was full of fresh, novel arrangements. A collaberation with these two would be at once simple and deep, resulting in an unprecedented Yamato album. It had a real sense of belonging.

When we conceived this concept album, Akira Miyagawa was the first to ask, “what can be done with Yamato now?” That question was answered long ago by Symphonic Suite, which was a bold experiment in exploring the many facets of Yamato. This resulted in, among other things, an orchestral samba-like arrangement of The Scarlet Scarf. When we listened to this fearless composition again, our idea for this project solidified. The acknowledged best Yamato album was the perfect catlyst for a new one.

Click here for a complete track listing.

Akira Miyagawa has an extraordinarily busy music career, picking up where his multi-faceted father left off. He has returned to Yamato repeatedly, both as an arranger and the conductor of the Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra. He is also the star of the NHK children’s series Quintet, a Sesame-Street-like program with a focus on music. Above, left to right: Prelude to Final Yamato (half of which was arranged by Akira in 1982), a Yamato suite written for brass band by Akira (Brain Music, 2003), a Quintet piano book (DoReMi publishing, 2005) and DVD (NHK, 2006). Below: CDs containing the Yamato Theme and others: Hiroshi Miyagawa/The Hit Parade (Columbia, 2002), Naniwa Orchestral Winds (Brain Music, 2006), Akira & On-Gaku-Dan/Osaka Symphonic Orchestra (King Record Co., 2006) and Big Discovery Orchestra! (Columbia, 2007).

Read an extensive interview with Akira Miyagawa here.

BGM Collection Re-releases

Columbia Music Entertainment, 5/18/2005

Ten years after their 1995 release of the entire Yamato catalog, Columbia (having gone through two name-changes in the interim) made the BGM collections available again in modified packaging. This was an interesting twist of fate, since these were the albums Columbia was most uncertain about releasing back in the production years; poetic justice for all those who wanted them in the first place.

BGM Collection 1/Space Battleship Yamato: COCX-33200

BGM Collection 2/Yamato 2: COCX-33201

BGM Collection 3/The New Voyage: COCX-33202

BGM Collection 4/Be Forever: COCX-33203

BGM Collection 5/Yamato III: COCX-33204

BGM Collection 6/Final Yamato: COCX-33205

Space Battleship Yamato Original Soundtrack

Fuji CR Pachinko music, November 2007

A state of the art Yamato-themed pachinko video game swept Japan in early 2008, accompanied by a product line of its own that included this limited-edition EP with three newly-recorded tracks: the Yamato Theme, The Scarlet Scarf, and Endless Expanse of Outer Space. Isao Sasaki was re-engaged to cover his two most famous songs once again, and this disc was one of many premium items given away at Fuji’s 2007 launch party. Read all about the game here.

Toshu Fukami, American Pops & J-Pops Live Masterpiece Collection

Tachibana TA2275, August 2008

Toshu Fukami is a true renaissance man, a philanthropist, artist, actor, author and opera singer known throughout Asia and Europe with hundreds and books and albums to his name. This 2-disc collection is split between American and Japanese pop standards, with his cover of the Yamato theme as a selection on the second disc. Visit Fukami’s website here and find multiple Youtube clips here.

Kaleidoscope II, Toshihiko Takamizawa

Alfred, October 2008

Toshihiko “Takamiy” Takamizawa performs lead guitar and vocals for glam rock group The Alfee. Prior to recording two songs for Yamato Resurrection, Takamiy had adopted 1978’s From Yamato With Love as one of his signature tunes. This 2-DVD set contains his solo concert performance from August 2008 (concert + documentary), which included From Yamato With Love. (Kaleidoscope II was a followup to his 2007 Kaleidoscope concert.)

Order it from Amazon.

Black Jack & Space Battleship Yamato

Live concert recording, 3/25/2009
King Records, KICC 728

Akira Miyagawa added another entry to the world of Yamato music with this CD of live performances. He conducted the Osaka Symphony Orchestra through a suite of Yamato themes (a symphonic re-arrangement of the suite on Hiroshi Miyagawa’s 2002 Hit Parade album) and combined them with other works derived from anime and other TV programs.

Symphonic Yamato 2009

Symphonic album, 12/9/09
EMI, TOCT-26919

The first of five new Resurrection CDs was a fresh new recording of the famed 1984 Yamato Grand Symphony by composer Kentaro Haneda. Producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki had long wanted to honor his work by using some of it in a film soundtrack, and Yamato Resurrection finally gave him the chance. The first pressing of the CD came with three mini-postcards (shown above right)

Read all about the genesis of the Grand Symphony here.

Yamato Resurrection Original Soundtrack

EMI Music, 12/16/09, TOCT-26918

This collection follows the narrative order of the film, split between rearrangements of Hiroshi Miyagawa scores in the first half and new recordings of classical scores in the second half. It also includes shortened versions of the Yamato theme and the end title song Dedicate My Love. Newly-composed material by Kosuke Yamashita settles nicely into the overall style.

A second disc of “unreleased tracks” (above right) was included in the Yamato Resurrection “Complete Box” released in late 2010. It contains 19 tracks, again a mixture of anime BGM and classical music. Together, these two discs present the entire score of Resurrection.

Dedicate My Love by The Alfee

CD Singles released 12/16/09
EMI Music TOCT-40281, TOCT-40282, TOCT-40283

One disc just wasn’t enough to hold this much energy! All three contain two versions of the end title song, one with vocals and one without. Each also has its own bonus track. 40281 includes Space Battleship Yamato 2009 with Symphonic Orchestra, 40282 includes Space Battleship Yamato 2009 Rock Version, and 40283 includes Shining Run, a theme written for the 2009 Osaka International Female Marathon.

The Alfee is a very high-profile rock group in Japan, a trio consisting of Masaru Sakurai (bass guitar/vocals), Kohnosuke Sakazaki (acoustic guitar/vocals/percussion) and Toshihiko Takamizawa (electric guitar/lead vocals). Like Yamato, they celebrated their 35th anniversary in 2009; they formed the same year series 1 made its TV debut. Since then they’ve contributed theme songs to anime productions many times, including Lensman (1984) and Galaxy Express Eternal Fantasy (1998).

Read about music production for Yamato Resurrection here. Read a more detailed discography here.

Neo Universe, The Alfee

Universal Music, March 2010

The Alfee started rocking the same year Yamato first launched (1974) and their paths decisively crossed when the band recorded two songs for Resurrection in 2009. This album consists of 11 tracks including their rock version of Yamato. The album was released in three editions which can be ordered via these links:

Regular edition (CD) Amazon | CD Japan

Limited edition type A (CD/DVD combo) Amazon | CD Japan

Limited edition type B (CD) Amazon | CD Japan

See Alfee performing three different versions of their Yamato rock theme here

The Second Story, Kazuko Kawashima

Mr. Sirius, 3/29/10, KAZZ-001

Kazuko Kawashima’s voice is intimately known to Yamato fans all over the world; she performed the vocal for the Infinity of Space theme that has haunted us all since we first heard it. This was one of six favorite tunes that she reprised for this new CD, released by independent music label Mr. Sirius.

Iskandall & Bolar MP3 singles, WCDA

According to the website Hear Japan, WCDA is a DJ/remix/vocal/design unit who create House Music, Electronica, and Progressive House. The name is an abbreviation for “Will Cinderella Dance Again?” The group have in recent years played a large part in pushing Dance/Techno-influenced J-Pop styles closer to an authentic club sound. They often do remixes for popular anime titles. In June 2009, they covered the Iscandar theme as a 2-track maxi single and followed up in October 2010 with the Bolar theme from Series 3.

Happily for American fans, these unique releases can be found on iTunes. (Recommended!) A new title, Desler Attack, was added in January 2016.

Space Fantasy + Space Fantasy Live

Electronica, 10/27/10
For Life Records, FLCF-5027

This blast from the past was the first “concept album” featuring Yamato tracks, an all-synthesizer collection. Five of the ten tracks on Space Fantasy were Yamato covers, and the opening track on Space Fantasy Live followed suit. Originally released all the way back in April, 1978, this was the first time For Life Music released either album on CD.

Read a description of the original album here.

Live-Action Movie CDs

Love Lives single by Steven Tyler, Sony Music Japan International Inc., SICP 2923
Original Soundtrack by Naoki Sato, Nichion, NQKS-2001

On November 24, just one week before the premiere of the 2010 live-action Yamato movie, Steven Tyler’s CD single for the end title track, Love Lives, was released by Sony Music Japan. It contains four different versions of the song: Single mix, Acoustic Version, Piano Version, and Instrumental. It marks Mr. Tyler’s first solo release and also the first contribution to a Yamato film by an internationally-recognized music star.

Listen to it on YouTube here.

The premiere was accompanied by a number of product releases including the magnificent soundtrack album by Naoki Sato. The music samples heavily from Hiroshi Miyagawa’s original score, and can be heard track by track on YouTube here.

Continue to Part 3: 2011-present

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *