|Genre||Historical, Political, Science fiction, War|
|Written by||Kaiji Kawaguchi|
|Published by||Kodansha (Japanese and English)|
|Original run||2000 – 2009|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Kazuhiro Furuhashi|
|Written by||Kazuhiro Furuhashi
|Music by||Toshihiko Sahashi|
|Original run||October 7, 2004 – March 31, 2005|
Zipang (Japanese: ジパング Hepburn: Jipangu?) is a Japanese manga written and illustrated by Kaiji Kawaguchi. It was first serialized in Kodansha's Weekly Morning magazine from 2000 until 2009, and published in 43 volumes. Four volumes have been translated into English by Ralph McCarthy for the Kodansha Bilingual Comics library.
The newest, most advanced destroyer in the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, the JDS Mirai, sets sail from Japan on a training exercise with the United States Navy. En route, they encounter a strange meteorological anomaly, causing the Mirai to lose contact with her sister ships. After a short time, the crew detects a fleet approaching, but can barely believe their eyes as a massive battleship passes by them. The crew soon identify it as the Yamato, a ship which was sunk in 1945. As the crew scans with their radar, numerous other ships, including a Nagato-class battleship, are sighted. Two destroyers from the unknown fleet attempt to intercept the Mirai, but she manages to escape.
After examining the situation, the crew concludes that the ships they passed are part of the Imperial Japanese Navy and that they have somehow been transported back in time more than 60 years to June 4(5), 1942, the first day of the Battle of Midway. Knowing that an American attack will soon devastate the four aircraft carriers of the Kido Butai, some Mirai crew members believe that they should intervene, to save the carriers and the 3,000 Japanese lives that will be lost. With the Mirai's advanced technology and weaponry, which is far superior to anything possessed by the United States (or any other nation) in this era, the crew realize that they could potentially alter the course of the Second World War. However, they agree that their top priority is to return home, and to ensure that they have a home to which to return they decide to do nothing that will change history.
Despite their initial intentions not to alter history, they soon find themselves gradually drawn into the war, though they continue to refuse to choose one side over another. The struggle of the crew from a modern, peaceful, and wealthy Japan to resist the nationalistic appeal of defending their country, knowing that in this time it is ruled by a brutal, totalitarian and militaristic government is the central theme of Zipang. Their rescue of a Japanese navy officer from the past, Lt. Commander Kusaka, who would have perished in the normal timeline, causes unstoppable and devastating changes in the past when he seeks to create a stronger Japan no matter what the cost.
- Yosuke Kadomatsu (角松 洋介, Kadomatsu Yōsuke) Voiced by: Tetsu Inada
The protagonist of the series. Executive Officer (X.O.) and second in command aboard the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force escort vessel JDS Mirai (DDG-182). He takes over the position of captain after Captain Umezu is injured. He always respects human life, and the action of saving Kusaka's life took priority over the implications this would have on the course of history. He felt responsibility for however history may have been changed because of Kusaka, and tried but failed to stop Kusaka's actions. Due to changes in history, Kadomatsu's father as a child was killed in a car accident, turning Kadomatsu into a man who doesn't exist, an anomaly within the alternate past. After obtaining information that Kusaka is going to Manchuria to secure oil supplies, he decides to leave Mirai and embarks on a journey to stop Kusaka. While attempting to protect Puyi, he is shot by Kusaka and seriously injured. From then on, he begins a campaign in which he utilizes military power and whatever information he possesses to save as many lives as possible that would otherwise have been lost during the war. After the New Guinea evacuation operation, he is ousted from the ship following a coup by Kikuchi. Shortly after, Kadomatsu manages to regain control of Mirai with help from Momoi and Kisaragi.
- Masayuki Kikuchi (菊池 雅行, Kikuchi Masayuki) Voiced by: Takanori Hoshino
Gunnery Officer and third in command aboard the JMSDF vessel JDS Mirai (DDG-182). Kikuchi has been best friends with Kadomatsu and Oguri ever since they were in the same batch during their time at the Japan Maritime Academy. He has a strong sense of justice and does not like taking lives. Kikuchi is usually calm in making decisions, rarely breaking out a sweat when he faces extreme situations. During early volumes of the manga, Kikuchi proposed the Mirai crew to avoid changing the past as much as possible. After events of the battle with the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, USS Wasp, Kikuchi changes his stance on attacking enemy targets, putting the reason that Mirai is put in danger and they are doing it for self-defence. After realising that changing the past is inevitable and viewing Kusaka's beliefs to create a stronger Japan, Kikuchi stages a mutiny aboard Mirai and takes over as captain, working alongside Kusaka to attack India. However, he is injured during Japanese army withdrawal at Tarawa lagoon island and takes refuge in Palau. At this time, Kadomatsu manages to regain control of Mirai, with Kisaragi making a deal with Kikuchi and allowing him to escape inland with Momoi. Kikuchi is last seen working with Kisaragi, preparing for the final battle to end the world war.
- Kouhei Oguri (尾栗 康平, Oguri Kouhei) Voiced by: Yuji Ueda
Navigation Officer aboard the JDS Mirai (DDG-182). Oguri is best friends with Kadomatsu and Kikuchi during their time in the Maritime Academy. He is joint third in command alongside Kikuchi aboard Mirai. Oguri is the most outspoken of the three of them, but he is also impulsive when making decisions. In contrast, his personality is opposite to Kikuchi. When Kusaka was initially rescued, Oguri proposes that they should release information to him, without thinking of the consequences. He often goes into debate with Kikuchi on whether it's right to attack their own people from the past out of self-defence, or taking innocent lives even though Mirai is being attacked by enemy forces, changing the past as a result. When Kadomatsu goes after Kusaka in Manchuria, Oguri and the rest of the crew set up C4 explosives around Mirai in any case the ship is about to be captured. When Kikuchi stages his mutiny and ousts Kadomatsu as captain, Oguri is ordered by Kadomatsu to stay on board Mirai to keep an eye on Kikuchi's actions, even though he wished to leave with Kadomatsu together.
- Saburo Umezu (梅津 三郎, Umezu Saburo) Voiced by: Yuusaku Yara
Captain and first in command of the JDS Mirai (DDG-182). Umezu takes care of his crew and puts the safety of his men as first priority. Over the years, he is given the nickname "Hiruandon" (昼行灯), which means "one who does not stand out", by people who worked with him, as he is a modest person who does not get too much attention around himself. When Mirai was confirmed to be mysteriously brought into the past, Umezu proposes the crew not to get involved with events during the 2nd World War so as not to change history. Umezu is wise in making reasonable decisions whenever Mirai is under attack or whether the crew should join in battle with the old Japanese army. During the operation to rescue Japanese Army Defense Corps in the Aleutian Islands, Umezu is seriously injured when Atlanta-class light cruisers attack Mirai head on. He is later hospitalised in Yokosuka, and relinquishes his position of captain to Kadomatsu for the time being. When Umezu receives news that Kusaka is planning to build the atomic bomb, he travels to Nanjing with Kisaragi to stop him, but fails to do so and dies in his attempt.
- Sachiko Momoi (桃井 佐知子, Momoi Sachiko) Voiced by: Yoshiko Iseki
Rank of Lieutenant and medic aboard the JDS Mirai (DDG-182). Momoi is the only female crew member on the ship. She is responsible for the first aid and care of the crew on board Mirai. She is much more neutral to viewpoints and does not go into debate over changing events in history, as she holds her top priority over first aid. When Kikuchi mutinied and wrestled control over the ship from Kadomatsu, Momoi is disappointed by the crew splitting up and planned to leave with Kadomatsu just like Oguri wanted to. In the end, Kadomatsu convinced her to stay on to look after the crew's well-being. Later on Kusaka managed to capture Mirai, Momoi took care of Kikuchi when he is injured during the army withdrawal. When Kadomatsu sneaked on board with Kisaragi to retake the ship, Momoi initially refused to help when she learned of the pair's plans. However, when she learned of Kusaka's plans to build the atomic bomb and the recent death of Captain Umezu at his hands, pushed her resolve to help them take back the ship. Later, she and Kikuchi escaped together in Palau and accepted Kisaragi's offer to work together to put an end to the world war.
- Mamoru Satake (佐竹 守, Satake Mamoru) Voiced by: Takashi Matsuyama
Rank of Lieutenant and pilot of the MVSA-32J VTOL aircraft Umidori (Seagull) aboard the JDS Mirai (DDG-182). Satake is at times serious and sometimes fail to abide regulations. When Mirai appeared in the past just days only, Satake and his gunner, Mori, were assigned by Kadomatsu on a reconnaissance mission around Ogasawara. But Satake made the mistake of flying the Umidori only 500 feet (150 m) above the islands, getting the attention of 2 Type 2 Floatplane fighters. During the ensuing battle, Mori was killed, and Satake blames himself for making unsafe decisions. Later when Satake provides support for the Japanese army withdrawal in New Guinea, he unfortunately encountered the U.S. aviation corps. However, Satake stayed behind to defend the area from B-25 bomber planes in order to allow the Japanese army to retreat and perished in the battle.
- Mori (森, Mori) Voiced by: Makoto Tomita
Rank of 3rd Ensign and gunner of the MVSA-32J VTOL aircraft Umidori (Seagull) aboard the JDS Mirai (DDG-182). Mori is an enthusiastic and energetic young man at age twenty. He was assigned along with Satake on a reconnaissance mission by Kadomatsu to Ogasawara. Mori displayed doubts when Satake made the decision to fly the Umidori 500 feet (150 m) above the islands, but trusts in the man to keep both the gyrocopter and them safe. When Type 2 Floatplane fighters discovered their presence, he is killed by shots sprayed into the cockpit of the Umidori by the enemy fighters. The first crew member of Mirai to die since their arrival in the past.
An anime adaptation of Zipang was produced by Studio Deen and directed by Kazuhiro Furuhashi. The Tokyo Broadcasting System broadcast the anime series in Japan from October 7, 2004 to March 31, 2005. Since a Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force official on active service was involved in the production, some unnatural scenes were cut from the anime version.
|Character||Voice actor||English [Geneon Entertainment] (2006)|
|Commander Yosuke Kadomatsu||Tetsu Inada||Mark R. Kaufmann — replaced by George N. Cahill III for the last 3 episodes|
|Lt. Commander Takumi Kusaka||Hiroki Touchi||Edward Choy Keng Choong|
|Lt. Commander Masayuki Kikuchi||Takanori Hoshino||Paul John Pistore|
|Lt. Commander Kouhei Oguri||Yuji Ueda||Jamie Ross Meldrum|
|Captain Saburo Umezu||Yuusaku Yara||Joe Murray|
|Lt. Mamoru Satake||Takashi Matsuyama||Terry Lee|
|Chief Petty Officer Isshin Yanagi||Eiji Takemoto||Darryl Ervin|
|Lt. Sachiko Momoi||Yoshiko Iseki||Chio Su Ping|
|Hideyuki Kashiwabara||Ryo Naitou||Jeremy Craig|
|Lt. Kazuma Tsuda||Kenji Nojima||RayRay/Wayne Kauchak (season 1)|
|Lt. Commander Eichiro Taki||Unsho Ishizuka||Curran Shane Mardjuki|
|Lt. General Kanji Ishiwara||Naoki Tatsuta||Joe Murray|
|Commander Samuel D. Hutton||Masashi Hirose||Daniel James Dugard|
|Commander Chris Evans||Paul John Pistore|
|Captain Gray||Jurota Kosugi||Ian Patrick Corrigan|
|Kaoru Yonakura||Hiroshi Shimozaki||Joe Murray|
|Rear Admiral Leigh Noyes||Bon Ishihara||Jerry Szombathy|
|Katagiri||Naru Kawamoto||William Gary Ladick|
|Captain Shimamoto||Takeshi Koyama||William Gary Ladick|
|Yasushi Asou||Jeremy Craig|
|Katsutoshi Hayashibara||Mamoru Miyano||Dwayne Tan|
In popular culture
- The Japanese company Pit Road has released a 1/700 scale plastic kit of the JDS Mirai that includes a tilt-rotor MVSA-32J Umidori (Seagull), also in 1/700 scale.
- The Japanese company F-Toys has produced a set of five “trade” kits that include the Mirai, the MVSA-32J Umidori, the USS Wasp, the I-21 submarine and a Type 2 float plane. The set was released on March 21, 2005 and the scales vary.
- A video game version of Zipang for PlayStation 2 was released by Bandai in Japan on May 26, 2005.
- Marvelous Entertainment Inc. of Tokyo released the soundtrack CD on March 24, 2005 (catalogue number MJCD-20025).
- Zipang (manga) at Anime News Network's encyclopedia
- Zipang (manga) at the "Weekly Morning" site (Japanese)
- Zipang (anime) at the "Weekly Morning" site (Japanese)
- Zipang (anime) at Anime News Network's encyclopedia
- Zipang at the Internet Movie Database
- Zipang (the game) at the "IGN" site