Yoshinobu Nishizaki

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Yoshinobu Nishizaki
Hirofumi Nishizaki (西崎弘文, Nishizaki Hirofumi)

(1934-12-18)18 December 1934[1]
Died7 November 2010(2010-11-07) (aged 75)
Known forcharacter design, illustration
Notable work
Space Battleship Yamato series

Yoshinobu Nishizaki (西崎 義展, Nishizaki Yoshinobu, 18 December 1934 – 7 November 2010) was a Japanese film producer best known as one of the two co-creators of the anime series Space Battleship Yamato.[2][3][4][5] He was sometimes credited as Yoshinori Nishizaki. He was born in 1934 and graduated from the Nihon University Art Department.

Life and work[edit]

Nishizaki graduated in 1957 from Nippon University. His first love was music; he owned a jazz club and was also a jazz radio personality. He formed Office Academy in 1963 as a music production company. Nishizaki's entry into the anime world came in 1970 when he joined Osamu Tezuka's animation studio, Mushi Production, as a sales manager; his first job was to sell the studio's anime Marvelous Melmo to a TV broadcaster in Osaka. Nishizaki produced his first anime, Triton of the Sea, in 1972, and followed it up with the ambitious musical comedy Wansa-kun in 1973; both were based on Tezuka manga, but due to an apparent copyright mixup on Nishizaki's part, Tezuka lost the rights to the anime versions of both series, and Mushi Production made both shows without Tezuka's involvement. Both shows were also ratings disappointments.

Nishizaki produced the classic Space Battleship Yamato franchise in 1974 with its initial television run. At first its ratings were as disappointing as those of Nishizaki's previous ventures; however, the franchise exploded in popularity in 1977 with the release of a hugely successful movie-length edit of the TV series, and "Yamato Fever" continued unabated in Japan for the next six years. Edited versions of the three Yamato TV series were also a cult success in the United States under the title Star Blazers.

Nishizaki's other works produced during and after Yamato's peak of popularity did not come close to matching the explosive popularity of Yamato, and during the 1990s, he began to fall into rough straits financially. His company, New Japan Visual Network, founded in 1984, declared bankruptcy in 1991, and Nishizaki himself declared bankruptcy in 1997 amidst his wrangling with Yamato co-creator Leiji Matsumoto over the copyrights to Yamato. In 1994, Nishizaki designed a short-lived follow-up series called Yamato 2520, and was later sued by Matsumoto for breach of copyright. The case over Yamato led to halting the production of the video series after only three episodes.[6][7] The dispute was finally settled in 2003, with Nishizaki winning the use of the name Yamato and the original plot and characters but losing the use of the original conceptual art, ship and character designs to Matsumoto.

Nishizaki's new Space Battleship Yamato anime film was released December 12, 2009.[8][9][10][11] There is also a live action film adaptation of the first TV series produced by Nishizaki which premiered in Japan during December 2010.

Legal troubles[edit]

On December 2, 1997, police stopped his car on the Tōmei Expressway in Shizuoka after he was driving suspiciously. He was arrested when police found inside his attache case 50g of stimulants, 7g of morphine, 9g of marijuana. While on bail he went to the Philippines on his English-registered cruiser the Ocean Nine; he returned to smuggle in an M16 with M203 grenade launcher, a Glock 17, and a large amount of ammunition.[12] On January 21, 1999, Nishizaki was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison for the narcotics possession charge.

Later on February 1, 1999, he was arrested after a handgun, 131 bullets and 20 grams of stimulant drugs were seized from his house in Setagaya Ward, Tokyo. Nishizaki, voluntarily submitted two automatic rifles, 1,800 bullets, and 30 howitzer shells kept in a station wagon in his garage, police said. Police said that Nishizaki had hidden an Austrian handgun loaded with three bullets under a zaisu chair in a study. Nishizaki told police that he had bought the handgun in Hong Kong 10 years earlier.[13][14][15] On February 20, 2003, he was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison for the possessing firearms charge.[16] He was released from prison on December 9, 2007.


Nishizaki drowned on 7 November 2010 at Chichijima, Ogasawara, when he suffered an apparent heart attack[17] after falling off the research steamboat Yamato.[18]



  1. ^ "Yoshinobu Nishizaki Essay, 1981". StarBlazers.com. Archived from the original on March 14, 2012. Retrieved 2009-09-01.
  2. ^ "A Rainbow of Threads". StarBlazers.com. Archived from the original on April 2, 2012. Retrieved 2009-09-01.
  3. ^ "Leiji Matsumoto 1978 Interview". StarBlazers.com. Archived from the original on March 21, 2012. Retrieved 2009-09-01.
  4. ^ "Leiji Matsumoto 1976 Interview". StarBlazers.com. Archived from the original on March 12, 2012. Retrieved 2009-09-01.
  5. ^ "OUT Magazine Excerpt". StarBlazers.com. Archived from the original on March 24, 2012. Retrieved 2010-02-02.
  6. ^ 宇宙戦艦ヤマト事件判決. law.co.jp (in Japanese). Retrieved 2008-07-20.
  7. ^ "Yamato dispute arises again". Anime News Network. 2008-07-10. Retrieved 2009-09-01.
  8. ^ "December's Yamato Film Detailed by Director Nishizaki". Anime News Network. 2008-07-10. Retrieved 2009-09-01.
  9. ^ "The return of Yoshinobu Nishizaki and Space Battleship Yamato: Report 1". StarBlazers.com. Archived from the original on August 3, 2011. Retrieved 2009-09-01.
  10. ^ "New Yamato Report 2: Roots of Rebirth". StarBlazers.com. Archived from the original on March 24, 2012. Retrieved 2009-09-01.
  11. ^ "New Yamato Report 3". StarBlazers.com. Archived from the original on March 14, 2012. Retrieved 2009-09-01.
  12. ^ 「宇宙戦艦ヤマトプロデューサー 覚せい剤所持容疑で逮捕」『朝日新聞』1998年1月17日
  13. ^ "Yamato producer arrested on guns, drug charges". Anime News Network. February 13, 1999. Retrieved July 7, 2010.
  14. ^ Monson, Joe (February 3, 1999). "[NEWS] Yamato Producer Arrested". Newsgrouprec.arts.anime. Retrieved July 7, 2010.
  15. ^ 「宇宙戦艦ヤマト 製作者が銃所持 覚せい剤も」『日本経済新聞』1999年2月2日
  16. ^ "Biography of Yoshinobu Nishizaki". Bella Online. 2010. Retrieved July 7, 2010.
  17. ^ "Toon producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki dies". Variety magazine online. 2010-11-08. Retrieved 2010-11-08.
  18. ^ "Yamato Anime Producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki Passes Away". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2010-11-07.
  19. ^ "Arrivederci Yoshinobu Nishizaki". Otaku USA. Retrieved 2010-11-10.

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