Zipang (manga)

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Zipang volume 43 cover.png
Cover of volume 43 of the manga Zipang by Kaiji Kawaguchi, as published by Kodansha
Written byKaiji Kawaguchi
Published byKodansha
MagazineWeekly Morning
Original run20002009
Anime television series
Directed byKazuhiro Furuhashi
Written byKazuhiro Furuhashi
Yuichiro Takeda
Music byToshihiko Sahashi
StudioStudio Deen
Licensed by
Original networkTBS
Original run October 7, 2004 March 31, 2005
Episodes26 (List of episodes)
Zipang: Shinsō Kairyū
Written byKaiji Kawaguchi
Published byKodansha
MagazineWeekly Morning
Original run20122017
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and Manga portal

Zipang (Japanese: ジパング, Hepburn: Jipangu) is a Japanese manga written and illustrated by Kaiji Kawaguchi. Just like his previous work, The Silent Service, Zipang talks about the members of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. 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.[1] It was adapted into an anime in 2004.


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 realises 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 an Imperial 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.


Yōsuke Kadomatsu (角松 洋介, Kadomatsu Yousuke)
Voiced by: Tetsu Inada (Japanese); Mark R. Kaufmann (English)
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.
Takumi Kusaka (草加 拓海, Kusaka Takumi)
Voiced by: Hiroki Tōchi (Japanese); Edward Choy Keng Choong (English)
An IJN Lt. Commander whose courier plane was shot down during the Battle of Midway and rescued by Kadomatsu. He considers the encounter with the Mirai as an opportunity to change the history for the "better" (from his perspective, at least.) He rejects both the militarism of the Japanese Empire and shame of defeat that he attributes to the postwar Japan. Instead, he seeks to create a new undefeated Japan that he calls Zipang. While he admires the humanism of Kadomatsu, he dismisses it as a luxury unsuited for wartime and is willing to shed a great deal of blood in pursuit of his ideals.
Masayuki Kikuchi (菊池 雅行, Kikuchi Masayuki)
Voiced by: Takanori Hoshino (Japanese); Paul Pistore (English)
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-defense. After realizing 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.
Kōhei Oguri (尾栗 康平, Oguri Kouhei)
Voiced by: Yuji Ueda (Japanese); Jamie Meldrum (English)
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-defense, 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.
Saburō Umezu (梅津 三郎, Umezu Saburou)
Voiced by: Yuusaku Yara (Japanese); Joe Murray (English)
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 hospitalized 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 (Japanese); Chio Su Ping (English)
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 (Japanese)
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 (, Mori)
Voiced by: Makoto Tomita (Japanese); William A. H. Reid (English)
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.



Original comics were released from Kodansha. It consisted of a total of 43 volumes.

French Translation of the manga is complete as of May 2015, edited by Kana.

Korean Translation was done by Seoul Cultural Publishers.


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 unrealistic scenes were cut from the anime version.

At the 2006 Anime Expo, the company Geneon announced that it has licensed Zipang for distribution in North America. The first DVD was released in September of that year.

Principal cast[edit]

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
Terry Andrew Szombathy
Yasushi Asou Jeremy Craig
Katsutoshi Hayashibara Mamoru Miyano Dwayne Tan

Video Game[edit]

A video game version of Zipang for PlayStation 2 was released by Bandai in Japan on May 26, 2005.[2]


  • 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.
  • Marvelous Entertainment Inc. of Tokyo released the soundtrack CD on March 24, 2005 (catalogue number MJCD-20025).


Just like his previous work, 'The Silent Service', some readers and viewers were uncomfortable with the storyline. There were many arguments among the critics that the series were promoting Imperial Japan.[3] However, the crew of Mirai tries to stop Kusaka, who is trying to make Imperial Japan win the war against the United States. As the story flows, the author pinpoints out the some of the incidents that tells us the readers how bad Imperial Japan was during the Pacific War.

Zipang won the 26th Kodansha Manga Award for general manga in 2002.[4][5]

The anime has received generally positive critical reviews.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ ジパング―バイリンガル版. 23 July 2018. ASIN 477002911X – via Amazon.CS1 maint: ASIN uses ISBN (link)
  2. ^ "ジパング". Bandai Game Site. Bandai. n.d. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  3. ^ 박, 형준 (February 15, 2006). "묵직한 해상전투를 그리며 우리를 유혹한다". 한겨래. 한겨래. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  4. ^ Joel Hahn. "Kodansha Manga Awards". Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on 2007-08-16. Retrieved 2007-08-21.
  5. ^ "Archived copy" 過去の受賞者一覧 : 講談社漫画賞 : 講談社「おもしろくて、ためになる」出版を (in Japanese). Kodansha. Archived from the original on 2007-08-23. Retrieved 2007-08-21.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]