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Leiji Matsumoto (松本 零士 Matsumoto Reiji?, born Akira Matsumoto January 25, 1938 in Kurume, Fukuoka, Japan) is a well-known creator of several anime and manga series. His wife Miyako Maki (牧 美也子 Maki Miyako?) is also known as a manga artist.[1]

Space opera

Matsumoto is famous for his space operas such as Space Battleship Yamato. His style is characterized by tragic heroes; tall, slender, fragile-looking heroines with strong wills and in some cases, god-like powers; and a love of analog gauges and dials in his spacecraft.


Matsumoto made his debut under his real name, Akira Matsumoto, in 1953. His wife is shōjo manga artist Miyako Maki (better known as the creator of the doll, Licca-chan, the Japanese equivalent of Barbie).

Matsumoto had his big break with Otoko Oidon, a series that chronicled the life of a rōnin (a young man who was preparing himself for entrance examinations to universities and colleges), in 1971. Around the same time he started a series of unconnected short stories set during World War II, Senjo Manga Series, which would eventually become popular under the title The Cockpit.

He was involved in Space Battleship Yamato (1974) and the debut of the highly popular series Captain Harlock and Galaxy Express 999 (both 1977). In 1978, he was awarded the Shogakukan Manga Award for shōnen for Galaxy Express 999 and Senjo Manga Series.[2] Animated versions of Captain Harlock and Galaxy Express 999 are set in the same universe, which spanned several spin offs and related series, most notably Queen Emeraldas and Queen Millennia.

Matsumoto supervised the creation of several music videos for the French house group Daft Punk, set to tracks from their album Discovery. These videos were issued end-to-end (making a full-length animated movie) on a DVD release titled Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem.

About two dozen bronze statues — each perhaps four feet tall — of characters and scenes from Space Battleship Yamato and Galaxy Express 999 were erected in the downtown area of Tsuruga in 1999.[3] Each statue includes a plaque at its base explaining the character, and featuring Matsumoto's signature.


Himiko, a water bus of Tokyo Cruise Ship designed by Leiji Matsumoto

Matsumoto worked with Yoshinobu Nishizaki on Space Battleship Yamato (known outside Japan under various names but most commonly as Star Blazers).[4][5] Matsumoto created a manga loosely based on the series, and the Yamato makes cameo appearances (sans crew) in several of his works including the Galaxy Express 999 manga.

A recent work by Matsumoto called Great Yamato featuring an updated Yamato had to be renamed Great Galaxy due to legal issues with Nishizaki.[6][7][8][9] As of this writing,[when?] Matsumoto and Nishizaki are working on independent anime projects featuring the acclaimed Space Battleship Yamato, with the conditions that Matsumoto cannot use the name Yamato or the plot or characters from the original and Nishizaki cannot use the conceptual art, character or ship designs of the original.[10]

List of works


  1. allcinema 牧美也子 まき・みやこ
  2. "小学館漫画賞:歴代受賞者[[Category:Articles containing non-English-language text]] [[Category:Articles containing Japanese language text]]" (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved 2007-08-19.  line feed character in |title= at position 286 (help); URL–wikilink conflict (help)
  3. Yamatour 2009: Matsumoto Symbol Road
  4. "Leiji Matsumoto 1978 Interview". Retrieved 2009-09-01. 
  5. "Leiji Matsumoto 1976 Interview". Retrieved 2009-09-01. 
  6. "宇宙戦艦ヤマト事件判決". Retrieved 2008-07-20. (Japanese)
  7. "Yamato dispute arises again". Anime News Network. 2008-07-10. Retrieved 2009-09-01. 
  8. "Cosmoship Yamato Part 1: The Leiji Matsumoto Manga". Retrieved 2008-10-02. 
  9. "Cosmoship Yamato Part 2: The Leiji Matsumoto Manga". Retrieved 2008-10-02. 
  10. "Leiji Matsumoto: A Tribute". Retrieved 2009-09-01. 

External links

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