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Leiji Matsumoto Loses Suit over Plagiarism Claim

posted on by Egan Loo
Yamato co-creator accused writer of lifting lyrics from Galaxy Express 999

The Tokyo District Court ruled on Friday that manga and anime creator Leiji Matsumoto (Space Battleship Yamato, Space Pirate Captain Harlock) defamed singer-songwriter Noriyuki Makihara when he said that Makihara had plagiarized his Galaxy Express 999 manga. The court ordered Matsumoto to pay 2.2 million yen (about US$24,000) for claiming on Japanese television that Makihara admitted to copying a phrase from Galaxy Express 999 in the song "Yakusoku no Basho" (The Promised Place). Presiding Judge Misao Shimizu disagreed with Matsumoto's claim and said the phrases are not similar enough between the manga and the song. Makihara had initially asked for 22 million yen (US$200,000) when he had filed his defamation lawsuit in March 2007.

In the 21st volume of the Galaxy Express 999 manga, the protagonist states:

"Jikan wa yume o uragiranai
yume mo jikan o uragittewa naranai."

[Time does not betray my dream
Nor must my dream betray time.]

The phrase in Makihara's "Yakusoku no Basho" song is:

"yume wa jikan o uragiranai
Jikan mo yume o kesshite uragiranai."

[My dream does not betray time
Nor does time betray my dream.]

The musical duo Chemistry had released the song as the title track of its Yakusoku no Basho album in the fall of 2006. A sample of the song can be heard on Sony Music's website. Matsumoto has dealt with the legal system before in his dispute with producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki and Tohokushinsha Film Corporation over the rights to the Space Battleship Yamato anime.

Source: Daily Yomiuri

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