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Astronaut Noguchi Cosplays as Yamato Hero in Space (Updated)

posted on by Egan Loo
Fellow astronaut Yamazaki received watch from Yamato creator Matsumoto

Not-So-Daily Link of the Day: On Saturday, the Japanese space agency JAXA posted a photograph of astronaut Sōichi Noguchi wearing the signature red-arrow-on-white shirt of Susumu Kodai, the main character of the classic anime Space Battleship Yamato. (Susumu Kodai was known as Derek Wildstar in the American adaptation Star Blazers.) Noguchi has been aboard the International Space Station (ISS) since last December, and the photograph was taken on Thursday.

A day earlier, fellow Japanese astronaut Naoko Yamazaki came to the station after the Space Shuttle Discovery docked as part of Mission STS-131. The photograph below shows Noguchi (left), Yamazaki (right), and another fellow Discovery astronaut, Stephanie D. Wilson (center), within the station's Destiny module.

According to JAXA, both Noguchi and Yamazaki were fans of Yamato as children, and the space opera anime inspired both to become astronauts. Yamazaki was also a fan of the Galaxy Express 999 anime, which Yamato co-creator Leiji Matsumoto conceived. Matsumoto now chairs the Young Astronauts Club (YAC) of Japan, and Yamazaki serves as a vice-chairperson.

During a YAC ceremony last December, Matsumoto presented Yamazaki with a wristwatch that he designed himself. The wristwatch is date-stamped "1999" and has the serial number "1999" — to commemorate the year that Yamazaki became an astronaut candidate. Yamazaki even made a special guest appearance in an episode of Rocket Girls, the anime based on Housuke Nojiri's science-fiction novel about a Japanese girl who becomes an astronaut.

On Thursday, Yamazaki and the rest of the Discovery crew woke up to Joe Hisaishi's "Hato to Shōnen" ("The Pigeons and a Boy") song from Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli's Laputa: Castle in the Sky film. When Noguchi was part of the Discovery crew on July 29, 2005, he woke up to Hisaishi's "Sampō" ("Walk") song from Miyazaki and Ghibli's My Neighbor Totoro film, as sung by Noguchi's daughters and the other students at the Houston Japanese Language School.

Daisuke "Dice-K" Enomoto, an early investor in the Japanese Internet firm livedoor, had planned to travel to the ISS in 2006 as the world's fourth "space tourist" — complete with a cosplay outfit modeled after the uniform of Mobile Suit Gundam anime character Char Aznable. However, Enomoto was unable to fly to the station due to a physical exam.

Source: Mainichi Shimbun

Image © Voyager Entertainment
International Space Station photograph courtesy of JAXA

Update: NASA posted a January 26 video in which Noguchi wore his Yamato-inspired shirt.

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