silent service

The Silent Service

is a manga series by Kaiji Kawaguchi. It was published in Kodansha's Weekly Morning manga magazine from 1988 to 1996 and collected in 32 tankobon volumes. The series was adapted into an anime TV special and OVA series by Sunrise. The first two episodes of the anime were later spliced together and released in North America as a single volume. The rest of the series remained untranslated.

The manga won the Kodansha Manga Award for general manga in 1990.


During the cold war, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force jointly developed a nuclear submarine with the United States Navy. On its maiden voyage, the captain of the submarine declares the submarine to be an independent state, "Yamato."

Sea vessels in OVA


It was said by many Japanese conservative thinkers that the work was advocating Japanese military independence from the U.S. by way of Japan owning its own nuclear weapon. One conservative pundit even called Kawaguchi the “new Yukio Mishima”, a well known right wing Japanese novelist. However, as the story progressed, the comic became increasingly centered on the new role of the United Nations, the direction that was supported by many Japanese leftists.

The idea of a captain of an atomic submarine declaring independent sovereignty is not completely original. For example, a British man named Paddy Roy Bates declared a nation called Sealand in 1967 after occupying an abandoned navy fortification off the British coast.

The Silent Service is generally regarded as one of the rare Japanese comics that covered the unparalleled scale of realistic international geopolitics with a commercial success.


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