The Rise of the Japanese Daleks

copyright Hayakawa Bunko

As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, there are a lot of crossover points between British and Japanese fandom. But not all of them are particularly new. In fact, Japan has their own specific Dalek design… and it’s been around for decades!

from Doctor Who Collectors Wiki

In 1980, Japanese publisher Hayakawa Bunko translated four of the Doctor Who Target novelizations for release overseas. (The Target novelizations were a line of slim paperbacks, each encompassing a serial of the original Classic series and tacking “Doctor Who and the” onto the front of each title.) These included the novelizations of The Daleks and Day of the Daleks, both of which were translated by Yukio Sekiguchi. When it came to art for the books, artist Michiaki Sato was enlisted… and liberties were taken.

The time-travelling TARDIS was now a red phone box, and the Daleks had an entirely new design. Dubbed “Hayakawa Daleks” by fans, they were broader, heavier, and less ornamented. Rather than sliding across floors, they had a spherical base embedded in the bottom of the tank.

courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Why the Hayakawa Daleks exist is uncertain. Dalek creator Terry Nation was (and his estate still is) notably very choosy about who is allowed to depict Daleks and how, so it could have been that Nation did not allow for their original likeness to be used. Potentially there was also a lack of source material, as the BBC back then was not particularly careful about preserving Doctor Who episodes.

And whatever happened to the creator of the Hayakawa Daleks? He ended up doing pretty well for himself. In fact, you’ve almost certainly seen his work. He went on to win a Nebula in 1987, and his mechanical designs can be seen in RahXephon, Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance, and Area 88. Does that mean we can expect to see Hayakawa Daleks in Super Robot Wars someday?… Almost certainly not. But we can dream.

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