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JAPAN is an island nation off the east coast of China.


Country Number (48?) 1978 SECOND and THIRD WAVE
Region Asia
Television commenced 1951
Colour System 1960 NTSC
Population 1978 111 million
TV Sets 1978 27 million
Language/s English Dubbed into Japanese (Bilingual)

Television Stations / Channels

Japan began its television service in 1951. Colour transmissions began in 1960 using the NTSC colour broadcast system.

The main national broadcaster in Japan is Nippon Hoho Kyokai (NHK).

The country is also served by over a hundred privately owned terrestrial, satellite and cable television stations.

Doctor Who aired on private stations, NHK and cable networks such as Channel Ginga.

Tom Baker stories (in English) also aired in Japan on the Armed Forces Network in 1986 – see the separate profile for that cable station.


The principal language is Japanese. Most programming was dubbed into Japanese, but some also aired in English, especially those broadcast on cable channels.

The newspapers we accessed stated that "all foreign TV and feature films are dubbed in Japanese unless stated otherwise". Doctor Who was marked as being in English or "bilingual".


(ドクター・フー )

Japan was the 48th country to screen Doctor Who (see Selling Doctor Who).

In Japanese script, the programme is called ドクター・フー


The villains - Dr Who from the "King Kong" cartoon, and the very Hartnell-esque Eisei Amamoto from King Kong Escapes
  • From late 1965 and throughout 1966, the US/Japanese animated Saturday morning show "King Kong / The King Kong Show" went into production. (The first episodes went on air in the US from September 1966 and ran until August 1969.) A recurring villain of the animated series was the mad scientist "Dr Who". (Did the producers come up with the name themselves, or had they "borrowed" it having seen some of the promotional material that had by then been published about the BBC's series?)
  • The script for a live action version of the cartoon series had also been written, but was replaced by a different idea, which became "Kingu Kongu no Gyakushū / King Kong Escapes", a Japanese/American co-production from Toho and Rankin/Bass, released in Japan in July 1967 and the US in June 1968. As in the cartoon, the lead villain was named "Dr Who" (played by Eisei Amamoto) who wore a costume that did in fact have a very close similarity to that worn by William Hartnell! (Again, coincidence, or was the idea "borrowed" from the BBC series?)



"Poster print" for "Dr Who and the Daleks"
Listing for US military camp screening of Dr Who and the Daleks, March 1967

We are not sure whether the Peter Cushing Dalek movies were released theatrically in the 1960s. We have not been able to find any newspaper listings or posters that indicate there were cinema showings.

The poster for 怪人ダレクの惑星 shown here appears to be an authentic cinema issue, but the only sources we can find for this image online are for a recent piece of "Poster Art" available through iCanvasART on Amazon, so this might be an artist's representation rather than a reproduction of an actual 1960s poster.

The film did play in English at the US military camp in Tokorozawa in March 1967.

Both films were later released on home video in Japan. As far as we can determine, the second film (subtitled) was released first - under the title " 地球侵略戦争2150" (War Invasion Against Earth 2150) - through Thorn EMI / King Video in circa 1985.

The first film wasn't released on subtitled tape (by Cannon / King Video) until circa 1986. The video box gives the title as "Dr.フー in 怪人ダレクの惑星" (Daleks' Phantom Planet / Phantom Planet of the Daleks ("ダレク" is Japanese for "Dalek"); Note; although the packaging has "Dr.フー in…" as part of the title, the film itself retains the English name without any captioning displaying a translated title.)

The second movie only was released on DVD by StudioCanal / Universal in November 2011. This had the same title as the VHS, and was also subtitled.

Japanese Video: Dalek Invasion Earth 2150AD
Japanese Video: Dr Who and the Daleks
Japanese DVD

BBC Records

DWM 147 - Sale to Japan -- 殺 "Kill!"

In a BBC memo dated 7 July 1965, Japan was one of several countries to which an offer had been made but not yet accepted. The serials on offer were the first "batch" of 26 episodes covering An Unearthly Child to The Keys of Marinus. (Presumably the offer was made to Mutsu Inc, the BBC's distribution representatives in Japan -- see below.)

The 26 April 1966 edition of The Daily Mirror reported that, with the popularity of Doctor Who spreading across the globe, the BBC was dubbing the series into Japanese (see Peter Haining's The Key to Time, page 48).

However, despite the 1965 offer and the claim that stories had been dubbed a year later, there is no evidence that any William Hartnell stories ever aired in Japan in the 1960s.

The Eighties - THE LOST CHAPTERS records a sale of "(3)" stories (by 10 February 1987).

In DWM issue 147, Japan is identified in only one story Archives: EEE, with a sale dated as being 1978.

A BBC memo dated 11 January 1978 reports a sale of "BBB, CCC & EEE to Mutsu in Japan". Mutsu Incorporated was the BBC's sales and distribution representative in Japan, which also arranged for programmes to be dubbed into Japanese (although it's not known if Doctor Who itself was dubbed).

In the Gallifrey Guardian news page of DWM issue #147 (April 1989), a brief announcement with the heading "LAND OF THE RISING WHO" reported that "Overseas sales of Doctor Who received a boost in January when Season 24 was sold to Japan". In the caption, the Dalek is saying "殺", which is "Satsu", meaning "to kill". It was not reported which of the many stations this was sold to.

Since the only listings that could be found in 1989 were for Tom Baker serials, it's possible that DWM's report was actually for the sale of those nine fourth Doctor stories.

Stories bought and broadcast


Three stories, 18 episodes:

BBB Doctor Who and the Silurians 7
CCC The Ambassadors of Death 7
EEE Terror of the Autons 4

Japan therefore bought part from GROUP B and C of the Jon Pertwee stories.

The programme was supplied as NTSC colour video tapes with English soundtracks (and these were possibly dubbed into Japanese).

Origins of the Tapes?

The tapes of all three stories may have come from the Philippines where they had aired in 1976. Or the first two came from that source, while "Autons" was supplied from South Korea after its screening in December 1977.


Nine stories, 38 episodes (translation of the Japanese titles is noted only if significantly different from the original):

Tesshō Genda and Fumi Herano
4A Robot ロボットの反逆 Robot Rebellion 4
4C The Ark in Space 宇宙の箱舟 4
4E Genesis of the Daleks ダレク族の誕生 Birth of the Daleks 6
4D Revenge of the Cybermen サイバー人間の復讐 Revenge of the Cyber-Humans 4
4F Terror of the Zygons ザイゴンの脅威 Threat of the Zygons 4
4H Planet of Evil 悪魔の惑星 Devil's Planet 4
4G Pyramids of Mars 火星のピラミッド 4
4J The Android Invasion アンドロイドの侵略 4
4K The Brain of Morbius モービアスの脳 4

Japan therefore bought part of GROUPs ONE and GROUP TWO of the Tom Baker stories. (Like many countries in the late 80s, Japan was not able to purchase The Sontaran Experiment. For unknown reasons, the final serial of season 13 - The Seeds of Doom - was also not acquired.)

(The TV title for Revenge of the Cybermen was slightly different to that of the earlier VHS release - see below.)

The programme was supplied as NTSC colour video tapes in English but dubbed into Japanese to enable bilingual broadcasts in both languages.

New sound effects were added, and new rather jaunty music was added, replacing the Dudley Simpson original score.

The Japanese translations were written by Shimaguchi Asami and Okamoto Tomo (who are identified by an on-screen caption).

The actors who dubbed the lead voices were:

  • Tesshō Genda (The Doctor) -- (profile HERE)
  • Fumi Herano (Sarah) -- (profile HERE)

(Incidentally, Fumi Herano later also dubbed for Elisabeth Sladen in the Japanese dubs for the New Series episode School Reunion!)


If the report in DWM is correct, a station in Japan acquired:

Four stories, 14 episodes:

7D Time and the Rani 4
7E Paradise Towers 4
7F Delta and the Bannermen 3
7G Dragonfire 3

If these stories were acquired, Japan therefore bought GROUP A of the Sylvester McCoy stories.

The programme would have been supplied as NTSC colour video tapes. Since there does not appear to be a credit for a Japanese actor dubbing for McCoy (see below), then these episodes were not dubbed.


One movie:

TVM The TV Movie 1



As noted earlier, the three Jon Pertwee serials were distributed (and perhaps also dubbed?) in Japan by Mutsu Inc. It's not known how many Japanese TV stations the series was therefore sold to.

The only listings for Doctor Who we could find in 1978 were on JCTV-2 (Japan Cable Television Limited, established in 1971: JCTV-JAPAN), which was a closed circuit English language television service that could be seen at major hotels and apartments in Tokyo only.

The set of 18 episodes commenced on Friday, 3 March 1978, at 7.45pm, running on a weekly basis. From the sixth episode onwards, the series shifted to Saturdays, at 7.30pm. The run ended on 24 June 1978.

1978 Japan JCTV listing in Japan Times
1978 Japan Times listing, Dr Who 7.45pm
1978 Japan Times listing, Doctor Who 7.30pm

If there were other screenings in Japan (in English or Japanese), we have not been able to find them.

These Pertwees can't have been shown by NHK, as there are no pre-1989 listings for the series in the NHK programme archive database.

TARDIS Sound Effects

In the late 1970s, the BBC released various sound effects packages to international broadcasters and studios. The TARDIS sound effect was used in various entries of the Super Sentai franchise produced by the Toei Company; the sounds appeared in Battle Fever J (1979) and Denji Sentai Megaranger (1997, which was adapted into Power Rangers In Space in 1998)!

TARDIS "wheezing / groaning"…


American Armed Forces

A run of Tom Baker stories was broadcast by the Armed Forces Network at US military bases in Japan during 1986 – see the separate profile page for those English broadcasts.

Japanese Television

NHK (1989-90)

Doctor Who returned to Japanese television, now on the national broadcaster, Nippon Hoso Kyokai's satellite channel, BS11 NHK 2.

A run of 38 episodes from Seasons 12 and 13 commenced weekly on Wednesdays, from 7 June 1989. Most episodes had a scheduled slot running from 6.01pm to 6.25pm, although a couple of episodes shifted to a different start time, such as 6.00pm or 6.11pm

Each episode ended with an on-screen caption "次回につづく", which is "Continues next time". And on the final episode of each story, another caption appeared with the title of the next serial -- see screen grabs below.

There were no episodes on 27 December 1989 or 3 January 1990, meaning a three-week gap between parts 3 and 4 of Pyramids of Mars.

The run concluded on 7 March 1990.

Repeats - NHK (1993)

1993 Japan Times listing, NHK 2
1993 Japan Times generic listing

Three years later, the same 38 episodes were repeated, starting Wednesday, 2 June 1993, with regular screenings on weekdays, at 5.00pm. The printed timeslots were only 23 minutes, which suggests editing may have occurred.

There was a one week break on 9 June to allow for coverage of the Japanese Royal Wedding (ROYAL WEDDING).

After 22 episodes (Terror of the Zygons part 4), the series took a break for three weeks, recommencing with Planet of Evil part 1 on Tuesday, 20 July. After only 13 episodes (to The Brain of Morbius 1), there was another three-week break, with the remaining three episodes of that serial showing 23, 24, 25 August 1993.

This brought the repeat run to an end.

Repeats - Channel Ginga (2008-2009)

15 years later, the 38 Tom Baker episodes were aired on Channel Ginga ("Channel Galaxy"), which launched on 3 April 2008 and was available via satellite provider SKY PerfecTV! e2 and on cable.

Very little is known about these, other than that they first screened from mid April 2008, and were later repeated in mid 2009.

According to THIS BLOG, Part 3 of Robot aired on 28 April 2008 (although it would appear this was actually part 4).

Episodes screened on Mondays, at varying times; some late at night, others early in the morning.

The following listings were found on WayBackMachine:

If the 38 week run played without interruption, the final episode would have screened on 22 December 2008.

The episodes were run again the following year; the only data we can extract online is that "Episode 15" (i.e. part 1 of Revenge of the Cybermen) aired during the week of 22-29 July 2009 in a 5pm timeslot.

In 2012, Channel Ginga aired the UK/Australian K9 spin-off series.

ドクター•フー (Doctor Who)
ドクター•フー (Doctor Who)
ダレク族の誕生 (Birth of the Daleks part 4)
次回につづく("Continues next time")
声の出演(Voice performances): Doctor Who … 玄田哲章 (Tesshō Genda) / Sarah … 平野文 (Fumi Herano) ----- 大滝進矢 (Otaki Shinya) , 陣内建之 (Jinnai Tatsuyuki)
日本語版台本 / 嶋口麻美 , 岡本知(Japanese Translation Script: Shimaguchi Asami , Okamoto Tomo)
次回はサイバ人間の復讐1 (Next Time: Cybermen's Revenge 1)
BBC(イギリス) (BBC (England))


If the sale of Season 24 to Japan in early 1989 as reported by DWM was correct, we could not find any listings under NHK, so it's possible the McCoy sale was to another broadcaster. If so, we do not know which one, and therefore have no confirmed airdates.

Since there is no Japanese "voice actor" listed for McCoy on the Japanese wikipedia pages, that would indicate the episodes - if they played - were not dubbed.


The TV Movie apparently aired on one of the NHK channels in 1997 in a subtitled format, but we could not find a listing on the NHK programme archive database, however, it's possible the film was given an alternative title…

And since there is no Japanese "voice actor" listed for McGann on the Japanese wikipedia pages, this supports that the film was subtitled rather than dubbed.

It's possible the VHS tape (see below) was the same as the TV version.

TV listings

Airdates in Japan

Print TV listings have been obtained from Japan Times, an English-language newspaper.

For the 1978 run, the series was listed as "Dr Who" for the 7.45pm episodes, then "Doctor Who" for the 7.30pm episodes. No story titles were given.

For the 1989-1990 and 1993 runs, the dates, times and story titles have been taken from NKH's online "archive".

Listings for the 1993 screenings were also found in the Japan Times, where it was listed as "(B) TV Series: Dr Who", with the (B) tag indicating a bilingual broadcast. The timeslots given in the paper were 23 minutes but sometimes also a full 30 minutes.

The paper also stated that "All foreign TV and feature movies are dubbed into Japanese unless stated otherwise."

References to the 2008 screenings on Channel Ginga came from online sources: HERE and HERE (jump to posting #127 and 172) and HERE.



Japanese novelisation: The Daleks
Japanese novelisation: Spearhead from Space
Japanese novelisation: The Silurians
Japanese novelisation: Doomsday Weapon
Japanese novelisation: Day of the Daleks

Five of the Target Doctor Who novelisations were translated into Japanese, and released by Hayakawa Publishing Inc in 1980:

  • 時空大血闘! / Jikuu Dai Chi Tataka! (Space-Time Big Bloody Battle! or The Big Bloody Battle in Space-time!) (The Daleks)
  • オートン軍団の襲来! / Oo-ton Gundan-no Shuurai (The Auton Army Invasion) (Spearhead from Space)
  • 戦慄! 地底モンスター / Senritsu! Chitei Monsutaa (Shuddering! The Underground Monsters or The Terrifying Underground Monsters) (Doctor Who and the Silurians)
  • 恐るべき最終兵器! / Kowaru Beki Saishyuu Heiki! (Be Fearful of the Ultimate Weapon! / You Should be Scared of the Ultimate Weapon) (The Doomsday Weapon / Colony in Space)
  • ダレク族の逆襲! / Dareku Joku-no Gyakushyuu! (The Dalek Race's Counterattack!) (Day of the Daleks)

The book covers feature a black banner, which says DOCTOR WHO SERIES, then the title, under which is the name of the author and the translator.

The books are adorned with fold-out dust-jackets, which list the main cast of characters on the inside cover flap.

Video and DVD

Japanese Video: Revenge of the Cybermen
Japanese Video: Pyramids of Mars
Japanese Video: Robots of Death
Japanese Video: TVM Video
Chinese Laser-Disc made in Japan
DVD: TV Movie (possibly a bootleg?)

Three Tom Baker adventures were also released on home video in the late 1980s; these were published by Pony Video for both rental and retail, with Japanese subtitles rather than being dubbed.

  • サイバーメンの復讐 / Saibaman-no Gyakushyuu (The Cyberman's Counterattack, or The Counterattack of the Cybermen) (Revenge of the Cybermen) (circa 1985/86) [which is a slight variation on the title used for the later TV broadcast]
  • 火星のピラミッド / Kasei-no Piramiddo (Mars' Pyramids) (Pyramids of Mars) (circa 1986)
  • 死のロボット / Shi-no Robotto (Death's Robots) (The Robots of Death) (on 21 May 1987)

The Paul McGann TV Movie was released in Japan on VHS video tape in April 1997 by MCA/Universal/CIC Video/Victor Video. This was subtitled rather than dubbed (and was likely the same that had supposedly aired on TV -- see above).

A laser disc of the TV Movie (in NTSC) was also released by MCA/Universal/CIC Video (Hong Kong). But while the disc itself was manufactured in Japan (the back sleeve says "Made in Japan"), it was in English with Chinese subtitles only; this disc was available in Hong Kong, but may have also been shipped to mainland China. (There is also a DVD of the movie which has Japanese subtitles, but it is believed that this may actually be a bootleg ripped from the laser disc, the VHS or maybe even off the TV transmission, and therefore not an official release.)


We are grateful to the following sites for the information about Japanese book and video merchandise:

Japan in Doctor Who