Yamatai Kingdom

Unmade Film
Intended Release:

Conceived by:

Tomoyuki Tanaka,
Fumio Tanaka,
Osamu Tanaka,
Kei Tasaka

Yamatai Kingdom

Japanese Title


During the Three Kingdoms period in China, Yamatai Kingdom finds itself caught in the middle of a war between the kingdoms of Wei and Wu. All the while, a young envoy from Wei attempts to locate his daughter who is enshrined by Queen Himiko of Yamatai. As the relentless war continues, the Roman Empire becomes involved, and Roman ships invade Kure.

Background - Images - Concept Evolution


Yamatai Kingdom was first announced in 1976 and planned by Toho in order to further explore the continuity of The Three Treasures (1959). The story would have followed an envoy from the kingdom of Wei and his daughter as they become wrapped up in a growing war between Wei, Wu, Yamatai, and even the Roman Empire. Much like how The Three Treasures utilized a giant monster in the form of the eight-headed serpent Orochi, Yamatai Kingdom would have been the debut appearance of producer Tomoyuki Tanaka's transforming monster Bakan.

Based on an original draft by Sakyo Komatsu and Artisune Toyota, the first manuscript was completed in 1977 and proceeded to undergo additional revisions, with a fourth and final manuscript being completed and submitted in 1978. Producers included Tomoyuki Tanaka, Fumio Tanaka and Osamu Tanaka, with a screenplay by Kei Tasaka and additional research by Takehiko Furuta. Kihachi Okamoto was scheduled to direct the film, his name appearing in various advertisements from 1978. Despite the final proposal being lauded as a "masterpiece" by Fumio Tanaka, the project went unrealized as a proper budget could not be agreed upon. Though production on the movie fell through, Bakan - also known as Bagan - would resurface in 1980 as the shapeshifting rival to Godzilla in Resurrection of Godzilla (Tanaka Proposal).

Surprisingly, the concept for Yamatai Kingdom would be revisited beginning in March of 1990. The project would undergo several names changes, being referred to as The Secret of Queen Himiko: Yamatai Kingdom and the more stylized Yamatai Kingdom ~The Secret of Queen Himiko~ for scripts submitted in March and May of 1991. Nothing would come of these drafts, however.


Background and Trivia

  • The article picture featuring Bakan's Monkey God Beast model was created by digital artist Digiwip using published artwork as a basis and commissioned for use on Toho Kingdom by staff. It is not created by Toho nor is it their official design for the unused character.
  • Information regarding this lost project can be found in the 2005 Winter Special of Great Monster's Club (self-published), which references the appearance of the shapeshifting monster Bakan (Bagan).
  • When asked on his thoughts on the ill-fated Yamatai Kingdom, special effects director Teruyoshi Nakano couldn't help but wonder if the movie The Phoenix (1978), which was in production around the same time, was seen as more of a "preference" by Toho. This is mentioned in the 2007 Japanese publication, Special Effects Director Teruyoshi Nakano (ISBN 9784898302149). A summary of the movie is also provided in this book.
  • Years for the first and fourth drafts are mentioned in the 2014 book, Godzilla Character Encyclopedia: Toho Special Effects Movie Complete History (ISBN 9784062190046).
  • Additional history can be found in Fumio Tanaka's 1993 book, The Man Who Released God (Godzilla): Filmmaker Tomoyuki Tanaka and His Era (ISBN 9784873760704). The author also commented that not only were there three "Tanakas" involved as producers, Juichi Tanaka of then-Tanaka Promotion and Naokazu Tanaka of Toho Eizou were also in the studio, which made business matters very troublesome at times.
  • Limited information on the 1990 revival of the movie concept can be found in “Godzilla” Toho Special Effects Unpublished Material Archive: Producer Tomoyuki Tanaka and His Era (ISBN 9784048544658).