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Dr. Kozaburo Nambu







48 (Original series), 45 (OVA)

Hair Color


Eye Color




Personal Status

Active (Gatchaman and Gatchaman II)
Deceased (Gatchaman Fighter Episode 42) Killed by Count Egobossler


Ken Washio (Ward)

Dr. Kozaburō Nambu is an executive at Interpol that hires the Science Ninja Team. He is also a member of the International Science Organization.


Little is known about Dr. Nambu's younger years, although in the accompany SF Roman light novel, his relationship with his father is briefly touched upon as being strong and supportive. His father happened to be a highly-influential businessman, who owned a private airfield and his very own bank.

Nambu would erase any of his family connections after his parents' deaths, by investing all their fortune into the Mantle Project and his research about Galactor.[1] Nambu's denial of his own family ties was something he intended to do, as the price he paid for having separated a good friend of his (Kentaro Washio) from his wife and son.


Dr. Nambu is a middle aged man with shoulder-length brown hair, thin eyebrows, and a thick mustache. His clothing consists of a light blue suit jacket, worn over a yellow shirt, maroon vest, and navy blue tie, along with dark blue pants.

His glasses are notable for lacking side stems, leaving them as an amusing detail in his design.


This version of Nambu has a pompadour hairstyle, along with a longer mustache and stems to his glasses. He wears a long, pink overcoat over a bright red vest, a striped purple shirt, and pinstripe pants.

Cancelled Imagi Film Project[]

In this movie, Dr. Nambu would be re-imagined an Afro-Japanese man, with dark skin and a prominent black afro and facial hair. His early character design renders showed him to wear a white suit, with a maroon turtleneck. While he lacked glasses in the workprint footage, he was shown to wear them in some storyboards.

A later character render depicted Nambu as bald and with graying facial hair, though he continued to wear the same fashion as before.


Dr. Nambu is a calm and collected scientist who thinks outside of the box in the battles against Galactor, recruiting five young heroes to fight the alien organization head on, trusting their abilities and loyalties no matter their backgrounds.

Although he doesn't usually show strong emotions, he has a strong sense of justice and highly depended on by the rest of the ISO for his expertise. He was ahead of the ISO and other organizations at learning of Galactor, and in preparation to combat its activity, put together the Red Impulse squadron as well as eventually forming the Science Ninja Team.[2]

It was Nambu who came up with the specific way that the God Phoenix worked, as a way to enforce cooperation and strategies within the Ninja Team. While they were excellent in their skills, he noticed a clear flaw in their training period, stemming from their different sorts of personalities. Whether this was due to some of them being orphans or others having living family, there was a tendency for the team members to act too independently and not working in tandem. After careful consideration, he decided that the God Phoenix would not be able to use the Bird Missiles or Firebird mode unless all five were united, making them have to all fly together and cooperate even if they didn't want to. By creating that weak point in the God Phoenix, he aimed to cultivate more teamwork from the five.[3]


Dr. Nambu is a renowned scientist within ISO, having studied at Oxford and Cambridge Universities. He headed a pollution free energy project that was ultimately successful, and got promoted because of that. Dr. Nambu also developed the fighting style used by the Science Ninja Team, and the technology for their Bird Styles and mecha.

Though his specialty is space engineering, his range of qualifications is truly diverse; physics, chemistry, astronomy, medicine, and strong political and money-raising capabilities. These were specially influential in helping fund the Earth's Mantle Project.

Work History[]

In the light novel SF Roman Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, it is elaborated that fourteen years prior to the start of the series, Kozaburo Nambu was a university lecturer blessed with many talents. Due to his father being a rich man in a powerful position, he was able to have more than adequate funding for his scientific research[4].

Nambu has an executive position at Interpol. He built the Crescent Coral Base designed for saving the oceans. as well as self-defense weapons such as bird missiles. He has the capability of ordering Interpol troops to fight Galactor, as well as the Red Impulse team, but he only does this if The Science Ninja Team is too busy.

The International Science Organization is aware that Nambu's affiliated with The Science Ninja Team, but is oblivious to the fact he raised them; A security officer was astonished meeting them for the first time in plain clothes. Even Director Anderson rode in The God Phoenix, but still knows very little about them.

He takes over Director Anderson's position at the end of Gatchaman II, after the other man dies as a result of his injuries.

Nambu was killed towards the end Gatchaman Fighter, leaving the engineer Kamo to be the mentor figure to the team.


While it is never stated that Dr. Nambu has any children or remaining living family, he becomes the guardian for four of the members of the Science Ninja Team: Ken, Joe, Jun, and Jinpei. Shortly before the first episode, they have all moved out on their own while still under the supervision of Nambu; Ken moved to an old house near an airport owned by his father Red Impulse, Jun and Jinpei moved to a large apartment above Snack Bar J, while Joe is usually inside his travel trailer.

Both Ken and Joe were raised together by Dr. Nambu, however, they have never called themselves as brothers. This is because unlike Jun & Jinpei, the two boys did not know each other before they were taken in by Dr. Nambu. This is also because Joe had been an orphan much longer compared to Ken.

Ryu is the most recent member of the team, and still has a family to return to. Nambu cares about his five Science Ninjas, but instead finds professional sounding excuses so he won't have to admit it.

Ken Washio[]

Ken was raised by his mother until her death when he was 11. His father had previously abandoned the family when he was 4, faking his death to become Red Impulse to investigate the rise of Galactor.

Dr. Nambu was involved in the Red Impulse undercover operation, and eventually became Ken's guardian, keeping his father's true fate a secret from him.

Joe Asakura[]

Dr. Nambu encountered Joe after traveling to BC Island for a conference, happening upon the aftermath of a Galactor assassination that killed both of the boy's parents (who had been looking to defect from the organization). He proceeded to fake Joe's death and take him out of the country, raising him in secret. However, Nambu was unaware of the significant details of the assassination, such as that Joe's parents were Galactor operatives and killed because they tried to quit.


Nambu set up the Snack Bar J for Jun to run, as well as serving as a meeting location for the team. Nambu himself was never seen in Snack Bar J; The team discuss the current mission at Snack Bar J without him.


Nambu, knowing Jinpei is the youngest child, is able to predict Jinpei's behaviour and includes it as part of the missions. He plans ahead when Jinpei wanders off to fight Galactor by himself in episode 8 and again uses Jinpei's ideas as a distraction to complete a mission in episode 89. Because of Jinpei constantly wandering off, he is the designated reconnaissance operative.

Ryu Nakanishi[]

Ryu was the only person who Dr. Nambu did not raise. The reason for this is because he has a family.

Ryu often spends time with his father and brother when not on the team, or can be seen taking things easy. This has caused difficulty with Dr. Nambu as nothing at all must prevent them from completing their missions. This does not mean that Dr. Nambu is without compassion; he does not want to kick Ryu off the team even at Ryu's request.

Red Impulse Captain[]

Doctor Nambu and the leader of Red Impulse (previously known as Kentaro Washio) were childhood friends whose lives were disrupted by the war. Kentaro had worked for Nambu as a test pilot, but eventually had to go undercover and to such severity that he could not raise his son.

Other Character Relationships[]

Some of the tragedies Nambu experienced during the war include his fellow scientists being abducted and even killed.

Professor Henjinman[]

While Nambu was a freshman student at a university, Henjinman was a senior student in cybernetics. He also loved horses. After Henjinman graduated, he disappeared until his new invention was completed. Nambu became alarmed and ordered The Science Ninja Team to rescue Henjinman as well as Henjinman's cybernetic horses from Galactor.

However, Henjinman would die in the end due to X.

Entomologist Koda[]

Koda is an independent, reclusive, and laughing stock of the peaceful scientific community, but persisted with them instead of selling out to Galactor. Nambu initially thought that Koda was silly. It turns out that Koda has immense knowledge of Galactor's new mecha monster covering 50 years.

Doctor Demon[]

Doctor Demon was a close friend almost like Kentaro, but could not find any position at the United Nations, Interpol, International Science Organization, or anywhere else in the peaceful scientific community. Nambu accomplished every goal before Demon, even getting the only available jobs that Demon wanted. They became enemies, especially after Demon was recruited by Galactor.

Demon became tired being exploited and regretted not waiting for a new job offering from the peaceful scientific community. Galactor, knowing where everybody goes before they even get there, ordered Demon to meet with his old friend Nambu because Nambu was well known for his affiliation with the Science Ninja Team.

Both Nambu and Demon agreed to meet alone, but the Science Ninjas knew about Demon working for Galactor, and Katse set up a trap. Ken did not know that Demon betrayed Galactor, putting Ken in a very awkward position as he watched Demon commit suicide. Moments before the ship exploded, a photograph of Nambu and Demon collapsed, the glass breaking down the middle.


Melvin was a scientist that was washed away during the attack of the Crescent Coral Reef.


A young scientist, Meckel, could not afford tuition. Galactor proceeded to offer a "scholarship", and ordered him to destroy his own neighborhood. After seeing so many of his friends and colleagues die, Nambu insisted that he must try to reform Meckel and ordered Joe to find him while the rest of the team took down the Galactor base.

Alterations in International Adaptations[]


Battle of the Planets (1978)[]

Nambu was renamed Security Chief Anderson, while some of his early roles were cut and the screentime and science commander instead given to 7-Zark-7. Even in the episodes where he's retained, the writers seem to prioritize Zark as being the mentor to the team rather than him.

Like Nambu, Anderson is responsible for keeping the secret about the fate of Mark's father, who is now known as Colonel Cronus of Riga.

G-Force: Guardians of Space (1987)[]

His name was changed to Dr. Benjamin Brighthead and he is sometimes given the narration duty on episodes, describing to the viewers what went on and seeming to be a quite omniscient narrator at times. Brighthead also claims to have somehow known that the Devil Star that Dirk killed was the girl that he'd planned to race, although he withholds this information from him to try to give him peace of mind (Unlike Joe, Dirk never finds out this in the series as episode 81 of Gatchaman was not translated, due to Tatsunoko not providing the simple English script).

A rejected pilot, pre-Fred Ladd involvement, had Nambu instead named "Professor Nicholas".

Eagle Riders (1996)[]

His name in this adaptation is Dr. Thaddeus Keane, and like Brighthead, he takes on the job of narrating some episodes. As Eagle Riders did not source the later episodes of Gatchaman Fighter, it can be figured Keane survives any continued threat of the Vorak in such a family-friendly universe.

Voice Actors[]

He was voiced by Toru Ohira in the original franchise, while Ikuya Sawaki voiced him in the OVA remake.

English Adaptations[]

  • Battle of the Planets: Alan Dinehart
  • G-Force: Guardians of Space: Gregg Berger (Sparklin Entertainment, pilot episodes and #1-60), Jan Rabson (episodes #61-84), Barry Stoltze (Media360 Group pilot)
  • Eagle Riders: Greg O'Neill
  • OVA: Michael McConnohie (1997 Harmony Gold dub), Andy McAvin (redub)
  • ADV/Sentai dub of first series and movie: Andy McAvin
  • Infini-T Force movie: Wally Wingert



  • There are three noted ways of spelling Nambu's first name in kanji (孝三郎, 耕三郎, 考三郎), with Tatsunoko having not clarified which is correct. Due to the prevalence of materials in the 1970s using 考 for the first kanji, it is the one usually assumed to be the right character to use for his name. Unfortunately, there is also a case where when settei from the first series was traced for usage in the Gatchaman II setting materials, his initial name of Senzaburo (see below) was carried over, even if the actual II continued to refer to him as Kozaburo.

Development Period[]

  • Early planning materials had the doctor named Senzaburo Nambu (南部仙三郎) [5]. He would also have a pet cat named Elizabeth, who would unfortunately be killed early on by Galactor implanting a bomb inside her in an attempt to assassinate him (although it would only manage to destroy his villa).
  • In the character planning chart, Satoshi Suyama wrote out that Nambu should be modeled from the actor Shinsuke Ashida[6].


  1. SF Roman Science Ninja Team Gatchaman
  2. Columbia DVD 7 liner notes
  3. SF Roman Science Ninja Team Gatchaman by Hisayuki Toriumi, 1978
  4. SF Roman Science Ninja Team Gatchaman by Hisayuki Toriumi, 1978
  5. Columbia DVD 5 liner notes, "First series proposal"
  6. Columbia DVD 5 liner notes