April 17, 2014


Open channel D! Continuing our look at unusual book designs this week, we turn the spotlight on Japanese editions of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. My first introduction to book collecting in Japan was when I first moved there as a college student. Continuing the Saturday routine of treasure-hunting, I stumbled across a pile of spy paperbacks at a used bookshop. Inside the stack of classic Bonds were a few U.N.C.L.E. titles- and a new fascination with Japanese editions was born!

As you may have read yesterday, the main publisher for 1960s mystery and Sci-Fi in Japan was Hayakawa (see James Bond: Japanese Editions). The company was founded by Kiyoshi Hayakawa in 1945. As I posted, Hayakawa printed paperback editions of genre books, using a variety of designs over the years that included illustrations and production stills. Their main design concept for all of their books and series, however, was to place mystery and Sci-Fi in the world of modern expressionism through the use of abstract paintings. One of the coolest features of the early releases was the addition of slipcases! Hayakawa's attention to spy-boom era titles included many Man From U.N.C.L.E. books, as well as a handful of Girl From U.N.C.L.E. titles. Most of the editions in Spy Vibe's collection used photo-cover designs with Robert Vaughn and David McCallum, but an internet search has revealed many abstract-painting covers as well. And just like the U.N.C.L.E. books made for the UK and US markets, each volume in the set was numbered. The Hayakawa U.N.C.L.E. series (called Napoleon Solo) included at least sixteen novels. There was also a manga by Takao Saito (Golgo 13), which makes me curious to learn more about U.N.C.L.E.'s broadcast history in Japan! Stay tuned tomorrow for an exciting return to The 10th Victim.

Recent Ian Fleming posts on Spy Vibe: Bond Japanese EditionsFleming Chinese EditionChitty Chitty Bang Bang 50thIan Fleming: Mt. Demon Hell JapanCollecting FlemingLive and Let Die 60thnew poster announced007 Audio Books UpdateAppropriating Bond Exhibit, Fleming Letters MysteryThe Goldfinger VariationsDouble 007 Book Designs,  Double 007 designs IIrare Ian Fleming editionBook Design DopplegangersTurkish Bond designIan Fleming LettersErno GoldfingerNoel CowardWhispering Jack SmithHawaiian GuitarJoe Fingers Carr, new Ian Fleming CatalogJon Gilbert interview, Double 007 Designs, Bond audio book reissues, discovery of one of Ian Fleming's WWII Commandos, James Bond book covers, Ian Fleming's Playboy interview for Kindle, Spy Vibe's discovery of a rare Ian Fleming serialization, rare View to a Kill, Fleming's Royal gold typewriter, Ian Fleming's memorial address, Spy Vibe's Ian Fleming image archive.

Recent Spy Vibe posts: The 10th Victim German EditionUNCLE GunThe Saint books returnSpy exhibit at the Pacific Science Center, Trina Robbins InterviewCatsuits, Batman '66 Green Hornet Interview: Ralph Garman Ty TempletonDC Fontana Prisoner VideoEdward Gorey's 1960sIpcress File cinematography007 SOLO cover designs, Gloria Steinem and Denny O'Neil on MOD Wonder WomanWin Scott Eckert interview, Siegel and Shuster's SPYDavid McCallum: Son of BatmanWonderwall comes to Blu-rayKevin Dart talks Ringo & Powerpuff GirlsFu Manchu history panelMod Tales InterviewAtomic ArtShane Glines Batman.


  1. examining the Spy Vibe collection more closely (it's been a while), i was reminded that the photo covers are actually dust jackets on the paperbacks, and that the abstract art covers are underneath on the books themselves. so cool!



    Because of your fondness for U.N.C.L.E. I wanted to give you a heads up about this:

    “The Golden Anniversary Affair” - is a two day event "Somewhere in Los Angeles", Sept. 26th-27th, 2014, celebrating a half century of U.N.C.L.E. being presented by Robert Short and Jon Heitland. On Friday, Sept. 26th there will be an exclusive “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” MGM /SONY Studios tour, that features a visit inside STAGE 10 where U.N.C.L.E HQ once stood. Saturday Sept 27th, at The Doubletree Hotel-Culver City, the Affair will feature a cast and crew reunion soiree, panels and presentations by U.N.C.L.E. aficionados about the original series and the new feature film as well as a museum filled with rare, original props and other surprises. Also It’s going be limited to only 100 attendees. Please spread the word.

    Even the U.N.C.L.E. Car will be on display.


    Best Regards,

    Robert Short