This article is from the Anime FAQ, by Steve Pearl with numerous contributions by others.
Some of the people who work in the set design department of Paramount Pictures are anime fans, and have been able to sneak anime references in Paramount's various STAR TREK television series. According to set manager Rick Sternbach, there is at least one reference per episode. Usually these references are in computer displays or in the sets themselves. Examples include:
- Japanese characters in the "ambo-jitsu" ring that Cmdr. Riker used in "The Icarus Factor". All of them are written references to URUSEI YATSURA.
- In the 2nd season episode "Peak Performance", a computer display with two ships called Kei and Yuri, a reference to the protagonists of the DIRTY PAIR OVA and TV series.
- A reference to the element "sonodaium", for Kenichi Sonoda (creator of GALL FORCE, BUBBLEGUM CRISIS, and RIDING BEAN).
Ironically enough, one of the most "obvious" anime in-jokes is not really one. The sister ship to the Enterprise, the Yamato, has the same name as the ship from SPACE CRUISER YAMATO (known in the US as STAR BLAZERS). However, Mr. Sternbach has indicated that it is only a coincidence, as both spacegoing vessels are named after the WWII Japanese battleship Yamato, one of the largest seagoing vessels ever built. (In fact, the Yamato from the anime series IS the WWII battleship, but that's another story).
To the best of our knowledge, no one has done a canonical list of all the in-jokes discovered so far. [I have a partial list of stuff culled from appendix G of the Star Trek Guide. See the Resources section of the FAQ for information on how to get it.]