Rise of the Empire – the influence of Star Wars in Japan


by Rin Yeo

With the new movie slated to be released at the end of this year and another in 2016, Star Wars fans all over the world have been eagerly waiting to relive their favourite pop culture. In Japan however, for those who couldn’t wait that long, there are a series of events and art works created by fans as they celebrate the soon-to-return series in more ways than you can ever imagine.

Rice Field Art

In June 2015, planting began at Aomori Prefecture’s Inakadate Village rice fields, and it was only recently that the product was completed. Covering 154m by 69m, the gigantic rice field art featuring Bobba Fett, C-3PO and R2-D2 is not the first amazing feat by the village, as they have created similar rice field arts of other designs in the previous years too.

Nebuta Floats

In the Aomori Prefecture, the prestigious Nebuta Festival, which takes place every year in early August, featured up to 4 distinct Star Wars-themed floats. Made out of paper and metal wires as per traditional Japanese lanterns, the floats were lit using LED bulbs instead of candles.

Ukiyo-e prints


Created using traditional wood printing techniques, these traditional Japanese artworks are also official Star Wars products! A single print goes for 54,000 yen (~SGD$610) and only 100 prints are made per wood block. There is also a limited run of all three prints for 162,000 yen (~SGD$1828), although they have all been snapped up.


Earlier in April this year, ANA announced specially designed planes with R2-D2 themes gracing the exterior of their Boeing 767-300. Adding on to the fleet now is another specially designed plane, featuring R2-D2 and BB8, a new droid that would appear in the upcoming movie. Two of the Star Wars-themed livery will ply both domestic and international routes, and in addition to that, all six of the Star Wars movies will also be part of the in-flight entertainment for international flights, a first as none of the Star Wars movies had ever been made available on in-flight entertainments before. On 18 October, only 89 lucky fans can get a chance to board the inaugural R2-D2 ANA JET flight (2-3 hours around Haneda), and every passenger is required to don their own Star Wars costumes.

Japanese-English dictionary


For Japanese Padawan learners trying to grasp English, there’s also a specially curated Japanese-English dictionary, complete with illustrations for up to 1,000 different English words. Retailing at USD$38, it also draws examples from the films to aid its Japanese Padawans.

Star Wars newspaper

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For serious fans, there’s the world’s first Japanese Star Wars newspaper – the first issue was launched on January 9th. Called ‘Star Wars News’, it will be released over the period of 1 year, publishing information and news relating to Star Wars. Created by Nikkan Sports, the guide also details the past 6 installments, including 101 characters in full colour.

(images credited to their respective owners)