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For months, the world has been flooded with Star Wars mania, but more so it seems, in the galaxy far far away of Japan. The latest installment of the global phenomenon Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, isn’t even out yet but already the nation has been taken over by a storm of themed merchandise and the likes.
Here's why we think the force is definitely strong in the land of the rising sun!
1. They've got their own exclusive trailer!
You might have seen the movie's trailer already (How could you not!!), but did you know that there’s an alternate trailer released just for the Japanese market? If that doesn’t show how strong the force is in Japan, we don’t know what does!
We’ll be honest, this trailer gave us goosebumps! We haven’t been more excited to catch the new Star Wars movie since…we saw Episode IV-VI! (Can’t say since they came out…we weren’t even born yet 😅) Let’s face it, the prequels left much to be desired for hard core fans, right?
2. You can fly off into the Tatooine sunset...
Always dreamed of speeding away on a pod racer or being on board the Millennium Falcon? Okay, so maybe you can’t exactly, but you can hitch a ride on Japan’s All Nippon Airways flight instead!
Their R2-D2™ Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner has begun flying passengers from Japan to Canada, USA, and Belgium, with the route to Australia following soon. Two more designs will be up in the skies by 2016, featuring BB-8™ and another Star Wars themed design. More information on the planes and the routes that it flies can be found at their dedicated ANA Star Wars Project site.
3. ...and feel the light of the force
For the first time ever, Star Wars became the first foreign pop-culture franchise to make its way into 2015’s legendary Aomori Nebuta Festival which is held every summer in the Aomori Prefecture. The festival is famous for it’s gigantic papier-mâché lanterns, usually featuring historic figures and samurai warriors.
Credit: japanrealmMade with the guidance of Lucasfilm Ltd. and created by local artists, the floats featured fan favourites such as C-3PO, R2-D2, Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker and of course, Yoda. There was even a float featuring characters from the upcoming movie!
The Aomori Prefecture has also gone as far as creating a 2D art installation by planting an entire paddy field with 11 different rice varieties. Sadly, the rice has been harvested in October, but here’s an awesome view of how it looked like!
4. Put your shields up!
If planes and paddy fields weren’t enough, Disney has also teamed up with the monks of Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto to reproduce a special Star Wars version of the iconic Wind God and Thunder God screens by artist Tawaraya Sotatsu.
Here's the original screens...
Credit: 俵屋宗達 Tawaraya Sotatsu
...and here's how the revamped Star Wars version looks like!
Credit: Japan Trends
If you’re in Kyoto this December, don’t forget to check out the iconic screens at Kiyomizu Temple until 15 December and Nippon Television Tower in Shiodome from December 18 to 29.
Where: Kiyomizu Temple
Address: 294 Kiyomizu 1-chome, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan 605-0862
Phone number: 075-551-1234
Viewing period: 8-15 December 2015 (See website for hours.)
Where: Nippon Television Tower
Address: 1-6-1 Higashi-Shimbashi, Minato-ku, Japan 300-0062
Contact Number: 03-6215-4444
Viewing Period: 18-19 December 18-19
5. We can't get enough of these super cool merchandise!
As you would expect, Japan-centric Star Wars merchandise has infiltrated the country at all levels – from toy stores to neighbourhood 7-Eleven’s. There are so many awesome ones that’s unique to Japan, it was hard for us to pick our favourites! Here are our top picks!
Kylo Ren chopsticks…there’s a disturbance in the forks!
We know you’ll be spending more time using these for battles against your rumbling tummy with a bowl of ramen rather than for actual fights against the Jedi 😋
They retail for approximately USD 11 (not inclusive of shipping costs) and you can pre-order them directly from Kotobukiya or from JBOX.
Dance along to the Star Wars theme!
Use the force and make Storm Troopers or Boba Fett dance with the Star Wars Space Opera figures, which are part of the Takara Tomy Pop'n Step Series. Buy a boatload and make them all dance to the theme song like this! (TOO CUTE!)
You can't top Samurai Darth Vader and his Storm Troopers!
Combine Darth Vader's powers and the mad skills of ancient Japanese samurai and we think you'll get the perfect fusion of a virtually unstoppable baddie! Seriously though, how awesome is this "Star Wars Movie Realization Samurai Taisho Darth Vader" by Japan's toy producers Bandai?
Credit: The Daily DotPsst!! We heard that George Lucas was influenced Akira Kurosawa’s samurai movies when he created the original Star Wars - pretty obvious now isn't it how Darth Vader's suit actually does resemble samurai armour.
This collector's item retails for USD 89.99 and can be preordered here.
Last but definitely not the least, a walking R2-D2 fridge!
For those of you who don't like to move when you're glued to the T.V., this is definitely a must have...if you've got a cool USD 9,000 lying around that is!
We have to admit that it would be pretty cool to pretend to use the force to get R2-D2 to bring you a can of soda though. It's only exclusively available in Japan via pre-order from Haier Asia's AQUA brand.
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A Star Wars stress 'ball', R2D2 phone case or some limited edition eyeliner for you?[/caption]
#HHWT Tip: If you're in Japan or heading there soon, check out Kiddyland for a whole host of cool merchandise that you can only find in Japan! Tokyo's famous Harajuku area has a huge store to satisfy all your Star Wars needs 😉
Still can't get enough of Japanese Star Wars merch? Check out Japan Realm's list of other really cool stuff!