Since last year, the festive season in Japan just got a whole lot more interesting, due in large part to the greatest movie franchise ever made. No, I’m not talking about the "Police Academy" movies (a close second place… ). Now, December doesn’t just mean holiday festivities — it also means a new "Star Wars" movie.
"Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" opened in Japan on Dec 16.
The film is something of a departure from the norm for the franchise -- no light saber battles and no Jedi knights, instead focusing on a new team of heroic Rebel Alliance characters in a story set between the times of 2005’s "Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" and 1977’s original "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope."
Following on from last year’s record-breaking "Episode VII: The Force Awakens," Japan has once again caught the "Star Wars" bug, with everything from hand towels to fridge magnets showcasing the characters of that “galaxy far, far away.”
Now that Disney has acquired the license and set about monetizing it in just about every way imaginable, its iconography can be seen everywhere. I sit here at my desk with my phone plugged into a Darth Vader charger, its case emblazoned with the insignia of the Galactic Empire as I sip my morning coffee from my cup adorned with the Dark Lord’s menacing visage in front of the equally iconic Death Star.
Just last week when a friend of mine announced he would be moving to Kyoto from Osaka, one of my other friends, an Osaka native, quipped that he was “turning to the dark side!”
But the links between "Star Wars" and Japan go far deeper than that.
It’s a well-known fact that the movie’s creator and director, George Lucas, was influenced heavily in his early career by the legendary Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa.
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