4/30/2012

Japan: A LAND FAR, FAR AWAY

George Lucas claims the Japanese movie The Hidden Fortress (隠し砦の三悪人) was a big inspiration for Episode IV. 
I know I've already compared Japan to The Lord of the Rings (ロード·オブ·ザ·リング), but the other day while pretending to have a lightsaber, as I often do, I started thinking of the striking similarities between Star Wars (スター·ウォーズ) and Japan (日本). This is what I've come up with:

George Lucas's first draft of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope was heavily based on the Japanese movie The Hidden Fortress (隠し砦の三悪人). Both implement the same story telling technique, using the vantage points of a lesser characters (C-3PO and R2-D2). Also, the iconic swipe/slide transitions found in Star Wars are nearly identical to those used in The Hidden Fortress.

Now on to the fun stuff:
The Samurai (侍) upheld peace and order within the Japanese Prefectures. They did so under The Code of Bushido (武士道), The Way of the Warrior-Knight.
The Jedi do the same throughout the far reaches of the Galaxy. They do so under The Jedi Code.
Oh, and they've both been made into Legos.
The Samurai's weapon of choice, even after guns were introduced, was the Katana (刀). A sword finally crafted that only a Samurai can properly wield.
The Jedi's weapon of choice, even with laser guns aplenty, is the Lightsaber. A laser-sword that only a Jedi can handle.
The Samurai where devout followers of Shinto. They believed that Kami (神) is the life force and power that flows through everything.
The Jedi believe that The Force is an energy field created by all living things that surrounds and penetrates The Galaxy, binding them togeather.
The Samurai were sworn to protect their prefecture. At one point, an Emperor did threaten the freedom of the people and the survival of the Samurai. He was eventually defeated by the Samurai.
The Jedi served the people independent of The Senate. Eventually a Sith Lord, formerly Senator Palpatine, gained control of The Senate and became The Evil Emperor. He was defeated by the last Jedi, Luke Skywalker.
Lastly, there is Yoda. He resembles a crotchety old Japanese man if I've ever seen one (and there are a lot). Beyond that though, he embodies Japanese ideals in countless ways. He seeks wisdom beyond physical power (here the worst thing you can call someone is an idiot (ばか) or a brute (総当たり).). When he dies, his body disappears and becomes one with the force, a distinctly Buddhist idea (about 96% of Japanese are Buddhist).
But most striking is his sentence structure. "Odd sounding it is." But in Japanese, the verbs always go at the end of the sentence. "Informed now you are."

Have you noticed any other odd similarities between Japan and Star Wars or any other piece of pop culture? Let me know in a comment below!

Source: Moon Gadget Wight



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Location: Tohoku University, 2丁目-1 Katahira, Aoba Ward, Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture 980-8577, Japan

1 comment:


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