The 20th December was an important date on the calendar in Tokyo for Star Wars fans. The much hyped final movie in the Skywalker saga was released and it was also the first day of a free Star Wars exhibition at Nippon TV Tower (1-6-1 Higashishimbashi, Minato-Ku). It runs until the 29th December and there has been one to coincide with the release of each film from the sequel trilogy.
Sadly I was unaware of the event when ‘The Force Awakens‘ (2015) came out but I did know about it for ‘The Last Jedi‘ (2017). Admittedly, I never thought about whether the event was taking place this year but just a few days before it began I found out about it from Dave a.k.a @NorskAkiruno who is a guy I have been conversing with on Twitter for a few years now.
Meeting up at the ‘The Last Jedi Art Show Tokyo‘ two years ago never quite materialised but finally our paths crossed at this exhibition. After I’d seen ‘The Rise Of Skywalker‘ (2019) in the first showing (8:30 am) on Friday morning I headed straight to Shimbashi Station to meet Dave. As he hadn’t seen the film yet I really had to bite my tongue and not say anything about the new film which he was going to watch later that night.
Many photo opportunities await inside with very little to read (there’s hardly anything in English) and it doesn’t take too long to navigate the route which basically begins (again!) with Kylo Ren’s Tie Silencer surrounded by some profiles of the main characters in ‘The Rise Of Skywalker‘.
The Japanese posters of episodes I to IX line one of the walls and Dave and I were reminiscing about the cinema release of ‘Revenge Of The Sith‘ (2005) in Japan when just seconds later that very picture frame suddenly dropped off the wall. Spooky!
Rey’s scavenger costume and BB-8 soon appear followed by Kylo Ren and a load of stormtrooper life-size figures. A red Sith Trooper too before anyone points that out!
None of that was anything too new for me but as you’ve probably noticed that never stops me from taking more photos of them. I’m sure if you look at my ‘Mind Blowing Star Wars Exhibit At Nippon TV Tower‘ post from two years ago (a clickbait title if ever there was one!) you’ll see some very similar pictures regarding those models.
A large part of the floor space was devoted to some kind of Jedi training for kids but there was nothing much going on there during our visit. Having seen many of the exhibits before we were finished fairly quickly but not before we’d checked out the various Japanese-style art by local artists such as the wooden carved posters for the last three saga movies.
What was equally, if not more, impressive was the life-size stormtrooper made out of wood.
The Kylo Ren helmet art designs were pretty cool and akin to the Vader collection at Star Wars Celebration Japan in 2008 or the stormtrooper ones in Roppongi four and a half years ago.
The next items worthy of mention are a Boba Fett guitar and a plain BB-8 droid model signed by many of the main actors and actresses from Episode IX as well as director J.J. Abrams and LucasFilm President Kathleen Kennedy.
The majority of one wall displays an incredible painting which details all nine episodes of the Star Wars main films.
The finale was the opportunity to have a photo taken with C-3PO, R2-D2 and BB-8 whilst wearing a brown Jedi gown and holding a lightsaber of your choice. Of course very cheesy but as the waiting lines weren’t too long it had to be done.
The Japanese love stamps (ink ones rather than what you might put on a postcard!) and in the last couple of months I’ve probably collected more than in the whole of the decade. First there was the Tokyo Metro Star Wars stamp rally, that was soon followed by the ones at Marunouchi’s Bright Christmas and to one side of the ubiquitous souvenir shop are a load of different Star Wars stamps for people to put on pieces of paper.
For once I didn’t actually look too closely at the souvenir shop as I have seen a lot of Star Wars merchandise recently with all the various pop-up shops that have appeared in the build up to Episode IX.
Outside the entrance point is a huge long wall display of chalk artistry. This is a work-in-progress piece of art so Mayumi Kawano hadn’t been at it for so long when I checked it out. What I did see though was really impressive and I wish I could see the final result.
Just outside the TV Tower is the giant Ghibli clock which I had never actually seen. It was designed by renowned director Hayao Miyazaki, and while it’s not exactly drawn from ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’ (2004), it has been likened to the aesthetic of that classic anime.
Once Dave and I had parted ways, I walked on to Yurakucho to continue my Star Wars themed day by visiting a few places I’d missed on my original visit to the Star Wars Bright Christmas in Marunouchi.
Click here to read ‘On The Star Wars Promotional Trail In Tokyo Ahead Of The Release Of ‘The Rise Of Skywalker’
Click here to read ‘Star Wars Bright Christmas In Marunouchi’
Click here to read ‘The Star Wars Identities Interactive Exhibition Has Arrived In Tokyo’
Click here to read ‘Mind Blowing Star Wars Exhibit At Nippon TV Tower’
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