It’s been ten years since Disney bought Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion. It was certainly a news story I didn’t see coming but I’ve never had any problem with the takeover although I really wasn’t so keen for the films to continue beyond Episode VI. As someone who remembers the lean years when there was barely any new Star Wars content out there, it has been wonderful to have a constant flow of films and TV shows released. To date, there has been the three sequel movies, two stand-alone films, Rebels, Resistance, The Clone Wars, The Bad Batch, The Mandalorian, Visions, The Book of Boba Fett, Andor and more!
To celebrate the last decade I have compiled ten Star Wars events (of sort) which have taken place in Japan. The vast majority of them were all part of the promotional push for the three sequel films but there have been a few other things.
1. Star Wars Visions in Roppongi (2015) – This exhibition came in six sections; the original visions, vision of force, vision of battle, vision of saga, vision of galaxy and vision of droid. Many props including lightsabers, blasters, helmets (including the Vader reveal parts from ‘Return Of The Jedi‘), busts, costumes and original art created by artists hand-picked by George Lucas himself. The main feature was perhaps Vader’s meditation chamber. More details here
2. Tokyo Comic Con Launchpad Event (2015) – Not solely a Star Wars event as such but due to the two special guests being from that franchise, it did feel like it. This was a really nice and intimate event, and is one that has stayed long in the memory for those of us who were there. More details here
3. Star Wars Rap:it Train in Osaka (2016) – This collaboration between Nankai Electric Railway Co.,Ltd and the Star Wars franchise was born out of the concepts of “journey” and “adventure”, which have always been a major part of the Star Wars universe. Six carriages of this train running from Namba station to Kansai Airport were decorated out with main characters from ‘The Force Awakens‘. More details here
4. ANA Star Wars Planes at Haneda Airport (2017) – R2D2 and BB-8 planes were introduced by ANA in the build up to the much anticipated release of ‘The Force Awakens‘ (2015) and two years later a C-3PO plane was added to the services. More details here
5. #ForceFriday (2015, 2017, 2019) – The journey towards the sequel trilogy releases in December began two or three months earlier with global #ForceFriday events and thankfully Tokyo got in on the act with some toy chains opening at midnight for fans to see and buy the new range of merchandise. More details here
6. Star Wars The Last Jedi Art Show Tokyo (2017) – A free Star Wars art exhibition running for about ten days featuring the ubiquitous life-sized stormtroopers and some interesting art pieces from featured Japanese artists such as Ryota Aoki’s pottery collection which included a C3P0 head and some decorated stormtrooper helmets. More details here
7. Tokyo Metro Star Wars Stamp Rally (2019) – A relatively minor event but this stamp rally just involved visiting seven Tokyo Metro stations to collect various character stamps. However, I decided to make it more interesting by doing it on (my wife’s) bicycle and in costume! More details here
8. Star Wars Identities (2019) – Around 200 objects from the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum were on display including props, models, costumes, and artwork from the original Star Wars films. This was very much an interactive experience where visitors did a kind of personality test with a Star Wars spin on it as they went round the place. More details here
9. Star Wars Bright Christmas in Marunouchi (2019) – Star Wars-themed exhibits with an illuminated festive feel to them including three droid dome-shaped tents, a Christmas tree, life-size Lego exhibits, a themed cafe, large poster exhibition, pop-up shops and more. More details here
10. Nippon TV Tower Star Wars Exhibition (2019) – These exhibits were free and there was one each December around the release of the final three films in the Skywalker saga as well as ‘Rogue One‘ (2016). The usual mix of costumes and props were on show each time along with photo opportunities. More details here
Bonus: I never saw these with my own eyes but here are three more Star Wars exhibits from the last decade which were on display in the north of Japan in Aomori and Sapporo respecively.
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