Nothing Says Japanese Culture Like Star Wars

Nothing Says Japanese Culture Like Star Wars

Every spring in Japan, families with sons set up samurai armour displays so that their boys grow up to be healthy, strong, and understand the true power of the Force. Wait, what?

I have three sons, so in preparation for Children's Day on May 5, we set up this small suit of armour (or "yoroi" in Japanese) that's modelled on feudal era samurai gear. Below, you can see my family's display:

Nothing Says Japanese Culture Like Star Wars

Picture: Kotaku

This is called a "gogatsu ningyou" (五月人形) or "May Doll". It's about 60cm tall. There are also displays that only feature the samurai helmets. They have nothing to do with Star Wars!

The katana represents strength, while the bow and arrow represents a straight path to success. Of course, both were also weapons carried by samurai.

Recently, Matome Naver reported that Japan now has Star Wars themed yoroi, which even uses the Imperial emblem as the kamon or traditional coat of arms. These Empire-themed May Dolls, however, were first launched a few years back.

Nothing Says Japanese Culture Like Star Wars

Picture: Amazon Japan

Nothing Says Japanese Culture Like Star Wars

Picture: Amazon Japan

Nothing Says Japanese Culture Like Star Wars

Picture: Amazon Japan

Nothing Says Japanese Culture Like Star Wars

Picture: Amazon Japan

Nothing Says Japanese Culture Like Star Wars

Picture: Amazon Japan

These displays are not cheap. The Darth Vader suit of armour costs over 350,000 yen ($3790), while the Vader and Stromtrooper helmet displays are close to 200,000 yen ($2166) each.

Amazon Japan and Toys 'R' Us still has some in stock, but May Doll seller Yoshitoku says the Star Wars themed ones are sold out.

Because Star Wars has been so influenced by Japanese culture, these dolls do make sense. Though, not sure if parents really want their kids to grow up to be Darth Vader — or worse, a Stormtrooper.

Picture: Amazon Japan


Comments

    *looks at prices* welp, there goes my dream of commissioning a full-scale suit of Darth Vader samurai armor.

    Makes sense. Japan is deeply animist, which is so close to The Force as to be almost indistinguishable outside of the rituals of Shinto (or the presence of savants who can manipulate spiritual energy).

    Last edited 17/04/15 10:20 am

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