Study Abroad in Japan

With KCP International, you can earn more Japanese credit than you would in an entire year at your university. Plus, you can pick your start date!

Find out more

Learn Japanese Online

Immerse yourself in the heart of Tokyo with a wide variety of courses, flexible schedules and convenient packages you keep your experience easy!

Apply Now

Join Our Newsletter

Read all about Japanese immersion learning and studying abroad. Check out our eZasshi archives for more articles!

Millennium Falcon

Japanese Influence on the Star Wars Universe

Star Wars is one of the biggest multimedia franchises. It all began in 1977 when George Lucas created the 1977 film that quickly became a pop-culture phenomenon worldwide. It is said that the first Star Wars was a cultural unifier with a following of people belonging to a wide spectrum. The film saga is so popular that references to its fictional universe is often used in everyday life such as ‘May the Force be with you’. Star Wars has helped launch the science-fiction boom in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s allowing science-fiction film to be a mainstream genre.

Did you know that Japan has influenced Star Wars in more ways than you may know? Check them out:

Dark side1Techniques from Akira Kurosawa’s ‘The Hidden Fortress’ were used in Star Wars

The creator of Star Wars, George Lucas, credits one of Japan’s and the world’s most renowned and influential filmmakers, Akira Kurosawa (1910–1998) for enhancing his creative juices while working on Star Wars. Kurosawa directed 30 films in his career that spanned 57 years, including the film that influenced Star Wars, The Hidden Fortress. Techniques from this film were used in Star Wars, such as narrating the story from the perspective of minor characters like R2-D2 and C-3PO. The plot and outline for Star Wars also showed strong resemblance to the plot of The Hidden Fortress, which was also reused for The Phantom Menace.

Similarities between the manga series Lone Wolf and Cub and The Mandalorian

Lone Wolf and Cub manga series was created by Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima and first published in 1970 and since then has been adapted into numerous films, plays, and television series. It chronicles the story of a shogun’s disgraced executioner, Ogami Ittō, who is forced to take the path of an assassin. Along with his three-year-old son, Daigorō, the duo seek revenge on the Yagyū clan who falsely accused Ittō.

The similarities to The Mandalorian include Grogu following Mando in a floating cradle and the scene from ‘The Book of Bobba Fett’, where Luke offers Grogu the choice of living the life of a Jedi or being with the Mandalorian is almost exactly the same as in the first Lone Wolf and Cub film.

Light saberKendo and light sabers

Kendo, “the way of the sword,” is the Japanese equivalent for fencing. The Japanese warriors used swords as their primary weapon for centuries. Swords symbolize the samurai. Modern kendo uses bamboo swords. And as in all Japanese martial art, training the mind is crucial.

The jedi’s weapon of choice is a light saber resembling a samurai’s sword. The actual fighting style of a jedi is largely derived from kendo especially in the prequels according to stunt coordinator Nick Gillard in the documentary Star Wars: Evolution of the Lightsaber Duel, he notes: “Kendo became my base ingredient.”

What other Japanese influences have you noticed?

Sign-up for our newsletter

Read all about Japanese immersion learning and studying abroad. Check out our eZasshi archives for more articles!