Darth Vader’s Kawaii Arrangements by Japanese Unique Items

May 27, 2022 | mini Chara

“I am your father.”

This line was uttered in the film Star Wars Episode Ⅴ: The Empire Strikes Back when he hunted down the protagonist Luke Skywalker and forced him to become his apprentice. The master is one of the most famous villains in American cinema history, Darth Vader. And this line may be also the most famous fatherly declaration in the world.

Japanese People Favouring Darth Vader

Japanese People Favouring Darth Vader

This fictional cyborg has long been the most notable and popular character in the Star Wars series, particularly evident in Japan. The popularity of Star Wars has led to a wide range of gadgets, toys, clothing and household items being sold with this theme, but extremely popular in Japan is Darth Vader.

This phenomenon may be coincidental, but if there is a reason for it, it may be because the Japanese are somehow inspired by the origins of Star Wars and Darth Vader.

Star Wars influenced by Akira Kurosawa?

Indeed, George Lucas, who wrote and directed this film, admired Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa and was heavily influenced by his Japanese films.

For example, “Jedi” in the film was named after “Jidai-Geki”, one of the film genres often employed in Kurosawa films. Yoda was modeled on Shimada Kanbee(島田勘兵衛) from “Seven Samurai”, and C-3PO and R2-D2 were modeled on Tahei(太平) and Matashichi(又七) from “The Hidden Fortress.”

The Hidden Fortress

The Hidden Fortress

Media Type: Blu-ray
Director: Akira Kurosawa
Label / Distributor: Toho
Availability: CDJapan

Darth Vader’s Design Modeled on a  Japanese Warlord

It is easy to imagine that the costumes of Darth Vader and Storm Trooper are based on samurai armor. Furthermore, Darth Vader’s helmet is said to have been inspired by the helmet of Date Masamune, who is as popular and well-known as Oda Nobunaga among Japanese warlords in the Sengoku-Era.

Thus, the fact that the characters and stories in Star Wars are based on Japanese Jidai-Geki and warlords may cause Japanese people to feel a sense of familiarity with them and the “Samurai Spirit” they may have.

Life with Darth Vader

In Japan, a lot of products with Darth Vader motifs can be found. From here, we will introduce some of the most distinctive and “Kawaii” ones.

#1: Toothbrush

In Japan, there is a tendency to be unusually elaborate in the development and production of household goods, and toothbrushes are one such item. As well as classifying brushes for children and adults, they are also classified according to individual preferences and brush shapes in detail.

One of them is the “Bounce Up” type. This type has a brush part that looks like the head of animals or characters, which bounces up by pushing of a button, and is mainly aimed at children.

#2: Hand Towel / Tenugui

The “Tenugui” is a plain weave cotton cloth used to wipe sweat, water after washing the face and hands, or to wash the body when bathing, which means a hand towel generally.

In recent years, the high design quality and wide range of uses of them have attracted attention around the world, and many tourists visiting Japan are seen buying them as souvenirs.

This ukiyo-e style Darth Vader is very impressive.

#3: Masking Tape

The Masking Tape, as the name suggests, was originally used as so-called protective tape when painting house interiors and cars, to prevent the paint color from bleeding over into other parts of them.

However, by reducing its adhesiveness, it has been possible to attach and detach it from paper, and used for decorating diaries and other small items, and now, is a popular type of stationery, especially among young women, with an increasing number of products with various designs.

Play with Darth Vader

#4: Pop-up Pirate / Kurohige Kiki-Ippatsu

©TOMY Company, LTD.

This is a toy game that has been still sold by TAKARA TOMY since 1975, which involves stabbing a dagger into a barrel with only the pirate’s head sticking out, and we can enjoy the pirate’s reaction as he jumps out of the barrel depends on where you place the dagger.

The pirate turns into Darth Vader, as shown below:

#5: Recorder


The recorder is a type of woodwind instrument and an air reed vertical flute that does not use a reed. The vocalisation principle is not much different from that of the flute or ocarina. Because it does not produce a loud sound and because it can be disassembled into three pieces and is easily transported, it is a frequently used instrument in school education in Japan.

In 2006, the Kuricorder Quartet’s arrangement of “Theme of the Empire” became very popular in Japan.

He is truly an unmotivated Darth Vader…

Ukulele Kuricorder

Ukulele Kuricorder

Media Type: CD
Label / Distributor: Geneonunversal
Availability: CDJapan


©Lucasfilm Ltd.

“POLIGOROID” is a series of figures with a deformed 2.5 head design and a sense of unity. As they are exclusively for amusement arcades in Japan, they are very rarely available on the market.

Hope with Darth Vader

#7: Kokeshi

Kokeshi dolls are a local toy of the Tohoku region. They are wooden doll toys made by grinding on a wheel, and generally have a simple appearance with a round head and cylindrical body. They are said to have originated in the late Edo period, when they were made as souvenirs for hot springs “Onsen” in the Tohoku region.

At the time, figurines made with red dye were favoured to ward off evil and bring good luck, so kokeshi dolls, which contain red and are cute, spread throughout Japan as a good playmate for children and a toy to protect their happiness.

©Lucasfilm Ltd.

#8: Daruma

Daruma dolls have round bodies with no arms and legs and a dignified expression with whiskers. It is a Japanese custom to buy them at the end of the year and into the New Year and display them to ward off bad luck.

And they are also popular as good luck charms, which are known for the custom of drawing one eye with a wish in mind, and then drawing the other eye when the wish comes true.

©Lucasfilm Ltd.

No demon will come near you…