2015-01-19 00:46:23




It may be premature to discuss something about the end of the year since 2015 has just begun, but Episode 7 of the Star Wars series will be released late this year, with further production planned through the final episode 9. This time it will be a Disney movie, so the director and production team will be different from what they have been in the series up until now.

If I could meet George Lucas I would like to confirm with him personally, but I think the Jedi that appear in the Star Wars series must be patterned after the Japanese samurai. There are legions of fans of Kurosawa Akira’s “The Seven Samurai” in Hollywood, and while I can’t be sure, I have heard speculation that the word “Jedi” was taken from the Japanese word “jidaigeki” (historical drama, like “Westerns” in the U.S.).

Star Wars is set in the future when science fiction has advanced to a surprisingly high level. The enemy troops use laser guns for weapons as a matter of course. However, the Jedi wield light sabers. The fact that the light sabers used by the Jedi are a “super analog weapon utilizing high technology” reflect the image of modern Japan, and they also call to mind the samurai ethic beginning from the Edo Period that the use of “projectile weapons is cowardly.”


ジェダイは、驚異的な反射神経と運動能力、磨き抜かれた技により、ライトセイバーを巧みに操って、敵のレーザー弾をはじき返します。実は、ルパン三世に出てくる石川五右ェ門の真似だったりして? ジェダイが着ている服も特徴的で、特に第一作目でオビワン・ケノービやルーク・スカイウォーカーが着ていた服は、間違いなく空手や柔道など日本の武道で使われる道着がモチーフでしょう。
The Jedi, with astounding reflexes and athletic ability and polished technique, wield the light sabers with skill to repel the enemy’s laser attack. It may be that this was modeled on Ishikawa Gozaemon, who appears in Lupin III. The Jedi uniforms are unique, and especially those worn by Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker in the first film are without doubt patterned after the uniforms worn in the Japanese martials arts of judo and karate.


Incidentally, Yoda’s speech patterns are very interesting. The vocabulary words are English, but the word order is usually object→subject→verb as is commonly seen in Japanese (for example, “Pirate king I will become”). Did you notice that?

It is impossible to become a Jedi simply by possessing strong swordsmanship and martial skills. Strict mental discipline and concentration known as “the force” is required. Jedi disciplined in the force can foresee the future, read the minds of others, move things merely by willing such movement in their minds, and otherwise exercise powers impossible for a normal person. “Asian masters” thoroughly skilled in the oriental martial arts of kendo, karate, aikido, etc. are mystical and have a superhuman image among westerners.

There is one point that I found especially notable about Jedi. A person found to have extraordinary talents in childhood, and who after long years of harsh training becomes a proper Jedi will, if his heart is tainted by evil for some even very small reason, become a formidable and evil enemy, or “Sith.”


As you know, Anakin Skywalker, who was trained up from his childhood as a highly anticipated Jedi, violated the Jedi Order and secretly married Padme Amidala (could the name have Buddhist origins?). Because of his strong desire to protect and not lose her, he gradually became suspicious of those around him, and due to the weakness thus sown in his heart, betrayed his Jedi companions and became Darth Vader, a Sith.

This signifies the fact that the difference between good and evil in the world is razor thin, separated only by conscience. A person who has lost his conscience can easily fall into the “dark side.” Even an able person full of innate talent honed through constant hard work who becomes a Jedi, the very embodiment of good, can be transformed into a Sith in an instant.


Anakin violated the Jedi Order because of his deep love for Padme. In him arose anxiety and fear of losing her, which led to his fall to the dark side. Ultimately, Padme died immediately after giving birth to twins, and the twins were given up for adoption and raised separately. In Anakin’s case, love, which is usually recognized as the most valuable emotion, caused the order in his life to be disrupted, a very cruel setting indeed.

The dark side possessed by Siths is extremely strong. It derives its energy from the minus elements of inherent attributes of humans such as anger, hatred, sorrow, jealousy, suspicion, fear, and possessiveness. Once such negative emotions spring up, it is difficult to suppress them. Perhaps the more such emotions are suppressed, the more they can lead to an emotional explosion or go out of control when a person can no longer bear the stress.

I’m sure that our sharp readers have realized long before now that this is another long preface to the subject at hand.

Watching the debates being conducted on the internet, I am troubled to see that people who ought to be Japanese Jedi because they take pride in being Japanese and love Japan do not hesitate to post racial epithets. Such comments as “That’s it. He’s a Zainichi!” [= ethnically foreign person; usually refers to Koreans, but can include any foreigner]. Keep in mind, I am a foreigner, too. People who post comments beginning with “Zainichi are ……” on my blog or Facebook page have lost the mental discipline to have even that level of consideration for others.

Sometimes small differences of opinion lead to personal attacks and fault finding, ending in meaningless and abusive confrontation. Someone who learned about otherwise unknown facts only a few years ago will take a contemptuous attitude toward people who do not yet have that understanding, blatantly calling them “ignorant,” “out to lunch,” “information illiterate,” or “unable to get the point.” They do not realize the important fact that as a result, instead of persuading large numbers of people to their own view, they drive those people away from the truth.

Every time I see such abusive comments on the internet, I feel a sense of sadness thinking, “It looks like this person has fallen to the dark side.” That is the work of Siths, not Jedi. This is far removed from the respected image of Japanese people held by the world. At the very least, it is completely different from what I envision as the image of a patriotic Japanese.

It has sometimes been necessary in the early stages to use strong words and take aggressive actions to awaken the eyes of people “content in their imagined peace” to the actual situation which Japan faces. In such cases, expressions in the nature of so-called “hate speech” may be justified as self-defense or emergency risk management.

But social conditions are constantly changing. I think this is the time to assert correct information in the correct way. Despite the fact that the ultimate objective should be to restore the pride of Japan and the Japanese people, many Japanese people calling themselves “patriots” engage in actions which debase their own pride and reputation. When I see an especially base bout of mutual bad mouthing going on, I think “Could this perhaps actually be the work of foreign operatives trying to pull down Japan?” (and indeed there are some such operations going on).

Please stop doing exactly the same things that the people you most despise do. Don’t descend to the level of a children’s quarrel. You are lowering your own value and reputation. From the perspective of people who want to share the wonderful things about Japan with the world, your activities are nothing but a nuisance.

I think the message Japan should dispassionately send to the rest of the world based on real evidence is (1) that from ancient times “Japan has been a fair country composed of a peace-loving people,” and (2) the fact that there are other despotic, brutal countries that lie without compunction who should face up to historic truth and feel remorse.

So, please stop spreading fabricated images and lies (or unconfirmed information) without batting an eyelid. Please stop sharing and retweeting information reflexively in the heat of anger. There are many people who get their kicks from spreading false information on the internet. You should calm down, trace the primary source of the information, and confirm its veracity. Of course, this is also a caution to me since I myself believed some false information until just last year.




さて、スター・ウォーズの話題に戻ります。エピソード6の日本語タイトルは ”Return of the Jedi”「ジェダイの帰還」です。実は、撮影時とプロモーションの初期段階までは、英語の原題は”Revenge of the Jedi”、つまり「ジェダイの復讐」でした。しかし「宇宙で一番の人格者集団であるジェダイに『復讐』は似合わない」と考えたルーカス監督の指示によって、公開前に原題は”Return of the Jedi”へと変更されたのです。
Let’s return to the topic of Star Wars. The Japanese title of Episode 6 is “Return of the Jedi.” During the filming and early promotional stages, the title was the original “Revenge of the Jedi,” but at the direction of director George Lucas who felt that the word “revenge” did not fit with Jedi, the group of people with the highest characters in the universe, the title of the movie was changed to “Return of the Jedi” before it was released.


However, for some reason the Japanese title remained “Revenge of the Jedi.” Later, due to a signature-collecting drive conducted by fans of the movie, the name was changed to “Return of the Jedi.” This was a wise decision since term “revenge” does not fit either Jedi or Japanese people well. Inevitably, someone is going to say, “But what about the vendettas in the Edo Period,” but we will take some time to write about that on another occasion in the near future.

I would like to speak once again to people who have without realizing it become Siths because their patriotism has gone overboard.

Anakin, who once fell into the dark side (and became Darth Vader), recovered his Jedi conscience in Episode 6: Return of the Jedi.

When you give yourself over to anger, hatred, resentment, grief, and other negative energy and relieve your stress by posting abusive comments, there will only be excitement among like-minded people. Speech and actions which do not take into account the future are unlikely to gather a very wide following either in Japanese or elsewhere in the world, and in fact may be very counterproductive.

I hope you will emerge from the dark side as soon as possible.

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