Star Wars Celebration Japan Recap

Bonnie Burton | July 30, 2008

A few weeks back I went to Star Wars Celebration Japan in Chiba outside of Tokyo. I had never been to Japan before so the elaborate toilets, immaculate train stations and the super-nice hospitality were a bit of a shocker for this jaded American. In a good way! I had some amazing food, met awesome new friends and got to see Japanese Star Wars fans on their own turf. I had a blast!

Here are some of my highlights:


As soon as I took a bunch of photos of this I blog bombed it to everyone I knew from Boing Boing to /Film. Even the celeb-obsessed blog Defamer took notice. This was the thing that got the most press stateside (and still is) from bloggers who wanted to see really weird stuff from CJ. Mission accomplished. I wish we had this thing at Lucasfilm’s offices. We already have Jar Jar in carbonite in the ILM lobby, so I’m thinking this would fit nicely in the LFL lobby. HINT HINT. But maybe that’s just me. Either way, it’s most impressive.

BEST ATTRACTION: Life-size Dewback

Yeah, that’s me on Dewy. This fan-made attraction had the longest lines and the fans loved LOVED loved it. I kinda wish Lucasfilm would buy it for our next Celebration in the States. This thing was AWESOME! I interviewed Goro who made it if you want to find out more: The Dewback Project


She was the belle of Celebration Japan — being asked every few feet to get her photo taken by media, fans and smitten teen boys. Makes you wonder if Ewoks looked like her instead of teddy bears with spears, we might have a few more fans of the Yub Nub song.


The whole event I think I said, “Awww how cute!” more than any other phrase. Celebration Japan had more adorable kids dressed in Star Wars costumes than I could count. I’ve never seen so many squee-tastic Jedi, Sith Lords, droids, Yodas, Princess Leias and Padmes than I did here. The best part was how much the parents — who were all in costume as well — were having so much fun sharing the event with their kids. Parents were all smiles, kids were giggling — it was convention utopia!
Check out all the cute kid costumes here: Kids at Celebration Japan

BEST KIDS ACTIVITY: Coloring Pages and Drawing Area

Maybe I’m a bit biased in my fascination with kids drawing Star Wars, but one of my favorite areas of the convention was the wall of kids’ drawings and coloring book pages that kept changing throughout the day. You could walk along and see all the creations springing from these young fans’ minds. Some of them were not only impressive, but quite humorous. Yoda with a comb-over? Luke as Oats from Hall and Oats? Hammerhead as a samurai? These kids should be making our movies!

BEST ART: The Vader Project

I’ve always been a huge fan of The Vader Project, but when I found out that curators Dov Kelemer and Sarah Jo Marks would be bringing all the exhibit to Japan with new USA and Japanese artist helmets, I was thrilled! This one by Gargamel was my favorite mainly because if you look through Vader’s eyes you can see holograms of two aliens inside!
Read more about The Vader Project here.
See the photo collection here: The Vader Project at CJ


The last day of the convention, Mark Hamill came over to look at artist Larry Noble’s sculpt of him as Luke Skywalker. And then proceeded to give him bunny ears…

BEST PARTY: 501st Legion Gathering

Ever since I got to hang with the members of the 501st Legion (all those dedicated fans in stormtrooper and clone trooper armor) at the Rose Bowl Parade, I’ve always been big fans of how they show up to events and make everything that much cooler. And they have some blogworthy parties! For Celebration Japan, garrison and outpost members from the United States as well as Belgium, the Philippines, China and Saudi Arabia came out to support the Japanese Garrison. As usual, the 501st threw a fun party before all the hard work began — at an Irish pub in the middle of Chiba no less. C-3PO even showed up!


The drawing is by none other than The Clone Wars director Dave Filoni and reenacted by Star Wars actors Orli Shoshan, Amy Allen and Matt Wood.


Lucasfilm’s Director of Fan Relations and Collector God Steve Sansweet wore this custom-made Star Wars Yukata to the ribbon cutting ceremony and throughout the event. Fancy!


When you’re in a new country sometimes it’s easy to feel a little homesick. So even though I was having so much fun, it was nice to meet new people to hang out during the convention. I seemed to constantly run into the crew — Dan Curto and photographer D. Martin Myatt, and ForceCast’s one and only Jimmy Mac! They all kept me alert and laughing just when I needed it most. Also had fun joking around with The Vader Project kids — especially Sarah Jo who seemed to always have a new fantastic outfit every day. The Art of Ralph McQuarrie book authors/publishers John Scoleri and Stanley let me use booth to take 5 in. So thanks to them I kept from going brain dead when I was still on USA time. I probably had too much fun with artist Larry Noble and his family. Adopt me!

Special thanks to everyone at Lucasfilm, the vendors, the press, the 501st and Rebel Legions, and the fans who made this event so much fun!


Be sure to check out all the photos here:
Star Wars Celebration Japan

Click here for all our Star Wars Celebration Japan Coverage.

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