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Every spring in Japan, families with sons set up samurai armor 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 armor (or “yoroi” in Japanese) that’s modelled on feudal era samurai gear. Below, you can see my family’s display:

[Photo: Kotaku]

This is called a “gogatsu ningyou” (五月人形) or “May Doll.” It’s about two or two-and-a-half feet tall (which gives you an idea of its size). There are also displays that only feature the samurai helmets. They have nothing to do with Star Wars!

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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.

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[Photo: Amazon Japan]

[Photo: Amazon Japan]

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[Photo: Amazon Japan]

[Photo: Amazon Japan]

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[Photo: Amazon Japan]

These displays are not cheap. The Darth Vader suit of armor costs over 350,000 yen or US$2,929, while the Vader and Stromtrooper helmet displays are close to 200,000 yen ($1,674) 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.

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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.

Top photo: Amazon Japan

To contact the author of this post, write to bashcraftATkotaku.com or find him on Twitter @Brian_Ashcraft.

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Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.