Watch Star Wars Kabuki Right Here

Gif: Star Wars YouTube
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When the one-off performance of Star Wars kabuki was announced, it made sense. Star Wars is deeply influenced by Japan, so it seemed as though this would work. That it did, but better than I could’ve imagined.

The kabuki version is a fascinating take on Star Wars. Even the program was excellent.

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The performance was about forty minutes, and can be watched in full below (it starts at around 12:28). Even though it’s in Japanese, you know the stories and the characters, so you should be able to follow along. At around 17:23, there is an opening crawl in English. “Judai,” “Lukuu,” “Leian,” and “Kairen” are not typos, but localized reworkings to fit kabuki style Japanese language.

For example, “Luke” is not written in katakana as ルーク (Ruuku) as it usually is, but for the kabuki play, the character has been given the kanji name 琉空 (Rukuu), which could be translated as “jeweled sky.”

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Ichikawa Ebizo XI stars as Kylo Ren (“Kairen” in the play), while his son played Princess Leia (“Leian”). In kabuki, there are no female actors, so male actors must play all the roles.

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About the author

Brian Ashcraft

Originally from Texas, Ashcraft has called Osaka home since 2001. He has authored five books, including most recently, Japanese Whisky: The Ultimate Guide to the World's Most Desirable Spirit.