There’s always been a strong connection between Japan and the George Lucas-helmed Star Wars franchise. From the samurai-influenced Darth Vader and Stormtrooper costume designs through to the film’s storyline, which borrows heavily from Akira Kurosawa’s 1958 film Hidden Fortress, Lucas himself is the first to admit he owes a lot of his creative inspiration to the Land of the Rising Sun.
So it’s nice to see that Japan is reciprocating the love with a number of Star Wars creations of their own. From samurai-styled figurines to ukiyo-e woodblock prints, these Japanese-styled homages to the epic American film franchise are the perfect way to get ready for the December 18 release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And now you can carry the force wherever you go, with a gorgeous wooden iPhone 6 case that’s so beautiful even a Sith Lord would stand in line to buy one.
The wooden iPhone case takes its design cues from a very special ukiyo-e woodblock print, one of only three in the world that have been officially approved by Lucasfilm. The different prints feature Darth Vader, a scene from the Battle of Hoth and Queen Amidala posed with R2-D2, all in traditional Japanese styles.
▼ Take a look at the video below to see the prints and how they were created.
The Darth Vader woodblock is especially coveted, as it depicts the Sith Lord in a unique style of ukiyo-e known as okubi-e, which shows only the upper torso and head of the subject.
The iPhone 6 cover, made from a single block of wood chosen especially for the beauty of its grain, includes all the key details from the original woodblock print, including the Death Star moon in the background and Darth Vader’s name in kanji: 堕悪巣俾荼, which is read as “daasu beida“ and whose characters literally mean “suffering servant that fell to the webs of evil”.
Matsuba Factory, a precision wood-cutting company in Hiroshima, is producing the covers in walnut or black cherry wood for 36,000 yen (US$300.40) and black cedar wood for 69,000 yen ($575.73). Considering that single prints have been selling for 54,000 yen ($438.84) each, this is a functional piece of art worth investing in!