It is said that George Lucas took inspiration from WW2 when he created his Star Wars universe. Did he create Imperial Navy bassed on IJN from WW2 ? Let's look at some similarities .

  First, both Empire in SW, and Japan in WW2 are empires, with almost god-like emperors.

  Second, compare uniforms of Japanese and Imperial officer below.

  Third, compare Vader suit and this samurai armor.


  Fourth, both IJN and Imperial Navy considered capital ships as their main strength . Therefore, Japan had Yamato-class battleships, heaviest ever. Imperial Navy built ever so large Star Destroyers, culminating with SSD.

  Fifth, main fighters for IJN and Imperial Navy were Zero and Tie Fighter respectively, both very maneuverable but lightly armored , with primary function being air superiority. Almost useless for ground assault or attacking enemy ships because they could not carry heavy bombs (later in the war that changed, both in WW2 and in SW universe)

Japanese uniform Imperial uniform

  • @WraithLeader I'm not entirely satisfied with the answer in that question.
    – rs.29
    Jul 15, 2017 at 8:37
  • So the Imperial naval doctrine is closer to WW2 Japanese naval doctrine than Nazi Germany's, but the uniforms are closer to Nazi uniforms than to WW2 Japanese ones... Dec 14, 2017 at 15:55

1 Answer 1


No. His primary inspiration for the Empire was actually the Nazis.

The fact that fascism inspired the look and feel of the Empire is no secret. In fact, Star Wars creator George Lucas even refers to the Imperial officers in The Empire Strikes Back as “Nazis” while giving his commentary of the film. He specifically mentions their militaristic dress, noting, “The Nazis are basically the same costume as we used in the first film and they are designed to be very authoritarian, very empire-like.”
The overall color palette and feel for the Empire was intended to be fascist, but earlier Prussian military uniforms inspired the actual cut of the uniforms designed by John Mollo.
On playing the role [of Admiral Piet], [Kenneth] Colley says, “Obviously they were going on some sort of design for Darth Vader’s men — there were echoes of the Gestapo or at least fascism in there — and that was also how I approached the role.”

Interestingly enough, you see more Japanese influences in the Jedi then you do in the Empire. In the 2015 documentary Star Wars: Evolution of the Lightsaber Duel, Mark Hamill discussed how his time in Japan and his brief exposure to Japanese history and culture, specifically the Samurai, influenced the organizational structure and purpose of the Jedi as spiritual warrior monks.

  • not to contradict GL, but WWII Japan could be considered facist as well. But agree overall that probably Nazism in general was more influential
    – NKCampbell
    Jul 13, 2017 at 21:00
  • @amflare It would be good if you could draw some parallels between Third Reich and Empire (especially visual) , because I cannot find any except Palpatine being Chancellor like Hitler.
    – rs.29
    Jul 14, 2017 at 5:26
  • @rs.29 1) Lucas calls them Nazis 2) The uniforms were based on Prussian lancer uniforms (quick history lesson, so were the nazi uniforms) 3) "Vader's men" echoes the gestapo.
    – amflare
    Jul 14, 2017 at 13:41
  • @amflare Sorry, but they do not look like Prussian lancers at all . napolun.com/mirror/napoleonistyka.atspace.com/…
    – rs.29
    Jul 15, 2017 at 8:35

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