A Long Time Ago on the Other Side of the World… Samurai culture inspires George Lucas’s Jedi and Sith

vaderStar Wars revealed the amazing creativity of George Lucas. Star Wars characters seemed foreign—even alien—to American audiences. Of course, like all creative geniuses, Lucas had his inspiration. His characters resemble actual humans from a long time ago, but from a galaxy not so far away.

Just on the other side of good old planet Earth, a few hundred years ago, samurai warriors were respected and revered.

To Star Wars fans, it is no secret that George Lucas was inspired by Japanese culture when creating his Star Wars epics. Japanese influences can be seen in costumes, hairstyles, make-up, as well as the weapons and swordsmanship.

Although the amazing visuals of the characters clearly have Japanese origins when you learn what to look for, the most telling influence of samurai warriors on the Galactic Empire may be Bushido, the way of the samurai. The spirit of Bushido is reflected in the Jedi Code.

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Lucas is known to have studied the works of filmmaker Akira Kurosawa. When you see this film, you will see the origins of the Jedi and Sith. Haven’t seen a Kurosawa film? You are in luck! You can view the iconic film Seven Samurai at HMNS on April 14 and see the force of the samurai that inspired Lucas’ Star Wars empire.

How did the code of the Samurai warrior translate to the Jedi Knights? Need light shed on the transformation of samurai sabers into an energy blade? How did the armory and arms of the Samurai influence that of the Galactic Empire?

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This summer you can learn about the influences the samurai made to the Star Wars movie franchise in special evening tour of the Samurai: The Way of the Warrior exhibit offered on June 18, July 16 and August 20. Space is limited, so book your galactic samurai adventure now!

Film Screening: Seven Samurai
Tuesday, April 14, 6:30 p.m.
One of the most thrilling movie epics of all time, the newly restored, high-definition edition of Seven Samurai tells the story of a 16th century village whose desperate inhabitants hire the eponymous warriors to protect them from invading bandits. Filmmaker Akira Kurosawa weaves philosophy and entertainment, delicate human emotions and relentless action, into this tale of courage and hope. Mark Kerstein of Hokushikan Chiba Dojo will introduce the film. For advance tickets, call 713.639.4629 or click here.

JEDI – SAMURAI TOUR
June 18, July 16, August 20
6 – 9:30 p.m. (last entry at 8 p.m.)
Armored warriors of the past inspired the creative genius of a filmmaker—in a galaxy not so far away. In this multimedia tour of the Samurai: The Way of the Warrior exhibit—led by HMNS staff and a few guest Jedi, Sith and Samurai guides—the origins of many of George Lucas’ Star Wars heroes and villains will be unveiled. You will also enjoy demonstrations of light saber and kendo katana. The compelling links between Samurai and Jedi will build your appreciation for both. For advance tickets, call 713.639.4629 or click here.

Mark Your Calendars for these events happening at HMNS 4/6-4/12

Bust out your planners, calendars, and PDAs (if you are throwback like that), it’s time to mark your calendars for the HMNS events of this week!

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Lecture – Bushido, The Way Of The Samurai By Sensei Darrell Craig
Tuesday, April 7
6:30 p.m. 
In order to share the true spirit of the Bushido, the way of the samurai, Sensei Darrell Craig will describe samurai battle preparations and lead a demonstration by his students of traditional samurai techniques and weapons. Keeping in the spirit of Bushido, the session will commence with the sound of Taiko Japanese war drums followed by Batto-Jutsu and Kendo Katat-the way of the sword. Darrell Craig is sensei of classical martial arts of Japan at Houston Budokan. This lecture is cosponsored by Rice University’s Glasscock School of Continuing Studies.

Special Exhibition – China’s Lost Civilization: The Mystery Of Sanxingdui Opens Friday, April 10
The Sanxingdui culture left no written record or human remains and appears to have existed for only about 500 years before it vanished. In 2001, another archaeological discovery, this time in the city of Chengdu at Jinsha, revealed possible clues to the mystery of where they might have gone. This exhibition will present many of the most important discoveries from both Sanxingdui and Jinsha and examine the great mystery of where this 3500 year old culture could have come from and where and why they abruptly vanished.

Organized by the Bowers Museum, Santa Ana, the Houston Museum of Natural Science and the Cultural Relics Bureau of Sichuan Province, Peoples Republic of China.

Major funding provided China Southern Airlines. Local support provided by Kathrine G. McGovern/McGovern Foundation.

Science Hack Day Houston
Saturday, April 11- Sunday, April 12
Science Hack Day Houston is a 48-hour-all-night event that brings together inquisitive and creative minds to one place, to make wonderful things.
Designers, developers, engineers, scientists bring their A-game to the same physical space for a brief but intense period of collaboration, hacking, and building ‘cool stuff’. By collaborating on focused tasks during this short period, small groups of makers are capable of producing remarkable results. For more information, the schedule and to RSVP to participate visit http://sciencehackdayhouston.com/.

If you are interested in seeing these hackers in action, purchase a ticket to the permanent exhibit halls on April 11th or April 12th and stop by Glassell! It’s going to be a science extravaganza!

Organized by Brightwork CoResearch

2015 Orchid Show And Sale
Saturday, April 11- Sunday, April 12
HMNS Grand Hall
FREE Admission

The show includes fabulous exhibits created by HOS members, other orchid societies and commercial sales vendors, featuring orchid plants as well as arrangements, corsages, orchid collectibles and educational information. The orchids in the exhibits and the exhibits themselves are officially judged before the show opens. First, second and third place ribbons and trophies are awarded to the best orchids, best-grown orchids and best exhibits.

 

Go Back in Time with the Hadza: Last of the First Movie Screening

pic 1There are fewer people connected to nature now than ever before—and no one connected to it in the same way as the Hadza. One of the last hunter-gather groups on earth, the Hadza have lived sustainably off the bounty of their ancestral homeland in Africa’s Rift Valley for at least 50,000 years. But their unique culture and way of life, including the ability to source 95 percent of their diet from the wild, has been threatened by issues as varied as continuing encroachment, aggressive tree-cutting and over-grazing.


That’s why we’ve collaborated with The Nature Conservancy to bring a special screening of the groundbreaking film The Hadza: Last of The First to HMNS on April 13. Narrated by Alfre Woodard, The Hadza: Last of The First is a call to action to establish a protective land corridor to help the Hadza survive.

“The Hadza: Last Of The First” Trailer from Benenson Productions on Vimeo.

The Nature Conservancy is one of the many organizations heeding that call. They established their Northern Tanzania project to empower the Hadza and neighboring tribes to protect their land. Through the project, the Nature Conservancy works with local partners to help the Hadza and nearby indigenous communities secure legal rights to their homeland and works to improve the Hadza’s capacity to monitor and protect their titled land, including helping to fight to extend protections for Hadza land and associated wildlife corridors, as well as protecting grazing resources for pastoralists in buffer areas surrounding Hadza titled land.

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Roughly 60 percent of Africa’s lands and waters are communally owned, so a sustained threat for millions of people is simply a lack of control. An absence of strong institutions and governance exposes millions of communal acres to risk.

That’s why the people, in Africa and around the globe, are so critical to the success of the Nature Conservancy’s Africa program. They are fighting to help local communities, governments and organizations conserve and enhance Africa’s vast array of shared natural resources.

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Film Screening, April13
Don’t miss the Texas premiere of The Hadza: Last of The First in the Houston Museum of Natural Science’ Wortham Giant Screen Theatre on April 13 at 6:30 p.m. This is a one-night-only screening with David Banks, director of the Nature Conservancy’s Africa program and the film’s producers. HMNS and Nature Conservancy members receive $5 off the regular ticket price. For advance tickets call 713.639.4629, click here or visit the HMNS Box Office.

Mark Your Calendars for these events happening at HMNS 3/2-3/8

Bust out your planners, calendars, and PDAs (if you are throwback like that), it’s time to mark your calendars for the HMNS events of this week!  

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Lecture – Medicine Without Evolution Is Like Engineering Without Physics By Randolph M. Nesse

Tuesday, March 3
6:30 p.m.
Evolutionary medicine uses the basic science of evolutionary biology to improve the understanding, prevention andtreatment of disease. Instead of just asking how the body works and why it goes awry, it also asks why natural selection left us with so many traits like wisdom teeth and the narrow birth canal that leave us vulnerable to disease. The old answer-the limits of natural selection-is important, but there are five other important explanations for vulnerability. Randolph Nesse, a founder of the field evolutionary medicine, will give examples to illustrate all six reasons, with a focus on cancer, infectious diseases and emotional disorders. He will explain why the field is growing so fast, its prospects for providing a deeper understanding of disease, and how scientists and clinicians can join the effort to bring evolutionary biology to bear on the problems of medicine. This lecture is cosponsored by The Leakey Foundation.

Lecture – Great White Sharks, Tracking The Ocean’s Apex Predator By Greg Stunz
Wednesday, March 4
6:30 p.m. 
Through the OCEARCH collaborative, researchers are now generating previously unattainable data on the movement, biology and health of great white sharks in order to protect the specie³ future while enhancing public safety and education. Unprecedented research on great white sharks and other large apex predators will be presented by shark researcher Greg Stunz, Ph.D. of Harte Institute and Texas A&M Corpus Christi with OCEARCH founder and expedition leader Chris Fischer. This lecture is cosponsored by Rice University’s Glasscock School of Continuing Studies.