The force awakens in Asia

As the Star Wars: The Force Awakens world premiere nears, a new study shows that Japan has the largest and most engaged fan base in Asia and Korea the most creative while China creates the smallest amount of buzz about the movie online.

Japanese social media users had three times as many online conversations as Korean and Chinese users combined, with Twitter and Facebook being their platforms of choice.

Japan is a legacy Star Wars market with a long history of fanaticism for the film. Japan even received its very own The Force Awakens trailer, which revealed new plot points and turned the social media world into a frenzy.

There were other factors driving the online conversation. Japanese artist Taro Yamamoto, famous for his parodies of traditional Japanese art, created custom Star Wars screens which were displayed at Kiyomizu-dera Temple in Kyoto, pushing the Star Wars fever to new heights.

Japanese convenience stores have also been running Star Wars lucky draws, which give fans the opportunity to win everything from figurines to R2-D2 clay pots.

While China is believed to become the biggest movie market in 2017, Star Wars has failed to gain as much traction as the markets online, despite China’s massive number of social media users.

The volume of Chinese conversations was only 1/3 of Korea’s output and unsurprisingly took place on Weibo, blogs and forums. Since the Chinese market is relatively new to the Star Wars Franchise, Chinese audiences could use more Star Wars fever to boost interest.

Chinese singer Luhan’s song, “Original Force” went some way in driving the conversation, causing periodic spikes, but that did not match Korea and Japan’s sustained buzz.

As far as Korea goes, the force comes from within, accompanied by a pulsing K-Pop beat.

Koreans are most active on blogs, forums, and Facebook and are most inclined to localising imports and interpreting them for themselves, including the Star Wars franchise.

Social influencers from models and celebrities, to ordinary users with an extraordinary number of followers were seen cosplaying Star War characters, gaining thousands of likes on platforms like Instagram. K-Pop boy band EXO has also joined in launching the song, “Lightsaber” in partnership with the film, to the excitement of Korean audiences online.

The study was conducted by Lamplight Analytics, using social media analytics tool to understand what Asian markets were saying about the iconic movie on the first week of December on the internet.

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