Who is Yoda?
August 11, 2005 1:17 AM   Subscribe

StarWarsGeekFilter: I'm trying to find out the origins of the Star Wars character Yoda. I currently live in Japan, and a buddy of mine who's lived here several years said that he met an old Japanese man who was Lucas' inspiration for the character--Lucas knew him somehow. Unfortunately I didn't get details and that buddy has left the country. So fast forward to a couple of months ago: I was watching TV and this guy was talking about the new Star Wars flick and they flashed up a picture of Yoda, and then next to it a pic of an old Japanese man named Yorida (family name), who is apparently still alive, living in some small town in Japan. My Japanese ain't so good so I couldn't really tell what they were saying about him. Does anyone have the skinny on this? My google-fu, as they say, fails me.

BTW, I'm a fairweather fan of Star Wars but by no means fanatical about it, I just think this is interesting as I'm living in Japan.
posted by zardoz to Media & Arts (8 answers total)
Over here they say that it was Joseph Campbell.

George is also quoted here - " The inspiration for Yoda comes from the midgets seen in the Wizard of Oz. I thought it would be interesting to have the most powerful Jedi of his time be a tiny creature. "

That's enough Star wars for me today.
posted by Frasermoo at 1:48 AM on August 11, 2005

One source says it was Tsenzhab Serkong Rinpoche, debate partner of the Dalai Lama (search for Yoda in the page).
posted by mcguirk at 4:28 AM on August 11, 2005

Dont believe rumours unless you get a source. But interesting.
posted by spooksie at 5:04 AM on August 11, 2005

Very interesting question. Sorry I can't add more however. Me stop writing now I will.
posted by sjvilla79 at 6:16 AM on August 11, 2005

This kooky site claims that one of the inspirations for Yoda was the mystic dreamt up by Carlos Castaneda.
posted by jbrjake at 9:26 AM on August 11, 2005

I found this link that talks about the origins of Yoda.
posted by cincidog at 9:29 AM on August 11, 2005

I've heard that yoda's face was based on Spencer W. Kimball, the head of the LDS church during the release of the original series.

Certainly there is a similarity, although isn't that the because there are really only so many types of old guys?
posted by jgee at 9:44 AM on August 11, 2005

Wikipedia says "Yoda's character is believed by some to have been inspired by the title character in the 1975 Russian-Japanese film Dersu Uzala directed by Akira Kurosawa."
posted by winston at 9:53 AM on August 11, 2005

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