The Star Wars Trailer Sound Tape – What The Hell is This Thing?

I bought this tape and I don’t know what it is.

I picked it up at a local record store last month. It had literally been there most of the year. First it was priced at 5,000 yen. After a few months with no takers, they sliced it down to 3,000 yen. At that point it became tempting, but I held my ground, telling my boyfriend that I wouldn’t buy it for any more than 2,000 yen. Cue a few months later, and they cut it down to 1,500, so I snagged it. 

But, like I said, I don’t know what it is.

Well, I know what it is in the literal sense. This is a tape featuring audio from the original trailer for The Return Of The Jedi. The original original trailer, this is the audio for the Revenge Of The Jedi trailer, which was the film’s original title. The flipside of the front cover even features an entire transcript of the trailer’s narration.

Whatever this is, it’s certainly Japanese in origin. Three aspects of it make that abundantly clear. Firstly, there’s a rather egregious typo in the transcription. “Alien” is spelled as “aerian,” which would be a typo that a Japanese person would be prone to make (I teach English to Japanese people, so trust me on this one). A second clue to the tape’s origin is in the bottom of the inlay, where both a JARSAC sticker and imprint can be found. JARSAC is the Japanese equivalent of the ASCAP, that wouldn’t appear on a foreign tape.

Finally, there’s the tape itself, which is entirely without marking save for a tiny “Japan” imprint, signifying where it was made.

All signs point to this being an official release, but to what end? Why? What was the purpose of this? It couldn’t have been used for commercials or radio spots, Japan had their own trailers with Japanese narration, obviously. And there’s no way it was sold in stores. Japanese fandom is well known for its rabid willingness to embrace even the most trivial or minute aspects of a piece of pop culture, but I highly doubt people would’ve shelled out money for something like this. And, besides, if that was the case, I would’ve seen more than just this one by now (I go to far too many record stores in Tokyo) or at the very least I would’ve found some information on it online.

Regardless, it certainly is a weird artifact. I usually share the audio for things like this, but like I said, it’s literally just the audio for the trailer. Want to hear what’s on this tape? Watch the trailer. And if anyone has any idea at all as to what the hell this thing is about, let me know in the comments!

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