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Anne in Japan
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Anne in Japan

 Read about LM Montgomery's Japanese kimono in the December 2009 issue of The Shining Scroll.

Looking For Anne film [see the trailer on our LMM Movie page]

Synopsis: "Looking for Anne" stars Kazuko Yoshiyuki as Anri, a shy young Japanese woman who has come to P.E.I. on a quest: to find an old soldier who lives at the foot of a lighthouse. Well, this isn't any old soldier. This man was the lover of her grandmother in the days following the end of WW2, and he was the one who first gave her a copy of "Anne of Green Gables". With the help of a middle-aged owner of a bed and breakfast, a pair of Japanese sisters at the B&B, and a retired philosophy professor Anri begins to uncover more about her grandmother's story, the identity of the old soldier and the true nature of love.

Our friends, Mie & Eri Muraoka, in Japan have a wonderful web site devoted to their grandmother who translated Anne of Green Gables into Japanese in 1952.

There were numerous of Anne-related events happening in 2008 in Japan! I was asked to provide a resource on this matter by a journalist from Canwest News Service and I made a brief list of it:

1) The exhibition entitled "Hanako Muraoka and Akage no An" was held at the International Institute for Children's Literature in Osaka, Japan between May and July. Because the first translators of
Anne of Green Gables is Hanako Muraoka, there is no way to talk about Anne without her.
 (The cover image of the magazine, "Girl's Book" March 1957).

2) The nationwide exhibition entitled "Anne of Green Gables: L.M. Montgomery's beloved PEI" was in June 2009. The display included Magog (from Robert Montgomery), a few pages of manuscript from AoGG, LMM's crazy quilt and more:

3) Embassy of Canada in Tokyo supports some of the events on "Anne", such as Gekidan Shiki's  musical "Anne of Green Gables":

4) Hanako Muraoka's biography "Anne's Cradle" written by her grand- daughter Eri Muraoka was published in June 2008. The cover image shows  Anne & Green Gables:
Nowadays, the name of Hanako Muraoka (poet, translator, Children's  writer, radio personality) is popular only because of her translation  of the Anne series.

5) A newly revised edition of  Akage no An (translated by Hanako Muraoka, revised by Mie Muraoka  who is another grand-daughter of Hanako's) was published by Shinchosha,  Tokyo. In this edition, Mie added the portions that Hanako had omitted to translate in some unknown reasons.

6) Budge Wilson's "Before Green Gables" was translated/published by Shinchosha in June. The Japanese title is "Hello Anne".

7) Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK) broadcast a special program "Welcome to the Anne's World" in January 2008. This one show was rebroadcast 2 more times due to popular demand. It includes a letter by Luella (LM Montgomery's granddaughter)and some photographs of Luella with the letter. You can see the pictures, and as well as pictures of Luella's. One is of Lover's Lane given to her by LMM and the other is a picture of Luella as a baby being held by LMM.
Some of you might find it funny that we actually took these photos in a sushi bar in Yorkville. Luella's favourite place.

8) NHK also broadcast a three-month long (from April to June) English conversation program "The journey to Akage no An". 
I heard that the textbook of this program has sold more than 130,000 copies so far. That figure is incredible! Anne is not only a gateway to learn PEI but also to learn English to Japanese audience. The staff visited PEI last summer. Here is an article about them in the Guardian ("Japanese film crew tapes Anne program on P.E.I." ):

There were many other Anne-related things happening in Japan: smaller production size of musicals, another exhibitions of Anne and many other publications. A scholarly book on Anne to which I contributed  will be published soon. A short biography of L.M. Montgomery for Juvenile readers by Miki Okuda was published in March 2008. And the Nippon Animation Co., LTD sells a boxed set of DVD entitled, 'Akage no An: the DVD Memorial Box'.
The first translator of AOGG into Japanese is Hanako Muraoka (1893-1968). Muraoka once worked for a publisher Kyobunkan in Tokyo which was originally established by Methodist missionaries from the USA, in 1885. This is the place Muraoka first met Canadian missionary Miss Loretta L. Shaw. In 1939, before leaving Japan due to the WWII, Shaw gave a copy of Anne of Green Gables to Muraoka as a keepsake.  Kyobunkan had special events in order to celebrate Hanako's work & Anne's 100th anniversary.

June 21 - July 16. "Akage no An and the work of Hanako Muraoka" at Nalnia Hall, Kyobunkan, in Tokyo. This exhibition focused on Muraoka's work and displayed books translated by her, including L.M. Montgomery, Louisa May Alcott, Eleanor Porter and more. Along with these books, photographs of PEI taken by well known photographer Kazutoshi Yoshimura were displayed.

June 29. 2-3 p.m. Eri Muraoka Gallery Talk at Narnia Hall, Kyobunkan. Eri is Hanako's grand-daughter who recently published a biography of  Hanako.  Her talk is entitled (loosely translated) "The very first  Akage no An: a promise to Miss Shaw, editor of Kyobunkan".

Related sites:
(Anne Memorial Room, Hanako Muraoka Study Room)
 (Kazutoshi Yoshimura's  blog)
If you have any questions, or want to know more about Anne events in Japan, please feel free to contact me :-)

yuka kajihara
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