June 10, 2023
How Anne Went to Japan: PEI Confederation Centre.  seeks to create new works |  Radio-Canada News

How Anne Went to Japan: PEI Confederation Centre. seeks to create new works | Radio-Canada News

The Confederation Center of the Arts in Charlottetown hopes to create a new play featuring the character of Anne Shirley.

However, it will not be an adaptation of one of LM Montgomery’s novels. It will be based on a biography of the woman who translated Anne of Green Gables in Japanese about eight decades ago.

“In the discovery of reading this book, Anne’s cradlewe have found the source of what we think is a tremendous theatrical collaboration between two countries,” said the center’s artistic director, Adam Brazier.

Anne’s cradle is the story of Hanako Muraoka. It was written by his granddaughter Eri Muraoka and published in English in 2021 with a translation by Cathy Hirano.

Anne’s Cradle was first published in Japan in 2008, and the English translation by Cathy Hirano was released in Canada in 2021. (Kerry Campbell/CBC)

When Brazier read the work, he was fascinated by Muraoka’s story.

“With Anne’s cradleI get this incredible appreciation of how a shared culture can lift, how the rising tide can float both boats, and how we find an incredible connection with people on the other side of the world through a story,” Brazier said.

The story of how this book was translated and the story of Hanako’s life is absolutely, endlessly captivating.— Adam Brazier, Confederation Center of the Arts

Now the center is looking for a bilingual playwright capable of adapting the work for the stage. The call for entries went out earlier this month and closes on December 31.

Mainstreet PEI6:35Anne’s cradle

If you are a Japanese-Canadian playwright or writer, the Confederation Center of the Arts may have a job for you. The center is looking for a writer to adapt a book called Anne’s Cradle. It’s the story of how Anne of Green Gables was first translated into Japanese and became a runaway bestseller and eventually a classic in Japan. Interview with Adam Brazier, artistic director of the center.

The work will be presented in Japanese and English, with subtitles, Brazier said. The center therefore hopes to find a Japanese-Canadian playwright who is fluent in both languages ​​- “someone who has the influence of both countries and an understanding and lived experience of both nationalities.”

“What a wonderful idea”

Hanako Muraoka’s granddaughter, Eri, was surprised to receive an email from Brazier a year ago.

“I was glad he found my little book and read it. And when I heard about his idea to adapt this story for the stage through a collaboration between Canadians and Japanese, I thought, ‘What a wonderful idea,'” Muraoka wrote in an email to CBC News.

Two women stand in front of a painting, holding a sign that reads Green Gables.
Eri Muraoka, right, the author of Anne’s Cradle, with her sister Mie Muraoka, during a visit to Prince Edward Island in 2019. (Submitted by Eri Muraoka)

“I have a strong desire that Canadians know not only of my grandmother’s accomplishments, but also of the efforts of the many Canadian women missionaries who worked for the education of girls in Japan.”

Hanako Muraoka attended a Christian boarding school where these missionaries taught, and it was there that she fell in love with English literature.

Black and white portrait of a woman wearing a kimono.
The life story of Hanako Muraoka is a way for the Confederation Center to share culture, says artistic director Adam Brazier. (Toyo Eiwa Jogakuin Archive)

Later, a Canadian friend gave him a copy of Anne of Green Gables as a gift. She began translating the novel during World War II, working in secret as English was considered the language of one of Japan’s enemies.

“The story of how this book was translated and the story of Hanako’s life is absolutely, endlessly captivating,” Brazier said. “With this translation began a cultural shift…for the whole country of Japan. It offered young Japanese girls access and affirmation to their imagination, to their voice, to their independence.”

The love story continues to this day. Anne of Green Gables has inspired legions of Japanese tourists to visit Prince Edward Island and Green Gables over the decades.

The finalists will be solicited for the scenes

The Confederation Center plans to select a group of finalists from the playwright submissions it receives and ask those people to translate a few scenes from the book before deciding on the final nominee, Brazier said.

“The Japanese people have such a connection to the character of Anne Shirley,” says Brazier. (Kirk Pennell/CBC)

The center isn’t ruling out a musical treatment for this new work, but Brazier knows a piece will likely take less time to develop.

“We know that, you know, it took Tell a story [Harbour] five years. maggie, [the musical] we’re doing next year, it took eight years to hit the scene,” Brazier said.

“So we are aware that this process is long, that developing a show well, and developing a show that will have an interest outside of a single production, takes time.

Sharing culture, learning from each other

Anne of Green Gables has become a classic in Japan, which means it can be easy “to forget its true value and appreciation,” Muraoka said.

“Maybe Anne’s cradle reminded us why Anne of Green Gables is so special for us Japanese people and for Canadians too. »

The center’s goal is to have a public reading of the new play in 2025 in Osaka, where Anne of Green Gables: The Musical had its Japanese premiere 27 years ago.

“The Japanese people have such a connection to the character of Anne Shirley,” Brazier said. “It’s a way for us to connect, learn from each other, grow as artists and as an organization, and share culture.”

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