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How Anne went to Japan: P.E.I.’s Confederation Centre looks to create new work

Charlottetown’s Confederation Centre of the Arts is hoping to create a brand new piece of theatre involving the character of Anne Shirley.

It will not be an adaptation of one in every of L.M. Montgomery’s novels, although. Will probably be based mostly on a biography of the girl who translated Anne of Inexperienced Gables into Japanese about eight a long time in the past. 

“Within the discovery of studying this e-book, Anne’s Cradle, we discovered the supply for what we consider could be a tremendous piece of collaborative theatre between two international locations,” stated the centre’s creative director, Adam Brazier.

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

A book cover showing a black-and-white photo of a womn wearing a kimono and an image of a manuscript.
Anne’s Cradle was first revealed in Japan in 2008, and the English translation by Cathy Hirano got here out in Canada in 2021. (Kerry Campbell/CBC)

When Brazier learn the work, he was taken with Muraoka’s story. 

“With Anne’s Cradle, I get this wonderful appreciation of how a shared tradition can elevate one another, that the rising tide can float each boats, and that we discover a tremendous reference to individuals on the opposite aspect of the world by one story,” stated Brazier. 

The story of how this e-book was translated and the story of Hanako’s life is completely, infinitely charming.— Adam Brazier, Confederation Centre of the Arts

Now, the centre is in search of a bilingual playwright who can adapt the work for the stage. The decision for submissions went out earlier this month and closes Dec. 31.

Mainstreet PEI6:35Anne’s Cradle

Should you’re a Japanese-Canadian playwright or author, the Confederation Centre of the Arts could have a job for you. The centre is in search of a author to adapt a e-book known as Anne’s Cradle. It is the story of how Anne of Inexperienced Gables was first translated into Japanese and went on to turn out to be a runaway bestseller and finally a traditional in Japan. We converse with Adam Brazier, creative director of the centre.

The work might be introduced in each Japanese and English, utilizing subtitles, stated Brazier, so the centre hopes to discover a Japanese-Canadian dramatist who’s fluent in each languages — “somebody who has the affect of each international locations and an understanding and a lived expertise of each nationalities.” 

‘What a beautiful thought’

Hanako Muraoka’s granddaughter Eri was stunned to obtain an electronic mail from Brazier one 12 months in the past. 

“I used to be glad that he discovered my little e-book and skim it. And once I heard about his thought of adapting this story for the stage by a collaboration between Canadians and Japanese, I believed, ‘What a beautiful thought,'” Muraoka wrote in an electronic mail to CBC Information. 

Two women stand in front of a painting, holding a sign that reads Green Gables.
Eri Muraoka, proper, the writer of Anne’s Cradle, along with her sister Mie Muraoka, on a go to to P.E.I. in 2019. (Submitted by Eri Muraoka)

“I’ve a powerful need for Canadians to know not solely my grandmother’s achievements, but in addition the efforts of the numerous Canadian girls missionaries who labored for the schooling of ladies in Japan.”   

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

A black-and-white portrait of a woman wearing a kimono.
Hanako Muraoka’s life story is a approach for the Confederation Centre to share tradition, says creative director Adam Brazier. (Toyo Eiwa Jogakuin Archives)

Later, a Canadian good friend gave her a duplicate of Anne of Inexperienced Gables as a present. She started translating the novel in the course of the Second World Conflict, working in secret as a result of English was thought of the language of one in every of Japan’s enemies. 

“The story of how this e-book was translated and the story of Hanako’s life is completely, infinitely charming,” stated Brazier. “With that translation started a cultural shift … for the complete nation of Japan. It provided younger Japanese women entry and affirmation to their imaginations, to their voices, to their independence.” 

The love affair continues to at the present time. Anne of Inexperienced Gables has impressed legions of Japanese vacationers to return go to P.E.I. and Inexperienced Gables over the a long time. 

Finalists might be requested for scenes

The Confederation Centre plans to pick out a bunch of finalists from the playwright submissions it receives and fee these individuals to translate a number of scenes from the e-book earlier than deciding on the ultimate candidate, stated Brazier. 

‘The Japanese individuals have such a bond with the character of Anne Shirley,’ says Brazier. (Kirk Pennell/CBC)

The centre is not ruling out a musical therapy for this new work, however Brazier is aware of a play will seemingly take much less time to develop. 

“We’re not ignorant to the truth that, you realize, it took Inform Story [Harbour] 5 years. Maggie, [the musical] we’re doing subsequent 12 months, took eight years to get to the stage,” stated Brazier. 

“So we’re conscious that this course of is lengthy, that to develop a present nicely, and to develop a present that may have an curiosity outdoors of a single manufacturing, takes time.”

Sharing tradition, studying from one another

Anne of Inexperienced Gables has turn out to be a traditional in Japan, which implies it may be straightforward to “neglect its true worth and appreciation,” stated Muraoka. 

“Maybe Anne’s Cradle reminded us why Anne of Inexperienced Gables is so particular to us Japanese and to Canadians as nicely.” 

The centre’s purpose is to have a public studying of the brand new piece of theatre in 2025 in Osaka, the place Anne of Inexperienced Gables: The Musical had its Japanese premiere 27 years in the past. 

“The Japanese individuals have such a bond with the character of Anne Shirley,” stated Brazier. “It is a approach for us to associate, to be taught from one another, to develop as artists and as a corporation, and to share tradition.”

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