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MANILA (March 28, 2018): The Japan Foundation, Manila is pleased to announce that the first ever Haruki Murakami Festival in Manila -- Experience his Works through Music, Films and Talks has been successfully implemented from February to March 2018 with more than 3,000 audience members. The Festival, which showcases one of the world’s best-selling and most popular Japanese contemporary novelists, Haruki Murakami, consists of a series of free events categorized in four segments where participants enjoyed the world of Murakami with their senses: 1) “Talk about” Murakami: talks, 2) “Watch” Murakami: films, 3) “Listen to” Murakami: live concerts, and 4) “Write about” Murakami: Facebook Campaign.

Prof. Alona Guevarra

1) “Talk about” Murakami: talks 
Three talk sessions have captured hardcore fans of Murakami (also known as “Harukists”) to first-time readers or even the most reluctant of readers. Kicking-off the Festival, Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) English professor Alona Guevarra -- whose areas of specialization include Haruki Murakami Studies -- lead the introductory talk for the Festival together with instructor Julz Riddle. They discussed the popularity and global appeal of Murakami last February 27 at Leong Hall, ADMU, followed by an overview and sneak preview of other elements of the Festival, including a piano performance by awardwinning pianist April Dawnena Merced-Misa, who took part in the “Listen to” Murakami segment.

Two other talks were held in partnership with Fully Booked last March 17 and 18 at Fully Booked, Bonifacio High Street Branch. On March 17th, Palanca award-winning Filipino writers have talked about Murakami’s story, writing style, and social influence. On March 18, three Filipino writers and running enthusiasts talked about Murakami’s work and his dedication to running, as inspired by Murakami’s memoir “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.”

2) “Watch” Murakami: films 
Two award-winning film adaptations of Murakami’s works: Norwegian Wood and Tony Takitani were screened at the UP Film Institute, University of the Philippines Diliman last March 15 and 16 as part of the Festival to watch and experience the film interpretation of the Murakami world. At the screening of Norwegian wood, more than 850 audiences came and had full-house screening even with standing audiences.


Norwegian Wood (directed by Tran Anh Hung, 2010) is one of Murakami’s most well-known international best-selling novels which was published in 1987 in Japan. It shows a sensitive portrayal of the inner anguish of a young man who is torn between two completely different women. Tony Takitani (directed by Jun Ichikawa, 2005), based on a Murakami’s short elegant story starring Issey Ogata and Rie Miyazawa, tells the story of a lonely man who finds love.

3) “Listen to” Murakami: live concerts
Murakami’s passion for music is intense. It is well-known that Murakami used to run a small jazz bar for several years, and he weaves in various musical references in his novels.

The Japan Foundation, Manila brought two-night live concerts that feature music woven in Murakami’s novels last March 23 and 24 at the BGC Performing Arts Center in Taguig City. Curated by professor Junichi Konuma who specializes on music culture, the concert intertwines the spoken word read by David Ezra with different genres of music played by jazz pianists Hiroko Kokubo and her trio, and the Beatles-inspired classical ensemble, 1966 Quartet, in special collaboration with pianist April Dawnena Merced-Misa.

The concert received a standing ovation with 600 full-house audiences in both March 23 and 24 shows. When Hiroko Kokubu Special Trio played Penny Lane and improvised Lerong-Lerong Sinta, the Filipino audiences sang along and cheered loudly.

4) “Write about” Murakami: Facebook Campaign 
A total of sixty-four (64) participants have submitted their entries on their favorite Murakami story with reason. The winners were selected by its Content and number of Shares and Likes. The entries had 6,176 LIKES and 1,341 SHARES.

Tetsuya Koide, Jules Mañalac, Louise Del Rosario, Hiroaki Uesugi

1st place: Jules Mañalac: https://www.facebook.com/juliusthegreat28/posts/2107644572609030
2nd place: Louise Del Rosario: https://www.facebook.com/delrosariolouise/posts/1830455267029267
3rd place: Ms. Denise Ann Florendo

For more details information about the Festival, please visit the following: 
JF Manila Official: http://facebook.com/jfmanila 
TALK ABOUT Murakami Talks: https://goo.gl/sdnFi6 
WATCH Murakami: Film showings: https://goo.gl/jDtTUr 
LISTEN to Haruki Murakami: Jazz, Classical Music and the Beatles Concert: https://goo.gl/G6b5mg 


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