Haruki Murakami Thrilled How His Stories Were Adapted in Animated Film


The AP Wire says a notable author in Japan, whose previous writings may include the film Drive My Car, is satisfied with a recent cartoon adaptation of his work first screened 2 years ago at Annecy’s film festival in France, which was developed by a USA director:


Renowned Japanese author Haruki Murakami expressed joy with how several of his short stories were adapted in American director Pierre Földes’ animated film “Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman”, adding he wanted to see future interpretations of his work with filmmakers’ own spin.

The Japanese language version of the 2022 film will be released for the first time in Japan on July 26. It is the first animated adaptation of Murakami’s work.

After screening the film Saturday at his alma mater Waseda University in Tokyo, Murakami — joining Földes at a talk session — admitted that while he wasn’t a fan of animated films, he watched it twice.

The filmmaker was inspired by six of Murakami’s short stories: “Super-Frog Saves Tokyo” and “U.F.O. in Kushiro”— from “After the Quake,” collection, written after the fatal 1995 Kobe earthquake — and ”Birthday Girl,” “Dabchick,” “The Windup Bird and Tuesday’s Women.”

“Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman” is set in Tokyo in the aftermath of the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and the Fukushima meltdowns. It focuses on three main characters — Katagiri, a diligent but lonely and confidence-lacking banker who teams up with a giant talking frog to save Tokyo from an imminent second quake, his unenthusiastic younger colleague and his wife Kyoko, who — depressed and glued to earthquake news on TV — leaves him. Through recollections and dreams, the three eventually find peace and the ability to start anew.


Interesting that here, we seem to have a USA animator producing the adaptation, rather than a Japanese specialist. So if it’s an auspicious adaptation, that’s lucky, and presumably, if this is an arthouse fare, that’s why it works better than you could expect a mainstream cartoon to fare. Besides, chances are very high major studios would never produce a project with subject matter like this cartoon’s got; as noted before, the way USA animation is ghettoized via PC makes it nigh impossible.

So, congratulations to Murakami for working on a successful adaptation of his writings. Let’s just hope he never thinks of working for major Hollywood studios, where his writing would be dumbed down for PC’s sake.


Originally published here.

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Avi Green

Avi Green was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. He enjoyed reading comics when he was young, the first being Fantastic Four. He maintains a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy of facts. He considers himself a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. Follow him on his blog at Four Color Media Monitor or on Twitter at @avigreen1