July 05, 2018

EIGASAI 2018: Official Launch and Chihayafuru 3

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  • EIGASAI 2018 was launched on July 4, 2018 at Greenbelt 5 to celebrate Japanese films and culture with the Filipino people. Guests include the Japan Foundation Director, The Japanese Ambassador and the Director of the popular Chihayafuru movies.

    Chihayafuru is a story of a young girl with a passion for competitive karuta which is a Japanese traditional playing card game. Through the game, 1,000 year old poems are remembered by karuta players and competitions even in the modern age. Just like karuta, the annual Japanese film festival has become a tradition of the Japan Embassy and The Japan Foundation to share with the world films that tell stories of Japanese culture. This year marks the 21st EIGASAI in the Philippines.

    Glorietta 5 Gallery was full of film enthusiasts and lovers of the Japanese culture

    Eiga meaning film and sai for a festival, Eigasai is a term familiar to those who love the Japanese culture. Each year, people look forward to the line up of films, screening times, and venues that will feature a diverse selection of Japanese films that includes the classic, modern, animation, and independent ones.

    Also read: EIGASAI: Japanese Film Festival in Manila is back this 2018

    The 21st Eigasai was launched yesterday, July 4 at Glorietta 5. There was a DJ playing mixed music from various Japanese pop culture films and animation and a performing group made up of Filipinos playing Japanese instruments. It was a night to remember as many film and Japanese culture enthusiasts gathered together to celebrate the start of another month of the Japanese Film Festival.

    A beautiful example of the good match of culture: Filipino musicians using Filipino Bandurria and Japanese musical instrument koto

    The Japan Foundation Manila Director Hiroaki Uesugi

    In his opening speech, JFM Director Hiroaki Uesugi mentioned that the screening venues for EIGASAI increased to include new cities like Bacolod and Naga. They will also be featuring the documentary, Of Love and Law “…which is the first LGBT+ film to be featured in Eigasai,” he added. This marks growth of the Japanese film and inclusion.

    Gracing the event, His Excellency Koji Haneda, Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines was present during the launch. “There is a significant increase in Filipino tourists in Japan in the past five years,” he said. “We look forward to a continued relationship.”

    One of the films that have become an Eigasai favorite is the three-part feature film, Chihayafuru. The first two films were screened in last year’s EIGASAI and the final movie, released earlier this year was much sought by fans to be included in the festival. Not only did JFM include the movie, they also invited the director, Koizumi Nori to talk in select screenings on July 6, 5 p.m. at the Escaler Hall in Ateneo de Manila University, and on July 7, 7:00 p.m. at Greenbelt 1, Cinema 2.

    Director Koizumi Nori also directed the internationally acclaimed “GACHI BOY -Wrestling with a Memory-“, “FLOWERS”, and “The Liar and His Lover”

    Finally, Filipinos will be able to watch the story of Chihaya (Hirose Suzu), Taichi (Nomura Shuhei), and Arata (Mackenyu), childhood friends bound by their passion for competitive karuta. Chihaya and Taichi are reunited in high school and they form the “Competitive Karuta Club” to train and compete in the national championship.

    Eigasai is one of the many events of The Japan Foundation Manila for the Philippines-Japan Friendship Month this July. The festival will run from July 4 to August 26 with screenings at select cinemas in Manila, Cebu, Davao, Bacolod, and Naga.

    Also read: List: Philippines-Japan Friendship Month Events You Can’t Miss

    Written by Heloise Diamante

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