Our kids’ museum here in Fukushima City had a fun exhibit! It was an exhibit of movies of “World Masterpieces Theater” from Nippon Animation!
“What????” (You are probably saying.) “I only know of Ghibli! You mean there is ANOTHER great Japanese animation studio?”
There sure is! The focus of this particular studio is remakes of western classic books. So no geisha in these movies! No samurai! No ninja, either!
These Japanese movies have never been translated to English (as far as I am aware) so that may be why, if you have never seen them before. However, they are extremely famous in Japan.
Let’s see if you are familiar with the stories in some of the movies!
An American book with a racoon….hmmmmm. The story line is that an American boy finds a racoon that he takes care of.
Never heard of it? It’s so famous in Japan!
Rascal by Sterling North
This is an Italian classic book. No, I had never heard of it, either!
It is called Cuore. I think that means “heart.”
It is by Edmondo de Amicis.
If you are Canadian, this one is easy!
She’s a redheaded orphan named Anne of Green Gables.
This very famous book is by L.M.Montgomery.
An American classic about a mischievous boy and his even more mischievous pal named Huck Finn.
That’s right! It’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain.
This story will make you cry. It’s set in Belgium.
It’s A Dog of Flanders by Ouida.
Another photo of the dog of Flanders and his boy. Oh, I need a hankie just thinking about this book!
DVD’s of the movies.
Yeah, Rascal is a big deal in Japan!
Our library had a special exhibit of the books from the World Masterpieces Theater.
You may be wondering: Do Japanese people know western classics?
Yes, they do. I am a library volunteer, and trust me when I say that the western classics (and many other books besides) have been translated into Japanese.
Just like in America, some people sit down and read these books, and some people don’t actually read them–but do have a passing familiarity with the stories in the books.
And of course, they are included in school as great works to study.
So there you have it!
Let’s read great books from literature from now on! Okay?