01 February 2008

Anne of Japan

In my quest for more information about the Japanese fascination with Anne of Green Gables, I found out about Terry Dawes's documentary-in-progress Anne of Japan. I have collected Lucy Maud Montgomery's novels, short stories, and poetry since I was a young child, and have been interested in the Japanese obsession with Anne ever since my husband and I happened upon the abandoned theme park in Ashibetsu, Hokkaido dedicated to all things Anne. It was called Canada World and they had built replica buildings of Avonlea (in a smaller scale and in unusual colours) and apparently had hired Canadians to dress in period costumes for the tourists. Just one of many unusual ventures to draw tourists to rural Hokkaido, but this one, unfortunately was a failure.

In the clip of Anne of Japan on Google Video, many Japanese tourists and emigrees about what drew them to Prince Edward Island and why they love Anne so much. The way they talked about their dreams of living in nature reminded me of the many stories we have heard while visiting friends in Hokkaido who moved there from central Japan. I'm really looking forward to seeing this documentary when it is finished.

Terry Dawes has also written an essay about why he decided to make the film, which you can read here.

© Catherine Munroe Hotes 2008