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Taiwanese baseball film `Kano' hoped to improve ties with Japan

Taiwanese baseball film `Kano' hoped to improve ties with Japan

Taipei, Jan. 8 (CNA) The Taiwanese baseball movie "Kano," which was chosen as the opening film of this year's Osaka Asian Film Festival in Japan, could help the two countries understand each other more and boost bilateral exchanges, officials said Wednesday. Kunio Kano, head of the Osaka Government Tourism Bureau, said during a visit to Chiayi City in southern Taiwan that he was impressed with the movie, which depicts how a weak high school baseball team in Chiayi managed to effect a turnaround under the instruction of a Japanese coach. The official said the coincidence that he shares a name with the movie, and that the tournament featured in the film takes place near Osaka, made him determined to invite the film to inaugurate the festival. Set in 1931, when Taiwan was a Japanese colony, "Kano" -- an abbreviation for the Chiayi Agriculture and Forestry Public School -- tells the true story of the high school's baseball team that traveled to Japan that summer to play in the Koshien tournament, a renowned high school baseball contest. Invited by Kano to attend the festival that runs March 7-16, Chiayi Mayor Huang Min-huei said she hopes the movie can bring back memories shared by many Taiwanese and Japanese, adding that she looks forward to further exchanges in the future. Chiayi City, which sponsored the production of the movie, has carried out various projects to facilitate ties with Japan, including charter flight services launched last year to eastern Japan's Shizuoka Prefecture. (By Chiang Chun-liang and Lee Hsin-Yin)