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Speech made by Ambassador Nogami on the occasion of a Reception to mark Premiere Japan '05 - New Japanese Cinema at BAFTA

2 September 2005

Ambassador Nogami delivers a speech at BAFTA

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Welcome to the launch of Premiere Japan, which brings you the very latest Japanese films.

Every year around 250 to 300 films are made in Japan - four times the number produced in the UK. Despite such a prodigious output, though, only a handful of these films get to be seen by British audiences.

Films reflect a country's culture. When we watch a film, we can enter a completely different world - whether real or fictional. A good film will surely leave a lasting impact on us, and we will be the richer for watching it. With this thought in mind, I very much favour introducing Japanese films to British people and appreciate the efforts of everyone here in this regard.

After this reception we are going to be treated to Hayao Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle. Then, over the rest of the weekend, other delights await the public, comprising the period drama The Hidden Blade, the family film Hinokio, the musical extravaganza Princess Raccoon, and Barefoot Gen, in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of Hiroshima. Tonight I am going to join you in watching Howl's Moving Castle. As I am sure you remember, its creator, Hayao Miyazaki, acquired quite a following in this country through the huge success of Spirited Away two years ago. He really is a maestro of Japanese animation: his works are absolute masterpieces that will captivate future generations as much as they delight us.

In fact, the story Howl's Moving Castle is the brainchild of the famous British fantasy and science fiction author Mrs Diana Wynne Jones, which Mr Miyazaki has converted into a gem of animation. We might therefore regard the film as a magical blend of British literary inspiration and Japanese animation technique.

Mrs Jones is the special guest at this event. And as I am sure you would much rather listen to Mrs Jones than to me, I will keep my remarks brief.

However, let me just offer a few words of thanks to the people who have made this occasion possible. In particular, we owe a debt of gratitude to the film critic Tony Rayns, who selected the films to be shown and provided much valuable help in other ways, and to Duncan Kenworthy of BAFTA, which has made available this magnificent location. Also, may I thank Nagatoshi Morikawa of Japan Airlines and Michael Barrett of the Sasakawa Foundation for their interest and co-operation. Let's have a round of applause for them.

Thank you.

And now, let me introduce Mrs Jones to you. Mrs Jones, would you step forward, please?

Related links:
  • Past events: Premiere Japan '05
  • Speech by Minister Kishino

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