Island Life

Anne’s Kindred Spirits

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This commemorative stamp, celebrating 100 years of Anne, will be released by Canada Post on June 20th –  on the same date, Japan will also release an Anne stamp – an historical joint issue between our two nations.

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Did you know that Anne of Green Gables is a cultural icon in Japan?

… Anne has been charming Japanese readers for nearly fifty years. And Anne has a place in Japanese as well as Canadian history. The very first Japanese reader to fall in love with Anne is Hanako Muraoka (1893-1968). She was educated at Toyo Eiwa Jyogakuin, a Canadian mission school in Tokyo, and later became a well known radio personality, translator, Children’s writer, and a commentator on issues relating to women and children. In 1939, Muraoka was given a much-loved 1908 copy of Anne of Green Gables by her friend, Canadian missionary Miss Loretta L. Shaw. Muraoka was charmed by Anne, and also she felt a sense of closeness to the story which was full of Canadian cultural atmosphere. She decided to translate the book into Japanese and introduce it to new readers as an oath of friendship to her Canadian friends who were expelled from Japan at the outbreak of World War Il.  more

A life-long dream for many young Japanese women is to get married here on PEI.

A short drive from the Green Gables farm is the Anne of Green Gables Museum, a pleasant house owned by Montgomery’s cousins. Montgomery called it her ”wonder castle,” and liked to write there and paddle a boat on a nearby lake. In 1911, the author was married in the parlor, as are dozens of Japanese couples every year. They stroll down the aisle to the same hymn composed by Henry John Gauntlett, played on the same pump organ used at Montgomery’s wedding. Even the extra rich wedding pound cake is made using the same recipe as the cake for Montgomery’s special day.  more

If you would like to learn more, and see some wonderful scenic footage of the Island, watch this intriguing video, Anne of Japan (22 min), a  documentary on the long-standing Japanese fascination with Anne of Green Gables and all things PEI.

So … if you ever make your Anne pilgrimage, do not be surprised at the number of Japanese tourists taking pictures around our fair isle. In fact, if you’re inclined, you can come here to take  Asian studies and learn Japanese  at our university. We’re both Island people and  L. M. Montgomery devotees – powerful ties.

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5 thoughts on “Anne’s Kindred Spirits

  1. I love Anne . . . love those movies. If fascinates me to learn what bits and pieces of our culture have made their way into the hearts of people from other cultures.

    Like

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