Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 1:20 EDT

First CM Narration Scripted by Writer Haruki Murakami, Directed by Hirokazu Koreeda

January 4, 2012

TOKYO, Jan. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Sapporo Breweries Ltd. announced on January 5 that it is webcasting a special commercial message featuring narrations scripted by writer Haruki Murakami and footage produced by movie director Hirokazu Koreeda in a special advertising campaign to encourage the people of Japan moving forward despite difficulties caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake.

The web CM is based on a series of four TV CMs aired during the Hakone Ekiden (long-distance college relay road race) on January 2-3, 2012, a nationally popular New Year event broadcast live across Japan. The race is a round trip between Tokyo and the resort town of Hakone.

Author Murakami, who found the intention of the campaign personally agreeable, wrote narrations for the TV commercials (*1) featuring acts of running. A runner himself, Murakami agreed for the first time to take on writing CM narrations. He intends to donate all of his writing fees to disaster-stricken areas through the Japanese Red Cross Society. Moreover, director Koreeda, who also agreed to the intention of the advertisement, planned and directed the commercials. The narrations were voiced by actress Yukie Nakama.

Director Koreeda also combined the four commercials into a 3-minute, 32-second special movie, made available on the company’s website from January 5, 2012. Visitors to the site can read Murakami’s narrations in their entirety. The webcast will be available until the end of January.

The company wishes that the special corporate ad would serve as encouragement for the future of the Japanese people, or as “tasuki” — a sash of cloth worn by ekiden runners — carrying the desire to revitalize Japan and to be passed on from the company to the people of Japan.

(*1) Murakami personally wrote the narrations for the TV commercials based on his book “What I Talk about When Talking about Running: A Memoir” (available as a paperback book in the Bunshun Bunko series).

Note: Please make sure not to treat Murakami’s message as something directed toward runners in the Hakone Ekiden race.

About Special Corporate Advertisement

- “What I Talk about Running — Special Webcast Movie,” 3-minute, 32-second footage, available by webcast (http://www.sapporobeer.jp/kanpaispecial/) on January 5-31 & official YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/SapporoBrewery) on January 5-31

About Haruki Murakami

A novelist, American literature translator and essayist, Murakami was born in Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture, graduated from Waseda University (Theater Division, Faculty of Letters, Arts & Sciences), and made his debut with “Hear the Wind Sing” which won him the Gunzo Prize for New Writers in 1979. “Norwegian Wood” authored in 1987 became a bestseller. His major works include “A Wild Sheep Chase,” “Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World,” “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle,” “Kafka on the Shore” and “1Q84″. Murakami’s popularity extends beyond Japan and he is said to be one of the most influential writers in the world of contemporary American literature. He is active in translation as well. He also authored many essays and travelogues.

About Hirokazu Koreeda

Koreeda, born in Tokyo, is a movie and TV director. After graduating from Waseda University (Letters Division, Faculty of Letters, Arts & Sciences), he joined TVMAN Union Inc. and worked primarily as a director of documentary programming. In 2004, Yuya Yagira, who starred in “Nobody Knows,” Koreeda’s fourth movie, became the youngest actor to win the Best Actor award in the Cannes International Film Festival. In 2011, Koreeda’s “I Wish” won the Jury Prize for the Best Screenplay in the San Sebastian International Film Festival of Spain. Koreeda has also directed “Still Walking” and “Air Doll.”

Yuki Hattori
Corporate Communication Department
Sapporo Holdings Ltd.
Tel: +81-3-5423-7407
Fax: +81-3-5423-2078
e-mail: yuki.hattori@sapporoholdings.co.jp

SOURCE Sapporo Breweries Ltd.

Source: PR Newswire