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Sapporo Breweries 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 to move forward despite difficulties caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake.
The web commercial is based on a series of four TV commercials 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 (*) featuring acts of running. A runner himself, Murakami agreed for the first time to take on writing commercial 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.
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.
(*) 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).