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Banana Yoshimoto brings youthful bereavement to screen

Helmed by rising Chinese Malaysian director, 'Moonlight Shadow' delights Japanese audiences 35 years later

Malaysian director Edmund Yeo's cinematic interpretation of Banana Yoshimoto's 1986 novella "Moonlight Shadow" tells of a young woman's post-traumatic recovery. (© Moonlight Shadow Production Committee)

KUALA LUMPUR -- Recovering from the death of a loved one is a harrowing experience that can crush the soul and transcend reality, and few Asian literary works have captured that feeling as profoundly as Banana Yoshimoto's debut novella "Moonlight Shadow," published in 1986. Inspired by composer Mike Oldfield's 1983 song of the same title, the novella would later form the final quarter of Yoshimoto's 1988 bestseller "Kitchen," which propelled the Japanese author's international career after Megan Backus completed an English translation in 1993.

Now 35 years after its publication, "Moonlight Shadow's" evocative tale of personal healing has returned as a feature film that debuted in Japanese cinemas in September, attracting old and new fans of Yoshimoto's work to theaters nationwide.

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