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Chiayi City to mark film premiere of 'Kano'

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Chiayi city authorities will organize a parade and outdoor premiere Feb. 22 for the new Taiwanese baseball film “Kano,” which is set in the southern city.

Mayor Huang Min-huei, film crew, cast members and thousands of citizens are expected to parade from the Chiayi Railway Station to the Chiayi Baseball Stadium, where the film will have its premiere, the Chiayi City Cultural Affairs Bureau said Thursday.

The parade is aimed at recreating the historic moment when local residents lined the streets to welcome home the victorious Kano baseball team from a competition in Japan, according to the bureau.

After the parade, over 2,000 guests will attend the premiere, including veteran Japanese actor Masatoshi Nagase, who plays the team's strict Japanese coach, the bureau said.

Named after the Japanese-language abbreviation for the Chiayi Agriculture and Forestry Public School, the film depicts the exploits of the school's baseball team, made up of Japanese players and Taiwanese athletes of both Han Chinese and indigenous descent.

Set in 1931, when Taiwan was still a Japanese colony, the film chronicles the players' rigorous training regimen in Taiwan and how they went up against the odds to reach the championships of the Koshien tournament, Japan's most prestigious high school baseball tourney at the time.

The bureau said the film is “a story of Chiayi” and that it hopes more people will get to know the city through the film.

The three-hour film was directed by Taiwan's Umin Boya and shot in Chiayi, Kaohsiung, Tainan and Taichung. It is slated to hit local theaters Feb. 27.

Meanwhile, an exhibition that chronicles Taiwan's baseball achievements will be held Feb. 14-May 18 in the city, showcasing 300 baseball-related artifacts, according to the bureau.

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