“What does race have anything to do with baseball?”
Based on a true story, KANO depicts a multi-ethnic squad of rural high-schoolers who made it to the national baseball championships in Japan in 1931.
To every young baseball player, Koshien, Japan’s high school baseball championship is a dream destination. For a group of farmer boys like the KANO team at Kagi Agriculture and Forestry Public School, it was a goal far beyond their reach. But Japanese coach Kondo endeavored to make it possible. He trained the players rigorously and made the best use of the team’s multi-ethnic composition—Japanese, Taiwanese and aboriginals—by taking advantage of their specific strengths. Within a year, the baseball team from southern Taiwan went from a losing record to unprecedented honour at Japan’s grandest youth sports event.
KANO is Taiwanese actor Umin Boya’s directorial debut, and is co-written and produced by hitmaker Wei Te-sheng. Set in the same year as the Wushe Incident recounted in Seediq Bale (TIFF 2011), KANO completes Wei Te-sheng’s colonial trilogy exploring ambivalent Taiwanese attitudes toward Japanese rule between 1895-1945. — KE