'Hula' highlights Japan Reception

Japanese toppers and talent — and a big roasted pig — were out in force at the Japan Reception held at the Paradise Hotel’s Outdoor Garden on Sunday.

The highlight was the hot hula perf by cast members from the Lee Sang-il pic “Hula Girls.” Lee greeted the crowd, as did star Yu Aoi. The pic had its international preem at the fest.

Also on hand was Kaori Momoi, veteran actress and first-timer helmer, presenting her debut pic “Faces of a Fig Tree” at Pusan. Two other female helmers with fest films stepped up to the stage: Mai Tominaga (“100% Pure Wool”) and Mayu Nakamura (“The Summer of Stickleback”).

Among other Nippon helmers on hand were Mipo O, Naoto Kumazawa and Junji Hanado.

Japanese movers and shakers were thick on stage and in the crowd, including Toei prexy Yusuke Okaka, Shochiku prexy Jay Sakamoto, Gaga Communications chairman Tom Yoda and Agency for Cultural Affairs General Affairs Department director Itaru Takashio. Also present was Ken Terawaki, the former director of the Agency for Cultural Affairs General Cultural Affairs Department, who was honored at Pusan for his contributions to promoting Korean pics in Japan.

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