And so they became warriors of peace (and friendship) in real life.
The director and stars of Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno have been recognized as “Cultural Friendship Ambassadors to the Philippines.”
Their esteemed titles were conferred today during their visit to Manila for the Asian premiere of the hit Japanese action film.
Makati Councilor Tosca Puno-Ramos formally appointed director Keishi Otomo and actors Takeru Satoh (who plays Kenshin Himura), Emi Takei (who plays Kaoru Kamiya), and Munetaka Aoki (who plays Sanosuke Sagara) as “Cultural Friendship Ambassadors” for linking Japanese and Filipino cultures.
The exclusive ceremony was held at the Long Bar of Raffles Hotel, Makati City earlier today, August 7.
“I am lost for words with the warm and really passionate reception we received from the Filipino fans and community,” said Satoh in Japanese.
He added: “I am truly surprised that this is the first time that a Japanese movie has done this kind of event in the Philippines and I hope that starting with Rurouni Kenshin, we will be able to bring more and more Japanese movies to the Philippines which can be seen by many Filipinos.”
Executives of Warner Brothers, the film’s international distributor, also attended the ceremony including William Ireton, president and representative director of Warner Entertainment Japan Inc., and Francis Soliven, general manager of Warner Bros. Philippines.
The newly-appointed Cultural Friendship Ambassadors (L-R): Director Keishi Otomo; Munetaka Aoki; Emi Takei; Takeru Satoh; with Makati Councilor Tosca Puno-Ramos; Francis Soliven, general manager of Warner Bros. Philippines; and William Ireton, president and representative director of Warner Entertainment Japan Inc.
In an exchange of gifts, Soliven gave each cultural friendship ambassador a shawl that was hand-woven using the old Ikat tradition of tying and dyeing segments of thread before the actual weaving process.
“These tokens reflect the culture and dedication of the Filipino people,” explained Soliven.
The newly-appointed Cultural Friendship Ambassadors then presented Soliven and councilor Puno-Ramos a “yukata” (or a casual summer kimono) as their ceremonial gift.
As a post-program treat, the stars went outside for a photo call, where they got to pose alongside a Philippine jeepney that was painted with Rurouni Kenshin characters.
A first of two sequels, Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno will open across the Philippines this August 20, to be followed by Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends on September 24, 2014.
Takeru Satoh (right) had quite a difficult time opening the gift. “Oooppss! I can’t figure out how to open this… So you really made it very secure,” he quipped as his co-star Emi Takei (wearing yellow) looks on.