Tokyo streets to the highest levels of government, Japan on Monday cheered the Oscar win of “Drive My Car” amid hopes it will raise the profile of Haruki Murakami,

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the perennial Nobel prize hopeful who penned the story on which the film was based.

The three-hour drama, the story of a widowed theatre actor grappling with his past,

was directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi and based on a short story by Murakami, the international

bestselling author whose name has arisen annually for more than a decade as a potential Nobel Literature Prize winner.

The film, which has garnered other prizes including a screenplay award at Cannes, became Japan’s second regular winner in the International Feature Film

category and the first since “Departures” in 2009. In a first, it had also been nominated for “Best Picture” – ultimately won by “CODA.”

“It’s a high hurdle for a Japanese movie to win Best Picture, but I hope more Japanese movies will be recognised in the future,” said Azusa Shimizu, a 31-year-old media worker in downtown Tokyo, who said she was nonetheless quite happy.