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When Tran Anh Hung enters the room for an interview with The Japan Times, a hush falls among the people gathered there. The staff speak in low, gentle tones and their gestures seem restrained.

“It’s probably because I’m very sensitive to the sound of spoken words and peoples’ voices,” says the Vietnam-born director in English. “So now, when I come to Japan for work, everyone tends to speak softly. I’m in awe of their graciousness.”

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