I had an interesting discussion about Masaki Suda on Twitter about what sort of roles he may find challenging - since he's been doing such a variety already - that playing a cross-dresser or a bully - seem so easy to do! Some may argue about our assessment that Masaki Suda is one of Japan's best young actors at the moment - in the same league as Shota Sometani, Yuya Yagira, and Sosuke Ikematsu.

The three young actors we've mentioned have been getting a lot of attention lately - Sometani with high profile movies like Parasyte and Strayer's Chronicles, Ikematsu portraying matured roles in Paper Moon and Love's Whirpool, while Yuya Yagira goes all-out in Crows Explode, Ushijima, the Loan Shark and Again. Of course, one may argue, Suda needs to get more challenging roles to be in the same league as Sometani, et al. - perhaps another Tomogui?

Kento Hayashi and Kento Yamazaki represent different generations of Japanese actors - Hayashi started out earlier, and has been one of the leads in the coming of age movie Dive! (together with Sosuke Ikematsu and Junpei Mizobata), while Yamazaki started with some notable dramatic roles in such films as Control Tower, The Wings of the Kirin and Another (with Ai Hashimoto). [ As recap, Part 1 is all about Kento Nagayama and Kento Kaku]

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Kento Hayashi (b. Dec 1990) As of today, Kento Hayashi has accomplished a well-rounded acting resume that includes the usual youth-oriented movies - he was Takumi Harada, the baseball ace in the movie adaptation of The Battery and as the aspiring diver who aims to become an Olympic champion in Dive! But it was in the 2010 movie Parade, where he plays a gay prostitute that made a big buzz for him. The ensemble cast that includes Keisuke Koide, Karina and Tatsuya Fujiwara were able to play their characters convincingly, but it was Hayashi who made the biggest impact.

According to one statistics, the name Kento is ranked #18 as a popular name choice in Japan. Yuki, Takumi, and Shota were more famous. In the Japanese movie-drama scene, the name Kento is obviously quite known.

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While there are many other actors with the Kento name (good example might be Kento Nakajima), we will focus on four - Kento Nagayama (Eita's younger bro), Kento Hayashi (quite popular and acclaimed for Dive! Parade and Blazing Famiglia), Kento Yamazaki (one of today's toasts of the girl-fan community) and Kento Kaku (maybe considered the group's senior and is coming up with a resurgence in his career).

How they started acting, what are some of their best roles and what the future holds? Who is the best? Who will be the best in the future? Let's find out!

There was a fabulous article written by Yuri Kageyama on Shota Sometani published under the Associated Press' The Big Story series last year. I had some interaction with Ms. Kageyama regarding the article in which they did an interview with the actor. It was great that I could share my thoughts on Sometani and his future in the acting world. The article entitled "Award-winning Japanese actor seeks complete art" talks about Sometani's views on acting and his most current roles - specifically in Parasyte. 

He was also quoted as saying:

"I want to do the kind of acting that's convincing and complete, just by standing there, even without any words. It's a mystery. I don't have a method, even in myself. You have to believe in the role, the blood that's flowing in the character, the basics." [ read article in full ]

I was also asked some questions regarding the young and talented actor, and my answers were based on the numerous movies and drama shows I've seen, coupled with certain articles/interviews I've read. 

Read them after the jump!

In Part 1, I rant about mediocrity and who personifies uninspired, dull performances - Emi Takei and Ayame Gouriki top the list. But hey, if you're going to bash them and tell us how bad they act, you also need to tell us about the real ones, you might say, right? So, here we have them - six names - some probably unknown to you, some you may have seen in short glimpses.

Dramatic, intense, deliberate acting from beautiful and talented young Japanese actresses - take note of my use of the word AND - because in all honesty, my question remains valid - why would I settle for any lovely actress who can't act?

Nobody to Watch Over Me is Japan's entry to the Best Foreign Film. It did not win the award, but it brought the spotlight to Mirai Shida. But Shida has been in the spotlight since her supporting role in Yoji Yamada's Kabei: Our Mother (where she acted together with the great Yasuri Yoshinaga and Tadanobu Asano). 

With Rookie of the Year awards in both D'Elan and Japan Academy Prize, Shida is already a "veteran" of 20 drama series and about a dozen full-length films.