More, more, more! Nine guys in our first article, and another ten in the second isn’t enough. There are more, plenty more!
Another batch of young actors born between ‘96-’00 for you to take a look at. Perhaps you’ll see some familiar faces, or perhaps they’ll all be new. Either way, they’re building their resume, and growing their skill sets throughout mostly supporting – for now – roles. Maybe you’ll end up with another new kid to follow!
Hamada Tatsuomi (’00 – Take Off)
Though child actor Hamada Tatsuomi might not yet be a fixed household name, he’s been steadily working on getting his name known. The 20-year-old debuted through a drama SP the year he turned six, but had his first proper role through Marumaru Chibi Maruko-chan in 2007. He went on to star in a few more drama projects before grabbing his first movie casting in Hisshiken Torisashi, also known as Sword of Desperation, in 2010. Later the same year Hamada got cast in Ultraman Zero THE MOVIE.
The young actor joined a whole series of drama and movie projects through the years – including a voice acting role as Tenjin in Tibet Inu Monogatari – to eventually end up taking a lead in tokusatsu Ultraman‘s ’17-’18 series, Ultraman GEED. He has reprised the role for a variety of works since.
Animanga fans, on the other hand, might recognize him as a member of the Correct 5 in the drama adaptation of Hana Nochi Hare, a sequel to the immensely popular Hana Yori Dango or as Mob Psycho 100 lead character Kageyama Shigeo in its LA series. More recently, he had a small role in both movie Kioku ni gozaimasen!, and drama Shiyakusho. He also took the lead in last year’s drama SP Tengoku kara Love Song and was one of the main male leads alongside Furukawa Yuki and Itagaki Mizuki in a short drama called 1 Page no Koi.
Imai Yuki (’98 – Production Ogi)
Just as Hamada, Imai Yuki has been around for quite some time. The 21-year-old was only 3 when he told his mother he wanted to be on TV and as a result she took him to a theater company. Actor Imai Yuki was born.
Imai had his first drama role in an episode of ’03 series Moto Kare, and went on to add another 64 of them till today. Among those 64 are series such as Code Blue, Unmei no Hito, and, more recently, 3 Nen A Gumi and Kesshite Mane Shinaide Kudasai. His first leading role came with the broadcast of the Haipoji 1986-
When it comes to movies, though, there is much less to be found on his filmography. He had consistent appearances in projects between 2005 and 2011 – K-20: Kaijin Niju Menso Den and Byakuyako come to mind – but there hasn’t been anything added to the list since. Perhaps his focus lies with drama for now, or maybe he just never managed to find projects that fit him. Whatever the case, we don’t know what the future might bring.
Taking about the future, anyway, Imai was one of the first cast members to be revealed from the upcoming Japanese remake of American thriller series 24. The Japanese version is led by Karasawa Toshiaki and Nakama Yukie. Imai will be playing the son of the latter. 24 JAPAN is set to start airing in October.
Mochizuki Ayumu (’00 – Hirata Office)
The past year has shown to be the start of a promising future for Mochizuki, with roles in dramas such as Sign: Houigakusha Yuzuki Takashi no Jiken and asadora Yell, as well as being a part of Suda Masaki’s classroom in 3 Nen A Gumi – alongside aforementioned Imai Yuki. The actor has also been on the lead cast together with Kamio Fuju and Hagiwara Riku in Nibiiro no Hako no Naka de and the currently airing Itoshi no Nina, which is led by Okada Kenshi. Eight of Mochizuki’s 21 drama roles so far were for projects released in the past year.
The public’s first meeting with the now 19 – soon to be 20 – year-old was through a small role in the 2014 drama SP Umoreru. 2015, on the other hand, saw the release of his first ever casting, as he was the main subject of both Solomon’s Perjury movies. The movies are known for having a solid young cast including the likes of Fujino Ryoko, Tomita Miu, Shimizu Hiroya, and Itagaki Mizuki, among others. In 2018, Mochizuki joined Hamada Tatsuomi in the Mob Psycho 100 drama adaptation. Making use of their similar looks – it’s not the first time people think they are related – Ayumu was cast as Hamada’s younger brother. Fun fact: In reality they were born a month apart.
Fans of Terrace House might remember him as one of its panel members back when Boys and Girls in the City aired – he was replaced by Ito Kentaro when the crew felt like the commentary was getting a bit too serious and risky for the then 15-year-old.
Yuutaro (’98 – ASOBISYSTEM)
Yuutaro – also known as Goto Yuutaro – started his career as a model after having been scouted by an apparel shop head office. He worked for one of the shops for a while, before moving to Tokyo. It was there the now 22-year-old was spotted and approached by a staff member of variety show Matsuko Kaigi, and subsequently had his TV debut.
He had his drama debut through Ojarumaru Special Anime janai de Ojaru? at the end of 2017, and followed it up with a role as K-pop idol in KBOYS. Since his debut, Yuutaro has participated in 14 different drama projects – including Netflix favorite FOLLOWERS and recently finished Sixteen Shoukougun, which also starred Takeuchi Aisa as well as Itagaki Mizuki and Takeda Rena. Up next on the actor’s schedule is 30sai made Dotei dato Mahotsukai ni Narerurashii. It starts airing in October.
Yuutaro grabbed his first movie role as a close friend to Sano Hayato in LA movie adaptation Real Girl. He went on to join the casts of Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai: Tensaitachi no Renai Zunosen, as well as Korosanai Kare to Shinanai Kanojo. Summer Film ni Notte is the latest addition to the list. It’ll have its debut screening on this year’s TIFF (Tokyo International Film Festival) and will have it’s countrywide release in 2021.
He has also been in theater shows such as Hatsukoi Monster, and Show By Rock. His latest theater run was Hiragana Otoko in 2018.
Kanichiro (’96 – T-artist)
Kanichiro might not be a very known name yet, but his father and grandfather’s names, Sato Koichi and Mikuni Rentaro, might ring a bell. Third in line as an actor in the Sato family, it wasn’t the guy’s intention to act until he became 18 and had a change of heart.
While his first project filmed was Kiku to Girochin, the first that saw its release was the LA movie adaptation of Kokoro ga Sakebitagatterunda in which he starred alongside SZ’s Nakajima Kento. Including Namiya Zakkaten no Kiseki and Kimi ga Mata Hashiridasu Toki – or the starfilled Chiwawa – Kanichiro currently has 12 movie roles on his resume. The one most recently released being Yamazaki Kento and Matsuoka Mayu’s Gekijo – which is available to watch worldwide through Amazon Prime.
When it comes to drama series, Kanichiro has had a few guestings and some smaller roles since his 2017 debut with the most noteworthy ones probably being Ao to Boku and last year’s Grande Maison Tokyo as well as GTO prequel series Shonan Junai Gumi! for which the young actor joined forces with Kaneko Daichi in a dual lead.
With a few Best New Actor and Best Emerging Actor award wins under his belt so far, his future looks bright!
Maeda Gordon (’00)
Gordon is a bit of an odd one. His name has been sitting on top of a quite few lists simply because of the people he’s related to – I mean, there’s only one other person who can call himself the son of Sonny Chiba and that’s older brother Arata Mackenyu (Older half-sister Manase Juri also occasionally acts!). So, without all too much effort, Gordon’s name has been doing its rounds. But with that also come the expectations. Will he do as well as Macken has? Will he do better? What roles and style will he be going for? For quite a while it was nothing but a mystery.
At the end of it, though, it doesn’t really matter. Gordon had his acting debut through movie Chiisana Koi no Uta – alongside Sano Hayato, Yamada Anne, Morinaga Yuki, and Suzuki Jin – and his first drama No Side Game started its broadcast barely months later. Since May last year the young actor has been cast in four movies, and four drama series. Two of which – the widely anticipated Tokyo Revengers as well as Hinomaru Soul – still left to be released.
We’re now little over a year into his official acting debut and the 20-year-old has had no issues gathering roles, attracting attention for not only his looks and family-relations, but also his slowly growing acting skill. Though, I bet that when it comes to his acting, most people likely have the image of Hamabe Akira from Gozen 0-ji, Kiss Shi Ni Kite Yo in their mind. Sorry kid, Katayose Ryota was in the lead.
Onodera Akira (’99 – Stardust)
For BL (Boys Love) lovers, Onodera Akira might not be a new name since the young actor was one of the leads in the Hidamari ga Kikoeru LA adaptation in 2017, but when looking at his current filmography, he clearly has more of a tendency to play either messy brats, or asshole bullies. Not quite sure why this is a thing, but he somehow makes it work. ModelPress already added him to their Next Break list last year!
His acting debut – and likely one of his most known roles so far – goes back to early 2016, when he was cast as a ~mysterious boy~ in Rinsho Hanzai Gakusha Himura Hideo no Suiri. He continued the vibe somewhat in Unnatural – where he was classmates with Kamio Fuju, and Mochizuki Ayumu, among others – as well as through a guesting in an episode of Dele. More recently, Akira was cast in movies Nozomi and Youkai Ningen Bela. He is also set to reprise his role in the Kakegurui universe for its upcoming second LA movie.
Fun fact: Akira is close friends with Kamio Fuju. They’ve been in the same project four times so far, with the most recent one being YouTube drama Shujinko, where they played close friends. They have mentioned in interviews they’d love to play rivals, but also brothers. Get to it, Japan!
Bando Ryota (’97 – Dongyu)
Ryota first started showing up after he got cast in a small role for the LA drama version of Setoutsumi, but it’s probably when he was cast as one of the members of Sakurada Dori’s fictional band EVEN – the band was part of the story of a movie by the same name – that his name began pop up even more. The rookie actor went on to audition for 12 nin no Shinitai Kodomotachi, and has been able to grab a hold of no less than nine drama and seven movie roles since. Six of the latter even in 2020 alone.
Drama watchers might have seen him around in Matsuzaka Tori’s Perfect World – because of the drama, Ryota got picked as one of ModelPress’ Next Break choices for spring 2019 – or Yokohama Ryusei and Seino Nana’s Shiro demo Kuro demo Nai Sekai de, Panda wa Warau. Moviewise, the young actor was all over the place this past year. Not only was he the male lead in Inunaki Mura, he was also part of the cast of projects like Spy no Tsuma, the Yowamushi Pedal LA movie, and Toge Saigo no Samurai.
You can currently see Bando acting alongside Miura Shohei and Shiraishi Sei (and Itagaki Mizuki) in timeslip drama series Toki wo Kakeru Bando.
Yoshino Hokuto (’97, THE RAMPAGE – LDH)
The first of this article’s vocalist sub-category, Yoshino Hokuto, is a member of THE RAMPAGE, an EXILE TRIBE boy group. He is one of the group’s three vocalists, with the thirteen other members solely being performers. Yoshino isn’t the only one of his group to expand his popularity into the acting world, however, as quite a few fellow members – including Kawamura Kazuma as well as Hasegawa Makoto – have had roles in several acting projects through the years.
Considering LDH, the company behind EXILE TRIBE and its groups, produces its own drama series and movies from time to time, it’s no surprise Yoshino has been pulled into their projects. Because of this, the singer-turned-actor is a member of both the high energy HIGH & LOW and Prince of Legend casts, the latter of which was led by agencymate and GENERATIONS member Katayose Ryota.
More recently, Yoshino was cast as the male lead in the LA movie adaptation of Watashi ga Motete Dousunda. He appeared alongside Kamio Fuju, Ito Asahi, and Okuno So.
Fun fact: Apparently Yoshino was high school classmates with Sato Kanta and fellow THE RAMPAGE member Iwaya Shogo!
Furukawa Tsuyoshi (’00, SUPER★DRAGON – EBiDAN/Stardust)
People who know a thing or two about EBiDAN boy groups will likely be familiar with this one. Furukawa Tsuyoshi’s main job is still being a vocalist for SUPER★DRAGON, but that doesn’t keep the now 20-year-old from broadening his horizon.
Tsuyoshi made his way into the acting industry by joining agencymate Yokohama Ryusei in 2018’s Ani Tomo movie as well as its drama series, where he played the lead boy’s closest friend who also happened to be the big brother of the former’s love interest. For his second project, he got cast as a student in Suda Masaki’s class in 3 Nen A Gumi, a role he picked up again for a guest spot in Nippon Noir later the same year. After the release of horror movie Inunaki Mura – which starred earlier mentioned Bando Ryota – last January Tsuyoshi ended up joining EBiDAN production Fake Motion. coughs superhero ping pong coughs
Musicwise, the singer’s group has released three albums, four singles, three digital singles, and two sub-unit mini albums since their debut in 2015. With more certainly to come.
Next to an inclusion in our third batch of young actors, Tsuyoshi has also already made it on a variety of rankings, including ModelPress’s Next Break rankings for 2020.
Nagase Ren (’99, King & Prince – J&A)
#3 of our vocalists this time is likely also the most known one: Nagase Ren. The 21-year-old King & Prince member has the previously mentioned Hirano Sho for a colleague. The group debuted barely two years ago, but as with every J&A group its members quickly got their names out. By now, all of them have already appeared in at last some acting projects.
Nagase had his first role back in 2013, when he was cast in LA drama series Nobunaga no Chef. Aside from a movie a year later – a Johnny’s production called Shinobu Johnny Sanjo! Mirai he no Tatakai which was centered around the company’s boy group Johnny’s West – the young idol didn’t return to acting until after his own group’s official debut. He kickstarted 2019 with a role as the main student in drama Ore no Sukato, Doko Itta? and a lead in movie Uchi no Shitsuji ga Iu Koto ni wa. Together with his group, Nagase also appears in both seasons of documentary series Ride on Time. It is available to watch on Netflix.
His latest project – the Yowamushi Pedal LA movie adaptation – was only released last month. Nagase leads alongside Hashimoto Kanna and Ito Kentaro. Bando Ryota was also part of the cast.
After the vocalists, it’s time for the toku-graduates.
Iijima Hiroki (’96 – Oscar Promotion)
If you’re a fan of tokusatsu series like Kamen Rider you will likely remember Iijima Hiroki as Ex-Aid main boy Hojo Emu. As usual, the series ran for a whole year starting from October 2016 till August 2017. After finishing up his henshin business, Iijima joined multiple drama series’ casts, including Holiday Love, local series Koshigaya Psycho, and LDH’s Prince of Legend. Moviewise his career continued on a similar flow, and after the Prince of Legend movie, the actor got cast in Apparel Designer, Mirai he no Katachi, or this year’s Beautiful Dreamer. He is also currently starring in My Love, My Baker as one of the male leads alongside Takezai Terunosuke and Motokariya Yuika.
Aside from his own acting career, Iijima often tags along with close friend and fellow Oscar Promotion actor Nishime Shun. The guy was the lead in Kamen Rider Ghost, which aired the year prior to Iijima’s series. It happens more often than not that they appear around the same projects, with a guesting by Iijima in Nishime’s latest drama, Mikaiketsu no Onna: Keishichou Bunsho Sousakan, being the most recent.
Earlier this week, the 24-year-old was also cast in Rekishi Meikyuu Kara no Dasshutsu ~ Real Dasshutsu Game x TV Tokyo ~ which will start airing in October.
Ito Asahi (’00 – KEN ON)
Model and actor Ito Asahi is one from the KEN ON roster. The 20-year-old only started acting in 2017, but was able to get his name out after getting cast as a lead character in 2018’s Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger VS Keisatsu Sentai Patranger series. Much like Kamen Rider the Sentai series run a full year and require a lot of dedication, so it wasn’t till 2019 that Ito managed to broaden his acting horizons, getting cast in drama series such as Ore no Skirt, Doko Itta? – alongside Nagase Ren – and Takane to Hana, which starred Takasugi Mahiro and Takeuchi Aisa. He also had a role in Fukushi Sota’s 4-punkan no Marigold as well as Mamiya Shotaro’s Beshari Gurashi.
In 2020, Ito joined Yoshino Hokuto, Kamio Fuju, and – another toku alumni – Okuno So, in the Watashi ga Motete Dousunda LA movie adaptation. It was his first non-Sentai movie role. He is currently part of the 102nd asadora Yell.
Kai Shouma (’97 – Amuse)
An alumni of the same series as Iijima Hiroki, Shouma got his name known as one of the series’ villains of the year, Parado. The role was his first and came barely a year after he was scouted by Amuse and, subsequently, had him join an already packed roster of popular young actors.
Through the past few years, Shouma has slowly been building up his resume, having been a part of both Hana ni Kedamono seasons, as well as the movie and drama combi Kakugo wa Iika Soko no Joshi which starred Nakagawa Taishi but also had Wakabayashi Jiei and Ito Kentaro on the main cast.
The actor started off 2020 as Yagami Light in the Death Note musical, and will follow up on his theater debut with RENT this November. Early 2021 he will be taking up the role of Count Axel Fersen in Marie Antoinette. While he hasn’t appeared in any drama series so far this year, Shouma can be found in movies Signal 100, Hand Zenryoku, and Kimi ga Sekai no Hajimari. He was joined by agencymates Kaneko Daichi and Nakata Seina for the latter.
Still want more? Or maybe you haven’t seen your fave new rookie pass yet? No worries, we got another batch of singers-turned-actors, child stars, or just simply newbies to come.