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.

Hikari Mitsushima, Yu Aoi, Mao Inoue, Aoi Miyazaki, Yoko Maki, Yuriko Yoshitaka have, indeed, already graduated from playing teen/youth-oriented roles. You can also add the names of Haruka Ayase, Masami Nagasawa, Maki Horikita, Erika Toda, Juri Ueno (even Aya Ueto) and Erika Sawajiri to the list, so are we supposed to watch mediocrity, bland, uninspired acting from now on?

Certainly not in the case of a few outstanding newcomers (i.e. those who came after the names of the actresses above) - Fumi Nikaido, Ai Hashimoto, Erina Mizuno to name just a few. But to endure J-doramas starring Emi Takei and Ayame Gouriki? Hey Japanese talent agencies, are there no one else to rock the scene and make us happy? 

People keep asking me, is Emi Takei, a good actress? Labeling someone as capable of good acting and starring in good J-dorama are still subjective, but when many people complain, I guess it's about time we re-examine how we look at good and bad actresses. In the case of Takei, while she managed to portray her Rurouni Kenshin character, it's one of the easiest roles to play  - what Yu Aoi did is even more challenging.

If you want to celebrate Shota Sometani's acting career, then there is no better way but to head over to 13oys and Men as the top 10 Shota Sometani countdown continues. In our last part of Shota's "Actor's bias," we are taking a closer look at one of his upcoming films - which complements the celebration at our companion site. It's like we're covering Sometani's career in full circle!

Like some of Japan's most accomplished actors, Sometani 

"got his start in the film industry at the age of 9, playing a young boy being eaten by zombies in Naoyuki Tomomatsu’s 2001 satirical zombie film Stacy." [ source ]

While some concentrated on a show business career performing on stage for fans or joining a boy band and becoming an idol, Sometani took a less traditional route that demands a more challenging outlook. Short, supporting roles pave the way to meatier parts and in 2011, ten years after his acting debut, Sometani grabbed one of the most prestigious acting awards for newcomers in the global film festival circuit - the Marcello Mastroianni Award at the 68th Venice International Film Festival for Sion Sono's Himizu. The film was the subject of Part 2 of this series.