The Year in Review: Who Made the Biggest Headlines in 2015 Among Leading Japanese Actors?

I find it funny that Oricon would consider Masataka Kubota as having a breakthrough year, since, in all aspects, Mr. Kubota is already an accomplished actor who have been playing in movies and dramas since 2006. That means he’s in the industry for more than nine years already. You consider someone was having a breakthrough year if he is only ‘involved’ in the biz for two years or less. The term “breakthrough” may apply to the likes of Kentaro Sakaguchi or Mackenyu Chiba, or even to the more established Taishi Nakagawa – all three had a breakthrough year in 2015. [ that’s a separate post here, with an equalizer for the girls as well ]

There is always this ‘loss in translation’ issue when it comes to Japanese to English. Take the case of AoT (Attack on Titan, which should be Attack of the Titans) or the Takashi Miike movie Lesson of the Evil (with the totally inappropriate use of ‘the’). 

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Let’s have a short recap. Last year, it was Sosuke Ikematsu who topped our list, followed by Shota Sometani, Masaki Suda, Masataka Kubota and Yuya Yagira. This year, it’s all about grabbing those high profile roles in cinema, as well as, the biggest TV dramas! 

Certainly, Masataka Kubota should also be part of this list. However, I think once people see Yuki Furukawa in Litchi Hikari Club, they will realize something is amazing about the Itazura na Kiss actor. Aside from his in-your-face and very vocal opinion about the Japanese TV drama scene and what locals want (nothing but idols!), Furukawa’s under-rated status may change very soon.

Yuya Yagira, Kanata Hongo, Shuhei Nomura, Shotaro Mamiya also deserve mentions since they had some incredible buzz this year too.

But 2015 is Masaki Suda’s year, followed very closely by Kento Yamazaki who had two box office records to speak of – Orange (with Tao Tsuchiya) and Heroine Shikkaku (with Mirei Kiritani + Kentaro Sakaguchi), plus exciting new movies coming up. Ryunosuke Kamiki’s comedic takes in Samurai Sensei is much talked about, plus the apocalyptic movie Sun with Mugi Kadowaki and Too Young to Die! (with Tomoya Nagase) are well worth waiting for. Fellow Bakuman star Takeru Satoh surprised everyone with the depth of his acting in The Emperor’s Cook that he deserves a place on the list.