PsychoDrama [Talkback]: Kinema Junpou No 1722. Issue features 50 actors under 30 to look out for + Did they get everyone right? [Part 3 of 4 Parts]

What I like about the 50 young Japanese actors list from Kinema Junpou is the variety of the talents. Many have taken significant roles in movies and drama series. Some have won acting awards – both local and abroad and some also made box office records. Some started as male models and were given supporting, bit parts only to become the lead after a few tries. 

As expected, there will be idols, a majority of whom came from Johnny’s and finally there are some newcomers. It’s a bit of an issue to consider someone as a newcomer. For instance, is Hiroya Shimizu and Nijiro Murakami and Takumi Kitamura newcomers? Maybe, but Kitamura is also part of a J-pop band, so that makes him more than just a “pure” actor in a sense. Murakami and Shimizu, therefore, are the newcomers in the strict meaning of the term. That’s not a big issue – I think they deserve to be on the list, in as much as, Yuto Nakajima or Kento Nakajima or Ryosuke Yamada – who all belong to Johnny’s.

Yamada, may not be a good actor as compared to, say, Masaki Suda (his co-star in Assassination Classroom) but he is getting plenty of opportunities to hone his skills. Hopefully, he’ll be like Toma Ikuta, who started terribly but improved tremendously.

Takeru Sato has quickly shown he has what it takes to overtake many of his peers (especially fellow talent Haruma Miura). Aside from the Kenshin trilogy, his growth as an actor is evidenced by the critical and box office success of Bakuman. He may not be as consistent as Suda or Sometani or Kamiki (his co-star in many films), but he is a solid performer in my book. Ryo Yoshizawa initially was under the shadow of Sota Fukushi, and continues to suffer from the “second lead” syndrome, but he is a better actor than Fukushi could ever be.

One of the most successful male models turned actor is Masahiro Higashide, though he remains an inconsistent performer even today. Kanata Hongo, a “veteran” among the names on the list, will continue to be a fixture in the J-movie/drama scenes for many years to come. Go back to scenes in Goth or Gantz, then fast forward to Akagi or Mysterious Transfer Student, and you’ll see why! 

Kanata Hongo, a “veteran” among the names on the list, will continue to be a fixture in the J-movie/drama scenes for many years to come. Go back to scenes in Goth or Gantz, then fast forward to Akagi or Mysterious Transfer Student, and you’ll see why! 

Nijiro Murakami is “acting royalty” in Japan, so no doubt about his ability to act. Says Don Brown in our recent interview:

… actors don’t tend to get proper breaks unless they’re signed to a powerful agency, and/or they become popular on an NHK morning drama serial or something like that. Suzuki Ryohei didn’t become a household name until he appeared in one, but he should’ve become a big action star after “Hentai Kamen” and “Tokyo Tribe.” That being said, I think Murakami Nijiro has fantastic potential, and hasn’t yet developed any of the familiar tics of Japanese acting. Okayama Amane has been doing great work with supporting parts in films like “Gassoh” and “Litchi Hikari Club.” Kubota Masataka made a big impression when he took the lead role in Miike Takashi’s “Keitai Sosakan 7,” and has since popped up in impressive supporting roles in quality movies like “The Cowards Who Looked to the Sky,” but lately he’s been appearing in too many films and TV series, a lot of which aren’t very good. He needs a better agent. [ read more ]

Kaito Yoshimura is a new name to me. I have not heard of him until now, but he has a lot of potential. Plenty of casting buzz up next for him. There’s even a new movie being crowdfunded (@ motion gallery) entitled “Grasp the Sun” (literal English translation) with Yuya Yagira (who appeared in a cameo role). I’m not only intrigued by curious about this actor-model. There are plenty of Sudachi, Yagira even Ikematsu vibes on him, but he has his own unique personality. Explore the young actor’s Instagram to get more of his “vibes”.

Taishi! Taishi! Taishi! What else is there to say? Here we have the future dramatic actor exploring his acting options via rom-com and sex comedy. I’m pretty sure, we’ll be celebrating Nakagawa’s 20th anniversary in the biz soon enough!

Kento Hayashi’s take as a failed manzai artist in Hibana (Sparks) has “sparked” renewed interest in the actor. If there is anyone who should be on this list, then one of them is definitely Hayashi. His junior, Shuhei Nomura like Ryo Yoshizawa, is afflicted with the second lead syndrome, but unlike Yoshizawa, Nomura has a more impressive acting resume – The Summer of Whales, Hibi Rock, Puzzle and Litchi Hikari Club. 

In the final part of this report, we’ll present some of the names missed by this list. How about you? What can you say about the actors above? Did they make the cut? Let us know what you think!

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