What’s up with the Kentos? A closer look at Kento Nagayama, Kento Hayashi, Kento Yamazaki & Kento Kaku! [Part 2 of 3 Parts]

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.

While TV dramas tend to be “lame” regarding showing anything that deals with sex and intimate relationships, a lot of Japanese movies were able to have the sort of “freedom” to explain what is needed. There were a few scenes in Parade that Hayashi did – and it would not be possible if it were in a drama show. If you have not seen this movie, then I suggest you do…

Hayashi went on to play another gay role, this time in Takashi Miike’s Lesson of the Evil. It was – once again – a small role for the notable young actor, but it matters not a single bit. Not that he’s typecast to play gay roles. In fact, it made him more versatile.

While he showed what stuff he’s made of in The Brothers Karamazov and the more recent Tamagawa Kuyakusho of the Dead (about zombies, hunting them and being together with Alice Hirose), it was in Ginnikan that he shines. The said historical drama is all about a young samurai who was orphaned and was taken in by an old merchant. The coming of age, love story mix (with Mayu Matsuoka) was a gem!

Is he a good actor? Yes, most definitely. While Kento Kaku and Kento Nagayama acting styles are still “works in progress,” with Nagayama getting more acting mileage than the former, I would say Kento Hayashi is even more accomplished at his age. Despite such good performances, he remains one of Japan’s most under-rated young talents.

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Kento Yamazaki (b. September 1994) – If the KEN-On group has Sota Fukushi, then Stardust Promotion has Kento Yamazaki. Fellow J-drama watchers and this author are scratching their heads re: what sort of acting career is Kento Yamazaki aiming for? While taking on Fukushi and battling out for the next rom-com prince seems to be a good target for both, I would have to say, Yamazaki is miles ahead regarding intense dramatic acting. Sota Fukushi is not entirely a mediocre actor. In fact, he has improved tremendously, but he cannot match Yamazaki regarding acting style.

Fellow blogger and movie reviewer, Alua described Yamazaki in the film Control Tower, saying:

With the majority of scenes focusing on Takeru and Mii, the film is essentially carried by its teen actors but relative newcomer Yamazaki Kento and Hashimoto Ai (from last year’s 告白/Kokuhaku/Confessions) are perfectly cast. They communicate their characters’ feelings even in silence, through glances that play a role in some scenes – at their first meeting, in the classroom, on the bus home from the control tower. It is comforting that Yamazaki is no brilliant singer. His voice is solid, but raw, expressing the pain of his heartbreak when Mii disappears. Meanwhile, Hashimoto manages to make Mii both a forthright character that will not bow to her “puerile” classmates as well as a fragile one, occasionally letting us catch a glimpse of the burden of her home life. [ read more ]

Is he a good actor? Yes and the review alone and raves all throughout just say so! Blame Stardust for not taking good care of him! I mean, I agree with Alua’s review and raves even more for Yamazaki. In The Wings of the Kirin, Yamazaki did the same, that it’s disappointing for his fans to watch him play light comedies. He deserved much better!

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How about you? Do you think Hayashi and Yamazaki are good actors? Who is your favorite?

 

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