The Idol Project – A Closer Look at Japan’s Most Successful Male Idols [Vol 1, Part 3] Takuya Kimura

When you see a person, do you just concentrate on their looks? It’s just a first impression. Then there’s someone who doesn’t catch your eye immediately, but you talk to them and they become the most beautiful thing in the world. The greatest actors aren’t what you would call beautiful sex symbols. – Brad Pitt

I’ve been interviewing Kimura for approximately 8 years. No matter how many times we’ve sat down for an interview in close quarters, even now, I still get nervous. I’ve finally understood the reason. When I am talking, he looks me in the eye and watches my expressions closely; with a strong gaze that doesn’t forgive half-hearted answers and deception. When I tell him frankly that that’s ‘scary’, he replies while laughing, ‘You always meet me. It’s not scary, right?’ Even as he says that, I can feel him gradually easing on his attention out of consideration for me, and I thought, this is someone who is skilled at maintaining a moderate distance from his partner. – An excerpt from an article about Takuya Kimura @Sponichi, translated and posted by RZ_Jocelyn Live Journal

When I took on the challenge of writing a series of articles about Johnny’s idols, I’m aware of how difficult it might be. First of all, there is so much to say and so many idols to focus and put the spotlight into. But when idol fans themselves showed me the way – introducing me to a whole new world and giving me tips on where to go, who to focus on and what kind of work I can expect from a select number of performers, then I think I gained enough confidence to continue with the Idol Project. Note that this is a work in progress, which started early 2013. After a short and long introduction, we’ll go into Takuya Kimura territory…

How to judge an idol as an actor if he’s capable of good or bad acting? Let’s see…

There is no way that what his co-stars are saying has anything to do with my judgment! You see, from the articles I’ve read – everyone – I mean, everyone has nothing but good things to say about Kimura and his performances. The thing is, many friends who have discovered J-doramas way back have told me to watch the dramas of Kimura circa late 1990s, but I’m the kind who rebel against recommendations with so much praise. Then, I can be ultra fast or ultra slow.

In my case of discovering Takuya Kimura, I relied on two of his roles – as a lowly, blind Samurai in ‘Love and Honor’ and as a young unassuming guy who plays the piano in Long Vacation. When you watch someone playing an intense dramatic-thriller-action-historical movie (from no less than Yoji Yamada) and then watch the same guy doing comedy in a modern, contemporary setting, you can somehow gauge the range of his acting. I mean, there are still plenty of shows I can watch featuring Kimura, but then again, these two seem to be his best. [ You can always disagree with me by commenting on Disqus, so bear with me for now…]

Reports The Japan Times:

In “Bushi no Ichibun” Kimura plays a samurai. Almost everyone in Johnny’s has worked at one point or another in NHK’s Sunday night historical dramas, but “Bushi no Ichibun” has more to do with the sociology and economics of samurai life than with the genre’s action prerogatives. Kimura’s character is a food taster who loses his sight after ingesting some bad shellfish. The movie is a chamber drama that requires emotional nuance, and in terms of accommodating whatever acting skills he possesses to the needs of the ensemble, Kimura does a worthy job. However, if all you had to go on was the PR, you might think he had accomplished the thespian equivalent of scaling Mount Everest. In a series of TV appearances, Kimura, looking genuinely embarrassed, has had to endure countless gushing testimonials. [ read more ]

Before I dived in the movie, I was guilty of prejudging Kimura and the extent of how good (or mediocre) his performance. I think, his agency would only seek out a role where he gets sympathy from the audience, a role that would allow him to do some dramatics for the fans. In Love and Honor, he certainly did the required dramatics, but what a performance! One thing I can say about him as an actor – he is no #deadfisheyes. 

 

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Fuji TV’s 1996 production entitled Long Vacation offers a lighter treat for the uninitiated. There is just something about Kimura when wearing spectacles, and the way he projects his mouth – the way he curves his lips while having that shock, aghast, surprised looks!

As they say, an actor is only as good as his chemistry with his co-stars. While that is debatable, I have to say his chemistry with Tomoko Yamaguchi is undeniable.

 

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