Thoughts of Hayato Kakizawa, Nobleman of the Stage: “I’ve Been Willing to Die for this, so Here I am Now” | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Thoughts of Hayato Kakizawa, Nobleman of the Stage: “I’ve Been Willing to Die for this, so Here I am Now”

He played the role of Minamoto no Jitsucho in "Kamakuradono no 13-nin" and was selected to play the leading role in the popular musical "Tokyo Love Story"! Passionate thoughts supporting the rapid progress of the "noble prince of the stage"!

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Born in Kanagawa Prefecture in 1987. Joined the Shiki Theater Company in 2007. After leaving the company, he appeared in NHK’s TV series “Yale,” Nippon TV’s drama “Makoto Kakunin Flag,” and NHK’s historical drama “Kamakuradono no 13-nin” etc.

I entered high school with a sports recommendation and played soccer from morning till night in preparation for the national tournament. I had no interest in the entertainment industry. The turning point for me was an extracurricular class in which I saw the Shiki Theatre Company’s “The Lion King. I was shocked at how fascinated I was by the space created by the human voice and body movements. If it had not been for that extracurricular class, I would not have become an actor.”

In “Kamakuradono no 13-nin,” he passionately played the role of Minamoto no Sanetomo (Minamoto no Sanetomo). Actor Hayato Kakizawa (35) was praised by Mitani Koki (61), who wrote the script, who said, “Here is the Minamoto no Sanetomo I envisioned.”

Born into a family of performing artists, his great-grandfather and grandfather are both living national treasures of joruri and shamisen, and he has appeared in such representative stage productions as “Haru no mezame” and The Lion King. Kakizawa, who is known as the nobleman of the stage for his beautiful appearance and acting, began his acting career at the age of 19.

During the summer vacation of my first year of college, I jumped into the Shiki Theater Company’s training school. There were about 90 research students, but after passing the singing and dancing tests, only half of them remained after one year. My peers were all graduates of music universities or winners of ballet competitions. As a complete amateur, the only way I could survive was to practice desperately while everyone else was sleeping. Perhaps because he saw me like that, Keita Asari, who was the president of Shiki, sometimes said to me, “You should practice that role, because you will play it tomorrow. I desperately bit into the role, even though it was a sudden request. Mr. Asari told me every day, ‘In the end, it’s your guts that counts. I was very lucky to be able to work with him, and I think the fact that I have faced my work with a deadly zeal since I was 19 years old has made me the person I am today.”

In 2004, he tore his Achilles tendon early in the first act of a play in which he starred. Everyone was prepared for his to miss the show, but Kakizawa made it through the remaining three performances.

I felt a snapping sensation in my tendon and thought, ‘Oh, I’ve done it. My ankle was flat and I couldn’t get any strength into it. Normally, I would have had to cancel the show, but I got down on my knees and made it through the remaining two days of the Tokyo performance with only Kenken. I called Goro Kishitani, the director, in tears, with the intention of attending the next performance in Osaka, but he convinced me that if I pushed myself too hard, my legs would become useless and my life as an actor would end. I don’t care if I end up here! I was like, “I don’t care if I end up here!” But it was a nuisance to the director and co-stars, wasn’t it? I realized that people can do anything when they are cornered (laughs).

This fall, he will play the lead role of Kanji Nagao in the musical Tokyo Love Story.

I myself am often pushed around in love, so it’s easy for me to get into the role of Kanchi (laughs). I don’t know how “Tokyo Love Story” will turn into a musical, but I would like to make it a representative work of Japanese musicals that will be performed overseas as well.

Even when it comes to romantic works, Kakizawa is sure to face them with stoicism.

This is her third time to appear in a historical drama. I want people to get to know the new Sanetomo. I played the role as if I was a bearer of history, too.
In 2005, after six months of rehabilitation from a ruptured Achilles tendon, Kakizawa played the lead role in the musical “Frankenstein.”
Never-before-published photograph of Hayato Kakizawa, “The nobleman of the stage”: I’ve been willing to die, and that’s why I’m here now.
Unpublished photograph of Hayato Kakizawa, a nobleman of the stage: “I’ve been willing to die for it, and now it’s here.”

From the October 28 and November 4, 2022 issues of FRIDAY

  • PHOTO Kazuhiko Nakamura

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