“I enjoy acting more than ever before.”
Starring in the drama RISINGSUN to be distributed next spring.
After receiving a report that actor Kentaro Ito (26) was appearing in various places in Nishitokyo City, including Hibarigaoka, we proceeded to interview him and found that he was in Higashifushimi one day in late September. When we went to a building near the Waseda University grounds under clear autumn skies, we found Ito himself in a suit reading a script in the lobby.
When FRIDAY directly interviewed Ito, he agreed to the interview on the condition that he would take a break from filming.
“Due to the location and the actors’ schedules, we had to finish filming all at once, so we’ve been shooting from morning to night without a break for about 2 weeks.”
The reason he was in Nishitokyo City is because the drama RISING SUN (to be distributed next spring) is set in Nishitokyo City. Ito plays Kazuma Terauchi, who is modeled after Kazuhiro Kodera, the president of Tact Home who rose from a chef to the president of a major real estate company. It is a success story based on a true story.
“When you play a real person, it is very interesting to simulate the life of that person, and this time was especially interesting. I was especially interested this time. I was surprised to learn that a person who has reached the position of president has had such a tumultuous life.”
The key word that helped the protagonist overcome horrific power harassment, the death of a loved one, fraud, and betrayal was friends.
“There is a scene in which Kazuma, who is struggling because he has no friends within his company or with his business partners, is advised, ‘It is important to have friends far away.’ I also value my local friends very much, but I thought it was an interesting idea to go looking for people who are important to me far away, rather than those who are close to me.”
After finishing filming this movie, he will be involved in PR activities for the movie Ano Hana ga Saku Oka de, Kimi to Mata Deaetara (I Wish I Could Meet You Again on a Hill Where Flowers Bloom), which is scheduled for release in December. Ito’s expression was cheerful as he said, “I’ll be working almost 24/7 during this year.”
“I enjoy acting more than ever before. Thankfully, I have received various jobs since I was a teenager, and there was a time when I was busy, but I didn’t have time to face myself and felt that I was not able to embody the script. Even though I was giving it my all in terms of feelings, my performance would inevitably decline when I was working two or three jobs at a time. I like myself better now.”
Ito says that the moment he takes off his costume, he is able to switch it off, but when he just can’t reset his mood, he goes to the beach.
He says, “Surfing or just sitting on the beach gazing out at the ocean clears my head in a strange way. My mother says, ‘Maybe it’s because the sound of the waves is similar to the sound of amniotic fluid when I was pregnant. But I didn’t like it because it made me sound like a motherfucker (laughs).”
While drama distribution is thriving, Ito says he also places importance on terrestrial TV dramas. Behind this is the existence of family.
“While distribution and movies are contents that people pay to watch, terrestrial dramas can be enjoyed by anyone who turns on a TV set, and they can be watched by the whole family. I think this is the best kind of entertainment.”
After continuing, he went on to say, “My family was the same way,” and then he went on to say, “I’m the one who’s going to watch From Today! (broadcast on NTV in 2018), which was based on a popular Yankee manga from the ’80s and ’90s.
“The director’s goal was to have the children enjoy the film in a new way, while the parents who read the manga enjoyed it in a nostalgic way. I was struggling to keep up with the ad-libs of Kento Kaku (34), Jiro Sato (54), and Tsuyoshi Muro (47) (laugh). It was a big film for me because it gave me a chance to be recognized as an actor, and I learned a lot from it.”
After saying this, Ito turned to the reporter and said that his current position at age 26 is suffering.
“It is suffering, but I am convinced that it is not a negative suffering, but an emotion that I will need for myself in 10 or 20 years from now. I want to attract offers to perform in this RISING SUN as well as in the future with the kind of work I will be doing. I want to be an actor who can stay in the scene for a long time.”
Beyond the pain, Ito is looking ahead to his own success story.
From the October 27, 2023 issue of FRIDAY
PHOTO： Hiroyuki Komatsu