Kentaro Ito, who plays a difficult role in the latest movie, is highly praised for his acting ability by those in the know. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Kentaro Ito, who plays a difficult role in the latest movie, is highly praised for his acting ability by those in the know.

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Since resuming his acting career, Ito says he has received high praise from those involved. Is he ready to return to terrestrial broadcasting?

Actor Kentaro Ito (26), who gave an outstanding performance in a hot new movie, continues to gain momentum.

Ito got his big break in 2006 when he played the semi-leading role in “From Today I Am‼” (Nippon Television Network). He appeared in a number of high-profile productions, but disappeared from the public eye after a hit-and-run scandal in October 2008. About a year later, in October 2009, he returned to the stage in “SOULFUL SOUL,” in which he starred. In 2010, he returned to the movies with “Winter Rose.

Last May, he played the lead role in the movie “The Quiet Don,” and in the movie “Ano Hana ga Saku Hills, Ano Watashi no Haka de Kimi ni Metatara (If I Meet You Again on the Hill Where the Flowers Bloom),” which opened in theaters on December 8, 2010, he played the lead role in a suicide mission at a young age. In the movie “Ano Hana ga Saku Oka de, Kimi wo Metamete” (If I Meet You Again on That Flower Blooming Hill), which opened in theaters on December 8, Ito passionately plays the difficult role of a young man who is chosen to join a suicide squad at a young age.

Ito’s contemporaries include such leading actors as Takumi Kitamura (26) and Taishi Nakagawa (25). It is no exaggeration to say that he is the No. 1 actor of his generation in terms of high acting ability and flexibility among them. Junji Sakamoto, the director of “Winter Rose,” a film in which Ito made his comeback, praised Ito’s performance, saying, “It is really difficult to act ‘normal,’ but Ito’s ability to do so naturally is a strong point. This film led to an increase in the number of appearances in movies and TV dramas.

Starting with this film, a return to terrestrial TV dramas may be possible this year. In fact, when interviewed directly by this magazine last October, he spoke of “where he is now” and his “strong desire for a terrestrial drama.

Ito is also scheduled to appear in the comedy program “Incidents 2” (DMM TV) from January 19. When, if ever, will he return to terrestrial TV?

Ito started his acting career in terrestrial TV dramas, so I think his desire to return to terrestrial TV is stronger than others. Currently, he is in the process of steadily building up a track record in movies and distributed dramas. The TV stations believe that there will be enough of a buzz when he returns to terrestrial broadcasting, so there is little chance of NG from the production side.

The biggest obstacle is sponsors. Advertisers place great importance on image, so it is still doubtful whether they will give a GO signal in that respect. Especially in Mr. Ito’s case, given the nature of the scandal, it is difficult to include commercials for automobile manufacturers, which are typical of sponsors. …… Given that, I think a return to terrestrial broadcasting is still a long way off. Personally, I would like to see Ms. Ito’s performance on terrestrial wave, as she can handle a wide range of roles from romantic dramas to serious ones and comedies,” said an advertising agency official.

It will be a while before she can make a full comeback.

  • PHOTO Toshikatsu Tanaka

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