Two board down incidents, the legendary stage in ’13, meeting and parting… Etcetera about “Miyazawa Rie and Revenge”. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Two board down incidents, the legendary stage in ’13, meeting and parting… Etcetera about “Miyazawa Rie and Revenge”.

Masashi Hosoda's Entertainment Space-Time Detective⑯.

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Rie Miyazawa was a social phenomenon in the ’80s and ’90s.

Rie Miyazawa’s Revenge

The first time I heard the English word “revenge” (Revenge) was back in September 1994, when “K-1 REVENGE,” the title of an event of the popular standing martial arts “K-1,” was held. At that time, the author learned that this foreign word meant “revenge” or “payback.

The word “revenge” became widely used five years later when Daisuke Matsuzaka, a rookie of the Seibu Lions, uttered the word. The 18-year-old monster, who had pitched against Chiba Lotte ace Johnny Kuroki and narrowly lost 2-0, declared, “I’ll definitely get revenge. He got his revenge.

This was the catalyst for the popular use of the word “revenge,” which has become a common phrase, not only in sports and martial arts, but also in everyday life.” Daisuke Matsuzaka, the “creator of Revenge,” was awarded the “Ryu-Yougo Taisho” award that year.

In recent years, the word has been further adapted to mean “to settle a score with one’s past self” or “to make a fresh start. This is an example of how a word that had been interpreted negatively has been dragged down to the real world and is now seen in a positive light. At the same time, the camellia incident that took place 11 years ago on the stage also came back to my mind.

Written and directed by Koki Mitani, “Onore Napoleon” was staged at the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre in Ikebukuro’s West Exit from April 9, 2001 to May 12, 2001. It is a secret room drama that could be called “the truth of Napoleon’s death in the Mitani style. The leading character Napoleon is played by Hideki Noda, his mistress Alvine by Yuki Amami, Count de Montron by Koshi Yamamoto, Governor Hudson by Masaaki Uchino, Dr. Tomohiko Imai by Dr. Anton Marchi, his doctor, and Asari Yosuke by his retainer Marchand. As a great admirer of Mitani’s works, I was somehow able to reserve a ticket. It is still fresh in my memory that it was a luxurious two and a half hours of tension and humor.

No one could have imagined that something unusual would happen on May 6, with only five days left in the month-long performance that was like a luxury fleet. After the show, the heroine, Yuki Amami, who had complained of feeling tired, went to her family hospital and was diagnosed with “a mild myocardial infarction requiring bed rest for a week,” and she was forced to withdraw from the show.

However, to the surprise of both Mitani Koki, who wrote and directed the play, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space, a replacement was decided to take its place. To everyone’s surprise, it was Rie Miyazawa who accepted the role. Nevertheless, the two-and-a-half hour long play with a huge amount of dialogue was a challenge. The rehearsal schedule was also limited. The actor had to get them all into his body in a short period of time.

Rie Miyazawa onstage at the stage greeting for the movie “Gelatin Silver LOVE” in 2009©Kazuhiko Nakamura

It seemed like a reckless challenge, but my fears were unfounded when she appeared at the soiree on May 10, completing the two-and-a-half-hour performance without making a single mistake, and perfectly executing the 130 lines of dialogue, and she made it through to the final curtain on May 12 without a hitch.

Nikkan Sports (May 11, 2001) wrote, “I can only think that the gods of the stage have descended upon Rie,” and the author was then in charge of “5 o’clock,” a Tokyo MX program for which I was a writer. (Tokyo MX) Monday commentator Matsuko Deluxe, for whom I was working as a writer at the time, sighed in admiration, and I remember it vividly.

So why did Rie Miyazawa accept the challenge and go through with it? Did she have a chance? Was there some deep reason why she had to do it? Let us trace her history and explore her true intentions once again.

Rie Miyazawa was born in Tokyo in 1973, and began modeling at the age of 11. In 1987, when she was in the second year of junior high school, she attracted attention with a commercial for “Mitsui Re-House”. The following year, she made her big breakthrough when she was chosen to star in the movie “Bokutachi no Shichinichi Senso” (Our Seven-Day War). In 1989, she made her debut as a singer with “Dream Rush” produced by Tetsuya Komuro, and in 1990, she made her first appearance at the NHK Kohaku Uta Gassen. In 1991, she became a social phenomenon, literally, as she performed hair nudity in “Santa Fe” and stunned the whole of Japan.

In the fall of 1992, she held an engagement press conference with Kikanada (later to become Takanohana) that caused a stir in Japan. Two months later, however, they broke up.

It seemed as if his success would continue forever, but he stumbled in an unexpected way. The story of his engagement to Sekiwake Takanada (later to become yokozuna Takanohana) and the subsequent breakup of the relationship that swept the Japanese archipelago from late fall of 1992 to January 1993. After this, his popularity suddenly stopped, and reports began to circulate that he had lost a lot of weight and was suffering from mental and physical ailments. Furthermore, in 1995, she was hit by two more troubles.

Two cases of being dropped from the board

Tomiko Miyao’s novel “Kura,” which had been serialized in the Mainichi Newspapers for a year from March 1992, was to be made into a movie. Set in a Niigata sake brewery during the Taisho period (1912-1926), the film depicts the life of the main character Retsu, the first woman to become a brewery owner, despite losing her eyesight. It was supposed to be a win-win situation. Rie herself seemed to be aware of this, commenting at the production announcement, “I want this to be my masterpiece,” and it appeared that she was proactive in “changing her character.

However, something inexplicable happened here. Toei, the distributor of the film, had assumed that Yuko Asano, who played the aunt, would play the leading role instead of Rie Miyazawa. Rie Miyazawa, or rather her mother Mitsuko Miyazawa, who represented her, protested vehemently against the inexplicable treatment of the film, saying, “In the novel, Rie is the main character, but in the film, she plays the semi-leading role. After repeated discussions with Toei over and over again, the two parties came to a mutual understanding, and in the end, six days before the film was to be cranked, it was decided that Rie Miyazawa would withdraw from the film.

Looking back at the incident 29 years later, Miyazawa’s side of the story seems quite plausible. After all, she played the leading role in the original film. It is only natural that he should be considered the leading actor in the movie as well, and I felt that I should be very sympathetic to Miyazawa’s side, considering the fact that the issue of rank in the hierarchy is a much more sensitive one. Surprisingly, however, the public’s criticism was focused on Miyazawa’s mother and son, who had dropped out of the film. Entertainment reporter Sudo Jinichiro, who would become a Meguro Ward Council member in 1999, quipped.

The more second-rate actors count the number of lines they have,” he said. Rie’s high-flying business tactics have worked so far, but this time it has backfired on her. (Rie will probably only be able to work in adult videos in the future.

As a side note, Sae Isshiki, who was a newcomer at the time, replaced Rie Miyazawa, who had dropped out of the movie, to play Rie.

Rie Miyazawa, who had been hurt by the movie cancellation scandal, was also forced to cancel the role in a stage performance at the end of the same year. She was scheduled to play a girl with special abilities in the stage production of “Coyote,” but she had to withdraw from the show because she “could not shake off the concerns about the direction. At that time, the performance was not only a personal problem for Rie Miyazawa, but also involved a conflict between the director and the choreographer, but the media paid no attention to this and slammed the Miyazawa mother and child. In short, they were in the midst of bashing the mother and son.

This is Rie Miyazawa waiting for her car in the parking lot after a stage performance. She smiled at the fans waiting for her to leave. After 2000, she shifted her main stage and film productions©Kotaro Okada

After this, the opportunities for Rie Miyazawa to be seen on TV screens decreased dramatically. Instead of the glamorous news of the past, most of the reports on the wide news shows were either about her poor health or her dating life. Although “turning to pornography” must have been a groundless rumor, it was not limited to Jinichiro Sudo, but it was a myth, and it followed him throughout the 1990s.

In Yoji Yamada’s “The Twilight Samurai,” she gives a fine performance as Tomoe, who falls in love with Seibei, played by Hiroyuki Sanada© Kyodo News Service

However, Rie Miyazawa did not die, and her talent blossomed as she entered the 21st century.

She won the Best Leading Actress Award at the Moscow International Film Festival for the Hong Kong film “Hana no Ai: Amusement Park Dreams” in 2001, followed by the Best Leading Actress Award at the Japan Academy Prize for “Twilight Samurai” (2002), and the Blue Ribbon Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for “Living with the Father” (2004). She won the Blue Ribbon Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for “The Twilight Samurai” (’02). She won the Yomiuri Theatre Award for Best Actress for “Invisible Steam” (’04), the Kinokuniya Theatre Award for “Rope” (’06), and the second Yomiuri Theatre Award for Best Actress for “Ningyo no Ie” (’08)…. …. The actress was no longer the one who used to read the lines of the drama “Swan’s Tears” (Fuji Television) with a faltering voice, but was steadily building up her credentials as a genuine actress, mainly in movies and on stage.

And then there was the understudy of the year 2001.

It was Hideki Noda, the star of the show, who recommended Rie Miyazawa as the understudy for Yuki Amami, who regretfully decided to withdraw from the show in the final stage of its long run. It is not difficult to imagine that Noda, who had seen and worked with Rie Miyazawa several times and had a good idea of her skills, thought that Rie Miyazawa could do the role. It is no wonder that when Hideki Noda asked her if she would be interested in working with him, she had bitter memories of the two rejections in 1995 and thought, “Why not give it a shot? There has never been a better time to take revenge.

From this point on, Rie Miyazawa moved swiftly. She received the script from the organizers before dawn on August 8, the day Yuki Amami announced her withdrawal from the show, worked on the script all night long, attended a production announcement at 11:00 a.m. on August 9 for a play to be staged after fall, and then rehearsed the entire play until early morning on August 10. The reading and rehearsals together lasted a mere 25 hours. Even if you didn’t read the Nikkan Sports, you would have to say that he was a godlike person to appear at the soiree on the 10th.

Then came the curtain call. The audience, some of whom were standing, applauded her for completing the two-hour and 20-minute performance without intermission. (For Rie, whose reputation as an actress continues to grow, this substitution was a high-risk gamble. The performance, which was met with curious looks, was indeed a night of legends.

In 2009, she married a former professional surfer. They had a daughter, but divorced. In 2006, she remarried Go Morita of V6.

The word “actress” is becoming less and less used these days from a genderless perspective, but just as we respect female singers by calling them “diva” (diva), I define “actress” as a title of respect. I sincerely hope that Rie Miyazawa will carry the title of “actress” for the rest of her life. (Honorifics omitted)

  • Interview and text by Masashi Hosoda Masashi Hosoda

    Nonfiction writer, born in 1971. His recent book, "The Man Who Let Chu Sawamura Fly the Vacuum: A Biography of Showa Promoter Osamu Noguchi" (Shinchosha) won the 43rd Kodansha Honda Yasuharu Nonfiction Award. Late last year, "Rikidozan's Widow" won the 30th Shogakukan Nonfiction Grand Prize.

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