Lily Franky on Solo Living at 60 and Drawing Boundaries from Society | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Lily Franky on Solo Living at 60 and Drawing Boundaries from Society

Special interview with ″The Year of the Bachelor″ appeared in six films last year, and her latest starring film will be released this March "I can't stay awake at night anymore (laughs)," she blurts out Turning 60, she is undergoing changes in everything from her work theory to her outlook on life.

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Lily Franky, born in Fukuoka Prefecture in 1963, gained high acclaim both domestically and internationally for his leading role in the film “Shoplifters,” which won the Palme d’Or award in 2018. His latest film, “Cottontail,” a Japanese-British co-production, was released on March 1st.

“Nobody really likes things like FRIDAY or Bunshun, right? (laughs) I used to drink with the editor-in-chief of FRIDAY back in the day, and I’ve captured his wild appearance on my camera. I have it ready to put up on a big billboard anytime (laughs).”


This is how Lily Franky (60) reminisced about his memories with FRIDAY. Last year, he had a successful career in acting with six movies released and one streaming series. In the movie “Cottontail,” set to be released in March, he portrays an elderly man who heads to the UK to fulfill the wishes left behind by his deceased wife, whom he hasn’t fully accepted her passing. Although the character seems to be the opposite of the image of the so-called “Ikeoji” (cool old man) associated with him, it seems that’s not entirely the case.

“The protagonist, despite not achieving much in his career, tries to justify neglecting his family by saying, ‘I was busy.’ I think this is a feeling that many middle-aged men around the world have. So, I could relate to him. The only difference is that he was connected to society through his wife, while I, as a typical solitary elderly person without a wife or children, don’t leave my house at all if I don’t have anything to do.”

Lily turned sixty last November. While it may seem like she has been enjoying a brilliant life in the limelight for over 30 years, she says her outlook on life has been changing in recent years.

“Similar to the protagonist in the movie, I’ve gradually stopped feeling the need to connect with society. For example, lately, even just watching the media makes me feel a unique sense of suffocation. Don’t you feel like each media outlet is imposing its own set of social norms and rules? When I was younger, I used to rebel against such things, but as expected, as I’ve gotten older, it’s become less feasible. So, I’ve started to draw a bit of a line with society. I think this is something many older men and women in the world are grappling with. When times get tough, it’s okay to cut ties.”

Behind Lily’s carefree character, there may have been a state of mind resembling a sense of acceptance that one can live without belonging anywhere. The change in this mindset has also influenced his view of work.

“I wonder what it is. I’m not doing it with a firm belief or anything. For me, work is a place for communication. Dealing with people who I find bothersome in daily life isn’t stressful at all when it’s part of the filmmaking process. It’s fascinating to see various talents come together from different places, and I’ve always felt that way.”

There have been changes in his way of working as well.

“Recently, I can’t stay up late at night anymore (laughs). Even with writing, I used to start writing in the middle of the night and finish in the morning, but now it’s impossible. I’ve started paying more attention to my health. On the set of a drama, I talked a lot about gut health with Saito-kun (Koji, 42), who I co-starred with.”

Delving deeper into his work philosophy, Lily also left these words for the weekly magazine:

“I always looked forward to reading women’s magazines at the barber shop I frequent, but recently, they’ve replaced magazines with electronic tablets. I liked the experience of unknowingly learning something new that came from reading magazines rather than searching for things myself, so it’s a bit disappointing. When I used to ride the Shinkansen, I would also buy FRIDAY and other weekly magazines. But recently, the kiosk at Shinagawa Station where I used to buy magazines has disappeared. It’s a bit lonely to see the presence of my favorite magazines dwindling.”

Approaching his elder years, Lily continues to value not only the voices of others but also his own senses in his activities. He will continue to walk at his own pace in the future.

Unpublished Cut from the Magazine: Lily Franky Talks About Living Single at 60 and “Drawing a Line with Society a Bit”
Unpublished Cut from the Magazine: Lily Franky Talks About Living Single at 60 and “Drawing a Line with Society a Bit”
Unpublished Cut from the Magazine: Lily Franky Talks About Living Single at 60 and “Drawing a Line with Society a Bit”

From the March 15, 2024 issue of FRIDAY

  • Interview and text Freelance writer Shiho Atsumi PHOTO Takehiko Kohiyama

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