Mei Nagano’s Stirring Performance in “Because You Gave Me Your Heart” Sparks Rise of ‘Kimi Koko Loss’ Phenomenon Among Viewers | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Mei Nagano’s Stirring Performance in “Because You Gave Me Your Heart” Sparks Rise of ‘Kimi Koko Loss’ Phenomenon Among Viewers

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Mei Nagano’s “crying performance” in the lead role has captured the hearts of many “Kimikoko Loss” viewers.

The Monday 9 PM drama “Because You Gave Me Your Heart” starring Mei Nagano (on Fuji TV) concluded on March 18th, leaving viewers experiencing what’s been dubbed as “Kimi Koko Loss.”


This drama revolves around the protagonist, Aihara U, played by Nagano, who sacrifices her own heart for the sake of her beloved, Asano Taiyo (portrayed by Yuki Yamada), in a fantasy love story laden with a harsh destiny. In the final episode, they face the day U loses her last sense, hearing, and journey to the school where they first met.

Leaving behind the words, “Please don’t remember me,” U loses her hearing. However, a miracle occurs once again for the weeping Taiyo.

“The guide of miracles, Kusaka (played by Koji Seto), presents U with a choice: to accept U’s heart, relinquishing his own life, or to trade his life for U’s heart (her senses). U regains her senses in exchange for Taiyo’s life. The ending, where U eventually finds success as a patissier, has brought comments flooding in from netizens, describing it as tear-jerking.” (Production company producer)

This production, set in the exotic locale of Nagasaki, features an original script by Kiyosuke Uyama, a master of pure love novels popular among younger generations, and is directed by Hiroaki Matsuyama, known for films like “Don’t Say Mystery.” Initially, some viewers found it difficult to endure the heavy storyline of U gradually losing her senses, leading to some dropping out of the series.

Nonetheless, their straightforward challenge to the staple of Monday 9 PM dramas, the romantic drama revival, was refreshing in a way. Among them, Mei Nagano, who portrayed the tragic heroine U, captivated audiences with her tears every episode.

“When U gradually loses her senses for Taiyo’s sake, Nagano controlled her tears at will, as testified by her co-star Yamada. Not only did she cry, but she also held back her tears to allow viewers to emotionally invest in the drama and create space for them to cry.

Such ingenuity was also incorporated. Therefore, Nagano revealed that during scenes requiring tears, she worked hard to drink plenty of water, sharing behind-the-scenes stories.” (Production company director)

Is Nagano, who can manipulate tears at will, the tearful charismatic figure emerging in the Reiwa era?



Mei Nagano originally gained prominence for her straightforward approach of presenting her true self without any pretense.

“In 2015, Nagano Mei landed the role of the heroine in the movie ‘My Love Story!!’ after reading the original manga and feeling a resemblance between the character and herself, she deliberately chose not to prepare for the role and auditioned as herself. Furthermore, in her third year of high school, she challenged the role of Suzu in the NHK morning drama ‘Half, Blue,’ portraying the character freely in her natural state. She won the heart of the nation’s audience, as screenwriter Eriko Kitagawa even said, ‘I’ve found a sparrow. Nagano-san, fly far.’ (as mentioned by the producer)”


However, her mindset shifted the following year with her appearance in the drama ‘3-Nen A-Gumi: Ima kara Minna-san wa, Hitojichi Desu’ (NTV),


“In this series, a school mystery unfolds as a teacher, played by Masaki Suda, takes his students hostage for a ‘final class’ before their high school graduation. Here, Nagano challenged a role entirely different from her natural self, portraying a shy student character. She explored new territory, earning praise from Suda, who said, ‘There are moments when you become something beyond acting.'”


Furthermore, in 2021, she took on the role of a rookie policewoman in the NTV drama ‘Hakozume: Tatakau! Koban Joshi,’ co-starring with Toda Erika. The following year, she starred in the impactful film ‘My Broken Mariko.’ Her performance resonated deeply with audiences, and she remarked, ‘I’ve encountered another turning point in my career.’ (as mentioned by the director)”


Her successful streak continued as she expanded her acting repertoire. She won the Best Actress award at the Japan Academy Awards in 2022 for her role in the movie “And, the Baton Was Passed.” In 2023, she won the Best Supporting Actress award for the film “Maternity,” followed by another win in 2024 for the movie “Hello, Mom.” At just 24 years old, she exudes the aura of a seasoned actress.


As the Charismatic Queen of Tears in the Reiwa era, Mei Nagano’s name resounded. Among her memorable moments is the finale of her latest series.


With a backdrop of vibrant red fireworks, she sheds tears of hope for the first time in this series. Her beaming smile against the crimson backdrop, accompanied by the theme song “What Color Is Your Love?” by Utada Hikaru, and the two streams of tears overflowing. The indescribable beauty of that moment remains etched in our minds, resonating with more than just myself.

  • Interview and text by Ukon Shima (Broadcaster, Video Producer)

    He is involved in program production in a wide range of genres, including variety, news, and sports programs. He has also planned and published numerous books on female TV announcers, idols, and the TV industry. While working on documentary programs, he became interested in history and recently published "Ieyasu was dead in Sekigahara" (Takeshobo Shinsho). She has also published the e-book series "Ibun chakurezuregusa" (Different Stories about Craftsmen).

  • PHOTO Yusuke Kondo

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