Satomi Ishihara’s Stunning Transformation in ‘Missing’ Reflects Life’s Turning Points | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Satomi Ishihara’s Stunning Transformation in ‘Missing’ Reflects Life’s Turning Points

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on LINE
Satomi Ishihara returned to acting as a mother after marriage and childbirth. Her intense performance in the movie ‘Missing’ has received high praise.

Satomi Ishihara’s starring drama Destiny (TV Asahi) aired its final episode on June 4th, capturing the top spot in world trends with X. Additionally, it set a new record for the highest streaming views in the same broadcaster’s golden time slot. Returning to acting after marriage and childbirth for the first time in three years, Ishihara has made a triumphant comeback in this latest work.

But Ishihara’s success story doesn’t end here.

The movie “Missing,” starring Satomi Ishihara and released on May 17th, ranked 7th in the weekend box office rankings in its third week of release. Despite tackling a social issue, the film has performed well with box office earnings reaching 440 million yen after four weeks. Ishihara’s passionate performance has moved many audience members to tears.

In the film, one day, Ishihara’s character, Saori, experiences the sudden disappearance of her young daughter. Following this, she becomes a target of online slander as a “neglectful mother” after attending a live concert of her favorite idol. Her life gradually starts to unravel, leading to a gripping portrayal of psychological pressure.

Known for her charisma in beauty, Ishihara transforms her image in this film by adopting a diet high in additives, reducing gym visits to relax her physique, washing her hair with body shampoo, and portraying a weary appearance that has left a profound impact.

Directed by the talented Keisuke Yoshida, known for films like “Himeanole” (2016), starring Go Morita as a serial killer, and “Blank” (2021), depicting a father (played by (Arata Furuta) who spirals out of control after his daughter’s fatal accident. 

“Six years ago, I was bored with myself and felt uninteresting. I thought, ‘This can’t go on like this.’ Maybe Yoshida-san could change me.”

That’s how Ishihara, now in her 30s, felt as she grew tired of the roles she played in her 20s. From a sincere desire of “this can’t go on like this,” this project began.

“Director Yoshida, who received a passionate offer, commented, ‘I was confident that I could make the film I envisioned by calling actors who fit my worldview. But I felt that by collaborating with someone who has been at the forefront like her, unexpected doors might open beyond my expectations.’


Indeed, for both Ishihara Satomi and Director Keisuke Yoshida, this film marks the beginning of a new chapter” (producer of the production company)


Filming began with a scene where Saori expresses anger at defamatory comments posted online after the incident. When the camera started rolling, Ishihara approached her role with a tense and determined demeanor, tears welling in her eyes. Director Yoshida


“There will be stronger anger coming later.”

It was also said that there was a moment where she received instructions to control her feelings.

And about two weeks after filming started, Ishihara’s big moment arrived.

“Six months after her daughter’s disappearance, Sada (played by Rinya Nakamura) and the local TV crew arrive for a long interview shoot. It begins with a long monologue starting with ‘Since that day, everything has been shattered.’


Director Yoshida, who comes close to Ishihara after each cut, exhausts himself expressing his emotions and patiently repeats takes. Ishihara struggles with her emotions, unsure of where she’s headed. Her defiant stance mirrors Saori’s character in the film. Looking back on that time, she says, “I felt so crushed, but also so happy that I could cry.”” (According to a director from the production company)

Soon, in the midst of the long interview, news arrives that her daughter Miu has been found. The scene shifts to a police station where Sada rushes up the stairs in a panic—a moment that grips everyone’s hearts. Director Yoshida instructs Ishihara,

“Feel like your emotions are in chaos and you’ve lost sight of what you’re doing.”

Upon hearing this, Ishihara composes herself under the stairs. And then, the second take begins. Recalling that scene still gives me goosebumps to this day.

“Mixing feelings of joy and relief, Saori bursts in asking urgently, ‘Where is Miu?’ The phone call turns out to be a prank, and Saori shouts in a voice that makes police officers want to look away.

Seeing that scene, Director Yoshida couldn’t help but confess, ‘Saori and Satomi Ishihara are broken.’ ‘It was scary at first glance, but I immediately gave it my approval.’”(director)

Could it be said that this performance, which doesn’t seem like acting, was a new breakthrough for Satomi Ishihara in this film? Actually, in this scene, according to the final script, Saori

“loses control due to shock.”

It is written. However, I wonder. Could it express despair with heat enough to lose control and play Saori Iihara? I’m crying in the office, echoing through the scene. The madness that makes Sada (Nakamura) stop shooting without thinking was overflowing in this scene.

The movie “Missing” is a milestone work for Ishihara, who revived after marriage and childbirth. And oddly enough, the movie “MOTHER” (’20), celebrating Masami Nagasawa’s 20th anniversary as an actress, and the movie “Tsuki” (’23), where Rie Miyazawa broke new ground at the age of 50. These two works were also involved in the last work handled by producer Mitsunobu Kawamura under “planning”.

I am just amazed again at the tremendous skill of Mr. Kawamura, who guided actress Satomi Ishihara to a “new chapter”.

  • Text Shima Ukon (Broadcaster and 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 many 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 Saki Hotta

Photo Gallery1 total

Photo Selection

Check out the best photos for you.

Related Articles