For a year and a half, I will play Masako with the feeling that I love her more than anyone else and that I am devoted to her. She is often compared to a “fierce woman,” but I will do my best to leave a lasting impression on viewers as a more attractive Masako than that!
Eiko Koike, who plays the role of Hojo Masako, expressed her enthusiasm on the official Twitter page of the NHK historical drama “Kamakura-dono No 13 Nin”. Indeed, the image of Masako as feisty, jealous, ruthless, and hysterical is a common one.
Koike is nearly 170 centimeters tall, and it is hard to believe that she is 41 years old, still boasting the same excellent proportions as in her gravure days. Her presence walking around the station for the photo shoot is overwhelming.
Her acting ability is such that she is said to be “unmatched when it comes to playing unique characters,” and her most powerful weapon in showing the most of her personality with her expressive eyes. When many viewers heard that Koike would be playing the role of Masako, a “fierce woman,” they were sure that she would fit their image perfectly.
However, as Koike said, the Masako she has played so far is not what one would call a fierce woman.
For example, the most famous historical fact that shows how fierce a woman Masako is is the “Kame-no-mae Incident,” in which she ordered her husband Minamoto no Yoritomo to “destroy Kame-no-mae and his entire house” when she found out that he was having an affair with Kame-no-mae, a man with whom he had an affair. However, in “Kamakura-dono”, Masako’s purpose was only to destroy the house in form and “let Yoritomo cool his nerves a little”, but Minamoto no Yoshitsune’s intervention unexpectedly caused the house to be completely destroyed. When Masako learns of this, she is dismayed, saying, “I never thought it would become such a big deal.”
In another scene, she calls Yae, played by Yui Aragaki, Yoritomo’s concubine, “that woman,” and shows a cold-hearted side of Masako, who mounts Yoritomo as her own husband with a broad smile in front of Yae, who is heartbroken over the loss of her son. On the other hand, Koike’s Masako shows a variety of expressions, including a gesture of sympathy for Yae, who has become the wife of her younger brother, Hojo Yoshitoki.
Koike’s Masako is a very modest wife of Yoritomo, who does not defy him, but gives his opinion. However, after Yoritomo’s death, Masako becomes involved in politics as a nun shogun, and she is very much in charge.
What kind of role will Koike-san play as Masako? I have a feeling that she will have a presence that will “eclipse” the main character, Yoshitoki Hojo, played by Shun Oguri.
Koike, who debuted in the entertainment world as a gravure idol, originally wanted to be an actress. However, she was not interested in becoming an actress.
However, she was told, “You can’t use her in a movie if she’s that fat.”
She was told, “If you are that fat, you can’t be used in the movies,” so she became a gravure idol out of tears. However, Koike’s quick thinking and commentary skills soon helped her to distinguish herself on variety shows, and at the same time, she also began acting.
She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the movie “The Eighth Day of the Cicada,” released in 2011. To maintain her physical condition and style as an actress, she drinks 2 liters of water a day and refuses to eat any fried food.
Last year, she commented about herself as an actress in an interview with a web media outlet.
What I am not good at is creating something from zero to one. I can take something that is given to me and turn it from one to three or one to five.
How will she flesh out Masako, the “fierce woman” given to him by the historical facts? We look forward to seeing her transformation.
PHOTO： Yuri Adachi