In this edition of blog-randomly-for-you-have-a-lot-of-time-to-waste, I, Pinky will fangirl shamelessly. HAHA! Don’t worry, even though I fangirl once in a while, I’m absolutely not rabid and definitely not cliché. But right now I can see that look of judgement on my brother’s face as I’m collecting photos for this post. Go now! Leave! Be gone you obtrusive brat. Anyway, I’d just like to take up a little space on this blog to tell you about my admiration for this guy, my most favorite Japanese actor (although there are only very few Japanese actors I know) and my heart’s most celebrated thespian. 🙂
Tatsuya Fujiwara, a film, TV and theater actor. You’ve probably seen him in Battle Royale and the mainstream mass murderer movie Death Note. But aside from movies, he also did a lot of theatrical works as well as voice acting (he provided Stuart Little’s voice in the Japanese dub edition of Stuart Little as well as Emperor Kuzco’s in the movie The Emperor’s New Groove). He started his career in theatre before screen debut.
He had his very first stage performance at the age of 15 when he was chosen to play the lead part in Yukio Ninagawa’s (one of the most influential directors in Japan, known for his productions of Shakespeare’s plays and Greek tragedies) production “Shintoku-maru” in Barbican Theatre in London (October 1997). Since then, he has become Ninagawa’s most promising protégé, collaborating with him in popular Shakespearean plays including Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet.
“Shintoku-maru” rehearsal footage (1997)
“Shintoku-maru” is the coming-of-age story about a young man haunted by the memory of his departed mother and strangely drawn to his new stepmother. From his first performance in the play in 1997 until its last show date in 2008, Fujiwara had perfectly portrayed the role of a young boy suffering from Oedipus complex.
Although I first saw him in his first screen debut Battle Royale, it wasn’t until I watched the stage production Hamlet (which earned him several major theater awards) that I got really impressed with his enormous talent as an actor. His stage presence and intense performance were outstanding. He was very convincing in playing the role of an enigmatic, impulsive prince who seeks to avenge his father’s death. I love his histrionic gestures during Hamlet’s bouts of hallucination in this play. So far, he’s the youngest actor, at the age of 21, to play the role of Hamlet in Japanese theater history.
Merchant of Venice, 2007
In 2007, he was cast for the role of Bassanio in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Gregory Doran stage production Merchant of Venice. Although I was in awe of his amazing versatility in this play, I couldn’t help but guffaw at his extravagant theatrics.
Romeo and Juliet, 2004-2005
Aside from Ninagawa’s Shakespearean stage productions, he also acted in various Japanese contemporary plays.
“Musashi”, 2009 Japan; 2010 Barbican Theatre London and Lincoln Center New York.
His life in theatre gave him the opportunity to travel and perform abroad, showcasing his talent to the world and letting international audiences be amazed by his brilliance as an actor.
With the awesome Yukio Ninagawa at the JFK Center Opera House, Washington D.C.
So far, he has acted in more than 20 stage productions including the Greek tragedy Orestes and Elephant Man (based on the true story of Joseph Merrick).
I do wish I could watch him on one of his stage plays in that magnificent Barbican Theatre someday. Someday, when I become one of those elite socialites — because a friend of mine once said “those who could afford to watch stage plays or operas in expensive theaters are the rich”. And added that I need to realize first my grandiose dream of becoming the last business tycoon before anything else. HAHA! leche!
Battle Royale, 2000
Battle Royale, ah…I could write an entire blog post about this movie but right now I’ll just talk about my fascination for this actor whom Japanese director Takashi Miike dubbed as the biggest creep in Japanese cinema. Most of the movies he starred in involves him playing dodgy characters, like being a psychopath who just wants to annihilate people for the sake of a better world — a theme which has recently become a cliche in Japanese cinema. But his character in Battle Royale is quite different from the roles he often stereotyped to play. The first time I watched him in Battle Royale, I was moved by how well he portrayed the gentle and sensitive nature of his character in the movie. And just like other Battle Royale fans, this movie will always be special to me. My brother and I really love this movie. I remember my brother calling him “Tat-Shuya” — combination of his real name and his character in the movie, Shuya Nanahara. My brother likes him too, he just doesn’t want to admit it.
I’m Flash! 2012 movie promotional still
And as for me, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to meet this wonderful guy and… OH WAIT! pardon the CONFABULATION. For a moment there, I thought I was Kiko Mizuhara. HAHA…This is probably the result of having surfeited myself with raw peanuts in the middle of the night.
How very ordinary this fascination may seem to other people. But for me, I will always admire this talented, brilliant actor; a humble, lovable dork who just simply loves to wear comfortable slippers and shirts on a casual day and sweats buckets like it’s summer all year-round. He who never fails to make me smile whenever I see those crooked teeth and genuine smile.
I find it cute whenever he does this desperate-gambler-Kaiji expression.
-favorite photo. *-*
*Many thanks to Pan of RDTF for the magazine scans and screen captures. All images are copyright to their respective owners. No copyright infringement intended.