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Why did Kenichi Matsuyama change? After reevaluating his life, he found an alternative acting path.



Following his starring role in the film “Lost Care” (Tetsu Maeda / March 2023), actor Kenichi Matsuyama has appeared in the same director’s period entertainment film “Daimyo Bankruptcy” and seems to have become even more lighthearted as an actor in recent years.

He attributes this to a conscious change in the way he spends his time, including the dual life he started several years ago, living between Tokyo and the countryside.

We asked Matsuyama about his alternative acting path and his outlook on life, which he has been facing through a variety of activities outside of acting, including farming, which he has always wanted to do, and the upcycling project “momiji,” which he launched with his wife Koyuki at the beginning of last year.

Daimyo Bankrupt” and “Lost Care,” two completely different films, have one thing in common: “making the most of people” and how to save people.

-With the memory of your role as a caregiver in the social suspense film “Lost Care” still fresh in your mind, the period entertainment film “Daimyo Bankruptcy,” also directed by Tetsu Maeda, is about to be released, and I was surprised by the haughtiness of Shinjiro, played by Matsuyama-san.

Matsuyama: That’s right. For this film, Director Maeda said to me, “We are shooting in September (2022), would you be interested in participating?” I was asked if I wanted to be in the film. At that time, he explained to me that it was a film like this, and I thought, “This is totally different from “Lost Care” …….”

Kenichi Matsuyama
was born on March 5, 1985 in Aomori Prefecture. Born in Aomori, Japan, he won the Grand Prix at “New style audition” in 2001 and started his career as a model. 2002 Acting debut. 2006 “Death Note” was his breakthrough role. He has since starred in films such as “Norwegian Wood”, “Sei no Seishun”, “BLUE”, “Kawapperi Mukoritta”, and “Lost Care”. He has received numerous awards, including the Japan Academy Prize and the Blue Ribbon Award.

-I think they are so different that I can say they are the exact opposite.

Matsuyama: But I thought that was fine. Lost Care” is a very heavy film in a sense. I wanted to wash away that feeling. We didn’t want to leave the role or the subject matter heavy in our minds.

From left: Shinjiro (Kenichi Matsuyama), Koshiro (Ryunosuke Kamiki), Kisaburo (Dori Sakurada) © 2023 “Daimyo Bankrupt” Film Partners

-Shinjiro, the older brother of the main character Koshiro played by Ryunosuke Kamiki, is a role that leaves a strong impact whenever he appears in the film. …… You play the role with a lot of swing.

Matsuyama: Yes, he does. Shinjiro is called a “hussy” in the film, but I think he is a character with unique characteristics that those around him are just unaware of.

However, it takes a certain amount of time and conversation to know that. If you stop thinking about someone just because they are called a “hooligan” by those around them, you will never know anything about them.

Trailer for the movie “Daimyo Bankrupt” (Japanese only)

Matsuyama: In this film, Shinjiro is called a “hooligan” by everyone and is left alone to some extent, but then Koshiro appears. As he communicates with Shinjiro, he realizes that Shinjiro likes this kind of thing, is capable of this kind of thing, and has this kind of kindness.

By facing him properly and discovering his good qualities, this will ultimately lead to a way to make the most of Shinjiro. I think the story is about how the bankruptcy of the clan was prevented by making good use of the power of various people, and in my opinion, this “making use of people” may be a different way of “saving” people than in “Lost Care”.

-I see. Although the two works have completely opposite tastes, I think they have a common theme.

Matsuyama: That is Maeda’s theme: I think that is Maeda’s theme.



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