Japanese doramas and movies are not as popular as Korean ones. I have only started watching them a few years ago. I was hesitant at first because I had the impression that they are either weird or outrageously wacky but I was wrong. There are normal ones too and as I discover and enjoy more of them, I developed biases for certain actors and their works.
And as I grow to admire these men, my appreciation for the weird, wacky and even dark films improved. I’m not as disappointed as I was before for unhappy endings. I guess I am growing up as a TV and movie fan.
This is a list of my favorite Japanese actors, why I love them, which of their works I enjoyed. I haven’t explored all of their projects but the ones I watched have left me with a lasting impression.
- Shun Oguri – His fans have labeled him as a chameleon and rightfully so. He can be the dreamy second lead (Hanayori Dango), an eccentric, childlike CEO (Rich Man, Poor Woman), a teenager full of angst (Crows Zero), shy and hesitant director (The Woodsman and the Rain) and so on. I just find it funny that at 30 (and a father), he played a high school student in Nobunaga Concerto. Still, he managed to deliver what is expected and that is what I call talent.
2. Eita – With his unruly hair, I thought that Eita is one of those outlandish actors. When I watched his works (Nodame Cantabile, Hard to Say I Love You, All About My Siblings, Monsters Club, Hara-Kiri Death of a Samurai), I understood why he has starred in a lot of films and doramas. He can make you laugh, cry and sympathize with his characters.
3. Okada Masaki – Such a pretty, pretty man – he is even prettier than some of his leading ladies. He also looks so young that even at the age of 25, he still play high school roles! He is such a sweetheart in “I Give My First Love to You,” “Halfway,” and “Honokaa Boy.” He can also be dark and vulnerable like in “Gravity’s Clowns” and “Life Back Then.” And a big pain in the you- know- where like in “Confessions,” “Villain,” and “Apology King.”
4. Satoshi Tsumabuki – The Exceedingly Handsome Guy in “The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift.” His acting in “Villain” has been recognized by Award Giving Bodies as well as in “Josee, The Tiger and The Fish.” I also enjoyed his performances in “Tears for You” and “The World of Kanako” as well as in the TV Drama “All About My Siblings.”
5. Shota Sometani – An award winning actor at such a young age, I can’t help but admire this guy. Many of his films that I watched are dark and gloomy such as “A Liar and A Broken Girl,” Himizu,” “Life Back Then,” “Lesson of The Evil” and “The Snow White Murder Case.” It was quite refreshing to watch him in a light yet meaningful film like “Wood Job!”
6. Keisuke Koide – He often plays supporting roles but he always makes a good impression (Parade, Koizora, Nodame Cantabile, Gokusen). Even so, Keisuke Koide showed that he is also good at playing lead like “Surely Someday” and “Cyborg She.”
7. Jun Matsumoto – Matsujun may not be as drop-dead-gorgeous as his Korean and Taiwanese counterparts in “Hana Yori Dango” but I daresay that he is the best of them. He is the type who does not look handsome at first glance but once he starts acting, you can see his appeal. He is one of the few idols who can act. I watched him in TV dramas “Shitsuren Chocolatier,” “Lucky Seven,” and “Smile” and the movie “The Girl in the Sunny Place.”
8. Kazuya Kamenashi – “Perfect Girl Evolution” is the first dorama that I watched. Like Matsujun, Kame is the type who gets attractive once he is in character. Apart from the mentioned dorama, I enjoyed his performance in “Nobuta Wo Produce” and “Gokusen 2.”
9. Takeru Sato – I sometimes confuse him with Kame. He is Kenshin Himura, my favorite samurai. He impressed me with his action in Rourouni Kenshin and he made me fall in love in “Beck” and “The Liar and His Lover.”
10. Haruma Miura – I first watched him in Gokusen 3 which was shown in 2008, it’s been almost seven years and I think he still looks the same. I liked him in “Koizora,” “From Me to You,” and “Tokyo Kouen.”
Have you watched Japanese movies and dramas and discovered these fine young actors? Who do you think is the best?