Keiko Kitagawa interview article in “Steady” November 2013 issue (English translation)

You want to see yourself grow day after day, so that means you have to be productive every day.

Your first photo album “27”, an impressive collection, went on sale on your 27th birthday, right? From what I understand this collection really reveals your true face!

I wanted to do a photo collection like this for a long time! So I’m really glad to see that it’s finally out. During the last 10 years of my career, I’ve really done an extensive range of things. And I think women of course, but men too, have really enjoyed my work so far. You’ll definitely see cute fashion shots and sexier cuts in this book – there are all kinds of “Keiko Kitagawa” in there for people to enjoy!

And you shot the photos for this collection in two locations, Paris and Tokyo, right?

The first half was shot in Paris, and the photography was finished in just three days! The second half of the shoot was done in Tokyo, and I spent all that time just walking around the city – my favorite photographs came from this shoot. Since I work as an actress I’m very used to walking around in costume and having my makeup done, but the truth is I wanted to do a shoot without all those things. That’s why this collection is “Me without a theme” – I wanted to show my real self. So for this shoot, I’ve got no makeup on and I’m wearing a lot of colorful Western style clothing. I’ve wanted to show that side of myself for a long time but hadn’t been able to.

You turned 27 as this photo book was released. Did anything about your mental state change during that time?

This year is my 10th anniversary in the industry, and it’s been a year of self-reflection. You start thinking about ordinary things you don’t usually think about, and you start re-thinking and re-examining some of the things you’ve done in the past. The other day I was at a meet-and-greet event with fans, and I thought to myself that some of these people have been supporting me since my debut…there are people out there who have liked me for ten years that I’ve never met before (laughs), but it was a heartwarming feeling. I’m only here because of the people who have supported me all this time. The truth is, the last ten years have passed before my eyes like a dream, and I’ve come much farther than I ever imagined I could have way back when.

Has your stance on your work changed at all?

That’s a good question. I’m in the latter half of my 20s now, so I’m sure my work has changed, and my audience has too. For example, now there are people who are married and people who have children and homes, and who are making sacrifices of their limited free time to watch my work. So long as I do what I’m supposed to do and give it my best, I’m happy with my work.

This month the drama “Dokushin Kizoku” (A Swinging Single) begins, please give us your highlights of it.

Well, the premise is that “There are things more important than marriage” – that’s how it all begins. I play the role of a girl who is engaged to her boyfriend. But, my character hasn’t abandoned her career dreams, and she has to decide which is important to her, you know? For people in my generation, this is a real story (laughs). My co-stars, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi and Hideaki Itou, are really heartrending and sweet aren’t they? It’s a love comedy, but there are a lot of things you can relate to in the story, so definitely pay attention to the details as you’re watching.

Please send a message to those out there who will watch the drama, and to our steady readers.

Everyone has to balance between their work life and their private satisfaction, and balance their time between their families and their hobbies, and I think that’s a big concern for a lot of people in my generation. If you try to do everything, you’ll have time for nothing, and that’s true for me too. Maybe I’m overanalyzing, but I don’t want to lose a part of my self – I think that would be the worst. But I don’t want you to get the impression that I’ve lost myself. I’m moving forward today, and tomorrow, with all the energy I can muster. If you want to see yourself grow day after day, that means you have to be productive every day. That’s an attitude I keep in mind. And I think the best way to grow is to be kind to others. The best way I can help myself is through supporting others. If the whole world had that attitude, imagine all of the wonderful things humanity could achieve.

Quotes by Keiko

(About Kyoko Fukada, Keiko’s co-star in the movie “Roommate”): “My impression of Ms. Fukada is that she’s really cute! She has a great aesthetic, and she’s always thinking of lots of things. Her development can’t be overlooked; pay attention to this one!”

“In Autumn I feel like buying extra clothes that are handsome, but cute in an adult way – like knits and jackets.

I have a lot of western-style casual clothes that I wear every day, but in the fall I get a soft spot for wearing knits. There are tons of ways to arrange wearing knits in basic colors like black, navy, and white. What I wore yesterday was my usual casual attire. Autumn is one of those seasons that’s over in a snap. Since it’s not cold enough yet to need to wear a coat, you can get away with wearing really cute light jackets when you go out in the evenings to have fun. Autumn is an enjoyable season filled with tasty foods. I’ve never cared much for traditional autumn foods, but I celebrate the season by enjoying some of my favorite meat dishes.”

“What I want to do most right now is relax in a stylish space I’ve remodeled.

For the last ten years I’ve been really focused on work, so my room interiors were always pretty bare. But nowadays I want my room interior to be a little more stylish. My ideal room is like the kind you see in commercials – all white, shabby chic. Lots of antique furniture that’s been casually placed through the room, making you wonder, “Where was this furniture made?” That’s the kind of interior space I want to have (laughs). I don’t have the time to maintain a house, but I think it’s important to have a space to myself where I can relax in private.”

(Ad for Citizen xC watch on the back cover of the magazine issue)

(Translated by Miss Dream under their “Hire Us!” program. Paid for by this blog to the benefit of all English-speaking and English-learning Keiko fans)

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